SWS: Las Vegas race report

Raudman played perfect hand in Vegas shootout LAS VEGAS, NEV. (May 7, 2001) -- Veteran Featherlite Southwest Series competitor Craig Raudman won his third consecutive Bud Pole Award and out dueled Rookie-of-the-Year contender Eddy McKean over...

Raudman played perfect hand in Vegas shootout

LAS VEGAS, NEV. (May 7, 2001) -- Veteran Featherlite Southwest Series competitor Craig Raudman won his third consecutive Bud Pole Award and out dueled Rookie-of-the-Year contender Eddy McKean over the final ten laps to claim the victory in the Star Nursery.Com "250" Sunday (May 6) at the Bullring at LVMS.

The Victory was worth $7,325 and vaulted Raudman from 16th in the 2001 series point standings to 11th, just 137 markers behind Featherlite Southwest Series front-runner M.K. Kanke. Raudman won the Bud Pole Award with a time of 14.758/91.476 mph and by virtue of a straight up start lead the first 19 circuits until a hard-charging Marc Groskreutz, of Spokane, WA, took the lead on lap 20. Groskreutz will dominate the next 170 laps and build his lead to as much as 4 seconds over Raudman.

The hot afternoon sun made the track plenty tricky to negotiate as more than half the field was involved in on track altercations. By lap 110 Eddy McKean, a two-time Great West Weekly Racing Series Regional Champion from Jerome, Idaho, had made his way in to the top. Groskreutz torrid pace had left most of the field to battle for second with Mckean leading Greg Pursley, Auggie Vidovich Jr., Kanke, Raudman, and Bobby Lyon. Kanke looked to be in contention for his forth straight top-two finish when his car lost the rear end and was sidelined on lap 196. McKean would take over the top spot on lap 195 and lead the next 55 laps. At Lap 240, Mckean looked to have the field covered was set to claim his first series victory, but an incident involving Pursley and Scott Backman brought out a yellow after the two slammed hard into the turn 1 wall. The yellow erased McKean's lead.

On the restart McKean's Pontiac started to push which allowed Raudman, who battled back from an early race spin, to pressure the rookie and on lap 246 the two touched slightly coming out of four and Raudman was able to take the top spot. McKean suffered minor front-end damage after the cars Lyon and Greg Fowler spun and made contact with McKean. Since Raudman and McKean were the only two cars on the lead lap, McKean was able to pit and then restart on Raudman's bumper. Ruadman got a jump on McKean and was able to hold the lead over the final three laps to claim the victory. McKean finished a career best second and moved to seventh place in the point standings. Rounding out the top five were Mark Reed, the defending race champion in third, John Baker in fourth, and Nick Joanides in fifth. The rest of the top-ten were series iron man Bob Lyon, Rookie-of-the-Year leader Scott Brandt, Fowler, Pursley, and Joe Herold.

"It was a big day for us. We won our third straight Bud Pole, and came back to win today after trouble early," Raudman said. "We had a fast car all day, we just had to be patient."

An exhausted second place finisher Eddie McKean commented after the race, "We finished second, but we had the race won and blew it in the last five laps. We run a Victory Circle car and both Craig Raudman and Tracy Norman give us a lot of help and we are running for rookie-of-the-year-this year and hope we have shown that we have the potential to win. We could use some sponsors to help us make all the races."

There were six lead changes among three drivers. The race was slowed ten times for cautions that used up 51 laps, making the average speed drop to 60.862 mph. Groskreutz picked up the Gatorade Front Runner Award for leading the most laps (170), with Rookie-the-race honors going to Mckean. The event took 1 hour, 33 min, 54 sec to complete.

The point standings after four events still Kanke on top followed by Darrell LaMoure, Pursley, Brandt, Frank Maronski Jr., Jim Pettit II, McKean, Vidovich Jr., baker, and Lyon rounding out the top ten. The next event on the Featherlite Southwest Series, NASCAR Touring schedule is the Sunstate Equipment Company "100" at the one-mile Pikes Peak Int'l Raceway on Sunday, May 20.

The Featherlite Southwest Series is one of nine NASCAR Touring Series that blanket the United States. NASCAR Touring brings special events to many NASCAR Weekly Racing Series tracks and some NASCAR super speedways 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, O'Reilly Auto Parts, Raybestos Brakes, RE/MAX International, Inc., and R.J. Reynolds brand Winston.


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Drivers Mark Reed , Eddie McKean , Joe Herold , Jim Pettit II , Craig Raudman , Auggie Vidovich , John Baker , Nick Joanides