NWS: Wenatchee preview

Wes Rhodes Building as NASCAR Season Progresses NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest Series Thunders into Wenatchee DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 28, 2004) - This summer is about building for Wes Rhodes. Whether it is during the week as...

Wes Rhodes Building as NASCAR Season Progresses
NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest Series Thunders into Wenatchee

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 28, 2004) - This summer is about building for Wes Rhodes. Whether it is during the week as he serves as a project coordinator for new construction condominium complexes and custom homes in the Olympia, Wash. area, or on the weekends as a driver in the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest Series, he's building.

It's no secret that the key to racing for points is consistency and Rhodes and the No. 6 Knight Fire Protection Chevy team have strived this season to find that evenness. After five races this season, it is easy to see that their work has paid off. Rhodes has posted three top-five finishes and four top-10s including a fifth-place finish last Saturday in the Evergreen 125 at Evergreen Speedway.

"Our goal coming into the season was to pick up a top-five in every race," said the Lacey, Wash. resident. "Obviously, we haven't done that, but we're pretty close."

The only event out of the top 10 this season was a finish of 11th that came on May 9 in the Oso Lumber 125 also at Evergreen Speedway. "We just missed the set-up a little on that one and it bit us," stated Rhodes.

Perhaps the team's finest hour came in their only other non-top-five finish this season. During practice for the Pepsi 125 at Magic Valley Speedway in Twin Falls, Idaho, the engine gave way forcing Rhodes and his team to roll up their sleeves and get to work replacing the motor. Not the easiest of tasks at the race shop but even harder at the track with the clock ticking. The result was crossing the line in ninth, a moral victory for any race team.

"We've had a decent year so far, but we just want to build on the successes," says Rhodes who is in his sixth, and what looks to be, best Northwest Series season. Previously, he had never posted more than two top-five finishes in a year. He now has a total of 11 in his career to go along with 30 top-10 finishes.

Without a doubt he looks forward to the KKRV 125 on July 3 at Wenatchee Valley's Super Oval in East Wenatchee, Wash. He likes the racing surface at the 1/4-mile raceway nestled in the mountains of Western Washington. "It's definitely one of my favorite tracks that we go to," Rhodes was quick to announce.

"My problem at the shorter tracks, where track position is such a key, is qualifying," says Rhodes. "I have been better this year, but we get the car race ready and sometimes that is not the ideal thing for qualifying." Rhodes, over the course of the five events this season, has an average start in 10th and an average finish of 7th proving that he can run with anyone at any venue on the circuit. "I'm confident in our ability of being able to run up front and I think we have proven that this season. Now, I just want to be in the position to race for a win," added Rhodes.

Building is a process for homes and a racing career. Wes Rhodes has a firm grasp of that progression on both accounts.

Fast Facts

What: KKRV 125 (Race No. 6 of 12 in the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest Series).
Where: Wenatchee Valley's Super Oval, East Wenatchee, Wash.
When: 8:30 p.m. PDT (approx.), Saturday, July 3, 2004

Track layout: 1/4-mile oval
Race length: 125 laps/31.25 miles.

Posted awards: $42,092.

2003 winner: Chris Hart.
2003 polesitter: Bill Lawrence.

Top 10 in points: 1. Garrett Evans 810, 2. Travis Bennett 777, 3. Pete Harding 748, 4. Wes Rhodes 743, 5. Jason Jefferson 730, 6. Gary Lewis 718, 7. Brandon Riehl 707, 8. Jeff Jefferson 695, 9. Steven Howard 693. 10. John Bender 682.

Pre-race schedule (all times local): 12:00 p.m. Registration opens, 3:00-4:45 p.m. Practice, 6:00 p.m. Time Trials.

-nascar-

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About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Jeff Jefferson , Jason Jefferson , John Bender , Gary Lewis