NWS: Evergreen II: Round six preview

NASCAR AUTOZONE ELITE DIVISION, NORTHWEST SERIES NOTES DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (August 10, 2005) -- The NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest Series is heading toward the homestretch of the 2005 season. This Saturday's Turn 1 Energy Drink...

NASCAR AUTOZONE ELITE DIVISION, NORTHWEST SERIES NOTES

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (August 10, 2005) -- The NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest Series is heading toward the homestretch of the 2005 season. This Saturday's Turn 1 Energy Drink 125 presented by QFC will have a definite impact on the championship point standings.

THE TRACK: Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash. has hosted more Northwest Series events than any other track. This Saturday will make the 57th time that the series has raced there. Evergreen Speedway is a semi-banked oval with eight degrees of banking in the turns and four degrees of banking on the straights. The 57 starts have produced 19 winners with Garrett Evans leading the way with 13 although he has not won there since March 1996. Gary Lewis has been the most dominant driver at the track by winning seven of his last 19 outings at Evergreen.

BUILDING STAMINA: The 125 laps on the .646-mile oval at Evergreen Speedway which translates into 80.75 miles will serve Northwest Series drivers well. The next three scheduled events (Magic Valley Speedway -- Aug. 20; Yakima Speedway -- Sept. 4; and Wenatchee Valley Super Oval -- Sept. 25) while on shorter tracks will consist of 200 laps.

LAST TIME OUT: The last race for the Northwest Series was on July 23 at Yakima Speedway in which Jeff Jefferson led 71 laps en route to his second win of the season and the 12th of his career. The last time the series visited Evergreen Speedway was on July 9. In that race, Pete Harding and Jefferson waged a spirited battle with Harding picking up his first win of the year and his first since the 2003 season.

LAP COUNTER: Just three drivers have completed each of the 625 laps run this season. They are Wilbur Bruce, John Dillon and Jefferson with Travis Bennett (624) and Garrett Evans (623) round out the top five in that category. Jefferson leads the series with 159 laps lead, to date.

BIG PICTURE RACING: There is no doubt that racing is about winning races, but points racing can sometimes present a higher purpose. Jefferson, the two-time and defending Northwest Series champion has a lofty average finish of 2.6 after five events this season. If he can average a finish of fifth over the remaining events on the schedule, then that unprecedented third straight title will be his.

THE ROOKIES: Jeff Barkshire has used four consecutive top-10 finishes to creep out to a lead in the race for the Sunoco Rookie-of-the-Year Award. The top-finishing rookie in each event is awarded 10 points while the next highest gets nine and so on. At the end of the year, each candidate's best nine finishes will be used to determine the winner. Barkshire currently has 47 points and is being pursued by Jim McVey's 35 points. Troy Tramell is third with 29. He is trailed closely by Mike Longton with 25 and Erick Hargraves' 24. Darren Trimble (18), Ed Thomsen (16), Marty Sokulski (11), and Dennis Wurtz (6) round out the list.

ALUMNI REPORT: Former Northwest Series competitor Greg Biffle continues his strong season in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. He is currently ranked third in the championship point standings, 111 points behind leader Tony Stewart. Biffle continues to lead all NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers with five victories this season. Biffle is also currently in 16th place in the NASCAR Busch Series standings. Biffle is looking to become the first driver in history to win a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series title, a NASCAR Busch Series title and a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series title over the course of a career. Mike Bliss has moved up to 27th place in points in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. No offense to Biffle, but the brightest Northwest Series alumni news belongs to two-time series champion Kevin Hamlin. The Snohomish, Washington driver is piloting the No. 4 GEICO Dodge of the Biagi Brothers in the NASCAR Busch Series.

FAST FACTS

What: Turn 1 Energy Drink 125 presented by QFC (Race No. 6 of 10 in the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest Series).

Where:  Evergreen Speedway, Monroe, Wash.

When: 8:30 p.m. PDT (approx.), Saturday, August 13, 2005.

Track layout:  .646-mile oval.

Race length: 125 laps/80.75 miles.

Posted awards: $50,290.

Top 10 in points: 1. Jeff Jefferson 846, 2. Brandon Riehl 767, 3. Pete Harding 765, 4. Garrett Evans 752, 5. Wilbur Bruce 734, 6. Gary Lewis 723, 7. John Dillon 712, 8. Jeff Barkshire 710, 9. Jeff Bailey 694, 10. Travis Bennett 691.

Pre-race schedule (all times local): 10:30 a.m. Registration opens, 2:00-3:45 p.m. Practice, 5:15 p.m. Bud Pole Qualifying, 8:30 p.m. Turn 1 Energy Drink 125.

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About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Greg Biffle , Mike Bliss , Jeff Jefferson , Jeff Bailey , Gary Lewis , Jeff Barkshire