Fierce top-10 battle heads to Japan

MOTEGI CITY, Japan (Nov. 11, 1999) Nearly every position in the top-10 of the NASCAR Winston West Series championship standings will be up for grabs when the circuit travels half way around the world to conclude its season in Japan on Nov. 20....

MOTEGI CITY, Japan (Nov. 11, 1999) Nearly every position in the top-10 of the NASCAR Winston West Series championship standings will be up for grabs when the circuit travels half way around the world to conclude its season in Japan on Nov. 20. The '99 NASCAR Coca-Cola 500 at the Twin Ring Motegi superspeedway will be the first NASCAR points race outside of North America in the 51-year history of the organization.

The event wraps up a season in which the NASCAR Winston West Series has experienced a fierce increase in the level of competition, with nine different drivers visiting Victory Lane and 10 different drivers winning Bud Pole Awards in 13 races. Such tough competition has made for the greatest battle for positions in the 46-year history of the series.

While Sean Woodside, who has a 109-point lead, attempts to lock up the series championship - a wild scramble is expected behind him with 10 drivers separated by just 111 points. The competition for each top-10 position is so close that six drivers are within 10 points of gaining a spot.

Woodside, of Saugus, Calif., tops the standings with 1,920 points. He can clinch the championship with a finish of 28th or better. With 1,811 points, Austin Cameron of El Cajon, Calif., has a shot at the title. He will also be watching his rear view mirror, however, because Joe Bean of San Diego, Calif., is only two points behind him with 1,809.

Bill Sedgwick of Acton, Calif., is fourth in the standings with 1,789; followed by fifth place Mike Chase of Redding, Calif., with 1,745.

Meanwhile, the next four drivers - within a whisker of each other - are focused on that fifth spot. Steve Portenga of Sparks, Nev., is six points behind Chase in sixth with 1,739. Kevin Richards of Spokane, Wash., is nine points behind that with 1,730. Brandon Ash of Umpqua, Ore., is two points back from there with 1,728; followed by Butch Gilliland of Chino Hills, Calif., seven points behind that with 1,721.

Two rookies are battling for the 10th spot in the standings. Jason Small of Bakersfield, Calif., is in 10th with 1,702 points, but Sammy Potashnick of Sikeston, Mo., is shadowing him in 11th with 1,700 points.

They are trailed by Eric Norris of Dallas with 1,651; Brendan Gaughan of Las Vegas with 1,577; John Metcalf of Aurora, Colo., with 1,486; Jerry Cain of Canyon Country, Calif., with 1,293; Wayne Jacks of Las Vegas with 1,291; Gary Smith of Malahat, British Columbia, with 1,181; Doc Faustina of Las Vegas with 985; Rick Ware of Greensboro, N.C., with 930; and Scott Gaylord of Lakewood, Colo., with 726.

The '99 NASCAR Coca-Cola 500 is the final event on this year's 14-race schedule for the NASCAR Winston West Series. The race will be televised in Japan by Fuji Television and in the United States by the Speedvision cable network. The race is scheduled to air on Speedvision on a tape delay basis on Dec. 21 at 3 p.m. ET.

Twin Ring Motegi is a 640-acre, $400 million motorsports entertainment complex located in the Yamizo mountain range approximately 60 miles northeast of Tokyo. The track opened in 1997.

nascar.com

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Series General
Drivers Jason Small , Brendan Gaughan , Steve Portenga , John Metcalf , Gary Smith , Eric Norris , Kevin Richards , Brandon Ash , Austin Cameron
Tags NASCAR--RBNWS