WS: Irwindale: Round eight preview

NASCAR Camping World Series West News & Notes King Taco 200 Irwindale, CA Bowles Looks To Gain Momentum Heading For Home Joanides Dominates Local Action At Toyota Speedway West Coast Stock Car Hall Of Fame Festivities Slated Bowles Hopes For...

NASCAR Camping World Series West News & Notes
King Taco 200
Irwindale, CA

Bowles Looks To Gain Momentum Heading For Home
Joanides Dominates Local Action At Toyota Speedway
West Coast Stock Car Hall Of Fame Festivities Slated

Bowles Hopes For Repeat Of 2008 Performance

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- In last year's chase for the championship in the NASCAR Camping World Series West, Jason Bowles (No. 6 Sunrise Ford.com Ford) gained a lot of momentum when he followed up a win at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., with a victory at his home track of Toyota Speedway at Irwindale (Calif.). He hopes to do the same thing again this year.

Coming off a win at Sonoma on June 20 -- Bowles heads this week from his home in Ontario, Calif., to the half-mile track in nearby Irwindale for the King Taco 200 on Saturday, July 4.

"We're taking the same car back that we ran there last year," Bowles said. "Hopefully, we can repeat by qualifying on the pole and winning the race."

For Bowles, who was quick to win on road courses after coming to NASCAR from open-wheel racing, his victory last year at Toyota Speedway was his first win on an oval track.

"I think we finally just got all of our stuff together," the 26-year-old driver recalled. "The car was good. And I think I improved my driving quite a bit on the ovals. Everything finally just came together as a whole."

Bowles went on to win a second race last season at Toyota Speedway, as well as winning the season finale on an oval track in Northern California. He finished second in the championship standings, 48 points behind two-time champion Eric Holmes (No. 20 NAPA Toyota).

Coming off his win this year at Infineon, which marked his eighth career series victory -- Bowles is just 16 points behind Holmes in this year's championship battle. The momentum could shift toward Bowles and his team as it did last year.

"I don't know for sure that the momentum is going our way, but I think for our team the attitude is going the right direction," said Bowles. "Our performance is getting better every week. That's what needs to happen to try to win the championship.

"This is kind of when we got our momentum going last season as well, once we hit the first road course and then went to Irwindale. And this year, we've got two road courses that follow it," he pointed out. Although Bowles -- the 2007 Sunoco Rookie of the Year -- is only in his third season in the series, he has years of championship experience around him in terms of his crew chief Bill Sedgwick. In addition to the two championships he won as a driver in the NASCAR Camping World Series West, Sedgwick is also a two-time champion as a crew chief. "He definitely has the experience and know how," Bowles stressed.

Bowles, who raced in Late Models at Toyota Speedway in 2006, finished third in the championship standings of the NASCAR Camping World Series West as a rookie, with two wins and one pole. In his runner-up season last year, he had four wins and five poles.

News & Notes

The race -- The King Taco 200 is the eighth event on the NASCAR Camping World Series West schedule in 2009.

The procedure -- The starting field is 30 cars, including provisionals. The first 26 cars will qualify through two-lap time trials. The remaining four spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 200 laps (100 miles).

The track -- Toyota Speedway at Irwindale is a half-mile paved oval with blended banking of six, nine and 12 degrees in the corners and banking of six degrees in the straights. The track has hosted 18 NASCAR Camping World Series events, dating back to June of 1999.

The records -- Qualifying: Butch Gilliland, June 19, 1999, 100.722 mph, 17.871 seconds; Race: Jason Bowles, Aug. 16, 2008, 76.255 mph, 1 hour 18 minutes 41 seconds. Hall of Fame festivities -- Leading up to the King Taco 200, special events are planned by the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame. A golf tournament is scheduled for the afternoon on Friday, July 3. The 2009 induction and dinner, meanwhile, will be at Toyota Speedway on Friday evening, beginning with no-host cocktail reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m.

Irwindale winners -- Austin Cameron leads winners at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale, with five victories.

Other Irwindale winners -- NASCAR Nationwide Series driver and two-time NASCAR Camping World Series West champion Brendan Gaughan follows Cameron on the list of winners at Irwindale. Gaughan swept all three series races there in 2001. With his sweep of both events there last year, Jason Bowles (No. 6 Sunrise Ford.com Ford) joined Bobby Dotter and Steve Portenga on the list of multiple race winners, with two victories each. 12 pole winners at Irwindale -- The 18 visits to Irwindale resulted in 12 different drivers winning a pole. Cameron, Bowles, Mike Duncan, Eric Holmes (No. 20 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota), Scott Lynch and Sean Woodside are multiple winners, with two each.

Getting back to Victory Lane -- The Bill McAnally Racing team dominated competition at Toyota Speedway between 2001 and 2007, winning eight of 11 races. Eric Holmes has registered three second-place finishes and one third-place finish in the past five races there, but has yet to win at the Southern California facility.

