SWS: Colorado II: Round ten preview

NASCAR AUTOZONE ELITE DIVISION, SOUTHWEST SERIES RETURNS TO COLORADO NATIONAL SPEEDWAY THIS WEEKEND * United Power/Touchstone Energy 150 is Second Southwest Series Trip to CNS *Points Leader Jim Pettit II Hopes to Keep Momentum ...


* United Power/Touchstone Energy 150 is Second Southwest Series Trip to CNS

*Points Leader Jim Pettit II Hopes to Keep Momentum Rolling

*Rookie Campbell Learning Tough Lessons

*Locals Always Make a Statement at CNS

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 28, 2005) -- Whenever the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series heads to Colorado National Speedway located outside Denver, Colo., a strong contingent of local drivers are on hand to test their skills against the series regulars. The local flavor always adds an exciting element and has been the recipe for many compelling races.

Qualifying will be at a premium as only twenty-six starting positions are available for the 150-lap event, where the full contingent of series regulars continue their pursuit of the series title in race ten of the 14-race championship series. Several local NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series drivers will attempt to qualify, led by multi-time track champion Roger Avants from Littleton, Colo.

Avants has competed regularly at Colorado National Speedway over the years where has has earned multiple track championships and and a couple of NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series regional titles. Avants has also dabbled in the Southwest Series where he won the first ever Southwest Series race back in 1986 at Saugus Speedway. He went on to finish fourth in the final standings that year and forever place his name in the series record books.

"I love racing," Avants said. "The travel is tough from Colorado, but you always want to compete against the best and the Southwest Series has a lot of champions competing. We had a decent run at Pikes Peak last week and I am looking forward to heading home for this weekend's event."

Current Southwest Series point leader Jim Pettit II of Prunedale, Calif. won his third race of the year last weekend down the road at Pikes Peak Int'l Raceway and extended his point lead over Burney Lamar.

"I love racing at Colorado National," Pettit said. "It is a long tow and hard on the teams, but the racing is always some of the best all year and the fans are incredible. We are in the middle of a four race stretch and the race this weekend could determine the series champion. I have run good at CNS in the past and I just need to be there at the end."

Former Southwest Series champion Eddy McKean from Jerome, Idaho is getting his season back on track after a third place finish at Pikes Peak last weekend and looks to continue his good fortune at a track where he has three top three finishes in the past four Colorado National races.

"Our program is coming together," McKean said. Terry Henry has come on board as our crew chief and that has made a huge difference in our cars. We are also going back to the basics and running setups that have worked for us in the past. Our focus is simply top five runs and move up in the standings."

Sometimes being a rookie on the Southwest Series is a lot like going back to school. Unlike many drivers who make their way into the series, Don Campbell from Campbell, Calif. didn't compete on oval before this season. Campbell a veteran of sports car and road racing decided he wanted to see what NASCAR short track racing was like and set his sights on the Southwest Series.

"I continue to learn every minute, every corner, every lap," Campbell said. "This is the toughest racing I have ever experienced and these guys don't cut you any slack. You have to race hard every lap. Its kind of like holding your breath underwater."

Campbell has started all ten races races this season, something no one else in his rookie class has done. He has also been running at the conclusion of nine of ten races this season and has been the top finishing rookie two times. His best finish has been a ninth place performance at Colorado National Speedway back on June 5 in the Southwest/Midwest Series' combination event.

"My goal this season is to win the Sunoco Rookie-of-the-Year award," Campbell continued. "The other guys that I am racing for the title are great drivers with a lot of experience. I will be at each event and try my hardest. I am learning so much and as hard as this has been I am having fun."

The United Power/Touchstone Energy "150" is the tenth race of the season for the Southwest Series and is third race in a four race stretch on consecutive weekends. This race may well determine the 2005 champion. The green flag is scheduled to drop at 8:15 pm MT Saturday night.


* Alumni Spotlight... 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and 1999 Southwest Series champion Kurt Busch topped series' Alumni this past weekend with his victory at Pocono. Not to be outdone was 2002 Southwest Series Rookie-of-the-Year Brandon Whitt who scored his first career NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory at Memphis.

* Points ... Jim Pettit II has an average finish position of 4.7 over the first nine races with Burney Lamar at 7.4. If Pettit continues his average Lamar or third place Vidovich will not catch him. Pettit has a 108 point advantage on Lamar and 128 points on Vidovich.

* Bud Pole Awards...Rick Carelli, known as the High Plains Drifter for many years scored his last career Southwest Series Bud Pole Award at CNS in August 1996. Carelli currently mentors Burney Lamar at Kevin Harvick Inc. Carelli had 18 fast times in his career and Lamar is quickly approaching with 14.

* Now that is close...August 18, 2001 at Colorado National Speedway Auggie Vidovich edged Craig Raudman by .001 seconds for the closest margin of victory in Southwest Series history. Raudman went on to win the 2001 Series title while Vidovich finished second.

* Now that is Big... The event at CNS this weekend will offer the largest short track purse in series history at $69,694.

* 281 and Counting...That is how many career Southwest Series starts Bob Lyon from Aqua Dulce, Calif. has. Lyon has started more races than any other competitor in series history. His Southwest Series career started back in 1987.

* A Pair...Two races is the most any Southwest Series competitor has won a CNS. M.K. Kanke, Auggie Vidovich, and Rick Carelli have two wins apiece at CNS.

* Track Records...Burney Lamar holds the qualifying record at CNS with a quick lap of 15.736 seconds, while Jerry Robertson holds the 150-lap race record after his victory in 2002. Robertson is the only non-series regular to claim the victory at CNS in Southwest Series action.

* History Lesson...Chris Raudman claimed the Southwest Series victory at CNS on May 17, 1997. Raudman edged Mark Reed at the line to claim his third victory of the season. Ken Boyd, Bryan Germone, and John Metcalf rounded out the top five finishers. Metcalf was the top finishing rookie. Craig Raudman (brother) won the Bud Pole Award with a quick lap of 16.634 seconds. There were five cautions for 24 laps and three lead changes among two drivers.

Fast Facts

What: United Power/Touchstone Energy '150"

Where: Colorado National Speedway, Erie, Colo.

Who: NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series

When: Sat., July 30 at 8:15p.m. (Mountain Time).

Posted awards: $69,694

Race length: 150 laps, 43.75 miles

Track layout: 3/8-mile oval.

Pre-Race Schedule (All Times Local): Registration begins 8 a.m., Practice 12-2:30 p.m., Bud Pole Qualifying 5:00 p.m., United Power/Touchstone Energy "150" 8:15 p.m.

Tickets: $18 for adults, $6.00 for youth (10-14), Under 10 free with paid adult.


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Drivers Kevin Harvick , Kurt Busch , Rick Carelli , Mark Reed , Jerry Robertson , Brandon Whitt , Bryan Germone , Burney Lamar , Jim Pettit II , Craig Raudman , Auggie Vidovich