BRANDON RIEHL LEADS NASCAR AUTOZONE ELITE DIVISION, NORTHWEST SERIES INTO THE WENATCHEE 125 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 30, 2005) -- Brandon Riehl is the points leader in the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest Series as it heads into its...
BRANDON RIEHL LEADS NASCAR AUTOZONE ELITE DIVISION, NORTHWEST SERIES INTO THE WENATCHEE 125
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 30, 2005) -- Brandon Riehl is the points leader in the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest Series as it heads into its third race of the season and the meat of the schedule. The series will be in action three of the next four weeks. Riehl has posted a win and a second-place finish in the first two events en route to his 34-point lead over two-time and defending champion Jeff Jefferson. This year's title chase looks to shape up like the one, decided by one point, a season ago.
THE TRACK: Wenatchee Valley's Super Oval is hosting its 35th Northwest Series event. The track is a 1/4-mile banked oval. Both Ron Eaton and Gary Lewis have won five races to lead all competitors at the picturesque track in the Cascades. Drivers accounting for 20 of the 34 all-time wins at WVSO are entered for this Saturday's event (Eaton, Lewis, Garrett Evans (4), Pete Harding (2), Jeff Jefferson (2), Wilbur Bruce (1) and John Dillon (1). The one-lap qualifying record is 12.577 seconds (71.559 mph) set by Ken Kaltschmidt on August 21, 1999. Evans leads the way with nine Bud Pole Awards in Wenatchee.
RECENT TRENDS: Jefferson and Lewis have accounted for four wins in the last five races at WVSO. Lewis has finished in the top five in six of the past seven events while Jefferson has logged a top five in each of the last seven races. A year ago in this event, Jefferson went wire-to-wire for the win.
THE ROOKIES: It's a large rookie class this season for the Northwest Series. Nine drivers have enrolled in the Sunoco Rookie-of-the-Year program. This season, each driver's best nine finishes in the 10-race schedule will be counted to decide the award winner at season's end. Ten points are awarded to the top-finishing rookie in each event with the next highest finisher getting nine and so on. Standings will be kept throughout the season, but the best nine finishes will be selected upon completion of the final event of the year. Six of the nine have collected points thus far this year. Jim McVey presently leads the way with 18 points. He is followed by Jeff Barkshire (17), Erick Hargraves (15), Mike Longton (10), Troy Tramell (8) and Marty Sokulski (6).
SHINING ALUMNUS: Former Northwest Series competitor Greg Biffle took over the lead in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship point standings from Jimmie Johnson after last weekend's event at Infineon Raceway. Biffle continues to lead all NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers with five victories this season. Biffle is also currently in 11th place in the NASCAR Busch Series standings. Biffle is looking to become the first driver in history to win a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series title, a NASCAR Busch Series title and a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series title.