WS: Pikes Peak: Round 8 preview

* Lynch hopes to benefit from success on one-mile tracks * First return to Pikes Peak for West Series since 1999 * West Series milestone - 500th event in modern era DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 15, 2005) - The NASCAR Grand...

*         Lynch hopes to benefit from success on one-mile tracks

* First return to Pikes Peak for West Series since 1999
* West Series milestone - 500th event in modern era

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 15, 2005) - The NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series will be making its first visit in six years to Pikes Peak International Raceway this week as the circuit heads to Fountain, Colo., for the NAPA Auto Parts 150 presented by NAPA Belts & Hose on Sunday, Aug. 21. The $163,625 event on the one-mile D-shaped track will be televised to a national audience live in high definition on HDNet. In addition, SPEED Channel will provide an enhanced replay on Sept. 23.

Scott Lynch (No. 08 Mr. Gas Dodge) is hoping his success at another one-mile track will translate into a good performance at PPIR. Lynch has scored two wins and two Bud Poles in series events at Phoenix International Raceway. "I hope to have similar success at Pikes Peak," said Lynch, who currently leads the West Series championship standings. He does admit, however, that the distance around the two tracks is the only common factor between the two facilities. "That's the only similarity," he said. "They are quite different. Pikes Peak is a little bit faster than Phoenix. It has a lot more banking in the corners and it's also somewhat shaped like a "D." So, going down the front stretch you can drive it up to the wall and bring it down to the line and back up to the wall, again. At Phoenix, it's just a straight line."

Nevertheless, Lynch plans to try a similar setup on the suspension of his race car to the one he uses at Phoenix. "As far as setup, I think the Phoenix setup will work at Pikes Peak," he said. "You might have to adjust on the shocks a little bit and change some springs, but I think we're planning on going with the Phoenix setup and varying from that."

This will not be Lynch's first time at PPIR, however. He raced there twice while competing in the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series about five years ago. "I'm definitely looking forward to going back there," Lynch said. "With the open test session on Friday, it will help me get familiar with the track again."

Although he has won on both short tracks and superspeedways, Lynch does admit to having a small preference for the bigger tracks. "I do like the speedways maybe just a little bit more," he said. "It adds a different element. You're so much faster and you can set people up. It's a fun deal when you get up to speed and run these bigger tracks."

Lynch grew up in Burley, Idaho - but now resides in Las Vegas. As a teenager, he competed in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series at Magic Valley Speedway in Twin Falls, Idaho. In 2003, he became just the second driver in the history of the West Series to win the championship in his rookie year. He has eight career series victories, including two earlier this season. In addition to those two wins, he has six top-five and seven top-10 finishes this year.

Lynch says he is pleased with his team's performance this season. "I think it's gone better than expected," he said. "We're just having a great season and trying to be as consistent as possible. We try to be there for the win at the end of the race. If you're not there at the checkered flag, there's no way you're able to win or get those valuable points. It's gone a lot better than what I expected. I think we've got the momentum in our favor. We just need to keep going."

Despite his success in the first half of the season, Lynch says it's too early to change his game plan and start thinking too much about just earning championship points.

"I'm not going to be points racing yet or anything like that," he said. "We need to go out there and go for the win and run in that top five. When it starts winding down, as long as we're there, then I may start points racing a little bit and being a little bit more cautious. It's too early to do that right now."

NEWS & NOTES

* The race . This event is the eighth race on the series schedule for 2005. It marks the first visit by the series to Pike Peak International Raceway since 1999.

* The track . Pikes Peak International Raceway is a one-mile paved oval with turns banked 10 degrees, seven degrees of banking in the front straight and three degrees banking in the back straight. The track has hosted three NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series races - including the inaugural NASCAR event at PPIR on July 27, 1997.

* Race distance . The three West Series races at PPIR varied in distance. The first one in 1997 was 312 laps; the 1998 race was 200 laps and the 1999 race was 150 laps.

