Southwest Champion Vidovich Repeats for a Second at Pikes Peak International Raceway LAKESIDE, California (August 1) -- NASCAR Elite Division, Southwest Series 2003 Champion Auggie Vidovich steered his way through the competition in the NASCAR...
Southwest Champion Vidovich Repeats for a Second at Pikes Peak International Raceway
LAKESIDE, California (August 1) -- NASCAR Elite Division, Southwest Series 2003 Champion Auggie Vidovich steered his way through the competition in the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Midwest Series race last Saturday, July 31 at Pikes Peak International Raceway for another second place finish at the 1-mile banked oval, crossing the finish line six-tenths behind the winner.
Vidovich qualified the No. 59 Ultra Custom Boats, Creative Touch Interiors, Ransom Brothers True Value Lumber, Carquest, No Fear, Sobe, Spy, Ron's Rear Ends, Impact Racing Products, and Eibach Springs Chevrolet Monte Carlo in 13th (27.867, 129.185) out of 32 cars entered in the "Freedom 150" race in Fountain, Colorado which ran in support of the NASCAR Busch Series the same day. Sunny skies with beautiful white clouds amassed the Colorado skies when Vidovich qualified and he was among five drivers qualifying within one-tenth of a second within each other.
The 150-lap race commenced and by the second lap Vidovich was up a position to 12 th where he remained until his only pit stop on lap 51. Vidovich veered off to the pits, where a planned 4-tire, fuel top off, and quick car adjustment was performed by the "over-the-wall" gang members from RCR's No. 21 Reeces and No. 2 AC Delco Busch teams.
Back out on the track, Vidovich's car was fast and within four-tenths of the leader. Lap by lap, Vidovich picked off positions bringing the No. 59 into fifth by lap 98. By lap 119, he had passed the No. 66, Steve Carlson, bringing Vidovich up to third. He then passed No. 29 and was then in second place by lap 124 where he remained while continuing to close the gap between him and the leader. With about 10 laps to go, Vidovich was behind the leader by only six to seven car lengths drawing closer, but ran out of time.
"Our car was the quickest, I felt, in the second half of the race after we took the four tires and the leader choosing to take only two right sides. I was gaining on the leader but ran out of laps in the end. A couple more laps would have done it," said the runner up Vidovich.
The defending 2003 NASCAR Elite Division, Southwest Series Champion also finished second back in July 2002, when he raced in then what was referred to as the REMAX Challenge Series or International Truck and Engine Corporation, Midwest Series. Vidovich qualified eighth, starting on the pole after an 8-car invert, held the lead the majority of the 150-lap race. With 55 to go when Vidovich pitted under green. Vidovich was back up into second place for the final laps, again short of a couple more laps to possibly win the race.
A limited race budget for 2004 has forced the twenty-three year old champion and popular driver to modify his 2004 race schedule mid-season choosing to race on larger tracks in his series.
In 2003, Vidovich posted 8 top-5, 11 top-10 with an average finish of sixth place. 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. The Lakeside, California resident 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.
For more information on 2003 NASCAR Elite Division, Southwest Series Champion Auggie Vidovich, go to www.vidovichracing.com.