NWS: Wenatchee III: Season finale preview

NASCAR Elite Division, Three Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series Drivers Seek Title in Wenatchee "150" DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (September 25, 2003) - For three NASCAR Elite Division, Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series drivers, a return to the...

NASCAR Elite Division, Three Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series Drivers Seek Title in Wenatchee "150"

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (September 25, 2003) - For three NASCAR Elite Division, Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series drivers, a return to the Wenatchee Valley Super Oval in East Wenatchee, Wash. marks the 32nd time the series has staged a race at the facility and the first time one of them will be called champion. The Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series will close out their season this Saturday, September 27 in the running of the Wenatchee"150".

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 an invitation to the "Showdown" on the minds of the top ten drivers, this weekend's event marks the finale of the season in which Jeff Jefferson, Chris Hart, or Jason Jefferson will hoist the champion's trophy. For these drivers, the race at WVSO will be about track position and finishing ahead of the other in order to propel one of them to the series crown and an invitation to Irwindale.

Jeff Jefferson of Naches, Wash. is searching for his first championship after many years proving his talent in all forms of stock car racing. Jefferson has controlled his destiny over the last four races by winning three events in a row and vaulting into the point lead.

On the season, Jefferson has four wins, seven top five, and 11 top ten performances in 13 races. He has also won five Bud Pole Awards and completed 1597 of 1598 laps contested this season. That kind of consistency is what championships are made of.

"It would be a huge boost for me and this whole team to win the championship," Jefferson said. I am pretty good here at Wenatchee, but so is Chris, he has won two of the last four races here. My goal is to keep him in my rear view mirror. That is the only way I can clinch the title."

While Jeff Jefferson holds the point lead, Chris Hart from Yakima, Wash. will focus on what has kept him near the top of the standings all season. "We just need to focus on the basics," Hart said. "We have tried to keep it simple and just make sure we prepare the car the same way. We had a few mistakes over the last three races that hurt us in the points, but we will give it all we have. Wenatchee has been a good track for me, but Jeff and Jason are good drivers who can win anywhere."

Jason Jefferson from Yakima, Wash. will take a more carefree approach into the race after already locking up the 2003 Victory Circle Chassis' Rookie-of-the-Year title. "I do not have anything to lose," Jason Jefferson said. "Those two (Jeff Jefferson and Chris Hart) will have to really have a bad night and not finish. But anything is possible. I simply plan on winning the race and let the rest sort itself out. The fans and NASCAR could have not asked for a better finish to the season."

As the Jefferson brothers and Hart vie for the series title, four-time series champion Garrett Evans of East Wenatchee, Wash. seeks his 50th career victory Saturday night at a race track he calls home. Evans has not won at WVSO since 1996 and would like to finish the season with a win and a career milestone.

"I love the quarter-mile tracks," Evans said. "This is real tough racing and these drivers are some of the best. This is the type of track I started racing on, and the fans will certainly see a great show."

The Wenatchee' "150" is set to take the green flag at 9:30 pm PDT this Saturday with three drivers looking for one fantastic finish and one driver focused on a milestone.

THE INSIDE LINE

*The Wenatchee "150" will decide the 2003 series championship with the top three in the point standings having to finish ahead of the other. A first time champion will be crowned.

*The race within the race . Jason Jefferson has locked up the Victory Circle Chassis Rookie-of-the-Year Award. Jefferson has one win 9 top five and 11 top ten performances through the first 13 races. Jeff Bailey, Brandon Riehl, Rod Schultz Sr., and Rod Schultz Jr. round out the top-five Rookies.

*Current point leader Jeff Jefferson holds a 12 point advantage over Chris Hart after 13 events. Jason Jefferson sits in third place 18 points behind Hart.

*Garrett Evans of East Wenatchee, Wash. has four wins and nine Bud Pole Awards at Wenatchee Valley's Super Oval. Evans is a four-time series champion and seeks his 50th career victory Saturday night.

*Driver to keep your eye on: Rick Suran has maintained a top ten points position over the last five races and looks to secure an invitation to the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown.

*Kevin Hamlin holds the race record for the 125-lap distance at 30 minutes, 36 seconds set May 26, 2001. Chevrolet has won 19 of 31 races staged at WVSO.

*The event this weekend is the third of three races to be staged on WVSO's quarter-mile banked oval in 2003. Jeff Jefferson and Chris Hart split victories in the first two stops this season.

*Four current drivers have wins at the WVSO including four-time champion Garrett Evans (4 wins), 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.

MOVING UP

*Gary Lewis of Bothell, Wash. has moved up in the NASCAR Top-10 to fourth place. Lewis is the 1998 series champion. QUOTE OF THE WEEK

*"The fans could not ask for a better race. Three drivers that could win the championship will make for a heck of a show." - 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.

Fast Facts

What: The Wenatchee "150". Race 14 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, September 27.

Track layout: 1/4-mile banked paved oval.
Race length: 150 laps, 37.5 miles.

Pre-race schedule (all times local): 10:00 am Registration opens, 11:00 am Haulers Enter &Inspection begins, 1:00 pm Mandatory Crew Chief's Meeting, 1:15 pm Qualifying Draw, 2:00-2:30 pm Practice, 3:15-3:45 pm Practice, 4:15-4:45 pm 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 Wenatchee "150"

-nascar-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Jeff Jefferson , Jeff Bailey , Jason Jefferson , Kevin Hamlin , Gary Lewis