JOHN BENDER WILL HAVE SUPPORTIVE CROWD IN NASCAR AUTOZONE ELITE DIVISION, NORTHWEST SERIES Evergreen Speedway Hosts Its 56th Northwest Series Race on July 9 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 4, 2005) -- NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest...
JOHN BENDER WILL HAVE SUPPORTIVE CROWD IN NASCAR AUTOZONE ELITE DIVISION, NORTHWEST SERIES
Evergreen Speedway Hosts Its 56th Northwest Series Race on July 9
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 4, 2005) -- NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest Series driver John Bender plans to use a home field advantage in the Evergreen 125 presented by Oso Lumber at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash. on July 9.
The primary sponsor on Bender's No. 18 Chevrolet is Oso Lumber and as a race sponsor over 600 spectators will be guests of Oso Lumber. "I'll certainly have lots of crowd support. That's for sure," said Bender, who hails from Snohomish, Wash.
Having won the Pepsi 125 on June 12 at Magic Valley Speedway in Twin Falls, Idaho, Bender wants to enter Victory Lane once again. This time on the .646-mile oval at Evergreen, a track on which he has yet to earn a victory in the Northwest Series. He has won Late Model races on that configuration, and would like nothing more than to add a Northwest Series trophy to his mantle at home. He won a series event in 2003 on the 3/8-mile circuit.
Bender's start in racing came a the historic track in Monroe by racing Figure Eights and moving into the Bomber Class in 1986, the same year as fellow Northwest Series competitor Gary Lewis.
He has nothing but kind words for his home track. "It's a nice race facility and the 5/8-mile track is lots of fun. It's the fastest track that we go to," says Bender. "I just love it. I feel very comfortable there and that place really supplies some great racing."
The win at Magic Valley provided the Bender team with a much-needed boost of confidence. It had been since May 31, 2003 at Yakima (Wash.) Speedway that they last tasted victory. And was a good start in erasing the roller coaster ride that was the 2004 season.
Last season, on paper, was not all that bad with an 11th-place finish in the championship points race, but, in actuality, not all that good for Bender. "We just had very little luck," said the driver of the Oso Lumber/Natural Concepts Landscaping Chevy. "Sometimes it seemed like we had a magnet in the car and found our share of contact with other car. If it wasn't that, then we had a flat tire or a gear linkage problem." Also, last season Bender blew up a motor and it was the first time in his five seasons in the Northwest Series.
Bender credits better luck for the solid start of the season, but, more importantly, his team focused on the little things this season. "Many of the guys have brand new cars, but we haven't made that jump yet," he said. "I guess if you have the right brakes, spindles, springs and stuff like that, it doesn't really matter that much. I guess we've learned to be a little smarter." Bender does note that a new car may be in the mix for next season.
The new season has brought more than a fresh start for Bender. The No. 81 car was added to the Kearney Racing stable owned by Eugene Kearney. Sunoco Rookie-of-the-Year candidate Darren Trimble pilots it. "Darren is still learning the on-track stuff, but he is an extremely valuable member of the team," said Bender. "I think experience is the only thing that he is missing. He handles the car very well and just needs to pick up some speed. That'll come."
Both Bender and Trimble await the chance to put a charge into their crowd at Evergreen Speedway and make it a banner night for Oso Lumber.
Tickets are available by calling the speedway office at 360-805-6100 or by visiting www.evergreenspeedway.com.
What: Evergreen 125 presented by Oso Lumber (Race No. 4 of 10 in the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest Series).
Where: Evergreen Speedway, Monroe, Wash.
When: 8:30 p.m. PDT (approx.), Saturday, July 9, 2005.
Track layout: .646 mile oval.
Race length: 125 laps/80.75 miles.
Posted awards: $50,290.
2004 winner: Gary Lewis.
2004 polesitter: Jeff Jefferson.
Top 10 in points: 1. Jeff Jefferson 496, 2. Brandon Riehl 492, 3. Garrett Evans 453, 4. Jeff Barkshire 430, 5. Wilbur Bruce 429, 6. Jeff Bailey 423, 6. John Dillon 423, 8. John Bender 416, 8. Gary Lewis 416, 10. Pete Harding 415.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): 10:00 p.m. Registration opens, 2:00-3:45 p.m. Practice, 5:00 p.m. Bud Pole Qualifying, 8:30 p.m. Evergreen 125.