NWS: Yakima: Round five preview

* Yakima Speedway home track for several Yakima area competitors * The sweeping ½ mile oval different on every turn DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 23, 2003) -- Competing for $42,372 in prize money, NASCAR Elite Division,...

*          Yakima Speedway home track for several Yakima area competitors

* The sweeping ½ mile oval different on every turn

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 23, 2003) -- Competing for $42,372 in prize money, NASCAR Elite Division, Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series drivers prepare to stretch out on the sweeping 1/2-mile oval at Yakima Speedway racing the Frank's Chevrolet "125", May 31, 2003 in Yakima, Wash.

The Franks Chevrolet "125" is the fifth of fourteen races on the series schedule, and the first of two series races to be hosted by Yakima Speedway this season.

As the home track for several Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series competitors, Yakima Speedway provides series regulars and local drivers prime opportunity to showcase their racing program while competing with the best drivers in the region.

Jeff Jefferson (No. 42 Morgan Transport/Gary Mears Trucking Chevrolet), of Naches, Wash., the two-time Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series Bud Pole Award Champion (2001-2002) stands in familiar territory claiming Bud Pole awards this season at Tri-City Raceway and Evergreen Speedway.

Jefferson, a Yakima Speedway veteran, understands the difficulties of racing Yakima Speedway.

"This is a hard place to race, each turn is different and it's hard to get traction. It's just a tough place to race. If you can race Yakima and get good here you can be good everywhere," said Jefferson.

With the backing of car owner Rick Allison and sponsors Gary Mears Trucking and Morgan Transport, Jefferson's confidence is high.

"Things feel great this year; Chuck Carruthers does such a good job getting this car ready. We are in the top five in points, and have overcome a tire problem in Monroe and a broken transmission at Tri-City to get here. I'm not looking at points; they will take care of themselves," said Jefferson.

He continues, "I'm happy to be working with Jim Morgan, Chuck Carruthers, and Rick Allison. I think our performance speaks for itself, we will race them one at a time."

Ron Bemis (No. 12 Bemis Appliance & TV Chevrolet), of Yakima, Wash., a regular of the Yakima Speedway NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series likes the idea of racing the NASCAR Elite Division.

"I think it's great to run with theses guys. I don't see our team as any kind of a threat to these guys, I enjoy competing at this level," said Bemis.

Racing late models the past five seasons Bemis brought home a fourth place finish in the 2003 Yakima Speedway Apple Cup.

Bemis plans to race both Yakima Speedway Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series events this season if things work out.

"Our schedule is very tight for the May 31st Northwest Series race. We will race the late model event here (Yakima Speedway) on May 24th. If that race goes well and we don't damage the car things will be fine for May 31st. I'll be fishing in Alaska next week and fly in late Friday night. If I wreck the car on the 24th it could be a problem," said Bemis.

Chris Hart (No. 5 Yakima Implement Chevrolet), of Yakima, Wash., in his seventh season racing the Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series, will make his 92nd career start in the Frank's Chevrolet "125". Hart has four seasons where he finished within the top-5 of the series championship point race. Hart comes to Yakima Speedway with three series wins, and four Bud Pole awards among his series racing credentials.

Jason Jefferson (No. 97 Northwest Dodge Dealers Dodge), Yakima, Wash., leads the NASCAR Elite Division, Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series Victory Circle Chassis rookie-of-the-year point race. Jefferson took the first manufacturers win in NASCAR Elite Division history for the Dodge nameplate with his victory at Tri-City Raceway on April 26, 2003.

John Bender (No. 18 Big Daddy's Bar & Grill Chevrolet), of Monroe, Wash., rolls into Yakima Speedway with his first career series win at Evergreen Speedway on May 10, 2003. Bender, winner of the 2001 Yakima Speedway Fall Classic, returns with the series to race Yakima Speedway for the first time since his 2001 Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series rookie-of-the-year campaign.

Kevin Hamlin (No. 33 D.T.G. Chevrolet), of Snohomish Wash., the two time defending Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series Champion won two of three series races at Yakima Speedway during the 2002 season.

Hamlin off to a slow start in 2003 worked his way back into the top-10 in championship points following a top-5 finish at Evergreen speedway on May 10, 2003.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

Seven active drivers have taken Bud Pole awards at Yakima Speedway. Pete Harding (No. 39 LP Body Shop/Harding Fork Lift Chevrolet), is No. 1 among active drivers with five Bud Pole awards at Yakima Speedway. Garrett Evans (No. 64 Leonard Evans Hyundai Chevrolet), is No. 2 with three Yakima Speedway Bud Pole Awards. Chris Hart (No. 5 Yakima Implement Chevrolet), Gary Lewis (No. 73 Sign Factory Racing Pontiac), and Jeff Jefferson (No. 42 Morgan Transport/Gary Mears Trucking Chevrolet), all tie with two Yakima Speedway Bud Pole awards per driver. With Bill Lawrence (No. 21 Lawrence Contracting Chevrolet), and Joe Benedetti (No. 2 RaceCals Pontiac) each taking one Bud Pole Award at Yakima Speedway.

Pete Harding (No.39 LP Body Shop/Harding Fork Lift Chevrolet), holds the race record for a 125 lap event at 50 minutes, 15 seconds set May 29, 1993.

The Yakima Speedway qualifying record was set by Bill Lawrence (No. 21 Lawrence Contracting Chevrolet), on April 19, 1995 at 18.286 seconds, 98.436 mph.

-nascar-

Be part of something big

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