Awards banquet preview

* Series heads to Las Vegas to for year-end celebration * Eric Holmes to be crowned champion * Peyton Sellers to receive Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Dec. 5, 2006) -- A week after celebrating...

* Series heads to Las Vegas to for year-end celebration

* Eric Holmes to be crowned champion

* Peyton Sellers to receive Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Dec. 5, 2006) -- A week after celebrating in New York with NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, Eric Holmes gets his own moment in the spotlight.

The NASCAR Grand National Division, AutoZone West Series heads to Las Vegas this week to celebrate its 53rd season and to crown Holmes as its 2006 champion.

This season's awards ceremony, which features SPEED television commentator and former NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Phil Parsons as the master of ceremonies, returns to the Mardi Gras Ballroom of The Orleans Hotel for the third consecutive year.

Holmes -- a second-generation driver from Escalon, Calif., who grew up watching his father race at nearby Stockton 99 Speedway -- won the championship in his first full season of competition in the series. He clinched the title with a fifth-place finish in the season finale in October. Holmes was treated to a V.I.P experience at the NASCAR NEXTEl Cup Series Awards Ceremony last week, at the Waldorf=Astoria Hotel in New York, along with the champions of every NASCAR series.

On Saturday, Holmes officially takes his place among a long line of West Coast racing legends such as Hershel McGriff, Ray Elder, Jack McCoy, Ron Hornaday Sr., Roy Smith, Chad Little, Rick Carelli, Kevin Harvick and Brendan Gaughan -- and joins the fraternity of West Series champions.

In addition to the prestigious NASCAR championship ring and champion's trophy, Holmes will be receiving a special trophy from Goodyear. He will also take home this year's Budweiser Pole Award and a $5,478 bonus, for setting the fast-time in qualifying for four of 12 events in 2006.

His team will receive other championship hardware, with car owner Allen Beebe receiving the Champion Car Owner Award. The Champion Sponsor Award will go to Mark Paul of Paul Oil Company and the Champion Crew Chief Award will go to Ty Joiner.

Former NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series national champion Peyton Sellers, of Danville, Va., will be on hand to receive the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award. He joins a list of recipients for the special award that includes David Gilliland, Derrike Cope, Bill Sedgwick, Mike Duncan, Little and Carelli. The Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award includes a $3,363 bonus to Sellers.

Special year-end awards to be presented include the $6,261 Featherlite Most Improved Driver Award -- won this year by Jim Inglebright of Fairfield, Calif. -- and the $7,826 POWERade Power Move Award of the Race Award, which goes to Johnny Borneman of Ramona, Calif.

Confidential awards that will be revealed on Saturday night include the prestigious Most Popular Driver Award, along with the Sportsmanship Award and the Driver Achievement Award.

The ceremony will honor drivers and car owners who finished in the top 10 of the championship standings this year.


What: NASCAR Grand National Division, AutoZone West Series Awards Banquet

Where: Mardi Gras Ballroom
The Orleans Hotel, Las Vegas, Nev.

When: Reception, 6:00 p.m.; Awards Banquet, 7:00 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 9

NASCAR Grand National Division, AutoZone West Series Top 10: 1. Eric Holmes 1,889, 2. Mike David 1,806, 3. Mike Duncan 1,762, 4. Steve Portenga 1,720, 5. Peyton Sellers 1,675, 6. Jim Inglebright 1,657, 7. Scott Gaylord 1,644, 8. Austin Cameron 1,631, 9. Brian Ickler 1,591, 10. Johnny Borneman 1,569.

Sunoco Rookie of the Year: Peyton Sellers, Danville, Va.

Budweiser Pole Award: Eric Holmes, Escalon, Calif.

Featherlite Most Improved Driver: Jim Inglebright, Fairfield, Calif.

POWERade Power Move of the Race Award: Johnny Borneman, Ramona, Calif.

Emcee: Phil Parsons

-credit: nascar

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Drivers Derrike Cope , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Jimmie Johnson , Chad Little , Rick Carelli , Brendan Gaughan , Phil Parsons , Steve Portenga , Jim Inglebright , Scott Gaylord , Mike David , Eric Holmes , David Gilliland , Austin Cameron , Hershel McGriff , Peyton Sellers , Brian Ickler