SWS: Colorado: Round nine preview

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (August 14, 2003) - Only two NASCAR Elite Division, Featherlite Southwest Series drivers have more than one win at Colorado National Speedway since the series began racing at the 3/8-mile paved oval. This Saturday, August 16,...

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (August 14, 2003) - Only two NASCAR Elite Division, Featherlite Southwest Series drivers have more than one win at Colorado National Speedway since the series began racing at the 3/8-mile paved oval. This Saturday, August 16, the best of the past and present in the Featherlite Southwest Series will return to Colorado National Speedway for the running of the United Power/Touchstone Energy "150".

Current 2003 point leader Auggie Vidovich from Lakeside, Calif. has two wins at CNS but will have to battle NASCAR Dodge Weekly Racing Series track regular Jerry Robertson and former series champion Rick Carelli for bragging rights. The United Power/Touchstone Energy "150" marks the start of the second half of the season and many drivers are scrambling to get their season on track and make it into the top ten in the point standings. As announced in April, the top ten drivers of each of NASCAR's Elite divisions will get an invite to the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown.

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. More than 37 drivers are expected to attempt to qualify for one of 26 starting positions in Saturday's 125-lap race and vie for their share of $67,921 in posted awards in race nine of the 14-race championship series.

Auggie Vidovich won at CNS in 2000 and 2001. Those wins helped propel the 22 year old to runner-up finishes in the championship each season. Vidovich says you have to have a car that works on the outside groove late in the race. Vidovich is hoping experience will pay off this Saturday as he looks for his eighth career victory.

"I have gained valuable advice from the current and past champions of this series about staying focused on our goal." Vidovich said. "They have been successful in their careers for a reason and I appreciate the advice they have offered me. The race this weekend is really important to me and the whole team. We love racing at Colorado (Nat'l), the fans are fantastic and the racing is always very competitive."

Vidovich will have to repel the attack that Jerry Robertson is sure to give. Robertson of nearby Arvada, Colo. Won last year's event in dominating fashion and knows that lightning woes not always strike twice. Robertson is also setting the pace in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Racing Series at CNS on the strength of ten victories this season, tying his own record for wins in a season. Robertson leads NASCAR's Northwest Region and is in contention to become Colorado's first national champion.

Other notable drivers that are looking for a solid finish at Colorado Nat'l Speedway include Dan Holtz of Pacific Palisades, Calif. who continues to march towards the top of the Featherlite Southwest Series standings. Rick Carelli of Arvada, Colo. is a former series champion and returns to the series in a rare appearance. Carelli won the series title back in 1991. Carelli has 21 career Featherlite Southwest Series victories and two wins at CNS (92, 95).

Making the long tow to CNS this weekend are International Truck and Engine Midwest Series drivers Tim Schendel, Jon Lemke, and Andy Monday.

The United Power/Touchstone Energy "150" is set to take the green flag at 8:10 pm MDT this Saturday. Will local hotshoe Jerry Robertson steal the victory for the second year in a row, or will Vidovich put an exclamation point in his bid for his first series title?

THE INSIDE LINE

. The race within the race . JR Patton tops the Victory Circle Chassis Rookie-of-the-Year leader board for the third race in a row after eight events. Thomas Martin, Frank Deiny Jr., Greg Voigt, and Danny Burson, round out the top-five Rookies.

. How many cars? More than 37 cars have pre-entered the United Power/Touchstone Energy "150", including several local competitors led by last year's winner Jerry Robertson.

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

. Auggie Vidovich Jr. is the only driver to complete every lap run this season (1052).

. Darrell LaMoure of Phoenix, Ariz. welcomes NAPA Auto Parts and Yerf-Dog Fun Karts as sponsors to his team in 2003. LaMoure continues to bring awareness regarding missing children to fans through his Racing for the Missing program. At each series race this season LaMoure and Yerf-Dog will raffle a Yerf-Dog Fun Kart at the race. Proceeds will be spilt between the Racing for the Missing program and the track's selected charity.

. Driver to keep your eye on: Auggie Vidovich has two wins at Colorado Nat'l Speedway (00 & 01) and has only one finish outside the top 10 (11th at Infineon).

. 16 drivers have started all eight races contested so far this season, and the Featherlite Southwest Series has averaged 40 cars per event through the first eight races of the season.

. Hoosier Racing Tire is the official tire of the NASCAR Elite Division in 2003 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.

. Featherlite Southwest Series contingency sponsors include: Anheuser-Busch, Auto Meter Products, Edelbrock Intake Manifolds, Featherlite Trailers, Five Star, Flowmaster, G-Force, Goody's Headache Powder, Holley Carburetors, Hoosier Tires, JR Pistons, Mac Tools, Mobil 1 Oil, Moroso, MSD, Penske Shocks, Powerade, Quarter Master, Quick Car, Raybestos Brakes, "76" Race Gas, Victory Circle Chassis, and Wix Air Filters. MOVING UP

. Craig Raudman of Bakersfield, Calf. has moved up in the NASCAR Top-10 after struggling to find the consistency that won him the 2001 series championship. Raudman sits fourth on the strength of three top five and four top ten finishes.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

. "The fat lady has not yet sung." - Jim Pettit II (No. 03 HallKinion.com Ford).

PAGE FROM THE PAST
Rick Carelli grabbed the win over Ron Hornaday Jr. on August 22, 1992 in the Colorado's Best Chevrolet Dealers 100. Roger Avants, Bob Lyon, and Michael Waltrip rounded out the top five finishers. The race took just 39 minutes and 31 seconds to complete at average speed of 59.216 mph. The action was slowed four times for 22 laps with Carelli's margin of victory at 3.1 seconds. Following the event, Ron Hornaday topped the standings by 30 points over Doug George; Steve Portenga led the Blue Sky Rookie race over Blair Aiken. 18 of 26 cars were running at the completion of the event.

Fast Facts

What: United Power/Touchstone Energy "150". Race 9 of 14 for the NASCAR Elite Division, Featherlite Southwest Series.
Where: Colorado National Speedway, Erie, Colo.
When: 8:10 p.m. MDT, Saturday, August 16.

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

Pre-race schedule (all times local): Saturday 8/16 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 3:00 pm Mandatory Scorer's Meeting, 3:45 pm Time Trials, 5:00 pm Time Trials (2 Laps), 6:15 pm Qualifying Race, 7:15 pm Mandatory Spotter's Meeting, 8:10 pm United Power/Touchstone Energy "150".

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About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Ron Hornaday Jr. , Rick Carelli , Steve Portenga , Jerry Robertson , Danny Burson , Dan Holtz , Darrell LaMoure , Doug McCoun , Jim Pettit II , Craig Raudman , Thomas Martin , Auggie Vidovich , Tim Schendel