NWS: Yakima: Round two preview

BRANDON RIEHL LEADS NASCAR AUTOZONE ELITE DIVISION, NORTHWEST SERIES TO YAKIMA SPEEDWAY DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 25, 2006) -- Brandon Riehl collected his third career NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest Series win on April 30 at Meridian...

BRANDON RIEHL LEADS NASCAR AUTOZONE ELITE DIVISION, NORTHWEST SERIES TO YAKIMA SPEEDWAY

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 25, 2006) -- Brandon Riehl collected his third career NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest Series win on April 30 at Meridian (Idaho) Speedway. His other two triumphs have come at the next stop on the schedule, Yakima (Wash.) Speedway.

Riehl, racing out of the Portland suburb of Boring, Ore., picked up those wins last season and was clearly the class of the field on both occasions. Last season was a breakout year for the 29-year old driver, those two wins help fashion a runner-up finish in the point standings. He also won a NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series event.

Coming off the win in the 2006 season opener combined with the success of last season in Yakima should lead to a high level of confidence, but the humble Riehl doesn't necessarily see it that way.

"It's great to win the first race followed by a trip to a place where we have had good performances of late, but there are way too many good drivers in this series and many of those have done as well or better than I have there," said Riehl.

Besides Riehl's two wins, 19 other victories at Yakima Speedway are accounted for in the expected field for the May 27 scheduled running of the Yakima 125, the track's 40th Northwest Series event. Four-time series champion Garrett Evans leads the all-time wins list with six followed closely by former champions Pete Harding (5) and Ron Eaton (4). Another series title winner Gary Lewis has three wins and John Bender has one.

Also in the mix are five drivers with Yakima ties looking to thrill the hometown crowd. Travis Bennett, of Ellensburg, Wash., is coming off a win there in this year's Apple Cup in Late Model competition in addition to spending countless hours at the speedway with his father, Ron, who serves as the facility's general manager.

"Sure, I'm pretty familiar with the track, but I don't have near the experience as, say, (Evans) or (Harding), nor the success," said Bennett.

Yakima's B.J. Tidrick also comes into this event with a win at Yakima Speedway this season under his belt. He, too, won a Late Model event on May 20 at the speedy 1/2-mile oval.

Troy Tramell won his first career Bud Pole Award in just his fifth Northwest Series event last season in Yakima. Rounding out the local contingent is a pair of former Late Model division champions at Yakima Speedway in Erick Hargraves and Mike Longton.

"I think most everybody is very familiar with what you can and can't do there," said Riehl. "That's what makes racing there so much fun. There are no secrets at that place and every race is extremely competitive."

Ticket information for the Yakima 125 can be obtained by calling Yakima Speedway at (509) 248-0647 or by logging onto www.yakimaspeedway.us.

-nascar

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Series NASCAR
Drivers John Bender , Gary Lewis