SWS: Mesa Marin III: Auggie Vidovich preview

AUGGIE VIDOVICH ON TRACK FOR REPEAT WIN AT MESA MARIN LAKESIDE, Calif. (12 October 2005) -- In order to win a championship you need to be on your game to finish and win races and that is exactly what NASCAR Southwest Series competitor Auggie ...


LAKESIDE, Calif. (12 October 2005) -- In order to win a championship you need to be on your game to finish and win races and that is exactly what NASCAR Southwest Series competitor Auggie Vidovich II has been accomplishing this year. With his four wins, Vidovich has been on a roll this year winning races and leading laps in 2005.

Vidovich has lead the most laps at 410, won back-to-back races (Mesa Marin April 9 and Stockton 99 Speedway April 30), won races at the same track this year (two at Stockton 99 Speedway) and has posted the most wins to date (Mesa Marin (Bakersfield, CA), two at Stockton 99 Speedway (Stockton, CA) and Shasta Raceway Park (Anderson, CA).

Trailing by 109 points behind series leader Pettit, Vidovich isn't discouraged a bit. With the leadership of crew chief, Mike Harvick in 2005, Vidovich has had the car to follow at most of the races this year. "Our setups have been right on and Mike continues to keep me in the game for each race," said Vidovich. "I rather be the guy chasing the points leader than sitting at the top sweating that no one bumps me off."

With the one win and one second place finish at Mesa Marin in 2005, Vidovich has posted three wins, eight top-five and ten top-ten finishes at Mesa Marin dating back to 2001. Like other drivers, Vidovich likes the high-banked, 1/2-mile oval with turns banked at 17 degrees. Mesa Marin opened in 1977 and quickly became one of the favorite short tracks in Southern California.JJThe 28th annual "final" October Classic weekend will feature the Havoline Racing Revolution Sport Compacts, NASCAR Late and Super Late Models, NASCAR Grand National West Series "FORD MOTORCRAFT PARTS 150 presented by 3M" and NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series "STAR NURSERY.COM 300". With an estimated attendance of 20,000 fans to view the final races before the track closes its gates permanently.

Vidovich's recent win was recorded at Shasta Raceway Park (Anderson, CA) September 10 when the Southwest Series returned for the "SHASTA 125" after a 16-year absence from the series schedule racing on the quant 3/8-mile semi-banked fairgrounds oval. Vidovich stared in fifth position and waited for the right time and place to take over positions before taking the lead on lap 84, getting by the leader. Vidovich won by a margin of .375 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher. Mike Harvick earned his fourth Lunati "Crew Chief of the Race" Award this season for the Shasta win.

The next and final round of Southwest Series racing takes place at Phoenix International Raceway (Avondale, AZ) on Thursday, November 10. The Southwest Series will compete at on the PIR one-mile oval prior to the NASCAR Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Trucks the same weekend.

However, Vidovich won't be able to stick around PIR as he has to jet to Irwindale Speedway for his appearance and scheduled race for this year's NASCAR Showdown event at Irwindale Speedway November 11-12. The top-10 drivers in the Southwest Series have been shooting for their chance to compete on live television at the third annual NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale Speedway (Irwindale, CA). The invite-only event features the top-10 drivers from each of the four regional divisional series that comprise of the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division (Midwest, Northwest, Southeast and Southwest Series). The NASCAR Showdown awards nearly $500,000 to competitors and will be televised live on SPEED Channel and also be broadcast live on XM Radio. Vidovich participated in the first annual event finishing eighth out of 40 in the featured main event.

The Lakeside, California racer also will be featured in the upcoming "Roush Racing: Driver X" 13-part reality show debuting on the Discovery Channel at 8 p.m. (ET) October 24. Check your local satellite or cable listings for actual times and channels in your area. Vidovich took part in intense testing on and off the track for this year's Roush Racing Gong Show. Not only was Vidovich the only driver selected from California, he also made it down to one of six finalists for the chance at a fully-sponsored Roush Racing NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series ride in 2006. "The experience, I will never forget and I thank Jack Roush and the panel of judges for considering me out of the 1700 submitted resumes," said Vidovich. Testing took place at Martinsville Speedway and Darlington Raceway for this year's driver testing. Vidovich once again proved to many that he was able to handle the heavy trucks on the fast southern tracks with a competitive edge and confidence moving him into the final six out of 25.

The Vidovich crew and No. 11 Centrifugal Technologies car owners Rich and Kathie Fountain continue to dedicate the remainder of the races to the recovery of Samantha Palumbo of San Dimas, California by featuring Samantha's photo on Vidovich's hood. Samantha, the beautiful 16-year-old current Miss California Junior National Teen, was involved in a near-fatal accident April 8, 2005. "Our team is happy to continue assisting the Sam and Diana Palumbo family in spreading the word about Samantha's story," said Vidovich. A benefit Dinner Dance and Live Auction held on September 16 at the Pacific Palms Resort (Industry Hills, California) raised over $107,000 for the 3.85 GPA sophomore cheerleader and junior varsity team swimmer.

For more information and updates on Samantha, go to 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 continues to heal at Casa Colina in Pomona continuing to receive physical, speech and occupational therapies. The Palumbo family continues to express their deepest gratitude to all those that are helping their daughter by praying for her and supporting them during this most difficult time.

The 300-lap race Saturday, starts at 6 p.m. (PT) and is rumored to be televised on HDnet, tape delayed being shown at a later time.


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Drivers Auggie Vidovich , Jack Roush