WS: Irwindale: Round nine preview

* Dramatic Win Last Year Boosts Confidence For Myers On Home Turf * Special Fourth of July Event On Wednesday Night * HDNet Performance Award For West Series To Be Decided At Southern California Track * Drivers Challenge For Return...

* Dramatic Win Last Year Boosts Confidence For Myers On Home Turf

* Special Fourth of July Event On Wednesday Night

* HDNet Performance Award For West Series To Be Decided At Southern California Track

* Drivers Challenge For Return Ticket To Prestigious NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 28, 2007) -- Andrew Myers (No. 44 Toyota of Escondido/NEO Chevrolet) captured a dramatic victory last year in the closest finish in NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series history at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway.

The side-by-side dual in the spring race between Myers and Eric Holmes, who went on to clinch the 2006 series championship, was decided by inches. For the record, the official margin of victory was just .016 seconds.

"That was a highlight for us, to win by that sort of margin with Eric Holmes," Myers said. "We were on older tires, but the pit strategy worked out for us. We were pretty excited about that."

The location added even more emotion.

"It was definitely a highlight to win there in the West Series, being Irwindale and my home track," said the 27-year-old driver from Newport Beach, Calif. "That was a big accomplishment. It kind of proved that the success we had in the Late Models, we were able to transfer over to the West Series and that we had the capability of moving up to another series and being successful. So, it was very special."

The win has fueled his confidence as the West Series prepares to return to Irwindale Speedway for the King Taco 200 on Wednesday, July 4. This year's race, which will be televised to a national audience live in high definition on HDNet, will be part of a special Fourth of July program at the Southern California speedway. In addition, SPEED is to provide an enhanced replay.

With last year's win, there's less pressure in how his team approaches this race, according to Myers. "It's taken the edge off a little bit to win there," he said. "I think we can be more comfortable in the race and just kind of let the race come to us, instead of attacking the race."

As the third of three races within a 12-day span for the West Series, preparation will be very important to doing well at Irwindale, Myers said. "Everyone's going to have to be prepared and be up on all their equipment, parts and supplies," he said. "Hopefully, if they do wreck they can get it repaired quick enough to make the next race."

After having an up and down start to his season, which included a top-10 finish in the season opener in Texas and a second-place finish at Altamont, Myers feels his team is poised for victory.

"We're definitely ready for a win," Myers said. "We've been kind of lacking that this year so far. Last year at this time we were sitting on two wins. This year, we're sitting on none. We've had some good runs and some bad ones, as well. I think with the little time off that we've had off here, we can get everything regrouped and with a little success we can pull off some wins."

Myers will rely on his experience on the half-mile oval at Irwindale, meanwhile, in shooting for another win on his home track.

"The key to Irwindale is setting your car up so it can run smooth up top with less force on your tires, so you don't burn them off," Myers said. "But you've got to also be able to set your car up for the bottom because it's such a multi-groove track that you've got to be able to set it up so you can really get a good grip off the bottom of the corners. So, it's kind of 50-50 on the setup. You want to be able to run up top. And that's the smooth, easy way around the track. But also have the ability to swoop down low and execute passes on the bottom."

NEWS & NOTES

* The race -- This is the ninth event on the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series 2007 schedule. It is the only series championship event at Irwindale this season.

* The track -- Irwindale Speedway 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 15 NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series events, dating back to June of 1999.

* HDNet Performance Award -- This event will conclude this year's competition for the inaugural HDNet Performance Award in the Grand National West Series. The HDNet Performance Award is providing $30,000 in prize money for the top drivers in the two NASCAR Grand National Divisions, the Busch East Series and the West Series. For each series, the eligible driver who leads the most cumulative laps in the races HDNet broadcasts will receive a bonus award of $10,000. In addition, HDNet is making a point fund contribution of $5,000 each to both series.

* Competing for Showdown spot -- Drivers will be competing for a return ticket to Irwindale. Race winners in NASCAR Grand National Division competition this year earn a starting spot in the 2007 NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown. Under the new format, only Grand National race winners and champions of the NASCAR Developmental Series will be locked in to the field. All others must race their way in.

* Champion takes another shot at Irwindale -- West Series Champion Eric Holmes (No. 62 Van Dyke Baler/Paul Oil Chevrolet), who finished in the runner-up spot in both West Series races at Irwindale last year, was sure to put the Southern California track on his limited schedule of West Series races this year. Holmes -- driving full-time in the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series this season for an East Coast team -- will be making his third appearance in the West Series this year.

* Back in action -- Several drivers who are running limited schedules in the West Series are set to return to action at Irwindale. Tim McCreadie (No. 31 Golden Gate/RCR Chevrolet), competing in select series events as part of a driver development program between Jim Offenbach's Golden Gate Racing Team and Richard Childress Racing, is set to make his third series start. Jamie Dick (No. 84 Johnnie Walker Performance Center Chevrolet) is slated to compete in his fourth series race this year and Jeff Barkshire (No. 46 Centennial Batteries Dodge) will be making his third appearance of the season.

