'ROAD TO THE SHOWDOWN' A glance at the Top 15 drivers in the NASCAR Grand National Division, AutoZone West Series DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 13, 2006) - The following is a glance at the current top 15 drivers in the NASCAR Grand National...
'ROAD TO THE SHOWDOWN'
A glance at the Top 15 drivers in the NASCAR Grand National Division, AutoZone West Series
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 13, 2006) - The following is a glance at the current top 15 drivers in the NASCAR Grand National Division, AutoZone West Series championship standings. The top 15 drivers from each series in the NASCAR Grand National Division - the AutoZone West Series and the Busch East Series - will be invited to compete in the fourth annual NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway on Oct. 20-21. The event awards nearly $500,000 to competitors and will be televised nationally on SPEED.
No. 1 - Eric Holmes, Escalon, Calif. (No. 62 Sunoco Race Fuels/Paul Oil Chevrolet), Beebe Racing Enterprises. Points: 1,539. Holmes, in his first full season of competition in the AutoZone West Series, has been locked in a fierce battle for the title all season. In addition to challenging for the AutoZone West Series championship, he is also in contention for the title in the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series. He is on pace to be the first driver to simultaneously gain invitations in both divisions for the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown. He won the Elite portion of the post-season event in 2004.
No. 2 - Mike David, Modesto, Calif. (No. 2 Bennett Lane Winery Ford), Lynch Racing. Points: 1,512. David is having a career-best season - with two wins and is second in the championship standings, just 27 points out of the lead. The next event on the series schedule is the Allstate Texas Thunder 200 at Thunder Hill Raceway in Kyle, Texas. David finished fifth in the inaugural visit there last season. He has competed in two NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdowns (2005, 2004).
No. 3 - Mike Duncan, Bakersfield, Calif. (No. 9 Lucas Oil/Ron's Rear Ends Chevrolet), MB Duncan Motorsports. Points: 1,474. Duncan, shooting for a third consecutive championship, is coming off a major victory at California Speedway. He moved to third in the standings and is only 65 points out of first. To keep any title hopes alive, he will need to avoid mechanical troubles that sidelined him in Texas last year. Duncan is one of only four series drivers to compete in all three previous NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdowns.
No. 4 - Peyton Sellers, Danville, Va. (No. 16 NAPA Auto Parts/ NAPA Belts & Hose Chevrolet), Bill McAnally Racing. Points: 1,447. The national champion in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series for 2005, Sellers joined the AutoZone West Series ranks this season as part of the Richard Childress Racing driver development program with Bill McAnally Racing. He scored his first career series win midway through the season at Roseburg, Ore.
No. 5 - Steve Portenga, Sparks, Nev. (No. 77 King Taco/Signco Ford), Performance Motorsports. Points: 1,440. Despite a solid sixth-place finish at Fontana, Portenga was not able to gain any ground in his pursuit of the championship. He is fifth in the standings, 99 points back. Portenga hopes to trim that margin by repeating the victory he scored in last year's inaugural series visit to Texas. He has competed in two NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdowns (2005, 2003).
No. 6 - Jim Inglebright, Fairfield, Calif. (No. 1 Jelly Belly Chevrolet) Roadrunner Performance Motorsports, Points: 1,380. Inglebright, who returned to the AutoZone West Series full-time this season after limited competition the past two years, is coming off a season-best runner-up finish at Fontana. He will be making his first visit to Thunder Hill Raceway. Inglebright has competed in one NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown (2003).
No. 7 - Scott Gaylord, Lakewood, Colo. (No. 00 Oliver Gravity Separators/Denver Seminary Chevrolet), Scott Gaylord Racing. Points: 1,353. Gaylord finished eighth at Fontana, his eighth top-10 finish of the season. He had a strong showing last year in Texas - winning the Budweiser Pole and finishing third. Gaylord is one of only four series drivers to compete in all three previous NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdowns.
