SWS: Colorado: Round 10 preview

Race at Colorado National Speedway is Pivotal in AutoZone Southwest Series Points Battle DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (August 18, 2004) - Only three NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series drivers have scored two wins at Colorado ...

Race at Colorado National Speedway is Pivotal in AutoZone Southwest Series Points Battle

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (August 18, 2004) - Only three NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series drivers have scored two wins at Colorado National Speedway since the series began racing at the 3/8-mile paved oval. This Saturday, August 21, M.K. Kanke of Frazier Park, Calif. will attempt to be the only three-time winner as the AutoZone Southwest Series returns to Colorado National Speedway in the running of the United Power/Touchstone Energy "150".

Current 2004 point leader Craig Raudman from Bakersfield, Calif. has two wins this season and leads the point standings by a scant 28 points, but will have to battle several track regulars who hope to upstage NASCAR's regional stars.

The United Power/Touchstone Energy "150" is a favorite event for the Southwest Series as teams enter the final five race stretch of the season. The second annual NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown looms on the horizon, as the top ten drivers of each series of NASCAR's Elite Division hope to get an invite to this prestigious event. But first each Southwest Series driver must conquer the 3/8-mile paved oval of CNS.

With the Toyota All-Star Showdown on the mind of many drivers, qualifying for each of the remaining races will be the biggest test each competitor will face. Qualifying for one of 26 starting positions in Saturday's 125-lap race will prove critical where driver's will vie for their share of $67,921 in posted awards in race ten of the 14-race championship series.

Joe Herold of Del Mar, Calif. hopes to keep momentum on his side as he battles for a podium finish at seasons end. Herold currently sits fifth in the championship standings, 246 markers behind Raudman. Herold has four top ten finishes and has completed 1,050 of 1,096 contested so far this season.

"I have had a lot of fun so far this season," Herold said. "Our goal is to continue to finish every lap and put ourselves into contention at the end of every race. So far it has worked out, but this series is very tough and if you do not come to the track prepared, you are going to get beat."

Herold will have to contend with several local drivers who have hundreds of laps around CNS, as well as his fellow series regulars who have had success at the mile high facility in the past. The local contingent includes two-time NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series regional champion Roger Avants, Bruce Yackey, and local rising star Trevor Morrical.

Jim Pettit II of Prunedale, Calif. is looking for his first series championship and is excited to return to CNS where he has scored four top four finishes including a runner-up finish last season.

"It's a track I really like," Pettit said. "The crowd is the best we see on our series and this place gets electric after the sun goes down."

Perhaps the hottest driver on the series right now is Burney Lamar of Bakersfield, Calif., who has recorded five straight top four finishes in the last five series races. That string has propelled him into third place in the overall standings just 83 points behind his teammate and series point leader Raudman.

Other notable drivers that are looking for a solid finish at Colorado Nat'l Speedway include Eddy McKean of Jerome, Idaho who dropped to sixth place in the standings after the event at Stockton. McKean has two third places finishes at CNS in his last three starts. Doug McCoun continues his solid 2004 performance and scored a victory at CNS back in 1998.

The United Power/Touchstone Energy "150" is set to take the green flag at 8:10 pm MST this Saturday. Will local drivers steal the victory from the series regulars, or will the championship contenders prevail in this rumble in the Rockies'?

THE INSIDE LINE

. The race within the race . Rip Michaels tops the Autometer Rookie-of-the-Year leader board after nine events. Nick Lynch trails Michels in the rookie chase which counts the best 12 finishes for each rookie.

. How many cars? Several local competitors have pre-entered the United Power/Touchstone Energy "150". Last year's winner David Gilliland returns to the series after missing the last two events due to competition in the NASCAR Grand National West Series. Gilliland is 19th in the standings.

. Four current drivers have victories at Colorado Nat'l Speedway. Drivers include: Auggie Vidovich, Doug McCoun, M.K. Kanke, and Rick Carelli. Vidovich, Kanke, and Carelli each have two wins at the track.

. Craig Raudman has completed 1,095 of 1096 laps contested this season with eight top ten finishes in nine starts.

. Driver to keep your eye on: M.K. Kanke has two wins at Colorado Nat'l Speedway (97 & 99) and is returning to the series with a brand new Victory Circle Chassis.

. Only 11 drivers have started all nine races contested so far this season, and the AutoZone Southwest Series has averaged 36 cars per event through the first nine races of the season.

. Hoosier Racing Tire is the official tire of the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division in 2004 and will award 32 tires to eligible car owners at each series event. Hoosier will also award two tires to the highest eligible Rookie-of-the-Year candidate's car owner.

. AutoZone Southwest Series contingency sponsors include: Anheuser-Busch, Auto Meter Products, Competition Cams, CV Products, Edelbrock Intake Manifolds, Featherlite Trailers, Five Star, G-Force, Holley Carburetors, Hoosier Tires, JR Pistons, Mac Tools, Mechanix Wear, Mobil 1 Oil, Moroso, Powerade, Quarter Master, Raybestos Brakes, and Timken.

MOVING UP

. Nick Lynch of Burley, Idaho has moved to within striking distance of the NASCAR Top 10. Lynch finished fifth at Stockton July 31 and currently holds down the 11th spot in the standings just 43 points out of tenth.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

. "This race will separate the contenders from the pretenders." - Jim Pettit II (No. 03 California Hot Wood Ford).

PAGE FROM THE PAST

Steve Portenga took the victory over Mike Snow May 30, 1998 to claim his first victory of the 1998 campaign. Local star Bruce Yackey finished third with Jim Pettit II and Jerry Robertson rounding out the top five finishers. Darrell LaMoure won the Bud Pole Award with a quick lap of 15.982 seconds but drew an 8-car invert putting Pettit on the pole. 18 of 26 starters were running at the conclusion of the 125-lap race which went four extra laps. M.K. Kanke left Colorado with a 97 point lead after finishing sixth in the race. Kurt Busch was the top finishing rookie with a 15th place effort. Busch led Pat Patterson in the rookie standings and went on to win the rookie title at seasons end.

Fast Facts

What: United Power/Touchstone Energy "150". Race 10 of 14 for the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series.

Where: Colorado National Speedway, Erie, Colo.
When: 8:15 p.m. MST, Saturday, August 21.

Track layout: 3/8-mile paved oval.
Race length: 150 laps, 56.25 miles.

2003 winner: David Gilliland
2003 Bud Pole winner: Craig Raudman

Qualifying Record: Bruce Bechtel, Chevrolet, 15.381 seconds, 87.771 mph, June 6, 2000.

Pre-race schedule (all times local): Saturday 8/21 8:00 am Haulers Enter, 9:00 am Registration and Inspection Begins, 11:00 am Mandatory Rookie Driver's meeting, 11:15 am Mandatory Crew Chief's Meeting, 11:45 am Qualifying Draw, 12:00-1:00 pm Practice, 1:30-2:30 pm Practice 3:30 pm Mandatory Scorer's Meeting, 5:00 pm Time Trials (2 Laps), 5:45 pm Mandatory Spotter's Meeting, 6:30 pm Qualifying Race, 8:15 pm United Power/Touchstone Energy "150".

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About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Kurt Busch , Rick Carelli , Bruce Bechtel , Steve Portenga , Jerry Robertson , David Gilliland , Joe Herold , Burney Lamar , Darrell LaMoure , Doug McCoun , Jim Pettit II , Craig Raudman , Auggie Vidovich