WWS: Rocky Mountain: Round nine preview

* Thompson wants to maintain momentum at Rocky Mountain Raceways * Will series have a ninth different winner this year? * Circuit makes only visit to Utah in 2003 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 25, 2003) - Coming off ...

*         Thompson wants to maintain momentum at Rocky Mountain Raceways

* Will series have a ninth different winner this year?
* Circuit makes only visit to Utah in 2003

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 25, 2003) - Coming off back-to-back top-five finishes - Brett Thompson hopes his momentum in the NASCAR Grand National Division, Winston West Series continues to build as the circuit heads to the track where he made his series debut three years ago. "I'm looking forward to getting back there," Thompson said in preparation for the NAPA 200 at Rocky Mountain Raceways near Salt Lake City on Saturday, Aug. 30. The 26-year-old Jerome, Idaho, driver has run well in his three previous visits with the series to the 3/8-mile track - netting a top-10 finish in his first effort and coming home with a top-five finish, along with the Bud Pole Award, in 2001.

Thompson attributes his success at Rocky Mountain Raceways to his experience at the track in other divisions. "I ran a lot of modifieds there and ran some late model events there," he said. "I know the groove."

While some drivers run the high line at RMR, Thompson insists the low line is the faster way around. "When everybody first started going there, they were all running the high line," he said. "The high line was not the fast way around. You've got to run the bottom. When they first built the track, even the local guys were running the high line. A bunch of us in the modified division from Magic Valley Speedway went there and started running the low line and started winning races. The low line is the fast line, but there's still guys running the high line."

With his two consecutive top-five finishes, Thompson has moved up two positions to seventh in the championship standings. He is hopeful to keep his momentum rolling as the series heads into the final five events of a 13-race schedule. "We're looking forward to the second half of the season," Thompson said. "We're coming to tracks, where I have run well before. I think we can gain some more points."

In addition to his top-five finishes, Thompson has posted top-10 finishes five times this year. "With the exception of a couple of races, we've had a good season," he said. In logging 1,368 of the possible 1,382 laps run so far this year - Thompson has encountered some problems along the way, however. "We can't always get to the finish line where we need to be. I don' t know what it is, but it seems like trouble finds me wherever I go sometimes."

With two consecutive top-five finishes under his belt, meanwhile, Thompson is confident of added success this year. "That's where I feel we should be every race," he said. "I think we can do that."

Thompson is in his second full season of competing in the Winston West Series. His best finish in 25 races is a third, which he turned in at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in last year's season finale.

The NAPA 200 at RMR will be televised to a national audience on the SPEED Channel cable network. It will be shown on tape-delay basis and is slated air at 8 p.m. ET on Sept. 1.

NEWS & NOTES * The race . This event is the ninth of 13 races on the series schedule for 2003. It is the only visit by the series to the state of Utah this season.

* The track . Rocky Mountain Raceways is a 3/8-mile paved oval with five degrees banking in the straights and progressive banking of seven to 11 degrees in the corners. The track, located just west of Salt Lake City, has hosted four Winston West Series races.

* Last year's event . Scott Gaylord captured the Bud Pole Award, his first in six years. The series veteran set the pace for more than 100 laps, before pit stops under caution shuffled the field. Clint Vahsholtz took over the top spot briefly, but relinquished the lead to Eric Norris. Johnny Borneman was out front, only to have Norris retake the lead. Gaylord regained the lead on lap 185 and appeared possibly headed to his first career victory. Austin Cameron slipped by shortly after a restart, however. Cameron remained out front to the finish, with Kevin Richards taking second and Gaylord settling for third.

* Four races at RMR, four different winners . The four series races at RMR (1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002) produced four different race winners - Butch Gilliland, Bobby Dotter, Sammy Potashnick and Cameron.

* Four different pole winners . The four visits to RMR also featured four different Bud Pole winners - Gaylord, Brendan Gaughan, Brett Thompson and Sean Woodside.

