Inaugural NASCAR All-Star Showdown announced

Inaugural NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown to highlight future stars, best in regional racing. Invitation-only, special event November 6-8 at Irwindale Speedway. DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 23, 2003) - In a history-making moment for its regional...

Inaugural NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown to highlight future stars, best in regional racing.

Invitation-only, special event November 6-8 at Irwindale Speedway.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 23, 2003) - In a history-making moment for its regional touring divisions, NASCAR announced the inaugural Toyota All-Star Showdown, to be held Nov. 6-8 at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway. This invitation-only event will bring together the top teams in NASCAR's Grand National and Elite divisions, to compete for national recognition and over $500,000 in posted awards.

The top 15 drivers in the two NASCAR Grand National series - Busch North and Winston West - will be invited along with the top 10 drivers in each of the four series in the NASCAR Elite Division. The Elite Division consists of the Featherlite Southwest Series, International Truck and Engine Corporation Midwest Series, Kodak Southeast Series and Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series. The Toyota All-Star Showdown will be televised live on NASCAR TV on SPEED Channel, beginning at 8:00 p.m. (ET) Nov. 8.

"It is no exaggeration that this event is the biggest thing to ever happen to our regional touring series," said Chris Boals, NASCAR's director of regional touring. "The importance of this event cannot be overstated, with live national television, a state-of-the-art facility in Irwindale Speedway and the best regional racers coming together for the first time. It's a chance for race fans to see NASCAR's future stars on display, and for these drivers to get noticed like never before. It's just an incredible concept. It is unique in the history of NASCAR and we cannot wait for the Toyota All-Star Showdown to begin."

The Toyota All-Star Showdown is a non-points event. Drivers will be invited based on their finish in the final 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. Friday, teams return for another practice session and twin 50-lap qualifying races for both divisions. The qualifying races will be lined up by alternating points positions between different series.

Two feature races will be held Saturday night, a 100-lap race for the Elite Division and 125 laps for the Grand National Division cars. What will make Saturday night's feature races unique, however, is that they will be run in two segments and include a "team" prize to the regional series that has the best overall performance in the first segment.

In the first segment (75 laps for the Elite Division, 100 laps for the Grand National Division), the drivers of each individual series will be considered as a single "team." Points will be awarded to each driver based on their position following the first segment, and the "team" with the most points will receive a bonus award that will be divided equally among the drivers. The winning Elite Division "team" will receive a $20,000 bonus while the winning Grand National Division "team" will share $30,000.

After a 10-minute break, the cars will return to the race track to begin the final segment. Both divisions will run a final, 25-lap race in traditional fashion. Including the "team" bonuses of the first segment, posted awards for the Toyota All-Star Showdown exceed $500,000.

The all-star event builds on Toyota's relationship with NASCAR, which includes plans to enter the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 2004. Toyota Tundra trucks will make their racing debut at Daytona International Speedway in Feb. 2004. As many as six Toyota Tundra race trucks may be entered for NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competition. Toyota Tundras are assembled exclusively in Princeton, Ind.

"Toyota is excited to be a part of this new event, the Toyota All-Star Showdown," said Greg Gollands, national motorsports merchandising manager for Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. "As we prepare for our entry in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series next year, Toyota is proud to sponsor this inaugural event, which highlights the top racers from the NASCAR Grand National and Elite Divisions. These series provide the proving grounds for the next generation of stars in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck, Busch and Winston Cup series."

ABOUT THE TRACK . Irwindale Speedway, which participates in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series and is a regular host to Featherlite Southwest and Winston West Series events, was recently named "the nicest short track in America" in Dick Berggren's Speedway Illustrated magazine. The half-mile asphalt oval first opened in 1999 and is located only 18 miles from downtown Los Angeles.

"This is a landmark event in the history of NASCAR," said Irwindale Speedway vice president and COO Bob DeFazio. "The inaugural Toyota All-Star Showdown will be remembered for years to come, and we are proud that fans and drivers will think of Irwindale Speedway when they think about this incredible event. Our fans are in for a great show, and we are excited to bring it to them."

Along with an adjacent drag strip, Irwindale boasts a state-of-the-art sound system, luxury suites and close proximity to major freeways in the area. For tickets or track information, call (626) 358-1100 or visit www.irwindalespeedway.com.

-nascar-

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