DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 1, 2003) - Over the years some things change and others stay as they always have. For the NASCAR Elite Division, Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series, a return to the Wenatchee Valley Super Oval in East Wenatchee, Wash....
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 1, 2003) - Over the years some things change and others stay as they always have. For the NASCAR Elite Division, Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series, a return to the Wenatchee Valley Super Oval in East Wenatchee, Wash. marks the 31st time the series has staged a race at the facility. Teams will travel to the track this Saturday, July 5 for the running of the Keglers' "125".
In April, NASCAR, Toyota, and Irwindale Speedway announced the Toyota All-Star Showdown that will pit the best of the best in all four of NASCAR's Elite Divisions November 6-8 at the Southern California short track. The event will be broadcast live Saturday, November 8 on SPEED Channel.
With drivers eying a possible invite to the "Showdown", this weekend's event marks the half-way point of the season. For many Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series drivers, this race at WVSO will be about track position and finishing well in order to ensure a solid finish in the 2003 point standings and an invitation to Irwindale.
The short tow over the Cascade Mountains to WVSO's quarter-mile banked oval is a welcome sight for teams as they get set for a busy month of July that will have them travel to three very different tracks on consecutive weekends.
Garrett Evans of E. Wenatchee, Wash. is a four-time winner at Wenatchee Valley's Super Oval and hopes to turn his disappointing season around at a track where he has a lot of experience. "Racing at home is always fun," said Evans. "I have been real good there because it is the type of track I love to race on. I hope to use this race a spring board and a solid finish this weekend will put us back in the top ten."
While Evans is a race car driver at heart, he and his family have turned a once old racetrack into perhaps the marquee racing facility in the Northwest. The race this weekend holds significance for Evans as he seeks his 50th career series victory. "I am really focused on turning this season around," Evans continued. "The guys at the top of the standings have raced real well all season. Racing at home is a good place to start."
As Evans chases number 50, Jerry Fink of Woodinville, Wash. looks for his first career victory at Wenatchee this weekend. For thirteen years he and his dad, Hylton, have persevered were other have failed. For Fink, Wenatchee Valley's Super Oval is a track he knows he can win on. "We have been close several times over the years," Fink said. "I have had some good finishes in the past, and this weekend should be good for us."
Quarter-mile racetracks have been given a bad rap by some as not being 'racy', but not so with WVSO. "With the tires we are running this year and horsepower not being as important," Fink continued. "I think the fans will see some great side by side racing because the guys will have to finesse the cars around the track. I am looking forward to it."
The Keglers' "125" is set to take the green flag at 9:30 pm PDT this Saturday with Fink eying number one, and Garrett Evans looking to see if 50 is his lucky number.
THE INSIDE LINE
* The Keglers' "125" is the first event at Wenatchee Valley Super Oval to be broadcast on FOX Sports Northwest. The race will be shown on a tape delay basis on FSNW airing on Monday, July 14 at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm PDT.
* The race within the race . Jason Jefferson tops the Victory Circle Chassis Rookie-of-the-Year leader board after six events with one win and three top five performances. Jeff Bailey, Rod Schultz Sr., Brian Saling, and Ken Smith round out the top-five Rookies.
* Current point leader Chris Hart holds a 30 point advantage over John Bender after six events. Hart has four top five and five top ten finishes in six starts this season.
* Garrett Evans has four wins at the Wenatchee Valley Super Oval. Evans is a four-time series champion and seeks his 50th career victory Saturday night.
* Driver to keep your eye on: Joe Benedetti has maintained the 5th place in the point standings after six events on the strength of four top ten performances.
* Kevin Hamlin holds the race record for the 125-lap distance at 30 minutes, 36 seconds set May 26, 2001.
* The event this weekend is the second of three races to be staged on WVSO's quarter-mile banked oval in 2003. The facility will host the series finale on Saturday, September 27.
* Four current drivers have wins at the WVSO including four-time champion Garrett Evans (4wins), 1998 series champion Gary Lewis (3 wins), two-time and defending champion Kevin Hamlin (3 wins), and 1999 series champion Pete Harding (1 win).
* Hoosier Racing Tire is the official tire of the NASCAR Elite Division in 2003 and will award 32 tires to eligible car owners at each series event. Hoosier will also award two tires to the highest eligible Rookie-of-the-Year candidate's car owner.
* Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series contingency sponsors include: Anheuser-Busch, Auto Meter Products, Edelbrock Intake Manifolds, Featherlite Trailers, Five Star, Flowmaster, G-Force, Goody's Headache Powder, Holley Carburetors, Hoosier Tires, JR Pistons, Mac Tools, Mobil 1 Oil, Moroso, MSD, Penske Shocks, Powerade, Quarter Master, Quick Car, Raybestos Brakes, "76" Race Gas, Victory Circle Chassis, and Wix Air Filters.
* Steven Howard of Roy, Wash. has stayed in the NASCAR Top-10 through six events and currently sits 7th in the standings just 127 points behind Hart.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
* "That is one place that I have yet to figure out." Speaking of this weekend's event at the Wenatchee Valley Super Oval - Jason Jefferson (No. 97 Northwest Dodge Dealers Dodge).
PAGE FROM THE PAST
Ten years ago, at the then named Wenatchee Valley Raceway, Kelly Tanner scored his first career Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series victory in his 42nd start. Tanner crossed the line 3 seconds ahead of Kirk Roger in a race that took just 38 minutes and 41 seconds to complete. Tanner set fast time, but started the event in the 6th position after the invert. Dan Press, Mike Ramsey, and Mark Hubbard rounded out the top five finishers. Gary Lewis finished 6th, Pete Harding in 7th, and Garrett Evans came home 8th. Dan Press led the point standings after four of 16 events.
What: Keglers' "125". Race 7 of 14 for the NASCAR Elite Division, Raybestos
Brakes Northwest Series.
Where: Wenatchee Valley Super Oval, East Wenatchee, Wash.
When: 9:30 p.m. PDT, Saturday, July 5.
Track layout: 1/4-mile banked paved oval.
Race length: 125 laps, 31.25 miles.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): 12:00 pm Registration opens, 1:00 pm Haulers Enter &Inspection begins, 2:00 pm Mandatory Crew Chief's Meeting, 2:15 pm Qualifying Draw, 3:00-3:45 pm Practice, 4:15-4:45 Practice, 5:00 pm Mandatory Driver's and Crew Chief's Meeting, 5:15 Mandatory Rookie Driver's Meeting, 6:00 pm Time Trials, 7:00 pm Non-Qualifiers Race, 9:30 pm Keglers' "125"
Ticket information: Tickets are available at the track. Log on to www.wvso.com for additional information.