* Several drivers set for series debut -- Several other drivers are planning to make their West Series debut at Irwindale. Series newcomers on the entry list include Candace Muzny (No. 01 West Coast Choppers Ford), originally from Oklahoma City, Okla., but now residing in Fullerton, Calif.; David Ross (No. 57 Chevrolet) of Colton, Calif.; and Jason Pattison (No. 17 Lucas Oil Ford) of Corona, Calif.

* Last year's event -- Austin Cameron scored his fifth Irwindale win in this event a year ago. His win concluded a day in which competitors battled triple-digit temperatures, as well as each other. After starting 12th, Cameron was up to sixth before pitting with most of the other leaders for fuel and fresh right-side tires on lap 64. With teams limited to just two new tires during the race, Cameron and his crew chief opted to pit again on lap 143 and put his original right-side tires back on the car. He took the lead from Peyton Sellers on lap 166 and pulled away for the win. Eric Holmes finished 1.604 seconds back in the runner-up spot, followed by Johnny Borneman (No. 8 Twisted X Boots/Red Line Oil Ford) in third.

* Irwindale winners -- Cameron leads West Series winners at Irwindale, with five victories. NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver and two-time West Series champion Brendan Gaughan is next on the list, with the three races he swept in 2001. Bobby Dotter and Steve Portenga are also multiple race winners, with two victories each.

* 11 Bud Pole winners at Irwindale -- The 15 visits by the series to Irwindale resulted in 11 different drivers winning a Bud Pole Award. Cameron, Mike Duncan (No. 9 Lucas Oil/Ron's Rear Ends Chevrolet), Scott Lynch and Sean Woodside are multiple winners, with two each.

* Team dominance -- The Bill McAnally Racing team dominated competition at Irwindale between 2001 and 2005, winning seven of eight races in that time span. Gaughan swept all three series visits in 2001 in the familiar blue and yellow No. 16 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet. Three of Cameron's five Irwindale wins were with BMR, one in 2002 and two in 2004. Portenga added a BMR win in 2005.

* Front runner -- Gaughan has the most top-five finishes at Irwindale, with six. The Las Vegas native also won the most money in series competition at the state-of-the-art facility, with $71,690, and led the most laps, running out front for 674 laps.

* Mr. Consistency -- Series veteran Scott Gaylord has scored the most top-10s in series competition at Irwindale -- finishing in the top 10 in 11 of 13 races he has competed in at the Southern California track. He also registered top-five finishes in four of the last six events there.

* Widespread competition -- In the 15 series races at Irwindale, 122 different drivers have taken the green flag. Austin Cameron tops that list, starting 14 of those races. Other drivers to compete in series events at Irwindale include NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Kurt Busch, who finished 22nd in the inaugural series race there in June of 1999; NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Ron Hornaday Jr., who finished fourth in that event; NASCAR Busch Series driver Mike Wallace, who finished fifth behind Hornaday; and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series regular Matt Crafton, who finished a close second to Bobby Dotter in 2000.

* A quick comparison -- Among drivers who have competed in four or more series races at Irwindale Speedway, Bobby Dotter has the best average finish of 4.0 in four races. Gaughan is close behind, with an average of 4.63 in eight races.

* Manufacturers' battle -- Chevrolet has been in victory lane for 13 of the 15 series races at Irwindale. Joe Bean scored Ford's only win there in 2000 and Scott Lynch nabbed the only win for Dodge at Irwindale in 2003.

* Going the distance -- The 15 series events at Irwindale have varied in distance. Seven were 250-lap races (two in 1999, two in 2000 and three in 2001); four were 200 laps (one each in 2002 and 2003, and two in 2006); 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 -- Three of the 15 West Series races at Irwindale were won from the Bud Pole position.

FAST FACTS

What: King Taco 200, NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series Race #9

Where: Irwindale Speedway, Irwindale, Calif.
When: 8:00 p.m., Wednesday, July 4.

Track layout: .5-mile paved oval.
Distance: 200 Laps, 100 miles

Posted Awards: $117,039

TV: HDNet (Live)
SPEED (enhanced replay)

2006 winner: Austin Cameron.
2006 polesitter: Peyton Sellers.

Records: Qualifying: Butch Gilliland, June 19, 1999, 100.722 mph, 17.871 sec.; Race: Austin Cameron, July 27, 2002, 76.062 mph, 1 hr 18 min 53 sec

Pre-race schedule: Saturday -- Practice, Noon-12:45 p.m., 1:15-2 p.m. Qualifying, 4:30 p.m. Note: All times subject to change.

-credit: nascar

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Mike Wallace , Kurt Busch , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Bobby Dotter , Matt Crafton , Brendan Gaughan , Steve Portenga , Scott Gaylord , Scott Lynch , Eric Holmes , Austin Cameron , Peyton Sellers , Andrew Myers , Tim McCreadie , Jeff Barkshire , Jamie Dick
Teams Richard Childress Racing