SWS: Competition heats up with two events left

Competition fuels the Featherlite Southwest Series. Daytona Beach, FL (October 15, 2002) Eddy McKean of Jerome, Idaho continues to lead the point standings in the Featherlite Southwest Series, NASCAR Touring division after twelve events, with ...

Competition fuels the Featherlite Southwest Series.

Daytona Beach, FL (October 15, 2002) Eddy McKean of Jerome, Idaho continues to lead the point standings in the Featherlite Southwest Series, NASCAR Touring division after twelve events, with Series veteran M.K. Kanke just 120 markers behind. 2001 Rookie-of-the-Year Burney Lamar of West Sacramento, Calif. falls to third after a disappointing finish at CNS. Prunedale, California's Jim Pettit II is in fourth after his fifth straight top-ten performance at CNS. Former National Weekly Racing Series Champion Doug McCoun rounds out the top five.

McKean has maintained the top spot since April on the strength of one win, six top-5, and eight top-10 finishes. McKean has qualified well at MMR in the past but has not had consistent finishes. With only one top-five finish in six starts at MMR, McKean knows a good finish will go along way in securing his first series championship, as M.K. Kanke is the driver to beat at Mesa Marin Raceway.

M.K. Kanke started the year of with a disappointing finish at Phoenix. Kanke was relegated to a 38th place after a lap one incident. Since February the wiley veteran rattled off five straight top-five finishes including a win at Cajon Speedway. That consistency propelled Kanke back into the title chase and sits just 120 points behind McKean going into the final two events. Kanke has four wins at MMR along with seven top-five finishes.

Scoring two consecutive wins during the heat of summer, Burney Lamar knows a run for the championship is within his grasp. Lamar has led 45% of all laps (690) run this season and has seven top-10 finishes this season. After twelve events, Lamar finds himself in third place just 124 markers behind McKean. Lamar has also won a series leading four Bud Pole Awards. Lamar nearly won the event last fall at MMR if it were not for a last lap spin that relegated to twenty year old to a 17th place finish.

Jim Pettit II has finally found the consistency that he and his team have been searching for. Pettit has tallied five straight top-tens and has vaulted into fourth place in the standings, just 155-points out of first. Pettit has collected one Bud Pole this season and has completed 1498 of 1518 laps contested this season.

It has been a couple of years since Doug McCoun has visited victory lane, but that dry spell ended the last time the series visited the Bakersfield speedplant. In his career at MMR, McCoun has three victories and eight top-five finishes and looks to repeat his July performance. McCoun holds down the fifth spot in the standings through twelve events on the strength of seven top-ten finishes.

Other drivers making statements this season include two Rookies that are on the verge of winning. Steve Belletto and Brandon Whitt are eighth and ninth in the point standings respectively. David Gilliland won at Irwindale Speedway in June, and since joining forces with Rich Fountain, the pair has rattled off three straight top-ten finishes including a runner-up finish at CNS.

Todd Souza has been around the top of the point standings all season, and with six top-ten finishes, he finds himself in the 6th points position heading to MMR. Souza finished seventh at MMR back in June.

144 drivers have earned championship points so far this season on the Featherlite Southwest Series, with an average car count of 40 cars attempting to qualify for each event. Twelve teams had appeared at each event with nine drivers qualifying for all eleven races to date. Lamar is the only driver to visit victory more then once.

Burney Lamar leads all drivers with four Bud Pole Awards, M.K. Kanke has two, and six other drivers have one each. Budweiser will pay a season ending bonus to the driver who wins the most Bud Pole Awards. Lamar also heads the class in the Gatorade Front Runner Award Standings. Lamar has led the most laps in five races this season and has led at least one lap in three other events. The Gatorade Front Runner Award awards drivers one point for leading a lap and two points for leading the most laps. A season ending bonus will be paid to the driver who leads the most laps.

The 2002 Rookie-of-the-Year class started with twelve drivers but is now down to two. Brandon Whitt of El Cajon, Calif., leads Modesto, California's Steve Belletto by seven points going into the final two races. Whitt has qualified for all twelve races so far this season and has earned Rookie-of-the-Race honors five times. Meanwhile, Belletto, who missed the season opener at PIR, has been the top Rookie on five occasions. Each Rookie-of-the-Year candidate competing in the event will earn Rookie points if they qualify for the race.

Five drivers have won their first career victory this season. Eddy McKean won on the mile at Pikes Peak int'l Raceway in May, with David Gilliland winning in his Rookie year on the series at Irwindale Speedway in June. Burney Lamar won at Madera Speedway then followed that up with a victory at Irwindale. Ron Strmiska Jr. won in his first career series start at Stockton 99 Speedway in April. Jerry Robertson was the latest to visit victory lane when he won in front of his hometown fans at Colorado National Speedway in August.

Ken Schrader picked up the victory in the season opener at PIR, with Kanke winning at Cajon Speedway in March. Sean Woodside was victorious at Mesa Marin Raceway in April, and Jim Inglebright won for the third consecutive time at Infineon Raceway in June. Doug McCoun collected his ninth career win at Mesa Marin Raceway also in June, and Eric Holmes scored his second career win at Altamont Raceway Park in July.

The final two races of the season will have the series drivers tackling two very different tracks. The next stop is at the exciting high-banks of the charter track of the series, the half-mile of Mesa Marin Raceway on October 20. The series finale will take place where it all began back in February at the Desert Jewell of Phoenix Int'l Raceway. The track will host a 100-lap shootout for the championship on November 7.

The Featherlite Southwest Series is one of eight NASCAR Touring Series that blanket the United States. NASCAR Touring brings special events to many NASCAR Weekly Racing Series tracks and some NASCAR superspeedways and road courses. NASCAR Touring Series can provide a competitor with an entire career, or they can provide valuable experience to competitors moving through the NASCAR ranks. Corporate sponsors make significant contributions to NASCAR Touring Series point funds. The sponsors include Anheuser-Busch, Featherlite Trailers, Gatorade, Goody's Headache Powders, Raybestos Brakes, Hills Brothers Coffee, RE/MAX International, Inc., and R.J. Reynolds brand Winston.

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About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Ken Schrader , Jerry Robertson , Brandon Whitt , Jim Inglebright , Eric Holmes , David Gilliland , Burney Lamar , Doug McCoun , Jim Pettit II , Steve Belletto , Todd Souza