WS: Portland: Series round seven preview

NASCAR K&N Pro Series West -- News & Notes, Portland Bi-Mart Salute to the Troops 125 David Mayhew (No. 17 MMI Services/Ron's Rear Ends/KHI Chevrolet) surprised a lot of people last year when he won the Coors Light Pole Award for the NASCAR K&N...

NASCAR K&N Pro Series West -- News & Notes, Portland
Bi-Mart Salute to the Troops 125

David Mayhew (No. 17 MMI Services/Ron's Rear Ends/KHI Chevrolet) surprised a lot of people last year when he won the Coors Light Pole Award for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at Portland (Ore.) International Raceway.

After all, Mayhew was known to many for his skills on an oval track and had never been to the 1.98-mile road course -- which had last hosted a series race in 1986

But before winning the 2004 championship in the Late Model class at the now-closed half-mile oval of Mesa Marin Raceway in Bakersfield, Calif., and prior to becoming the 2006 rookie of the year in the former NASCAR Southwest Tour -- Mayhew spent plenty of time racing on road courses.

"That's all I did growing up was road course racing," said the 28-year-old driver who competed in go-karts and later raced formula cars. "It's almost second nature to me and something we look forward to doing every year."

Mayhew is hoping for another strong run when the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West returns to Portland International Raceway for the Bi-Mart Salute to the Troops 125 on Sunday, July 18.

The event, the seventh of a 12-race schedule for 2010, is slated to be televised to a national audience on SPEED at 3 p.m. PT on July 29.

Mayhew credits a well-prepared car for last year's pole qualifying run. He also did a little homework in preparing for his first visit to Portland.

"We had a really good car last year," Mayhew said of the Chevrolet prepared by the MMI team of car owner Steve McGowan. "I had never been there, so I watched some videos just to learn the track and know which way the corners went. From the first session on the track, we had a really good car. The guys put a good piece underneath me and it's easy when the car handles as good as it did."

Mayhew is looking forward to similar success this year, after coming off two races in which he finished outside the top 20. Now, he and the crew are working hard to turn things around.

"We're hoping to, just by being better prepared in the shop," he said of avoiding problems at Portland. "We're working hard on the car. We just need to not have silly mistakes happen. That's what's been putting us out lately ... mechanical at Sonoma and then an on-track deal at Irwindale. The biggest thing is we're just trying to be more prepared and try to get to the end of the races without having problems. And then go race for the win, once you're in the last five or 10 laps."

Despite troubles in the past two events, Mayhew has managed to remain second in the championship standings. He is confident he can overcome a 64-point deficit and challenge leader Eric Holmes (No. 20 NAPA Toyota) for the title.

"Eric's going to have to have some problems, obviously," Mayhew said. "He runs up front every week. But neither one of us have been running real strong lately. So, whoever wants to go win this thing is going to have to step up and start running better and have better finishes."

Mayhew expects that will be what determines the championship in the second half of the season.

"I predict somebody's going to get their stuff together," he said. "Hopefully, it's us. You could say it's easy right now, but it's just because everybody is having problems. If any one team puts it all together and stops making mistakes, that's who is going to win the championship. We're working hard to make it what we do."

"Nobody has consistently put the finishes together," Mayhew said of the championship chase. "That's what it's going to take."

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Fast Facts

The Race: BI-MART Salute to the Troops 125
The Place: Portland International Raceway, Portland, Ore.

The Date: Sunday, July 18
The Time: 3 p.m. PT

TV Schedule: SPEED, July 29, 3 p.m. PT

Track Layout: 1.98-mile road course
Race Purse: $123,809

2009 Winner: Jim Inglebright
2009 Pole: David Mayhew

Schedule:
Saturday: Practice 1-2 p.m., 3-4 p.m. Sunday: Time Trials 11:30 a.m.

***

Race Notes

The race ... The Bi-Mart Salute to the Troops 125 is the seventh event in a 12-race series 2010 schedule this year for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West. It is the second of three road-course races.

The procedure ... The starting field is 28 cars, including provisionals. The first 24 cars will qualify through two-lap time trials. The remaining four spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 63 laps (125 miles).

The track ... Portland International Raceway is a 1.98-mile road course. The track hosted one NASCAR K&N Pro Series West event in 1986, which was won by Hershel McGriff, and one last year, which was won by Jim Inglebright.

