WS: Irwindale II: Championship to be decided

Championship to be Decided at Irwindale in NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 20, 2004) -- The 2004 championship for the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series will be decided under the lights at...

Championship to be Decided at Irwindale in NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 20, 2004) -- The 2004 championship for the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series will be decided under the lights at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway on Saturday, Oct. 23, with the NAPA Auto Parts 150 presented by Southern California Pipe Trades.

Mike Duncan (No. 9 Lucas Oil/Ron's Rear Ends Chevrolet) leads Austin Cameron (No. 16 NAPA/NAPA Belts & Hose Chevrolet) by just 63 points -- 1,952 to 1,889 -- as the series prepares to close out its 2004 season. Cameron, who recorded two of his 12 career wins on Irwindale's half-mile oval, hopes another strong run at the state-of-the-art facility will propel him past Duncan, whose best finish at Irwindale was third in 2000. Duncan can clinch the championship by finishing 13th or better on Saturday.

After coming up just 14 points short in his come-from-behind bid for the title a year ago, Duncan has led the championship standings since the third race this season. The Bakersfield, Calif., driver has dominated qualifying -- winning seven of 11 Bud Pole Awards -- and has led nearly twice as many laps of competition (748) than any other driver. His consistency is reflected with his one win, nine top-five and 11 top-10 finishes in 12 races.

Being in the midst of the title chase for the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series is nothing new to Cameron. He has finished in the top three of the championship standings three times since 1998, when he won the Rookie-of-the-Year Award in the series. Although his championship hopes were sidelined due to medical reasons last year, he returned to win the prestigious inaugural NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown post-season event. This year, the El Cajon, Calif., competitor has four wins, seven top-five and nine top-10 finishes.

More than just the overall title is at stake, however, as drivers throughout the top 20 positions are battling for a spot in the final standings.

David Gilliland (No. 88 RaceCarCeilingFans.com Chevrolet), of Riverside, Calif., is third in the championship standings with 1,750. The second-generation competitor -- who has clinched this year's Auto Meter Rookie of the Year Award -- has one win, six top-five and eight top-10 finishes. Just five markers back is Scott Gaylord (No. 00 Oliver Gravity Separators/Denver Seminary Chevrolet), of Lakewood, Colo., with 1,745 points. The veteran driver, who has competed in the series since 1988, is having a career-best season -- with seven top-five and eight top-10 finishes.

Defending series champion Scott Lynch (No. 08 Yerf-Dog/Orleans Racing Dodge), of Burley, Idaho, is 19 points behind Gaylord with 1,726. Lynch has two wins, five top-five and eight top-10 finishes this season.

Sixth in the point standings is Mike David (No. 2 Bennett Lane Winery Ford) of Modesto, Calif., with 1,653 points. David, who recorded his first career win earlier this season, has five top-five and 10 top-10 finishes.

A father-son team from Canada hold the seventh and eighth positions in the championship standings. Daryl Harr (No. 71 WestWorld Motorsports Chevrolet) of St Albert, Alberta, Canada, has 1,608 points -- with eight top-10 finishes this season. Although a rookie in the series this year, he has completed the most laps of competition so far this season, running 1,946 of 1,958 possible.

His father, Carl Harr (No. 02 WestWorld Motorsports Chevrolet) of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, is also a rookie in the series. He is second to Daryl in terms of the most laps completed (1,932) and trails slightly in points, as well, with 1,532. Carl has five top-10 finishes to his credit this year.

Ninth in the championship standings is Tim Woods III (No. 54 Chino Hills Ford Ford) of Chino Hills, Calif. Woods, who notched a career-best runner-up finish when the series visited Irwindale in July, has 1,500 points -- with one top-five and four top-10 finishes this season.

Gene Woods (No. 7 Circle K/Monster Energy Drinks Dodge) of Ontario, Calif., is 10th in the standings with 1,420 points. Series rookie Jose Luis Ramirez (No. 17 Del Valle/Rayere Ford) of Mexico City, Mexico, trails Woods by one point with 1,419. Another rookie and a teammate to Ramirez is Nick DeFazio (No. 77 Food 4 Less/Mission Foods Ford) of Newport Beach, Calif. He is 12th in the standings with 1,386 points.

Series veteran Jack Sellers (No. 75 Aramark/Greyhound Adoption Center Pontiac) of Sacramento, Calif., is 13th in the rundown with 1,327 points. Trailing him by just 20 points is the 1999 series champion Sean Woodside (No. 3 Jerry Springer Pontiac) of Saugus, Calif., with 1,307 points. Fifteenth in the standings is Bobby Hillis (No. 27 First Impression Press Chevrolet) of Phoenix, Ariz., with 1,281 points.

Other top 20 drivers expected to compete at Irwindale include Brett Thompson (No. 61 Rich Thompson Trucking Chevrolet), of Jerome, Idaho, who has 1,194 points and is coming off his first career win; David Eshleman (No. 6 Fleet Refinishing/Rush Truck Center Chevrolet) of Fontana, Calif., with 1,023 points; Kerry Earnhardt (No. 20 NAPA Belts & Hose Chevrolet) of Kannapolis, N.C., who has tallied 975 points in seven series races this season; and Tim Smith (No. 33 Integrity Financial/CTX Chevrolet) of Roseville, Calif., who has accumulated 591 points in four races.

The top 15 drivers in the final standings will be invited to participate in the second annual NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale Speedway on Nov. 11-13. They will take on the top 15 drivers from the Busch North Series in the Grand National Division portion of the one-of-a-kind NASCAR event that features more than $500,000 in prize money and live national television coverage on SPEED Channel.

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Kerry Earnhardt , Tim Woods , Bobby Hillis , Scott Gaylord , Jack Sellers , Scott Lynch , Mike David , Daryl Harr , Carl Harr , Gene Woods , David Eshleman , David Gilliland