Countdown to the Showdown: SWS driver lineup

Countdown To The Showdown: Top 10 Southwest Series Drivers Complete All-Star Field * 2003 Toyota All-Star Showdown runner-up Jim Pettit II returns as champion * Impact Racing Pit Crew Challenge Set for Nov. 10 * 2003 Irwindale Speedway track...

Countdown To The Showdown: Top 10 Southwest Series Drivers Complete All-Star Field

* 2003 Toyota All-Star Showdown runner-up Jim Pettit II returns as champion

* Impact Racing Pit Crew Challenge Set for Nov. 10

* 2003 Irwindale Speedway track champion Rip Michels makes All-Star field

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 5, 2004) -- The NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown is just one week away and the final piece of the puzzle is in place. Fresh off their Nov. 4 season finale at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway, the top 10 drivers from the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series are headed to Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway for this Nov. 11-13 invitational event.

These all-stars are scheduled to make up the final 10 spots in the 40-car NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division field, which also includes the top 10 drivers from the other series that comprise the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division -- the Midwest Series, Northwest Series and Southeast Series. These drivers will compete for 125 laps and a share of over $500,000 in prize money.

Leading the Southwest Series roster is newly crowned champion Jim Pettit II, of Prunedale, Calif. Pettit captured his title after recording four wins in 2004 and returns to the Showdown with plenty of confidence. Pettit was the runner-up to race winner Ron Breese Jr. in the inaugural 2003 Toyota All-Star Showdown, also held at Irwindale.

2001 Southwest Series champion Craig Raudman made a run for another title but came up short, finishing second to Pettit in the final Southwest Series point standings. Raudman, of Bakersfield, Calif., won twice this season, at Mesa Marin Raceway in Bakersfield and at Stockton 99 Speedway in Stockton, Calif.

2002 Southwest Series champion Eddy McKean finished third in the Southwest Series but he has something special heading into the Toyota All-Star Showdown weekend: momentum. McKean, of Jerome, Idaho, won the Southwest Series finale at Phoenix, giving his team a significant boost just days before he heads to Irwindale.

Burney Lamar, also of Bakersfield, finished fourth in the Southwest Series standings and earned his second invitation to the Toyota All-Star Showdown. Lamar, the 2001 Southwest Series rookie of the year, was a top 10 finisher in last year's All-Star event and won the May 29 Southwest Series event at Irwindale.

In his second full season of Southwest Series competition, Eric Holmes claimed a fifth place finish in the final point standings with victories at Stockton (May 8) and Phoenix (Oct. 3). Holmes, of Escalon, Calif. returns to the Showdown after recording a 14th-place finish in last year's event.

The rest of the Southwest Series top 10 includes Joe Herold, Rip Michels, Greg Voight, Todd Souza and Doug McCoun. Michels, of Mission Hills, Calif., was the 2003 Irwindale Speedway track champion and the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series Sunbelt Region champion.

The Toyota All-Star Showdown begins Nov. 11 with a full day of practice for participating teams. On Friday night, Nov. 12, Each division (NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division and NASCAR Grand National Division) will hold twin 50-lap preliminary races. The results of these short distance races will establish the starting lineups for Saturday's feature races, with the 50-lap race winners starting up front in the main events. On Saturday, Nov. 13, the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division all-star field will race for 125 laps, followed by the NASCAR Grand National Division all-stars (from the Busch North Series and West Series) in a 150-lap showdown. Friday's and Saturday's events will be telecast live on SPEED Channel.

TOYOTA ALL-STAR SHOWDOWN NOTES

* Pit Crew Challenge Set for Nov. 10 -- On Wednesday evening, Nov. 10, Irwindale Speedway will host the second annual NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown Street Festival on the grounds of the speedway, 500 Speedway Drive in Irwindale. A highlight of this fan-friendly event, which also includes games, music, food, driver autograph sessions and interactive sponsor displays, is the Impact Racing Pit Crew Challenge, in which the top three NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series teams take on the top three West Series teams in a tire changing/pit stop contest against the clock. The team with the fastest pit stop times wins a package of Impact Racing gear valued at $1,500. The Toyota All-Star Showdown Street Festival will take place from 5-9 p.m. Admission is free. For more information call (626) 358-1100 or visit www.irwindalespeedway.com.

* $70,000 more in prize money up for grabs -- Drivers at the 2004 Toyota All-Star Showdown have 70,000 more reasons to enjoy the event, as an additional $70,000 has been added to the event's purse, $1,000 more for every finishing position than last year.

Fast Facts

What: NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown

Where: Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway
When: Nov. 11-13, 2004

Who: Top 10 NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division drivers from four series -- Midwest, Northwest, Southeast and Southwest. -- Top 15 NASCAR Grand National Division drivers from two series -- Busch North Series and West Series

TV: SPEED Channel

Posted awards: $570,000

Track layout: Half-mile oval

On the Web: www.nascarregionalracing.com/toyota

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Eric Holmes , Joe Herold , Burney Lamar , Doug McCoun , Jim Pettit II , Craig Raudman , Todd Souza , Rip Michels