SWS: Pikes Peak: Event preview

Lamar looking mile high after taking points lead. FOUNTAIN, COLO. (May 9, 2002) -- Burney Lamar of W. Sacramento, Calif. finds racing on the Featherlite Southwest Series, NASCAR Touring division a relaxing escape from his full-time studies at...

Lamar looking mile high after taking points lead.

FOUNTAIN, COLO. (May 9, 2002) -- Burney Lamar of W. Sacramento, Calif. finds racing on the Featherlite Southwest Series, NASCAR Touring division a relaxing escape from his full-time studies at the University of California/Sacramento. The third year Business major is preparing for "finals" this week as his team readies his car for the event at Pikes Peak Int'l Raceway next weekend.

Juggling school and racing is nothing new for Lamar, who holds a 3.7 GPA, as he has traversed through these waters for four years. While still in high school, Lamar won a Late Model Tri-Track series championship in Central California in 1999, and then went on to win a Rookie-of-the-Year title in USAC Sprint cars, then graduate to the Featherlite Southwest Series.

Entering is second full year on the Featherlite Southwest Series Lamar knows that he cannot rest on his Rookie-of-the-Year accomplishments of a year ago. The yellow stripe is gone, but the challenge of winning resonates daily with him. On two occasions this season, Lamar has dominated races only to loose them in the closing laps.

The race at Pikes Peak Int'l Raceway next week is one that Lamar really wants to win. "I have led a bunch of laps this season only to loose the race," Lamar said. "Now that I have the points lead it would be great to get my first victory at PPIR."

Lamar finished tenth in his first visit to the Colorado mile in 2001, and he knows that the competition will be tough as drivers from all over the West look to grab their own piece of glory at the marquee event. "Winning is never easy," Lamar said. "Since Junior Joiner has come on board, we are so much closer to winning then we ever have been. My Grandfather Clyde Lamar has stepped in and provided us the resources to go head to head with the best of them, and my dad tirelessly spends every minute on the car."

Lamar's crew is not flashy, nor do they turn heads when they drive into the track. Quietly they turn heads on the track. Lamar has completed every lap run this season, and in four starts he has two top-fives and four top-tens. "I am not really thinking about points, I just want to win," Lamar stated. "I now have the confidence that comes with running up front and racing side-by-side with the veterans of this series, guys like Kanke, Lyon, and Pettit. I think I am ready."

Lamar may be ready but so are 45 other drivers. Riding a high of his own is M.K. Kanke of Frazier Park, Calif. Kanke has methodically moved back into the title chase after a disappointing outing at the opening event at Phoenix. Since Phoenix, Kanke has three straight top fives including one victory and his 26th career Bud Pole Award.

"We ran real well last year at Pike Peak," Kanke said. "I think we have a great shot at the win after finishing second there last year and third the year before. First is the only place left to finish! Pikes Peak is a fun racetrack to race and we have a new car to run there. If the new car isn't quite right, then we'll pull at the old car and go have some fun."

Another driver that has renewed enthusiasm in 2002 is Todd Souza. Souza, the 2000 series Rookie-of-the-Year, ran only a limited schedule in 2001 in which time he and his team regrouped. "We needed to take some time away," Souza said. "As a team we are really starting to mesh and I know we are going to be real good at Pikes Peak. We have a new car and Brad Peters has found us some horsepower, so we all the pieces are in place. I am confident the we will move up in the points as we contend for wins from here on out."

Joining the series regulars will be several local standouts including Rick Carelli, who has seen tremendous success in the Featherlite Southwest Series in the past, which has propelled his NASCAR career. Along with Carelli, Roger Avants, Bruce Yackey, Scott Backman, Greg Fowler, and several new comers hoping to add a good finish at Pikes Peak Int'l Raceway to their resume.

The weekend festivities get underway with a driver autograph session downtown Colorado Springs starting at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, May 17. Then Saturday, May 18 teams will register, practice, and qualify for the Featherlite Southwest Series "100". The 100-mile event gets underway at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 19. The Featherlite Southwest Series will share the stage with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

The Featherlite Southwest Series is one of eight NASCAR Touring Series that blanket the United States. NASCAR Touring brings special events to many NASCAR Weekly Racing Series presented by Dodge local tracks and some NASCAR superspeedways 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, Hills Brothers Coffee, Raybestos Brakes, RE/MAX International, Inc., and R.J. Reynolds brand Winston.

MOVING UP:

* Joe Herold of Poway, Calif. is in his second year of competition on the Featherlite Southwest Series, NASCAR Touring division. This former Ultra Wheels Spec Truck champion is finding his groove, as he is riding a career high in the point standings. After four events in 2002, Herold is in fifth place in the season standings, just 127 points out of first.

THE INSIDE LINE:

* Competition is King--.Tough competition is what makes the Featherlite Southwest Series standout among Late Model Touring divisions. This season there have been 81 different drivers attempt to qualify for the first four races, with an average of 43 cars per event. On average, fifteen teams have to load up their cars and watch from the stands. There have been four different winners and four different Bud Pole Award winners in the first four races.

* Adam Andretti and Preston Countryman have ceased operation and closed the doors of a team formed last summer. Lack of financial resources and inconsistent finishes forced the mutual decision. Andretti was contending for Rookie-of-the-Year honors this season. Andretti is currently pursuing other opportunities.

* Eddy McKean hopes his breakthrough win will happen at Pikes Peak Int'l Raceway. McKean who has finished second in the last two events on the one-mile oval of Phoenix Int'l Raceway, looks transfer that knowledge and consistency to the one-mile at PPIR. Over the winter months, McKean built a new speedway car and has hired Marc Lundgren from the Craig Raudman championship team to take over as crew chief.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

"The race is won in the shop"- Junior Joiner, crew chief for 2002 Featherlite Southwest Series point leader Burney Lamar. Since Joiner has joined the W. Sacramento, Calif. based team, Lamar has posted two top-fives and four top-tens in four starts. Additionally, Lamar is the only driver to complete every lap run this season (479).

PAGE FROM THE PAST:

Pikes Peak Int'l Raceway has hosted two Featherlite Southwest Series races with Ross Thompson winning the inaugural event in 2000, and Craig Raudman taking the checkers in 2001.

-nascar-

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About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Adam Andretti , Joe Herold , Burney Lamar , Craig Raudman , Todd Souza , Ross Thompson