Harraka Looks Forward To Roseville Race DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Paulie Harraka (No. 12 NAPA Gold Filters Toyota) is headed home. Not to his hometown of Wayne, N.J., but to his home track of All American Speedway in Roseville, Calif. He won a ...
Harraka Looks Forward To Roseville Race
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Paulie Harraka (No. 12 NAPA Gold Filters Toyota) is headed home. Not to his hometown of Wayne, N.J., but to his home track of All American Speedway in Roseville, Calif.
He won a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model championship at the fairgrounds track in 2008. More recently, Harraka has dominated action there in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West -- winning from the pole in the last two series visits and garnering three pole awards overall.
He hopes to continue his domination at Roseville when the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West returns to the third-mile track for the Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts 150 on Saturday, Oct. 16. It is one of two events remaining of this season's 12-race schedule. The race is to be televised on SPEED at 3 p.m. PT on Oct. 21.
Harraka, who turned 21 last month and is in his junior year at Duke University, won last year's Sunoco Rookie of the Year title in the series. He attributes his success at All American Speedway to a couple of things.
"First of all, I know that track really well," he said. "I won late model races there and a late model championship there, as well. And that certainly plays into it, having that experience there. But further, I think it plays into what our race team does best. Bill McAnally Racing, on the whole, we run really well on short tracks. BMR has a great, great short track program and it's all come together for us really well at Roseville."
BMR's success on the short tracks is the result of hard work by the team, said Harraka.
"It's something that we work really hard at," he said of the multi-car team that is based near Roseville in Antelope. "We spend time testing and working on our short track program. As a team, we work really hard on that package. We tend to do very well on the short tracks. Everything just kind of comes together at a place like Roseville. Having it in BMR's backyard, it's our team's home track. And that's just an added bonus when you do well there."
Although he has set the fast mark three out of four times in qualifying, Harraka says winning the pole is just a bi-product of having a good race car.
"You don't want to go in to the race saying, 'we are going to be on the pole'," he said. "You just don't know. And we're not there to qualify on the pole. We're there to win the race. If you qualify on the pole, that's an added bonus. With that said, I feel confident going into the race because (crew chief) Duane (Knorr) and I know where we need to start. We've got a great setup to start with. I know what I need out of a race car there. We'll slowly work at it and get where we need to be. I'm confident going in, but you never want to go in with the belief that we can't lose, because you can always lose. You can beat yourself."
Although qualifying up front is important on short tracks like Roseville, it is not critical to be on the pole, according to Harraka.
"Last fall, we essentially led nearly every lap and won the race," he said. "In the spring race, we didn't. We qualified on the pole, but we fell as far back as third. We just kind of waited until the right time. Qualifying is important. I think, though, as long as you're within the top five, you're in an okay position. The focus for us is on the race setup. If we've got a good race car, generally at Roseville that means you qualify well, but not always."
Harraka heads to Roseville just 37 points out of second place in the championship standings. Although he knows it would be all but impossible to overtake his BMR teammate Eric Holmes (No. 20 NAPA Toyota) for the championship, Harraka is hopeful of moving past David Mayhew (No. 17 MMI Services/Ron's Rear Ends/KHI Chevrolet) for second in the standings before the season concludes.
"We came into this season wanting to win a championship," Harraka said. "It's definitely a stretch -- if nearly impossible mathematically to catch Eric at this point -- but we're zeroed in on Mayhew and would like to catch and pass him for second place."
The Race: Toyota / NAPA Auto Parts 150
The Place: All American Speedway, Roseville, Calif.
The Date: Saturday, Oct. 16
The Time: 8:30 p.m. PT
TV Schedule: SPEED, Oct. 21, 3 p.m. PT
Track Layout: .333-mile paved oval
Race Purse: $108,059
2009 Winner: Paulie Harraka
2009 Polesitter: Paulie Harraka
Saturday: Practice 12:30-1:15 p.m., 2:15-3 p.m.; Qualifying 5:30 p.m.
The race ... The Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts 150 is the 11th of a 12-race schedule this year for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West. The series kicked off the season at Roseville in March.
The procedure ... The starting field is 24 cars, including provisionals. The first 20 cars will qualify through two-lap time trials. The remaining four spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 150 laps (50 miles).
The track ... All American Speedway is a .333-mile paved oval with eight degrees banking in Turns 1 and 2. Turns 3 and 4 have progressive banking, beginning at 10 degrees and graduating to 14 degrees. The track hosted five NASCAR K&N Pro Series West events between 1977 and 1982, when it was a quarter-mile oval, and five races since it was renovated prior to the 2008 season.
The records ... Qualifying: Jason Bowles, April 4, 2009, 88.218 mph, 13.589 seconds; Race: Eric Holmes, April 4, 2009, 67.576 mph, 44 minutes 21 seconds.
Driver changes ... Michael Self has been announced as the new driver of the No. 21 Golden Gate Meat/Bay Biodiesel Chevrolet for the Golden Gate Racing Team. Eric Schmidt has been named to drive the No. 88 Motorway Motorsports/Viva Auto Group Chevrolet at Roseville.
