NWS: Evergreen III: Round eight preview

DAYTONA BEACH, FL. (July 10, 2003) - Since 1985, Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash. has hosted more NASCAR Elite Division, Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series races than any other track in series history. This Saturday, July 12, the Raybestos...

DAYTONA BEACH, FL. (July 10, 2003) - Since 1985, Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash. has hosted more NASCAR Elite Division, Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series races than any other track in series history. This Saturday, July 12, the Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series returns for the 51st time in the running of the Parts Plus "125" presented by Hertz Equipment Rental to begin a new chapter at the Northwest's largest paved oval.

Since the beginning, one driver has figuratively owned the track. Garrett Evans of E. Wenatchee, Wash. has scored 13 victories and 16 Bud Pole Awards over the last 19 years, but has not visited victory lane at Evergreen Speedway since 1996. Evans hopes to change that this Saturday night.

For many drivers, the chase for the championship begins this weekend as teams prepare for the final seven events on the schedule and a possible invite to the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown in November Irwindale, Calif. But first, the Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series drivers will have to tackle the tricky and fast layout at Evergreen Speedway in Saturday's 125-lap race and vie for their share of $46,497 in posted awards in race eight of the 14-race championship series.

With Evans' prowess at the track firmly cemented in the series' records books, three other past champions look to etch their names alongside the four-time series champion. Gary Lewis from Bothell, Wash. has seven victories on the 5/8-mile track, with Surrey, British Columbia's Pete Harding scoring four wins, and local Snohomish, Wash. driver Kevin Hamlin recording two trips to the winners circle.

Chevrolet has recorded 23 victories at Evergreen Speedway, with Pontiac tallying 22 wins. Ford has four wins, with Buick scoring one win. Jason Jefferson of Yakima, Wash. looks to be the first driver to put Dodge's nameplate in victory circle.

The most recent winner on the series, Chris Hart of Yakima, Wash., would not trade his victory at Wenatchee Valley's Super Oval last week, but would like nothing more than to back it up with a win this weekend as he seeks his first series title. Hart has four top five finishes at Evergreen Speedway with his best finish of second place back in 2000. Every Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series champion has won at the track, so Hart has a hurdle to clear this weekend en route to the championship.

Defending Featherlite Southwest Series champion Eddy McKean from Jerome, Idaho will make his second Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series start of the season and first visit to Evergreen Speedway this Saturday as he takes advantage of an open weekend on the Featherlite Southwest Series schedule.

The Parts Plus "125" presented by Hertz Equipment Rental is set to take the green flag at 8:30 pm PDT this Saturday with a win, a championship, and a Showdown on every drivers mind.

THE INSIDE LINE

. The race within the race . Jason Jefferson tops the Victory Circle Chassis Rookie-of-the-Year leader board after seven events. Jeff Bailey, Rod Schultz Sr., Brian Saling, and Ken Smith, round out the top-five Rookies.

. The Parts Plus "125" presented by Hertz Equipment Rentals will air on Fox Sports Northwest Monday, July 21 at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm PDT. The race will also be shown on the other FOX Regional Sports Networks during that week. Check local listing for date and times.

. Garrett Evans holds the one lap qualifying record at Evergreen Speedway with a time of 22.152 seconds/104.984 mph set back in March of 1995. Evans drove a Ford that season.

. Gary Lewis holds the race record for the 125-lap distance with a time of 55 minutes, 53 seconds at an average speed of 86.698 mph driving a Pontiac.

. Pete Harding returns to action at Evergreen Speedway after missing the last event at Wenatchee. Harding fell eight positions in the point standings to 18th place.

. Zach Niessner has two top five finishes and one Bud Pole Award and returns to the series for the first time this season. Niessner now resides in Indiana where he races fulltime.

. Driver to keep your eye on: Rod Schultz Sr. inches closer to the NASCAR Top 10 each week and currently sits in the 11th position, just 12 points out of 10th place.

. Hoosier Racing Tire is the official tire of the NASCAR Elite Division in 2003 and will award 32 tires to eligible car owners at each series event. Hoosier will also award two tires to the highest eligible Rookie-of-the-Year candidate's car owner.

. Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series contingency sponsors include: Anheuser-Busch, Auto Meter Products, Edelbrock Intake Manifolds, Featherlite Trailers, Five Star, Flowmaster, G-Force, Goody's Headache Powder, Holley Carburetors, Hoosier Tires, JR Pistons, Mac Tools, Mobil 1 Oil, Moroso, MSD, Penske Shocks, Powerade, Quarter Master, Quick Car, Raybestos Brakes, "76" Race Gas, Victory Circle Chassis, and Wix Air Filters.

MOVING UP

. Garrett Evans of E. Wenatchee, Wash. moved into the NASCAR Top-10 for the second time this season after a season best finish of fourth at Wenatchee Valley's Super Oval last weekend. Evans sits 9th in the overall point standings.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

. "Can you get me the names of everyone who saw that race? That was my worst race in fifteen years. I have an appointment with a hypnotherapist scheduled for Thursday in hopes that he can wipe last weekend from my memory banks." - Joe Benedetti (No. 2 Racecals Pontiac). Describing his race last weekend at WVSO.

PAGE FROM THE PAST

Dirk Stephens beat Ron Eaton to the checkered flag to win the Budweiser "100" July 11, 1992. Chuck Flora finished third followed by Tobey Butler and Rick Schultz. The race took 58 minutes and 38 seconds to complete at an average speed of 66.847 mph. The action was slowed seven times for 24 laps of caution. There were two lead changes among three drivers. Garrett Evans set the fast time in qualifying with a quick lap of 22.960 seconds/101.209 mph driving an Oldsmobile sponsored by Evans Lease. Dirk Stephens maintained the point lead following the event by 181 markers over Tobey Butler. Kevin Quesnell led the Rookie-of-the-Year standings.

Fast Facts

What: Parts Plus "125" presented by Hertz Equipment Rental. Race 8 of 14 for the NASCAR Elite Division, Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series.
Where: Evergreen Speedway, Monroe, WA.
When: 8:30 p.m. PDT, Saturday, July 12.

Track layout: 5/8-mile banked paved oval.
Race length: 125 laps, 70.125 miles.

Pre-race schedule (all times local): 10:00 am Registration Opens, 10:30 am Haulers Enter, 11:00 am Inspections Begins, 12:30 pm Mandatory Crew Chief's Meeting, 12:45 pm Qualifying Draw, 2:00-2:45 pm Practice, 3:15-3:45 pm Practice, 4:00 pm Mandatory Driver's and Crew Chief's Meeting, 4:15 Mandatory Rookie Driver's Meeting, 4:15 Mandatory Scorer's Meeting, 5:00 pm Time Trials, 8:00 pm Mandatory Spotter's Meeting, 8:30 pm Parts Plus "125" presented Hertz Equipment Rentals.

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About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Jeff Bailey , Jason Jefferson , Kevin Hamlin , Gary Lewis