Front runner -- Brendan Gaughan has the most top-five finishes at Irwindale, with six. The Las Vegas native also led the most laps, running out front for 674 laps.

Most top 10s -- Scott Gaylord scored the most top-10s at Toyota Speedway -- finishing in the top 10 in 11 of 13 races he competed in there. Widespread competition -- In the 18 races at the Southern California track, 157 different drivers have taken the green flag. Austin Cameron and Jack Sellers (No. 15 Aramark Chevrolet) top that list, each starting 16 of those races. Other drivers to compete in NASCAR Camping World Series West events at Toyota Speedway include Kurt Busch, who finished 22nd in the inaugural series race there in June of 1999; Ron Hornaday Jr., who finished fourth in that event; Mike Wallace, who finished fifth behind Hornaday; and Matt Crafton, who finished a close second to Bobby Dotter in 2000.

Comparing the finishes -- Among drivers who have raced in four or more races at Irwindale, Eric Holmes has the best average finish of 3.4 in five races.

Manufacturers' battle -- Chevrolet has been in victory lane for 14 of the 18 races at Irwindale.

Going the distance -- The 18 events have varied in distance. Seven were 250-lap races (two in 1999, two in 2000 and three in 2001); seven were 200 laps (one each in 2002 and 2003, two in 2006, one in 2007 and two in 2008); three were 150 laps (both in 2004 and one in 2005) and one was 300 laps (the season finale in 2000).

Stat of the race -- Five of the 18 races at Toyota Speedway were won from the pole position, including both events by Jason Bowles last year.

Fast Facts

The Race: King Taco 200
The Place: Toyota Speedway at Irwindale Irwindale, Calif.

The Date: Saturday, July 4
The Time: 8:38 p.m. PT

TV Schedule: SPEED July 16, Noon PT

Track Layout: .5-mile paved
Race Purse: $105,630

2008 Winner: Jason Bowles
2008 Pole: Jason Bowles

Schedule:
Saturday: Practice 11:30 a.m. -12:15 p.m., 1-1:45 p.m. Time Trials 4:45 p.m.

Last year's event ...

Jason Bowles scored his first victory on an oval before a packed house at his home track in this event last year.

He started off by winning the Coors Light Pole Award, topping a field of 31 cars in the Bob Bruncati-owned No. 22 Sunrise Ford Ford.

Although Bowles led the initial laps, David Mayhew took the lead on lap 3. He appeared to have the car to beat, maintaining the top spot through the midway break of the race.

But Bowles had other plans. He gained the lead after a fierce four-way battle in traffic on lap 129. Although he pulled away slightly, that margin was erased by a couple of late-race cautions. Bowles was able to hold off all challengers, however, winning by a margin of .994 seconds. Eric Holmes made a late-race charge to take the second spot. Johnny Borneman had a season-high third-place finish. Rookie Jeff Barkshire came home fourth and Jim Inglebright was fifth.

Final Notes From Infineon

Back-to-back wins -- With his victory in the Bennett Lane Winery 200 presented by Supercuts on June 20, Jason Bowles (No. 6 Sunrise Ford.com Ford) became the first driver since 1997 to score back-to-back NASCAR Camping World Series West wins at Infineon Raceway. It was his eighth career series victory, putting him in a tie with Mike Duncan, Sonny Easley and Brendan Gaughan on the list of career series victories. Debut with pole -- In making his series debut at the Sonoma, Calif., track, Patrick Long (No. 9 AASCO Motorsports Ford) nabbed the Coors Light Pole Award.

Another podium -- David Mayhew (No. 17 MMI/Ron's Rear Ends/ KHI Chevrolet) finished second at Infineon, his fourth straight podium finish.

Veteran Driver Nick Joanides Leading Competition Again

Nick Joanides has dominated a talented field of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Super Late Model competitors this season at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale (Calif.). The 39-year-old driver from Woodland Hills, Calif., accumulated eight wins and 11 top-five finishes in his first 11 starts.

In addition to leading the standings for the AC Delco Super Late Models, Joanides also has led the points this season in the Auto Club Late Model Division at the Southern California facility.

Running in both divisions at Toyota Speedway is nothing new to Joanides. Last year, he won the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Super Late Model championship and finished second in the final standings for the Late Model Division.

Joanides, a veteran West Coast competitor, raced in 60 events in the former NASCAR Southwest Tour, as well as competing in the former NASCAR Midwest Tour. His resume also includes seven NASCAR Camping World Series events.

-credit: nascar

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Mike Wallace , Kurt Busch , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Bobby Dotter , Matt Crafton , Patrick Long , Brendan Gaughan , Jim Inglebright , Scott Gaylord , Jack Sellers , Scott Lynch , Eric Holmes , Austin Cameron , Jason Bowles , David Mayhew , Jeff Barkshire , Nick Joanides