No. 8 - Austin Cameron, El Cajon, Calif. (No. 88 RaceCarFans.com Chevrolet) MRG Motorsports. Points: 1,281. Cameron returned to series competition in 2006 after being out of action for a year. He joined with car owner Mark Golembeski and the MRG Motorsports team, which had a runner-up finish in Texas last year with driver David Gilliland. Cameron won the inaugural NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown in 2003.
No. 9 - Brian Ickler, San Diego, Calif. (No. 20 McMillin Homes/NAPA FILTERS.COM Chevrolet), Bill McAnally Racing. Points: 1,279. Ickler, one of several talented young rookies contending for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award, has turned in some strong performances this year - finishing as high as second at Sonoma. He is coming off a seventh-place finish at Fontana, as the series heads to the Lone Star state.
No. 10 - Justin Lofton, Westmorland, Calif., (No. 66 Bob Lofton Cattle Feeding Investments Chevrolet), Justin Lofton Racing, Points: 1,276. Lofton is another of the young guns of the series in contention for this year's Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award. After being caught up in an incident at Fontana, Lofton is hoping to bounce back with a strong showing in Texas.
No. 11 - Johnny Borneman, Ramona, Calif. (No. 8 Borneman Plastering/Red Line Oil Ford) Borneman Motorsports, Points: 1,244 Borneman returned to running a full schedule in the AutoZone West Series this season, after competing in selected events in recent years. The second-generation driver scored his third career series win at Monroe in July. Borneman has raced in two NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdowns (2005, 2003).
No. 12 - Andrew Myers, Huntington Beach, Calif., (No. 44 Toyota of Escondido Chevrolet), Myers Racing, Points: 1,132. Myers had a great start to this season, winning two of the first three events he raced. He is hoping to finish the season strong. As a series rookie in 2005, one of his best performances resulted in a fourth-place finish in Texas. Myers has competed in one NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown (2005).
No. 13 - Eric Hardin, Anaheim, Calif. (No. 18 Hardin Buick-Pontiac-GMC/DSNTV Chevrolet), Bill McAnally Racing. Points: 1,123. Hardin is another of the talented young rookies learning the ropes of the AutoZone West Series this season. After a 13th-place finish at Fontana, Hardin is preparing for his first visit to Thunder Hill Raceway in Texas.
No. 14 - Tim Woods III, Chino Hills, Calif. (No. 54 Chino Hills Ford Ford), T-III Motorsports. Points: 1,119. Woods is having the kind of year in which his statistics do not reflect how well he has performed. He has led laps in four events this year - including Irwindale, where he led the most laps. Engine problems last year in Texas left him to finish 12th. Woods has competed in two NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdowns (2005, 2004).
No. 15 - Jack Sellers, Sacramento, Calif., (No. 15 Aramark Pontiac), Sellers Racing, Points: 1,093. Sellers surpassed a career milestone earlier this year, making his 200th career start in the series. He heads to Texas, hoping to avoid mechanical trouble that sidelined him in last year's event. Sellers is one of only four series drivers to compete in all three previous NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdowns.
ON THE BUBBLE: Brett Thompson, Jerome, Idaho, (No. 61 Rich Thompson Trucking Chevrolet) Thompson Motorsports, Points: 1,064. Thompson is just 29 points out of the top 15, with two races remaining. He is coming off a top-five finish at Fontana. If Thompson fails to make it into the top 15, it could bring to a close his streak of three consecutive appearances in the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown.
Top 15 this week:
1. Eric Holmes 1539 points
2. Mike David 1512 (-27)
3. Mike Duncan 1474 (-65)
4. Peyton Sellers 1447 (-92)
5. Steve Portenga 1440 (-99)
6. Jim Inglebright 1380 (-159)
7. Scott Gaylord 1353 (-186)
8. Austin Cameron 1281 (-258)
9. Brian Ickler 1279 (-260)
10. Justin Lofton 1276 (-263)
11. Johnny Borneman 1244 (-295)
12. Andrew Myers 1132 (-407)
13. Eric Hardin 1123 (-416)
14. Tim Woods III 1119 (-420)
15. Jack Sellers 1093 (-446)