SWS: Irwindale II: Auggie Vidovich preview

VIDOVICH PASSES ROUSH DRIVER CUT AND RETURNS TO RACING WITH RACE DEDICATED TO YOUNG GIRL LAKESIDE, Calif. (4 August 2005) -- Auggie Vidovich II of Lakeside, California will be jetting into Irwindale this weekend for round eleven of the NASCAR ...


LAKESIDE, Calif. (4 August 2005) -- Auggie Vidovich II of Lakeside, California will be jetting into Irwindale this weekend for round eleven of the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series direct from Martinsville Speedway after his recent test with Roush Racing. Vidovich flew out for the test after last weekend's Southwest Series race at Colorado National Speedway (Erie, Colorado) after being selected out of 1700 applications for the upcoming Roush Racing Discovery Channel Driver Search for a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series ride in 2006.

Vidovich took part in two days of testing on the famed .526-mile paperclip shaped Martinsville Speedway located in Virginia. After the testing of all 25 contestants, Jack Roush and his qualified panel of judges narrowed down the field of racers to 12, still including Vidovich, 2003 NASCAR Elite Division, Southwest Series Champion.

Roush was very impressed by the competition at Martinsville Speedway and said it was tough narrowing the field down to the 12 that will continue on to the 1.366-mile Darlington oval in South Carolina next week for their final on track testing with marketing activities scheduled for the finalists.

Auggie Vidovich and the Rich and Kathie Fountain owned No. 11 team are dedicating this weekend's Irwindale race to the recovery of Samantha Palumbo of San Dimas, California. Samantha, the beautiful 16-year-old current Miss California Junior National Teen, was involved in a near-fatal accident April 8, 2005 and will be featured on Vidovich's hood at the Irwindale race. "Our team is happy to assist the Sam and Diana Palumbo family in spreading the word about Samantha's story," said the twenty-four-year-old racer. There is a benefit Dinner Dance and Live Auction scheduled for September 16 at the Pacific Palms Resort (Industry Hills, California) for the 3.85 GPA sophomore cheerleader and junior varsity team swimmer. More information about Samantha Palumbo and the Dinner Dance can be found on her website, www.pray4samantha.com. Samantha has done so much for others like starting her own charitable project "To Mom, With Love" last fall where she collects and donates gift items and supplies to be given to children staying in local women's shelters so the children can make their own special presents for their moms. Samantha's family will be attending the race but their thoughts are on Samantha as she continues to heal at Casa Colina in Pomona where she continues to receive physical, speech and occupational therapies. The Palumbo family extends their deepest gratitude to all those that are helping their daughter by praying for her and supporting them during this most difficult time.

The career (Southwest Series) nine-time main event winner is still very focused on winning another Southwest Series Championship in 2005 as he heads to Irwindale Speedway this Saturday for the Stock Building Supply 150 race on the 1/2-mile fast track after this test with Roush Racing. With strong finishes all year, including three wins, Vidovich continues to be a front runner at each race with the three wins, 5 top-five and 7 top-ten finishes. Vidovich maintains the lead in Southwest Series laps lead at 369 heading into Irwindale.

Still third in the Southwest Series point standings (148 out of first), Vidovich looks at each race on a race-by-race basis -- to win each race -- with four important races remaining in the schedule (Irwindale, Shasta, Mesa Marin and Phoenix). "Mike Harvick has been great to work with this year. He is committed to winning races and will do everything needed to do that and it has been evident this year in our finishes," Vidovich said. The No.11 Centrifugal Technologies, Ultra Custom Boats, Ransom Brothers True Value Lumber Chevrolet car owner, Rich Fountain, has also given this team the foundation to win each race and Vidovich appreciates that also.

Qualifying third at Colorado National Speedway, July 30, Vidovich started in eighth position with the 10-car invert. Not worried with his starting position, Vidovich again had a fast car in practice and knew the car would be fast and consistent for the race. By lap 18, Vidovich had the No. 11 up to sixth for the 150-lap race. With the No. 11 appearing to be the best handling car in the field, he was now up to fifth by lap 46. Later in the race, Vidovich was moved up into the wall by another competitor and the car did not initially seem to be affected by hitting the wall. By lap 82, Vidovich was still faster than the leaders by two-tenths according to crew chief, Mike Harvick. With oil on the track on lap 119, Vidovich restarted the race in fourth with the 25-lap single file restart in effect. With a restart on lap 143 and laps to go in the race, Vidovich was moved up to the higher groove and two cars passed on the inside giving Vidovich a sixth place finish. "We by far had the strongest car all night but the wall took away our chances," said Vidovich.

The one-day Irwindale event can be viewed with live lap-by-lap Internet race action on RacingWest.com with Practice at 1:00 - 2:00 PM and 2:30-3:00 PM, Qualifying at 5:00 PM and Racing at 8:30 PM. JIrwindale Speedway will be again be hosting the third annual NASCAR Toyota All Star Showdown November 10-12 at the 1/2-mile motorsports complex that opened in 1999. Vidovich finished eighth out of forty invited cars at the inaugural All Star race in 2003. For tickets or additional information, contact (626) 358-1100.


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Drivers Auggie Vidovich , Jack Roush