* Milestone for series . This event marks the 500th race for the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series in the modern era (1971-present). In addition, 283 series events were held between 1954 and 1970.

* Bonus money . Championship points at Pikes Peak will have added emphasis. Following this event, a combined $50,000 in prize money will be paid out through the second portion of the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series Leader Bonus Program. It will be divided among the top 15 drivers based on points accumulated from the fifth through the eighth events.

* Race winners . The three West Series events at PPIR resulted in three different winners - Michael Waltrip (1997), Kevin Harvick (1998) and Mike Wallace (1999).

* Bud Pole winners . The three races also featured three different Bud Pole winners - Ken Schrader (1997), Brendan Gaughan (1998) and Wallace (1999).

* PPIR experience . Eight drivers competed in all three West Series races at PPIR - Brandon Ash, Scott Gaylord (No. 00 Oliver Gravity Separators/Denver Seminary Chevrolet), Butch Gilliland, Jerry Glanville, Bob Howard, Billy Kann, Kevin Richards and Sean Woodside. Of those drivers, Gaylord is the only expected to compete in this event.

* Fisher returns to Colorado . Sarah Fisher (No. 20 NAPA Filters/Domino's/DocuWare/Office Depot Chevrolet) will be returning to a track where she competed in the open-wheel ranks. In three races with the IRL's IndyCar Series at Pikes Peak International Raceway (2000, 2001 and 2002), Fisher notched a 10th-place finish in 2001. She also raced to a 21st-place finish in a USAC midget at PPIR in 1999.

* Double duty . It will be a busy weekend for 18-year-old Spencer Clark (No. 23 Allegiant Air Chevrolet). After qualifying at Pikes Peak on Saturday, Clark is slated to make a quick trip to Las Vegas to compete in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He scored his sixth win of the season there on Saturday, Aug. 13, and moved into the lead of the track standings for the Super Late Model class. Clark will return on Sunday morning to Colorado - where he will be making his first start for his new team, with car owner Clay Andrews and crew chief Travis Sharp.

* Stat of the race . Mike Wallace was the only driver to win a West Series race at PPIR from the Bud Pole position.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

On May 26, 1973, Bob Kauf edged Carl Adams for the victory in a 150-lap West Series race at Century 21 Speedway in Aurora, Colo.

Fast Facts

What: NAPA AUTO PARTS 150,

Presented by NAPA Belts & Hose

NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series Race #8

Where: Pikes Peak International Raceway, Fountain, Colo.
When: 4:15 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 21.

Track layout: 1-mile paved oval.
Distance: 150 Laps, 150 miles.

Posted Awards: $163,625

TV: HDNet (Live)
SPEED Channel (enhanced replay,
Sept. 23, 5:30 p.m. ET)

2004 winner: Event not held.

Records: Qualifying: Mike Wallace, May 15, 1999, 134.108 mph, 26.844 sec.; Race: Mike Wallace, May 16, 1999, 111.894 mph, 1 hour 20 minutes 26 seconds

Pre-race schedule: Saturday - Practice, 8-9 a.m., 2:15-2:45 p.m. Qualifying, 5:10 p.m. Note: All times subject to change.

NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series Top 10: 1. Scott Lynch 1,184, 2. Mike Duncan 1,141, 3. David Gilliland 1,086, 4. Steve Portenga 1,077, 5. Mike David 1,004, 6. Brett Thompson 940, 7. Andrew Lewis 921, 8. Scott Gaylord 907 9. Tim Woods III 907 10. Andrew Myers 893

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About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Michael Waltrip , Ken Schrader , Kevin Harvick , Mike Wallace , Sarah Fisher , Brendan Gaughan , Andrew Lewis , Steve Portenga , Tim Woods , Scott Gaylord , Brett Thompson , Scott Lynch , Mike David , Kevin Richards , David Gilliland , Brandon Ash , Andrew Myers