DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (August 28, 2003) - Only one NASCAR Elite Division, Featherlite Southwest Series driver has visited Irwindale Speedway's victory lane more than once (M.K. Kanke) and one driver looks to find victory lane for the first time this...
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (August 28, 2003) - Only one NASCAR Elite Division, Featherlite Southwest Series driver has visited Irwindale Speedway's victory lane more than once (M.K. Kanke) and one driver looks to find victory lane for the first time this season (Auggie Vidovich). This Saturday, August 30, NASCAR's brightest stars will return to Irwindale Speedway for the running of The Advantage Ford "150" presented by The City of Irwindale.
Current 2003 point leader Auggie Vidovich from Lakeside, Calif. has yet to win this season, but his streak of eight top ten finishes in nine starts this season has the serie's best drivers chasing the twenty-two year old driver. 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 to be staged at Irwindale Speedway and Vidovich would like nothing more than to be the rabbit.
With the Toyota All-Star Showdown on the mind of many drivers, this race will hold significance for the teams of the Featherlite Southwest Series as many will look to find a set-up that they can use in November and wrestle for a top ten final point's position. More than 37 drivers are expected to attempt to qualify for one of 30 starting positions in Saturday's 150-lap race and vie for their share of $53,721 in posted awards in race ten of the 14-race championship series.
Auggie Vidovich scored a second place finish last season at Irwindale Speedway and will have to equal or better that mark this weekend if he hopes to stay in front of a hard-charging Jim Pettit II from Prunedale, Calif.
Pettit knows that a solid finish Saturday night will go a long in his bid for his first series championship. He also knows that he will have to beat Vidovich to get it.
"Vidovich is real smooth and fast at Irwindale," Pettit said. "I have struggled at Irwindale in the past and Auggie is just flat good there. We'll have to qualify well, race real well, and have an awful lot of good luck."
Another driver hoping to upstage Vidovich is 2001 Rookie-of-the-Year Burney Lamar of Chino, Calif. Lamar has struggled to find the consistency that he and his team had last season and searches for the right combination to collect his first win of the season. Lamar sits in tenth place in the standings and realizes his invitation to the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown hinges on a good performance this weekend.
Other notable drivers that are looking for a solid finish at Irwindale Speedway include Dan Holtz of Pacific Palisades, Calif. who continues to march towards the top of the Featherlite Southwest Series standings. Eddy McKean of Jerome, Idaho, the 2002 defending series champion, has only one top five finish this season and sits eighth in the overall standings. Local 'hotshoe' Ben Walker Sun Valley, Calif. would like nothing to parlay his track experience and deliver win number one to Clarence Broussard.
The Advantage Ford "150" presented by the City of Irwindale is set to take the green flag at 8:00 pm PDT this Saturday, where the top point's chasers look to flex their muscle and secure a bit of home field advantage.
THE INSIDE LINE
* The race within the race . JR Patton tops the Victory Circle Chassis Rookie-of-the-Year leader board for the fourth race in a row after nine events. Danny Burson, Frank Deiny Jr., Thomas Martin, and Greg Voigt round out the top-five Rookies.
* How many cars? More than 37 cars have pre-entered the Advantage Ford "150" presented by the City Irwindale.
* Nine drivers have victories at Irwindale Speedway since 1999. Drivers include: Burney Lamar, David Gilliland, Craig Raudman, M.K. Kanke, Rocky Nash, Matt Crafton, Greg Pursley, Frank Maronski, and Kurt Busch. Kanke is the only driver to score multiple wins.
* Auggie Vidovich Jr. is the only driver to complete every lap run this season (1202).
* 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: David Gilliland has three wins this season including the last event at Colorado National Speedway August 16. Gilliland claimed his first career Victory last season here at Irwindale Speedway. Gilliland has moved up to fifth in the over point standings.
* 12 drivers have started all nine races contested so far this season, and the Featherlite Southwest Series has averaged 38 cars per event through the first nine 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.
* Dan Holtz of Pacific Palisades, Calf. has moved up in the NASCAR Top-10 after a fourth place finish at CNS August 16. Holtz sits in the fourth position, just 174 points behind Vidovich.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
* "This is a big event. With Irwindale hosting the Showdown, everybody is looking for an edge." - Eddy McKean (No. 19 Magic Valley Pipe & Steel Pontiac).
PAGE FROM THE PAST
May 15, 1999 Greg Pursley topped Keith Spangler in the third Featherlite Southwest Series event staged at Irwindale Speedway. Kurt Busch finished third followed by Damon Lusk and Matt Crafton. Bryan Germone set the track record in qualifying with a quick lap of 17.363 seconds/103.669 mph. Greg Pursley led all 100 laps in a race that took 42 minutes and 40 seconds to complete. Kurt Busch led the point standings following the event over Germone, and Kenny Shepherd.
What: The Advantage Ford "150" presented by the City of Irwindale. Race 10
of 14 for the NASCAR Elite Division, Featherlite Southwest Series.
Where: Irwindale Speedway, Irwindale, Calif.
When: 8:30 p.m. PDT, Saturday, August 30.
Track layout: 1/2-mile paved oval.
Race length: 150 laps, 75 miles.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Saturday 8/30 9:00 am Haulers Enter, 10:00 am Registration and Inspection Begins, 11:30 am Mandatory Rookie Driver's meeting, 12:00 noon Mandatory Driver's/Crew Chief's Meeting, 12:30 pm Qualifying Draw, 1:00-2:00 pm Practice, 2:30-3:00 pm Practice, 5:00 pm Time Trials, 6:00 pm On-Track Driver Autograph Session, 7:00 pm Qualifying Race, 7:30 pm Mandatory Spotter's Meeting, 8:00 pm The Advantage Ford "150" presented by the City of Irwindale.