The records ... Qualifying: David Mayhew, July 19, 2009, 93.386 mph, 76.328 seconds; Race: Jim Inglebright, July 19, 2009, 58.332 mph, 2 hours 14 minutes 38 seconds.

McGriff returns ... Hershel McGriff (No. 04 Park Corp Chevrolet) will be back in action at Portland International Raceway, at the age of 82.

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Veterans To Add To Career Starts In Modern Era

Two longtime veterans in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West will be adding to their list of career marks at Portland.

The legendary Hershel McGriff (No. 04 Park Corporation Chevrolet) will be making his 239th career series start since 1971, which is a record for the modern era.

Jack Sellers (No. 15 Greyhound Adoption Center Chevrolet) will be making his 237th start, moving him into a tie on the list of career series starts in the modern era with Bill Schmitt.

***

Last year's event ...

The return of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West to Portland International Raceway last year featured a thrilling dash to the finish on the final lap, with Jim Inglebright taking the victory.

Inglebright was third as the field thundered down the front stretch of the road course for a restart with two laps to go in a green-white-checkered finish. He charged to the outside of Brian Wong heading into the first turn. Then a lap later, he slipped to the inside of Greg Pursley heading to the checkered flag.

Pursley, who slid wide in Turn 12 on the final lap, held on to edge out Wong for second place.

Inglebright credited the strategy of his crew chief, Rodney Haygood, and the support of his team for help in keeping him in contention for the win.

Inglebright also benefited from some contact among the leaders late in the race, he said.

"At the end of the race, those guys just got up there and started wrecking each other," Inglebright said. "We were fortunate. I about got turned on one of the restarts coming off of (Turn) 2 by the 7 car. Luckily, he let me go."

The early portion of the race was dominated by David Mayhew, who had won the Coors Light Pole Award in qualifying.

Jason Bowles and Eric Holmes - who were one-two in the championship standings coming into the event - were running one-two within 10 laps of the finish, but ended up losing positions after coming in contact with each other just after a restart. Bowles recovered for a fifth-place finish, which was enough for him to retain the points lead over Holmes, who finished seventh.

Following Inglebright, Pursley and Wong across the finish line, was Brett Thompson in fourth. Sixth through 10th featured Jamie Dick, Eric Holmes, Todd Souza, Jim Warn and Stan Silva.

***

Final Notes From Irwindale

First career win for Vidovich ... Auggie Vidovich (No. 59 babycancer.org/TCR Chevrolet) scored his first career series win with a victory in the King Taco 200 at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale (Calif.) on July 3.

Pole for Pursley ... With a lap of 18.505 seconds (97.271 mph) in qualifying, Greg Pursley (No. 26 GPM Performance Parts/Star Nursery Ford) registered his first Coors Light Pole Award of the season, the third of his career.

Career mark for Koch ... Blake Koch (No. 21 Daystar Chevrolet) finished in the runner-up spot at Irwindale, a career-best mark.

Strong debut ... Two drivers making their series debut at Irwindale each came away with a strong finish. Timmy Hill (No. Fuel Doctor Chevrolet) finished seventh, with Dusty Davis (No. 94 Vision Airlines Chevrolet) in eighth.

Great race for TCR ... Car owner Terri Cass and her TCR team had two reasons to celebrate. In addition to winning the race with Auggie Vidovich, their other driver, Chris Johnson, had a career-best fifth-place finish.

Newberry comes up short ... What appeared would be a runner-up finish for Brennan Newberry (No. 39 Dale Jr. Sharpie/Metal Mulisha Chevrolet) slipped away when he lost power just a few laps from the finish.

Up Next: Inaugural Series Visit To MRP

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West heads next to Montana for its inaugural race at Montana Raceway Park in Kalispell, Mont., on Saturday, Aug. 7.

The track, located six miles north of Kalispell, features 180-foot long turns banked 12 degrees. The front and back stretch are 300 feet long.

-source: nascar

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Jim Inglebright , Jack Sellers , Greg Pursley , Eric Holmes , Auggie Vidovich , Todd Souza , Hershel McGriff , Jason Bowles , David Mayhew , Brian Wong , Jamie Dick , Blake Koch , Timmy Hill , Dusty Davis , Brennan Newberry