2003 Southwest Champion Vidovich Finishes 2004 With a Bang at PIR LAKESIDE, California (November 8, 2004) - 2003 NASCAR Elite Division, Southwest Series champion Auggie Vidovich of Lakeside, California finished the 2004 season with a bang in...
2003 Southwest Champion Vidovich Finishes 2004 With a Bang at PIR
LAKESIDE, California (November 8, 2004) - 2003 NASCAR Elite Division, Southwest Series champion Auggie Vidovich of Lakeside, California finished the 2004 season with a bang in turn one at Phoenix International Raceway last Thursday. Vidovich was up to fourth with ten laps to go in the 125-lap "Cruise America" race at the one-mile superspeedway when he was taken out of the race. Twenty-three-year-old Vidovich had a good chance at improving his position and was ready to challenge the leaders before being hit on the right side by another competitor. "I was down low on the inside when he came down on me and apparently he did not see me or his spotter did not say I was there. Very disappointing but this is kinda how many of my races ended all year," said Vidovich.
Earlier in the race, Vidovich maneuvered thru traffic with ease and powered past others - one time on the back stretch as part of a three-wide pack of cars with Vidovich passing high on the outside. Vidovich remained consistent all race as the top cars started to slow down the pace before the crash that took Vidovich from contention for the day.
The No. 11 Centrifugal Technologies, Creative Touch Interiors, Ransom Brothers True Value Lumber, Impact Racing Products and Eibach Springs Chevrolet was one of a handful of fast cars out of forty entries during the early morning practice Wednesday, November 3. After final qualifying was posted, Vidovich was listed at sixth with a lap time of 27.782 (129.580) four-tenths off the top qualifier.
A late afternoon happy-hour practice for the series, posted Vidovich as the fastest for the entire session at 28.140 (127.932). Few changes were made by crew chief Mike Harvick as Vidovich was comfortable with the setup and ready to race.
Finishing 20th in the Southwest Series points in 2004 has not deterred the champion from his goals. Vidovich knew starting the beginning of the season with a selected race schedule due to funding, he would have to do the best he could and try to win every race. Calculating the races that Vidovich actually finished in 2004, he averaged a fourth place finish for the four races he finished although he entered a total of nine races. The other five races had Vidovich listed with mechanical or electrical problems for two races and accidents for the balance of the three races. Running up front in the races Vidovich finished for 2004, he continued to exhibit his talents behind the wheel - posting three Top-5 and four Top-10 finishes in 2004.
PIR had special meaning for Vidovich as this is where he won the 2003 NASCAR Elite Division, Featherlite Southwest Series championship last November ending an exciting year where he held the points lead from the second race to the fourteenth and final race of the series held at the one-mile PIR superspeedway.
Vidovich changed driving duties with four races left moving over to the No. 11 Centrifugal Technologies Chevrolet owned by Rich Fountain. "Rich has been great with his support for the remainder of the series season and I appreciate all he has done for me in 2004 and look forward to a great year in 2005," said Vidovich.
The two-time series runner up in 2000 and 2001 and most popular driver in the Southwest Series in 2003 is hoping to move up to one of NASCAR's other popular divisions such as NASCAR Grand National, Craftsman Truck or Busch Series in 2005.
Vidovich will be missing the second annual NASCAR Toyota All Star invite-only race this weekend at Irwindale Speedway where he finished eighth out of 40 invited drivers at the inaugural race and will stop by to support his series teammates.