MW/SWS: Face off at Colorado preview

NASCAR AUTOZONE ELITE DIVISION, MIDWEST SERIES AND SOUTHWEST SERIES STARS FACE OFF JUNE 4 AT COLORADO NATIONAL SPEEDWAY * Auto Trader 150 to Award Championship Points for Two Series * Joanides Predicts Close Qualifying Competition for 32 ...

NASCAR AUTOZONE ELITE DIVISION, MIDWEST SERIES AND SOUTHWEST SERIES STARS FACE OFF JUNE 4 AT COLORADO NATIONAL SPEEDWAY

* Auto Trader 150 to Award Championship Points for Two Series

* Joanides Predicts Close Qualifying Competition for 32 Starting Spots

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 24, 2005) -- The best of the Midwest and Southwest will face off in a special NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division combination race, June 4 at Colorado National Speedway in Erie, Colo. The Auto Trader 150 will include drivers from two series -- the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series and NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Midwest Series -- which use identical race cars. Drivers will earn championship points towards both series in this race.

Thirty-two starting positions are available for the 150-lap event, placing a premium on qualifying as full delegations from both series are expected to attend, as well as a few local NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series drivers that may attempt to qualify.

Bud Pole qualifying, scheduled for 4:50 p.m. on race day, will determine the top 20 starting positions. Immediately after time trials, the remaining drivers who did not earn one of the top 20 positions will compete in a 20-lap qualifying race. The top six finishers will advance from this 20-lap race and fill positions 21-26 on the starting grid.

"Qualifying is going to be huge," said driver Nick Joanides, of Woodland Hills, Calif. "It's going to be a tough show to make, no doubt."

Joanides, 35, has a unique perspective on this combination event. Prior to 2005, Joanides competed full-time on the Southwest Series, making 60 starts and notching a career-best fourth-place finish in the point standings in 2001. This year Joanides has migrated to the Midwest Series. He expects the top 20 qualifying positions will be separated by 2/10 of a second or less, and predicts that even the top teams will struggle.

"One little slip in qualifying and you'll be looking for a provisional or racing in the B Main [qualifying race]," said Joanides.

The final six starting spots are available as provisional starting positions, for any driver who does not qualify in time trials or the 20-lap qualifying race. Those positions will be awarded as follows:

Provisional starting position 27 is available to the highest ranking of the top 30 car owners in the final 2004 NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Midwest Series car owner point standings, who has not qualified for one of the original 20 starting positions or transferred from the qualifying race.

Provisional starting position 28 is available to the highest ranking of the top 30 car owners in the current 2005 NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series car owner point standings, who has not qualified for one of the original 20 starting positions or transferred from the qualifying race.

Provisional starting position 29 is available to the highest ranking of the top 30 drivers in the final 2004 NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Midwest Series driver point standings, who has not qualified for one of the original 20 starting positions, transferred from the qualifying race, or already been awarded a provisional.

Provisional starting position 30 is available to the highest ranking of the top 30 drivers in the current 2005 NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series driver point standings, who has not qualified for one of the original 20 starting positions, transferred from the qualifying race, or already been awarded a provisional.

Provisional starting position 31 is available to any past NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Midwest Series champion driver, who participated as a driver in the 2004 Midwest Series and who did not qualify for one of the original 20 starting positions, transfer from the qualifying race, or have already been awarded a provisional.

The last spot on the starting grid, provisional starting position 32, is available to any past NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series champion driver, who did not qualify for one of the original 20 starting positions, transfer from the qualifying race, or have already been awarded a provisional.

If a former NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Midwest or Southwest Series champion driver is not assigned one or both of these final positions, they will be assigned to the next highest-ranking eligible driver(s) from either series, based on the final 2004 NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Midwest Series championship driver point standings or the current 2005 NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series championship driver point standings, who did not qualify for one of the original 20 starting positions or transfer from the qualifying race or have already been awarded a provisional. If any provisional position(s) remains unfilled, then those position(s) will become available to the next eligible car from the qualifying procedure for this event.

AUTO TRADER 150 NEWS & NOTES

Ø Points ... As a combination race with the Midwest and Southwest Series, the Auto Trader 150 will award full championship points in both series, based on the finishing order. All participating drivers will be credited with a start in each series. For example, the winning driver will receive 180 points towards the Midwest Series championship and 180 points towards the Southwest Series championship.

Ø History at Colorado National ... Both series have raced at Colorado National Speedway, located 25 miles North of Denver, since the early 1990s. The Southwest Series has made 12 appearances there while the Midwest Series has raced at the track on eight previous occasions. The Auto Trader 150 marks the first time that these two series have raced together in a combination event.

Ø Winning drivers ... 10 different drivers have won in the Southwest Series at Colorado National. Three drivers who have each won two events at the track: Auggie Vidovich (with wins in 2000 and 2001), M.K. Kanke (1997 and 1999) and Rick Carelli (1992 and 1995). In the Midwest Series, Steve Carlson is the winningest driver with three wins (2000, 2001 and 2002). Carelli, incidentally, also won a Midwest Series race at the track in 1991, when it was known as the ARTGO Challenge Series.

Ø Who's Faster ... If past Bud Pole qualifying speeds are any indication, the Southwest Series may be favored to put one of its drivers on the pole. The Southwest Series' Bud Pole qualifying record at Colorado National is 15.358 seconds (87.902 mph), set by Eric Holmes in 2004. In the Midwest Series, the record belongs to Mark Kraus, at 15.919 seconds (84.804 mph) set in 2000.

Ø Local Connection ... While many from the Midwest Series and Southwest Series are facing a long trip to and from the track, several Colorado and Denver-area drivers will be right at home. Home state drivers scheduled to compete in the Auto Trader 150 include Roger Avants (Littleton), Kevin Clark (Colorado Springs), Greg Fowler (Erie), Daniel Mientka (Colorado Springs), Trevor Morrical (Brighton) and Bruce Yackey (Greeley).

Fast Facts

What: Auto Trader 150
Where: Colorado National Speedway, Erie, Colo.

Who: NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Midwest Series and Southwest Series

When: Sat., June 4 at 8:10 p.m. (Mountain Time).

Posted awards: $66,982.

Race length: 150 laps, 43.75 miles
Track layout: 3/8-mile oval.

Pre-Race Schedule (All Times Local): Registration begins 8 a.m., Practice 12-2 p.m., Bud Pole Qualifying 4:50 p.m.

Tickets: $18 for adults, $6.00 for youth (10-14), Under 10 free with paid adult.

Online Info: coloradospeedway.com or nascarregionalracing.com

-nascar-

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About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Rick Carelli , Auggie Vidovich , Kevin Clark , Steve Carlson , Nick Joanides