WS: Mesa Marin: Scott Gaylord - NASCAR spotlight

Gaylord looks forward to his 20th series race at Mesa Marin Raceway DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 22, 2004) - One look at the success that Scott Gaylord (No. 00 Oliver Gravity Separators/Denver Seminary Chevrolet) has achieved at Mesa Marin Raceway...

Gaylord looks forward to his 20th series race at Mesa Marin Raceway

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 22, 2004) - One look at the success that Scott Gaylord (No. 00 Oliver Gravity Separators/Denver Seminary Chevrolet) has achieved at Mesa Marin Raceway and you understand why he looks forward to racing there. In addition to scoring a career-best runner-up finish in 1995 - the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series veteran has accumulated four top-five and 10 top-10 finishes in 19 races on the high-banked, half-mile track.

The 45-year-old Lakewood, Colo., competitor will get a chance to add to those stats when the series rolls into Bakersfield, Calif., for the Lucas Oil 150 on Saturday, March 27.

The $103,400 event, which is to be televised on a tape-delay basis to a national audience on the SPEED Channel cable network, is the second event in a 13-race series schedule for 2004.

Despite his success at Mesa Marin Raceway, Gaylord declines to call it his favorite track. Instead he prefers to think of all the tracks on the circuit in the same fashion. "I like them all, but that one seems to work for us," Gaylord said. He attributes his success to his experience there and with his early involvement with a Bakersfield-based team. "I've been there a lot. When I joined the (Winston) West Series, I started out with a team there. It has a lot of history."

Gaylord, who with a 7th-place finish in the season opener is off to his best start since his rookie season of 1988, says handling and horsepower are both important at Bakersfield. "You have to get the car working good and get all the horsepower you can," he said.

Another reason that Mesa Marin Raceway is popular stop on the West Series schedule is because it features more than one groove of racing, according to Gaylord. It offers plenty of room for side-by-side racing, he said. "At Bakersfield, I've seen it where you were three abreast. So, I think we'll have a great race."

The race distance, meanwhile, will put a premium on qualifying well, Gaylord said. "With a 150-lap event, you have to just go for it," he said. "Like always, you want to be up front qualifying and in the race."

A top qualifying spot was not always the case for Gaylord last year, however. In fact, four times in 2003 he won the POWERade Power Move of the Race Award for advancing the most positions during a race. While blaming himself for not qualifying better, he credits his crew with providing a fast car to charge to the front in those races.

"That was a tribute to the team," he said. "The driver just didn't get up there in qualifying. So, I just have to get with it in qualifying. We can do it. We've been on the pole."

Gaylord, meanwhile, points out the need to take advantage of every opportunity that comes along in racing. "Sometimes you show up and there are problems with the car and you just do the best you can," he said. "If it's right, we've got to stick with it. We've had really good cars and had a chance to win. So, we've got to get that opportunity again and go after it."

-nascar-

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Scott Gaylord