Familiar faces ... Several California drivers who are familiar to fans at All American Speedway are slated to make their debut in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West -- Bobby Grewohl (No. 10 Pick-N-Pull Toyota) of Hollister, Juan Pitta (No. 31 JPracing/Heritage Cattle Chevrolet) of Galt, and Jacob Gomes (No. 23 Heritage Motorsports Chevrolet) of Manteca. Grewohl and Pitta compete on a regular basis in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Division at Roseville. Gomes, the 2009 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national Rookie of the Year presented by Jostens, won a Late Model race at All American Speedway in August in only his second time out at the track this season.
Holmes Eyes Third Series Championship
Eric Holmes (No. 20 NAPA Toyota) heads into the final two races of the season with a 141-point lead in his quest for a third championship in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
Holmes -- who will be celebrating his 36th birthday at All American Speedway in Roseville, Calif., on Saturday, Oct. 16 -- can secure this year's title by finishing 14th or better in each of the last two events. Or he could turn his birthday party into a championship celebration by stretching his lead in the standings to more than 190 points at Roseville.
The Escalon, Calif., driver -- who won the series championship in 2006 and 2008 -- has two career series wins at Roseville.
The series wraps up its season on Saturday, Nov. 13, at Phoenix International Raceway -- where Holmes won in April.
Special Fan Fest On Friday
Race fans will be treated to a special free event with a special Pick-N-Pull-sponsored NASCAR Fan Fest from 5:30--8:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 15.
The event -- which includes food and beverages, while supplies last -- will be held on the midway at the Placer County Fairgrounds, adjacent to All American Speedway.
A variety of activities for the entire family are planned -- including NASCAR K&N Pro Series cars and haulers on display, a driver autograph session, a Pick-N-Pull hit-a-car for charity, inflatable jumpers, a mechanical bull, a surfing game and a UTI Pit Crew Challenge.
Last year's event ...
Paulie Harraka and Jason Bowles came away as winners in this event at Roseville a year ago. Harraka led 149 of 150 laps en route to winning the event, while Bowles came away with a fourth-place finish to clinch the 2009 series championship.
Bowles needed only to finish 16th or better to wrap up the title for himself and car owner Bob Bruncati. Eric Holmes, who posed the only championship threat to Bowles coming into the event, was involved in an early incident and was never a factor.
Bowles dodged the incident that involved Holmes on Lap 5, nearly coming to a stop and swerving wide around the spinning cars. Although he avoided contact, it left Bowles outside of the top 10 and battling heavy traffic.
While Bowles was focused on the championship, Harraka was intent on notching his second career win while enjoying a return to the third-mile facility where he had won a track championship in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model division.
After winning the pole in qualifying, Harraka dashed into the lead at the drop of the green flag. His biggest threat all race came from another local favorite, Eric Schmidt, who also holds claim to a late model championship at the Roseville track. Schmidt moved from eighth on the grid to second in the first 60 laps. He mounted several challenges, edging out front on one restart; but could not keep pace in the closing laps as Harraka pulled away to a winning margin of 2.774 seconds.
Following Harraka and Schmidt across the finish line were Greg Pursley, Bowles and Moses Smith. Rounding out the top 10 were Brett Thompson, Jim Warn, Chris Johnson, Jim Inglebright and Martin McKeefery.
Final Notes From Miller Motorsports Park
Pursley rebounds for win ... Greg Pursley (No. 26 GPM Performance Parts/Star Nursery Ford) rebounded from a miscue during his pit stop to come back and win the Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts Bonus Challenge at Miller Motorsports Park on Sept. 12. Pursley, whose previous series win came in the 2009 season opener in Texas, became the seventh different race winner this year.
Long takes pole ... Patrick Long (No. 9 Grape King/Sunrise Ford/Lucas Oil Ford) set a track record in winning the Coors Light Pole Award in qualifying at MMP. He turned in a lap of 116.023 seconds (94.574 mph) around the massive 3.048-mile road course to take home his third career series pole. Long went on to lead the most laps of the race, but was sidelined with a flat tire just a few laps from the finish.
Hard charger ... Although he had to drop to the back of the field for the start of the race, due to an engine change during practice, Eric Curran (No. 25 ModSpace Motorsports Toyota) charged through the pack to finish second in just his second series start.
Another podium finish for Harraka ... Paulie Harraka (No. 12 NAPA Gold Filters Toyota) finished third at MMP to record his fourth straight podium finish in a road course event. He finished in the runner-up spot a year ago at MMP. This year, Harraka had a second-place finish at Sonoma and was third at Portland.
Career mark ... Kyle Kelley (No. 7 UPRacing.com/Apex/Jamison Chevrolet) was fifth at MMP to score his first career top-five finish in the series.
Top finishing rookie ... Troy Ermish (No. 38 Datsun 510 Parts Outlet Ford) took the honors as the top finishing Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate, while matching his career-best eighth- place finish.
Up Next: Championship Finale At Phoenix
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West will wrap up its 12-race season for 2010 with a visit to Phoenix International Raceway for the championship finale on Nov. 13. The series closed out its season at the D-shaped one-mile track on a regular basis between 1977-1984 and again between 1988-1995.