Bryon Chew Looks To Follow Last Year's Rim-Riding Adventure With Winning Run in Second Annual Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale Speedway, Nov. 11-13 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (October 28, 2004) - In the inaugural NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown...
Bryon Chew Looks To Follow Last Year's Rim-Riding Adventure With Winning Run in Second Annual Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale Speedway, Nov. 11-13
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (October 28, 2004) - In the inaugural NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown one year ago, NASCAR Grand Natonal Division, Busch North Series driver Bryon Chew turned heads with his bold rim-riding style, running a full groove higher than any one else around Irwindale Speedway's compound banking. He finished second in his 50-lap qualifying race after leading nearly half the distance and followed that up with fourth in the 125-lap Grand National Division feature, helping the Busch North Series win the team championship despite the individual victory by West Series driver Austin Cameron.
The 2004 season brought notable differences to Chew's Busch North Series efforts, with a number change from 09 to 99, a color change from yellow to blue and black, and the addition of Sta-Rite Pumps as primary sponsor in place of his family's business, Buzz Chew Auto Group. Bryon scored his first career Busch Pole at Stafford Motor Speedway in June and was moving into position to challenge for his first series victory at Adirondack International Speedway in July when both he and race leader Ryan Moore were involved in an accident with a lapped car. He ended the regular season 13th in Busch North points, one place short of his 2003 effort, making a repeat performance of his starring role at the 2003 Shootout even more important if he wants to count the 2004 campaign as a success.
Bryon will begin the long journey from his home on the eastern tip of Long Island to southern California in a confident mood. "I'm very excited to go back out there this year. We've been running real well. We just haven't had too much luck. We really have a car we think we can win the whole Showdown with this year," he declared.
"It's exactly the same car we ran out there last year. We're basically going with the same combination because we were so successful with it last year," he added.
The inaugural Toyota All-Star Showdown in 2003 was the first venture to Irwindale Speedway for any of the Busch North Series teams, so they had no experience and no personal set-up notes for reference. It was a hands-on learning experience, and Chew quickly learned to love the outside groove of Irwindale's half-mile oval. "Last year the car ran a lot better out there. When I got to the bottom it got a push in it," he recalled.
It was fast enough to run in the top five and spectaclar enough to get plenty of time on the SPEED Channel cameras, but in Bryon Chew's mind it wasn't good enough. "I knew I couldn't win where I was. I could run real well but I couldn't win," he stated, explaining "I could run pretty good lap times on top, but when you get good competitors like (Andy) Santerre and (Austin) Cameron who can run the bottom, they come sliding right up in front of you."
The answer to that dilemma should come with the year's experience, and hopefully with the well-known phenomenon in which the useful width of a speedway gets greater as the surface is raced on. "I'm going to try every different lane and hopefully I can get on the bottom with everybody else," Bryon predicted, continuing "I think as the race goes on we'll be able to get a couple of grooves going. If you look, different grooves started to come in at the end of our race (in 2003), and with another year on the track, I think there should be two good grooves."
Chew won't go on the record about his chances or anyone else's prospects in the race for individual honors, but he has no reticence predicting another Busch North Series team victory. "I think we have a strong and competitive 15-car field going out there and I think it's a strong advantage for us," he declared.
The NASCAR Grand National Division- Busch North Series and West Series- shares the Toyota All-Star Showdown program with the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division. Practice starts on Thursday, November 11, with twin 50-lap qualifying races for each division on Friday, November 12 setting the lineups for Saturday's feature events. SPEED Channel will offer live nationwide coverage of both Friday's and Saturday's races.
* Bryon Chew is not the only driver in the Busch North Series team for the Showdown for whom the term "East Coast driver" is literally true. Six members of the 15-driver team make their homes in communities which border the Atlantic Ocean. Chew (Mattituck, N.Y.), Kelly and Ryan Moore (Scarborough, Maine), Mike Johnson (Salisbury, Mass.), Eddie MacDonald (Rowley, Mass.), and Ryan Seaman (Toms River, N.J.) can all feel the salt air on their front porch, although they don't get much beach time during the racing season.
* Dale Quarterley, third in the final Busch North standings, got a jump on his teammates by competing in the final NACAR Grand National Division, West Series race of the regular season at Irwindale Speedway last Saturday. He showed he was ready to contend for the Toyota All-Star Showdown honors by taking a strong second place behind defending Showdown winner Austin Cameron after qualifying eighth. Earlier in the season Quarterley had raced with the West Series at Phoenix International Raceway but failed to finish. Matt Kobyluck upheld the Busch North Series prestige with third in that race.
* Mike Duncan wrapped up 2004 Grand National Division, West Series crown by finishing ninth at the Irwindale regular-season finale, allowing him to edge Cameron by 16 points. Duncan won only one race, but captured seven Bud Poles during the West Series season whch comprised 13 races, the same as the Busch North Series. Appropriately, former minor league baseball player Duncan clinched his own pennant on opening night of the World Series.