* Perfect attendance . Five drivers - Cameron, Gaylord, Norris, Richards and Brandon Ash - have competed in all four series races at the .375-mile paved oval. Cameron, Gaylord and Richards are expected to enter this year's event.

* Contending for the win . Richards has finished in the runner-up spot in the two most recent visits to Rocky Mountain Raceways.

* Top performer . Gaylord is the only driver to finish in the top 10 in all four series races at RMR.

* Running out front . Dotter, who won the 2000 event in dominating fashion, has led the most laps of series competition at the Utah track. He set the pace for 191 circuits.

* Top money . With $30,382 in winnings, Potashnick leads in terms of money won in series competition at Rocky Mountain Raceways.

* Stat of the race . Only one time in four races has the winner of this event started in the first four rows of the grid.

* Out and about . Some of the Winston West Series teams will arrive in the Salt Lake City area early to participate in a special pre-race party from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 29, at Jordan Commons in Sandy, Utah. Cars will be displayed and drivers will be on hand to meet fans and sign autographs.

* Who will be first repeat winner in 2003? . The first eight Winston West Series races this season produced eight different winners. Will one of the eight be the first repeat winner this year or will there be a ninth different winner?

* Running out front . Scott Lynch (No. 08 Yerf-Dog/The Orleans Dodge) tops the list in terms of the most laps led so far this year. He has been out front for 209 circuits, compared to Mike Duncan (No. 9 Lucas Oil Chevrolet), who has led 200 and Kevin Richards (No. 85 Monaco Enterprises/Jerry Springer Chevrolet), who has led 197.

* Most laps completed . Scott Gaylord (No. 00 Oliver Gravity Separators/Denver Seminary Chevrolet) has logged the most laps of competition in the series so far in 2003, running 1,380 of the 1,382 possible.

* Top money winner . In addition to leading the championship standings, Steve Portenga (No. 77 King Taco Ford) tops his competition in terms of the most money won so far this season, with $54,393 in winnings.

* Best average finish . Mark Reed (No. 3 Royal Bath & Body Products Pontiac) holds a slight edge over Portenga in terms of the best average finish. Reed's average in the seven races he has competed in is 5.43, while Portenga's average in the eight races he has run is 5.5.

* Blow out the candles ... Drivers celebrating a birthday during the upcoming month of September include Todd Burns, who turns 30 on the 4th; Carl Harr, who turns 50 on the 9th; Bobby Hillis, who turns 42 on the 10th; Troy Cline, who turns 34 on the 12th; Nick DeFazio, who turns 20 on the 12th; Eddy McKean, who turns 43 on the 21st; Gene Christensen, who turns 49 on the 25th; Kenny Smith, who turns 57 on the 25th; Dan Obrist, who turns 57 on the 27th; and Zan Sharp, who turns 38 on the 30th.

* From the archives . On Aug. 30, 1981, Roy Smith led the final two laps to win over John Borneman and Bill Schmitt at Riverside (Calif.) International Raceway.

Fast Facts

What: NAPA 200, NASCAR Grand National Division, Winston West Series Race #9 of 13
Where: Rocky Mountain Raceways, West Valley City, Utah
When: 8:30 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 30.

Track layout: .375-mile paved oval.
Distance: 200 Laps, 75 miles.

TV: SPEED Channel
(tape-delay, Sept. 1, 8 p.m. ET)

Pre-race schedule: Saturday - Practice, 1-1:45 p.m. 2:15-3 p.m. 3:15-3:45 p.m. Qualifying, 5:30 p.m. Note: All times subject to change.

Field: 22 cars possible. Fastest 18 through time trials. Two provisional positions based on 2003 Winston West Series championship owner point standings, one additional position based on 2003 Winston West Series championship driver standings, one provisional starting position to series champion.

-nascar-

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About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Bobby Dotter , Brendan Gaughan , Steve Portenga , Mark Reed , Troy Cline , Bobby Hillis , Eric Norris , Scott Gaylord , Brett Thompson , Scott Lynch , Carl Harr , Kevin Richards , Clint Vahsholtz , Brandon Ash , Austin Cameron