DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 9, 2003) - The event is five months away, but news of the inaugural Toyota All-Star Showdown is already generating a lot of excitement within the ranks of the NASCAR Grand National Division, Winston West ...
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 9, 2003) - The event is five months away, but news of the inaugural Toyota All-Star Showdown is already generating a lot of excitement within the ranks of the NASCAR Grand National Division, Winston West Series.
The history-making event will bring together the top teams in the NASCAR Grand National Division at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway on Nov. 6-8 to compete for national recognition and their share of more than $500,000 in posted awards.
The top 15 drivers in the two NASCAR Grand National series - the Winston West Series and the Busch North Series - will be invited to participate in the event, which will be televised live on NASCAR TV on SPEED Channel. In addition, the top 10 drivers in the four series in the NASCAR Elite Division will compete at Irwindale in a similar format.
"As a driver, I'm ecstatic about the opportunity for an event that's going to be a pinnacle for the east and the west," said Mark Reed (No. 3 Royal Bath & Body Products Pontiac). "It looks like it will be at the time of the year when it will draw a ton of attention - when the Winston Cup championship is coming to a close and all the regional tours are over."
The West Coast drivers also point to the advantage of the all-star event being held in the Los Angeles area. "This is a great opportunity for Performance Motorsports, King Taco and our other sponsors," said Steve Portenga (No. 77 King Taco Ford). "They're at their home track. That's what is most exciting about it for us. It's a big race for the whole series, but it's even bigger for us.
"There's also a lot of money up for grabs and a lot of bragging rights," said Portenga, who won the inaugural Winston West Series race at Irwindale Speedway in 1999. "It's going to be a great way to wrap up the year."
Other West Coast drivers, meanwhile, have already started sizing up their competition for the event. "SPEED Channel carries the Busch North races. So, I have been watching to see who the competition is there," said Jim Inglebright (No. 20 Jelly Belly/NAPA Chevrolet). "It's going to be exciting."
Long-time Winston West Series competitor Jack Sellers (No. 15 Aramark Chevrolet) points to the showdown as a landmark event for the series, meanwhile. "We're really looking forward to it," he said. "We've never had anything like it and I've been involved with the series for nearly 19 years. It's probably one of the biggest events that the Winston West has ever been involved in. It should be a lot of fun."
The Toyota All-Star Showdown is an invitation-only non-points event. Drivers will be invited based on their finish in the 2003 point standings for their respective series. Thirty Grand National teams and 40 Elite Division teams will make up the event's starting fields.
The three-day event begins with practice on Thursday, Nov. 6. Teams return for another practice session on Friday, Nov. 7, along with twin 50-lap qualifying races for both divisions. The feature races will be held Saturday, Nov. 8.