NWS: Tri-City: Jeff Jefferson preview

Jeff Jefferson plans NASCAR Touring "Daily Double". NACHES, Wash. (April 19, 2002)-- On April 27, Jeff Jefferson plans to join a talented list of 'commuter' NASCAR Touring stars when he runs the Costco 125 in Yakima, Wash. for the Raybestos...

Jeff Jefferson plans NASCAR Touring "Daily Double".

NACHES, Wash. (April 19, 2002)-- On April 27, Jeff Jefferson plans to join a talented list of 'commuter' NASCAR Touring stars when he runs the Costco 125 in Yakima, Wash. for the Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series, after competing in the NASCAR Winston West Series event at Fontana, Calif. earlier in the day.

After running the morning Pontiac WideTrack Grand Prix 200 for the NASCAR Winston West Series on the 2.0-mile California Speedway, Jefferson will depart immediately for Ontario International Airport, taking a flight to Pasco, Wash. Jefferson expects to arrive in time for Costco 125 qualifying at the .500-mile Tri City Raceway, which begins at 7:00 p.m. Jefferson is fifth in series points for the Northwest, and 11th in Winston West standings after the April 13 event in Las Vegas, Nevada.

"I do have a priority for the Winston West, I need to make it through without any complications," Jefferson said. "The drive to do this comes from knowing we've (Allison Motorsports) got a shot at winning at Tri-Cities Raceway and I don't want to let that go."

His last three starts in a late model touring chassis back up Jefferson's statement. In the Northwest series season opener, Jefferson captured his first Bud Pole Award of the season and finished fifth. He won the prestigious Apple Cup at Yakima Speedway in late March, and had a top-5 run on at Phoenix International Raceway in a Featherlite Southwest Series event in early February.

Jefferson says having good equipment in each series has been a key to his early season success.

"I've put together a great program with Jim Morgan (for his Winston West team), Jefferson said. "He's supplied excellent engines and we have added another car. Rick (Allison, his Northwest series car owner) is an awesome guy and he's so laid back. He's very competitive and wants to win as bad as I do, and his equipment is outstanding."

"This year kicking the season off with the runs as good as they've been, it's worked out to be a good combination (teaming with Allison)."

Jefferson has high goals for his 2002 racing season, two top-5 finishes in two NASCAR Touring divisions. "The goal for our Winston West program is to finish well in the final points standings," he said. "On the Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series, I just wanted to start the year off strong and show them we were here for the long haul."

"We need to win as many races as those Bud Pole Awards we've collected," he added. Jefferson has won four career Bud Pole Awards on the series, but has never found victory lane. He hopes to change that in the Costco 125.

"I've won a lot of big races, but never a Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series event," Jefferson said. "You can't dwell on it, I know it will happen and I think our best chance could be at Tri-Cities on the 27th."

With one victory on the Winston West Series, Jefferson said the people he has become associated with at Allison Motorsports should add to his team's chances for success on the Northwest Series in 2002.

"Working with Rick whose has great equipment, and the help of Chuck Caruthers, have been some of the biggest changes of my career," he said. "My confidence level has become very good since I stepped into the No. 42 D&G Bodyworks Chevrolet."

"That's why I'm flying back, this race should be our best chance to win. I hope to get back and put the car on the pole and follow it up with a win."

Running a short track race after the challenges of a 2.0-mile Superspeedway are not as big as one thinks according to Jefferson.

"They're both so different, Fontana is a big speedway with sweeping turns and long straightaways while Tri-Cities Raceway is just a good old fashion short track," Jefferson said. "Because they are so different, and I have a long plane ride to Washington, I plan to get some relaxation (on the plane) before I get there."

When he gets to the West Richland, Wash. tri-oval, he will find plenty of drivers ready to challenge for victory, including rookie Jason Jefferson, Jeff's younger brother. Jason has earned three late model championships at Tri-Cities Raceway, and a top-15 finish in his only West Richland start on the Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series.

"My brother and I have a lot of respect for each other but when we get to the track, he's just another race car driver," the elder Jefferson said. "Pete Harding, Kevin Hamlin and many other drivers that I respect will be ready, you have to respect each one of them but not give an inch on the track."

The Pontiac WideTrack 200 begins at 9:30 a.m. on April 27. For ticket information call (909) 429-5000 or visit www.californiaspeedway.com. The Costco 125 takes the green flag at 9:00 p.m. For ticket information call (509) 248-0647 or visit the tracks' website at www.tricityraceway.com.


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Drivers Jeff Jefferson , Jason Jefferson , Kevin Hamlin