NWS: Top 10 at a glance 2004-05-13

The Showdown Lowdown This is a glance at the current top ten drivers in the championship standings in the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest Series. At season's end the top ten drivers in each of the four series (Midwest, Northwest, ...

The Showdown Lowdown

This is a glance at the current top ten drivers in the championship standings in the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest Series. At season's end the top ten drivers in each of the four series (Midwest, Northwest, Southeast and Southwest) in the Elite Division will be invited to compete in the second annual NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway on November 11-13.

No. 1 -- Jason Jefferson , Naches, Wash. (No. 97 Mike Olsen Dodge/SPE Racing Engines Dodge), Simmonson Racing. Previous ranking: 1. Consistency is the name of the game in NASCAR points racing and it is hard to be more consistent than Jefferson so far this season. He has won the first two races of the season in the Northwest Series. He finished fourth in both races at Yakima Speedway last season.

No. 2 -- Garrett Evans , Ardenvoir, Wash. (No. 64 Leonard Evans Hyundai Chevrolet), Evans Racing. Previous ranking: 4. A fourth place finish at the Oso Lumber 125 at Evergreen Speedway moved him up two spots in the standings, 40 points behind the leader. Made his all-time series best 268th start at Evergreen Speedway on May 8.

No. 3 -- Brandon Riehl , Boring, Ore. (No. 69 Darrel's Economy Muffler/Aero Turbine Chevrolet), Hanson Racing. Previous ranking: 3. He held steady at third with a sixth place finish at Evergreen in the Oso Lumber 125. Will look for his first Northwest Series win on May 29 at Yakima Raceway where he is a former Late Model competitor.

No. 4 -- Travis Bennett , Ellensburg, Wash. (No. 33 Bowman's Electro Painting/Zeb's Truck Stop Chevrolet), DS Racing. Previous ranking: 2. Fell two slots despite his second top ten finish of the season. He is the leader in the Auto Meter Rookie of the Year standings. Should be quite familiar with the Yakima track, where his father is the general manager.

No. 5 -- John Bender , Snohomish, Wash. (No. 18 Oso Lumber/Reece Asphalt Chevrolet) Kearney Racing. Previous ranking: 11. Picked up six spots with his second place effort at Evergreen Speedway. Won the race on the 3/8-mile track at Evergreen Speedway in 2003, but could not catch Jason Jefferson this year. Is the defending champion of the first race last year at Yakima Speedway.

No. 6 -- Steven Howard , Roy, Wash. (No. 38 Great Northwest Homes/Seddon Marketing Group Chevrolet) Howard Racing. Previous ranking: 8. Notched his first top five and second top ten of the season in the Oso Lumber 125. His fifth place finish equaled his career-best from Twin Falls, Idaho in 2003.

No. 7 -- Wes Rhodes , Lacey, Wash. (No. 6 Knight Fire Protection Chevrolet) Foulkes Racing. Previous ranking: 5. The 1999 Northwest Series rookie of the year runner-up started 17th and finished 11th at Evergreen on May 8. Rhodes in just two races this season has already equaled his one top five from 2003, a season in which he made just six starts.

No. 8 -- Shane Biles , Woodinville, Wash. (No. 31 Angel Racing Ford) Angel Racing. Previous ranking: 7. Dropped one spot this week, but it could have been much worse after having to take one of the provisional starting spots at 25th. He was able to work through the traffic on the crowded 3/8-mile track to finish in ninth, garnering him the POWERade "Power Move of the Race" Award.

No. 9 -- Rod Schultz, Sr. , Kalama, Wash. (No. 01 PIC/Refuge Refinishing Chevrolet) Schultz Racing. Previous ranking: 9. Stayed put in ninth despite a 15th place finish in the Oso Lumber 125. He has been racing in the Northwest Series since 1999, but it is just his second full time season. A sixth place finish last year at Yakima, the next stop for the series, is his best series finish.

No. 10 -- Pete Harding , Surrey, B.C. Canada (No. 39 L.P. Body Shop/Harding Forklift Chevrolet) Harding Racing. Previous ranking: 25. He was the biggest mover of the week by gaining 15 spots with a strong third place effort at Evergreen Speedway. Collected the Featherlite "Most Improved Driver" Award, which is given to the driver with the most improved finish from the previous event. Harding finished last in the series opener completing just nine laps before having to retire from the race.

On the bubble:

No. 11 -- Tom Sweatman , Cosmopolis, Wash. (No. 5 Yakima Implement Chevrolet) Bright Racing. Previous ranking: 10. He might be trying to make a deal with 2003 series champion Jeff Jefferson to buy Jefferson's back-up car. He drove that car to a tenth place finish in the season opening race after suffering damage to his own car in practice.


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Drivers Jeff Jefferson , Jason Jefferson , John Bender