SWS: Phoenix II: Round 11 preview

Southwest Series Drivers Look Eye NASCAR Doubleheader Weekend at PIR DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (September 29, 2004) - October marks the changing of the seasons in most of the country, but this weekend an old fashion Wild West shootout in the hot...

Southwest Series Drivers Look Eye NASCAR Doubleheader Weekend at PIR

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (September 29, 2004) - October marks the changing of the seasons in most of the country, but this weekend an old fashion Wild West shootout in the hot desert sun is in store at Phoenix International Raceway when the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series takes to the track for round eleven of the 14 race championship series sponsored by JC Glass.

More than thirty-five drivers from across the country who compete in NASCAR's AutoZone Elite Division will attempt to qualify for a starting position in Sunday's 100-lap race and vie for their share of $81,294 in posted awards.

2002 series champion, Eddy McKean, has three second place finishes and two victories in the last six events at PIR and looks to make it three straight wins on the desert mile. McKean from Jerome, Idaho, is a former two-time NASCAR Dodge Weekly Racing Series regional champion that cut his teeth on a third-mile oval, but would like nothing more then to put his name in the series record books.

With McKean looking to score back to back wins, series point leader Jim Pettit II from Prunedale, Calif. is hoping to keep his train on track as he looks for win number four of the season and first at Phoenix.

"I have been close a couple of times," Pettit said of his experiences at PIR. "This race track more than any we compete on requires a whole lot of luck. It is fast and things happen so quickly you can go from hero to zero in the blink of an eye. You really have to rely on your spotter to help you out."

This event also is crunch time for driver's as they jockey for a position in the top ten of the standings. Danny Burson, Nick Lynch, and Bob Lyon are within 59 points of tenth place with four races left to go. Nick Joanides and Darrell LaMoure see a gap of only 110 points. With several drivers looking to attack and make it into the top ten, Rip Michels from Mission Hills, Calif. will be fighting to hold onto tenth place.

Michels, the 2003 NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series Sunbelt regional champion, knows that anything can happen at Phoenix and wishes no bad luck to anyone, but a strong finish is critical for his team. "I got schooled here in January," Michels said. "This series is tougher than anything I have done. All these guys are great racers and they are prepared. You cannot take Phoenix lightly as it can make or break your season."

While Michels is battling to keep his Autometer Rookie-of-the-Year points lead and preserve his position in the NASCAR Top 10, three drivers will attempt the weekend double, competing in both the Southwest Series and NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series events.

McKean will join Nick Joanides from Woodland Hills, Calif. and David Gilliland from Riverside, Calif. on both starting grids hoping to pull off the weekend double. Also making the long tow for the Southwest Series event are Brandon Riehl from the AutoZone Northwest Series and Joey Miller representing the AutoZone Midwest Series.

This JC Glass promises to showcase some of NASCAR's brightest young talent and rising stars. The race this weekend may well serve as the prelude to the series finale that will be contested back here in just four short weeks. The JC Glass "100" is set to take the green flag at 1:00 p.m. PST Sunday, October 3 live on HDNet. Check local cable and satellite listings.

THE INSIDE LINE

. The race within the race . Rip Michels leads Nick Lynch in the Autometer Rookie-of-the-Year race.

. How many cars? More than 35cars have pre-entered the JC Glass "100".

. Craig Raudman from Bakersfield, Calif. has completed 1245 out 1246 laps run this season along with two wins and four Bud Pole Awards.

. Eddy McKean has two wins and six top three finishes in the last seven AutoZone Southwest Series races staged at PIR.

. There have been 15 different winners in 28 previous AutoZone Southwest Series races at PIR.

. AutoZone Southwest Series drivers will meet race fans at the AutoZone store located at 8669 NW Grand Ave., Peoria AZ from 5-7pm. Drivers will also be at the F1 Indoor Karting Facility located at 317 S. 48th St. in central Phoenix.

. Drivers to keep your eye on: Danny Burson missed the top-ten last season and is only 48 points out of tenth place with four races left to go.

. The NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown will feature the top 10 drivers in each of the four series in the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division. The Elite Division consists of the Northwest, Southwest, Midwest, and Southeast series'. The Toyota All-Star Showdown will be televised live on NASCAR TV on SPEED Channel, November 12 and 13.

MOVING UP

. Darrell LaMoure of Phoenix, Ariz. has moved to within 102 points of the NASCAR Top 10. LaMoure currently sits 14th in the standings and winning at home would be a career highlight.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

. "Live to achieve, not to acquire." - the late Alan Kulwicki

PAGE FROM THE PAST

Last season in the inaugural NASCAR Double Header Weekend, David Gilliland took the victory over Burney Lamar by .407 seconds. Eddy McKean finished third with Dan Holtz and Eric Holmes rounding out the top five finishers in the 105 lap event that went extra distance due to a late caution that set up a green, white and checkered finish. Craig Raudman won his fourth Bud Pole Award of the season with a quick lap of 28.178 seconds/127.759 mph. Thomas Martin was the top finishing Rookie with a 20th place effort. Auggie Vidovich left PIR with a 109 point lead after a 15th place finish. The win was David Gilliland's fifth triumph of the season and moved him into 4th place in the standings.

Fast Facts

What: The JC Glass "100" Race 11 of 14 for the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series.

Where: Phoenix Int'l Raceway, Phoenix, Ariz.
When: 1:00 p.m. PDT, Sunday, October 3.

Track layout: 1-mile paved oval.
Race length: 100 laps, 100 miles.

Posted awards: $81,294

2003 winner: David Gilliland
2003 Bud Pole winner: Craig Raudman

Pre-race schedule (all times local): Saturday 10/2 6:00 am Haulers Enter, 7:00 am Registration and Inspection Begins, 9:00 am Mandatory Rookie Driver's meeting, 9:30 am Mandatory Crew Chief's Meeting, 9:30 am Qualifying Draw, 10:15-11:00 am Practice, 11:45-12:30 pm Practice, 3:00 pm Time Trials, 5:00-5:30 pm Final Practice , 6:30 pm Garage Closes, Sunday 10/3 7:00 am Garage Opens, 8:00 am Mandatory Driver's/Crew Chief's Meeting, 10:00 am Mandatory Spotter's Meeting, 10:00 am Mandatory Scorer's Meeting, 1:00 p.m. JC Glass "100".

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About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Eric Holmes , Danny Burson , David Gilliland , Dan Holtz , Burney Lamar , Darrell LaMoure , Craig Raudman , Joey Miller , Rip Michels , Nick Joanides , Alan Kulwicki