NWS: Top ten at a glance 2004-07-07

The Showdown Lowdown NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest Series DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 7, 2004) - This is a glance at the current top ten drivers in the championship standings in the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest Series. At...

The Showdown Lowdown
NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest Series

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 7, 2004) - 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 NASCAR AutoZone 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 - Garrett Evans, East Wenatchee, Wash. (No. 64 Leonard Evans Hyundai/Signature Financing Chevrolet), Team: Vickrey Racing. Points: 975. Previous ranking: 1. Evans posted his fifth top-five finish of the season with a third in the KKRV 125 at Wenatchee Valley's Super Oval in East Wenatchee, Wash. The four-time series champion has also finished in the top 10 in all six events this season. It will be hard to keep Evans from his fifth title if he continues to run like he has so far.

No. 2 - Travis Bennett, Ellensburg, Wash. (No. 33 Bowman's Electro Painting/Zeb's Truck Stop Chevrolet), Team: DS Racing. Points: 932 (-43). Previous ranking: 2. Like Evans, Bennett has logged a top-10 finish in each of the Northwest Series races this year. The leading Auto Meter rookie of the year contender in the series finished fifth in the KKRV 125 for his fourth top-five finish of the season, as well as, being the top finishing rookie in each of the six races in 2004. Bennett is the only driver in the top five in points not to have won an event thus far.

No. 3 - Gary Lewis, Bothell, Wash. (No. 73 Nutter Racing Engines/Sign Factory USA Pontiac), Team: Lewis Racing. Points: 888 (-87). Previous ranking: 6. Lewis has climbed seven positions in the championship point standings over the last two events with a win in the Evergreen 125 and a second-place finish in the KKRV 125. It was his fourth consecutive top-five finish. Lewis is seeking his second series championship having won the title in 1998.

No. 4 - Jeff Jefferson, Naches, Wash. (No. 42 LeMay Auto Museum/Morgan Transport Chevrolet), Team: Morgan Racing. Points: 875 (-100). Previous ranking: 8. Jefferson was the big climber of the week in moving up four places to fourth with his second victory of the season at the KKRV 125. He is tied with younger brother Jason for the series lead in wins with two. It was the defending champion's eighth series win in 45 starts.

No. 5 - Jason Jefferson, Naches, Wash. (No. 97 Mike Olson Dodge/Simmonson Automotive Dodge), Team: Simmonson Racing. Points: 872 (-103). Previous ranking: 5. Jefferson held steady at fifth this week with an eighth-place finish in the KKRV 125. It was his fourth top 10 of the season including wins in the first two events of the season. The 2003 Northwest Series Rookie of the Year has cranked out 21 top-10 finishes in just 28 career starts.

No. 6 (tie) - Brandon Riehl, Boring, Ore. (No. 69 Aero Turbine/Darrell's Economy Muffler Chevrolet), Team: Hanson Racing. Points: 867 (-108). Previous ranking: 7. Riehl posted a fourth-place finish in the KKRV 125 after winning his first Northwest Series Bud Pole Award in his 20th career start. It was his second top-five and fifth top-10 finish of the season. The two top fives are, to date, a career best. After finishing 11th in points last season, Riehl looks for his first berth in the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway.

No. 6 (tie) - Wes Rhodes, Lacey, Wash. (No. 6 Knight Fire Protection Chevrolet), Team: Foulkes Racing. Points: 867 (-108). Previous ranking: 4. Rhodes had a somewhat disappointing finish of the 10th in the KKRV 125 after starting fifth causing a two spot drop in the standings. It was Rhodes' fifth top 10 of the season. He has not finished in the top 10 in points since collecting the seventh slot in 2001. His three top-five finishes is a personal season-best over his six years in the Northwest Series.

No. 8 - Pete Harding, Surrey, B.C. Canada (No. 39 L.P. Body Shop/Harding Forklift Chevrolet), Team: Harding Racing. Points: 866 (-109). Previous ranking: 3. Harding had his string of four consecutive top fives broken with a 15th-place finish in the KKRV 125. He suffered some damage to his car and lost a lap early in the race as was not able to mount a challenge after that. Dropping five spots in the championship point standings compounded the disappointing finish.

No. 9 - Steven Howard, Roy, Wash. (No. 38 Great Northwest Homes/Seddon Marketing Group Chevrolet), Team: Howard Racing. Points: 831 (-144). Previous ranking: 9. Howard stayed in the nine hole this week with a ninth-place finish at Wenatchee. It was his fourth top-10 finish of the season. Nine seems to be Howard's luck number. He finished ninth, he is ninth in points, and his average finish in 2004 is ninth.

No. 10 - John Bender, Snohomish, Wash. (No. 18 Oso Lumber/Reece Asphalt Chevrolet), Team: Kearney Racing. Points: 812 (-163). Previous ranking: 10. Bender remained in the tenth position this week after posting a finish of 11th in the KKRV 125. He has had a good car all season long, but his team is looking for the magnet hidden somewhere on the vehicle that keeps attracting other cars to it. In other words, his luck will change when he can keep the fenders on the car for the end of the race.

On the bubble:

No. 11 - Joe Benedetti, Auburn, Wash. (No. 2 Bret Chevrolet/RaceCals Chevrolet), Team: Benedetti Racing. Points: 783 (-192). Previous ranking: 11. Benedetti is, for the second straight week, on the cusp of getting back into the top 10 in points. He was never a factor in the KKRV 125 after sustaining damage to the front end of the car before completing a lap relegating him to an 18th-place finish. By race's end, he said his car looked to be more suited for the NASCAR Modified Division with all of the fiberglass cut away to the windshield.

New to the top 10: None

Dropped out of the top 10: None

Largest jump in the top 15: Jeff Jefferson (+4)

Largest drop in the top 15: Pete Harding (-5)

-nascar-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Jeff Jefferson , Jason Jefferson , John Bender , Gary Lewis