HOMECOMING FOR JOHN DILLON AS NASCAR AUTOZONE ELITE DIVISION, NORTHWEST SERIES RETURNS TO MERIDIAN SPEEDWAY DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 21, 2006) -- For most NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest Series races, John Dillon and his crew...
HOMECOMING FOR JOHN DILLON AS NASCAR AUTOZONE ELITE DIVISION, NORTHWEST SERIES RETURNS TO MERIDIAN SPEEDWAY
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 21, 2006) -- For most NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest Series races, John Dillon and his crew have to pack up and begin a long trek to the race, wherever it may be. That won't be the case for the Stock Building Supply NASCAR 150 presented by The Susan G. Komen Foundation's "Race for the Cure" and AutoZone to be held on April 29 at Meridian (Idaho) Speedway, located just outside Boise and Dillon's home base of Eagle, Idaho.
"It is definitely a little different," says Dillon. "Normally, we have a fairly substantial haul. We were certainly happy to see Meridian Speedway on the schedule this season."
Last season, Dillon's first full season on the circuit since his championship season of 1990, Magic Valley Speedway in Twin Falls, Idaho was as close to the Dillon camp as it got, which was still two hours to the southeast.
The NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest Series last visited Meridian in June 1991, and has had just five events there in the series' 22 seasons.
In those five events, Dillon has fared well. He won the 1989 race and posted two other top-five finishes. He also holds the Northwest Series qualifying record at the track by posting a one-lap time of 13.623 seconds (66.064 mph) on the 1/4-mile oval on June 23, 1990.
The popular equipment and set-ups currently utilized are quite a bit different than they were nearly 15 years ago, however. Every driver, including Dillon, will be in the same boat in not knowing how the tour car of today will react.
"Despite being close to home, I don't see that I have any great advantage over everybody else because I have not had a tour car on that track since 1990 either," stated Dillon.
He does foresee plenty of trial and error for all the teams as they prepare their cars for the race.
"Historically, it is a tough track from a car set-up standpoint," Dillon says. Knowledge of the track does provide Dillon with a bit of a head start having turned many, many laps at the track where his racing career began.
"Everybody always wants to find that relativity or commonality with another track for unfamiliar places, and I'm not any different," he said. "However, I am not aware of one for Meridian. It's an animal all its own and it is not always the same animal. It's best to be open-minded and do what the car is telling you to do. Otherwise, it can be a very long or a very short night whichever the case may be."
Dillon is anxious to get the 2006 season underway after the scheduled season opener at Evergreen Speedway on April 1 was postponed due to inclement weather. Dillon admits his full-time return to the series last season was a "learning" year. Apparently, he is a quick study because all he did was post six top-10 finishes and garner eighth place in the championship point standings.
"It went pretty well. I would have liked to run up front more and picked up a victory," he said. "All in all, though, it was certainly not disappointing."
In years past Dillon relied on others to engineer the car's set-up, but now he compiles the recipe. That is where learning entered the equation. "So much has changed on these cars over the years and getting up to speed on those changes was a priority," he stated.
From a competition point of view Dillon noticed some differences from the early 1990's to now, but on the whole quite similar. "I'd stack any of the top drivers from back then up against the ones of today and vice versa," he said. "It was a difficult series to win then just as it is today."
Ticket information for the Stock Building Supply NASCAR 150 presented by The Susan G. Komen Foundation's "Race for the Cure" and AutoZone can be obtained by calling Meridian Speedway at (208) 888-2813 or by logging onto www.meridianspeedway.com.
What: Stock Building Supply NASCAR 150 (Race No. 1 of 11 in the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest Series)
Where: Meridian Speedway, Meridian, Idaho
When: 8:30 p.m. MDT (approx.), Saturday, April 29, 2006
Track layout: 1/4-mile oval
Race length: 150 laps/37.5 miles.
Posted awards: $52,558
2005 winner: Event not held.
Top 10 in points (2005): 1. Jeff Jefferson 1,423; 2. Brandon Riehl 1,372; 3. Garrett Evans 1,348; 4. Wilbur Bruce 1,325; 5. Pete Harding 1,321; 6. Jeff Barkshire 1,289; 7. Jeff Bailey 1,240; 8. John Dillon 1,236; 9. Gary Lewis 1,221; 10. John Bender 1,218.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Sat., 4/29 - 9:00 a.m. Registration opens; 1:00-1:25 p.m. Practice; 2:00-2:25 p.m. Practice; 3:00-3:25 p.m. Practice; 5:15 p.m. Time Trials; 8:30 p.m. Stock Building Supply NASCAR 150.