Lakeside, CA (28 July 2004) - Twenty-three year old Auggie Vidovich, defending 2003 NASCAR Elite Division, Southwest Series Champion returns to Pikes Peak International Raceway this Saturday, July 31 for the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Midwest...
Lakeside, CA (28 July 2004) - Twenty-three year old Auggie Vidovich, defending 2003 NASCAR Elite Division, Southwest Series Champion returns to Pikes Peak International Raceway this Saturday, July 31 for the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Midwest Series "Freedom 150" (Fountain, CO).
The No. 59 Ultra Custom Boats, Creative Touch Interiors, Ransom Brothers Lumber, Carquest, No Fear, SOBE, SPY, Ron's Rear Ends, Impact Racing Products, Eibach Springs Chevrolet Monte Carlo is ready and Vidovich feels confident and focused that he can race again up front with the Midwest Series regulars for this weekend's 150-lap race with an anticipated field of 30 entries. The Midwest Series races in Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin, Colorado Minnesota and Michigan in 2004 and this weekend will run in support of the NASCAR Busch Series.
In July 2002, Vidovich raced the 1-mile banked oval in then what was referred to as the REMAX Challenge Series also known as the International Truck and Engine Corporation, Midwest Series. Qualifying with the fast regular competitors, Vidovich qualified eighth and started on the pole after an 8-car invert. Vidovich held the lead the majority of the 150-lap race until about 55 to go when Vidovich entered pit lane with a pit strategy to come in under green and refuel before the others. The team was then banking on a yellow at the end of the race but the remainder of the race finished on a green. By the final laps of the race, Vidovich had moved back up into second place for the final lap just short of a couple more laps to possibly win the race. "We had the winning car today, but our pit strategy bit us in the end," quoted Vidovich after the race.
Vidovich did not fare well at his last Southwest Series race at the 1.949-mile Infineon Raceway on June 26. Vidovich ran only a couple of laps before hitting oil from another competitor, sliding into a cautionary tire barrier damaging the front end, both fenders and bumper, bringing in the No. 59 for repairs and missing the remainder of the practice session. Ready for qualifying, Vidovich again only made one of the two qualifying laps due to another unavoidable oil slick positioning him with a 22nd starting position for the 64-lap event. By lap 35, Vidovich was leading when a yellow for debris came out. Vidovich plus another car was then penalized for what was explained as "not acknowledging the yellow quick enough" and sent to the back of the pack in 38th. Vidovich quickly moved back up to 10th with a with about eight laps to go, when he spun to avoid another spinning car in front and was hit from behind ending his day early finishing 26th.
Vidovich modified his 2004 race schedule mid-season due to a limited race budget and has directed his racing to the larger tracks. "Our team is having a great time going to the new venues giving me additional large track experience needed for other NASCAR racing, along with most of the races have been in conjunction with the NASCAR Busch Series races," said champion Vidovich.
In 2003, Vidovich posted 8 top-5, 11 top-10 with an average finish of sixth place. Unfortunately, the finishes in 2003 where not what Vidovich had hoped for but his consistency kept him in the point's lead after race two in 2003 series schedule, then on to win the 2003 NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series championship. Vidovich completed the most laps of any driver in 2003 (1880 of 1882) and was voted most popular driver in the Southwest Series by his peers (also in 2001). Vidovich was also the series runner up in 2001 and 2000.