SWS: Raudman expects to set Irwindale pace

Rancho Santa Margarita, California (October 2, 2000) - Craig Raudman, driver of the ...

Rancho Santa Margarita, California (October 2, 2000) - Craig Raudman, driver of the #2 Yerf-dog Fun Karts/ITPS Chevrolet in the Featherlite Southwest Series, NASCAR Touring, joined Irwindale Speedways' test session last Friday, hoping to find the key to success in this Saturday's Food 4 Less 150.

By the time the day ended, he had clocked lap times as fast as 17.4 seconds, fully 2/10 of a second faster than the fast time set in the most recent Southwest Series event at Irwindale held this past July.

Raudman commented, "The track has broken in this past year. We found that, even with our quick lap times last Friday, the track is a little slower overall. When I first came here in 1999, and it was new, it was fast for qualifying but hard on tires. The way it is now, it should mean that it has improved for us for the longer runs. I was pretty amazed at the times we were turning on Friday, though."

"We learned a lot in Friday's test session," Raudman continued. "We found a few things we need to do. The car was not exactly right in practice in some respects. There are several things to work on this week. We know we'll be fast, but we don't want a repeat of last year's problems."

This Saturday's event will be Raudman's first at Irwindale Speedway since the track's inaugural 1999 season. He competed in two events in 1999, but suffered mechanical problems in both.

Team owner Dave Reed is ecstatic about his team's performance this year. Although the team is running a limited schedule, it has won races and Bud Pole Awards and has been one of the team's to watch out for at every event it has entered.

"We called him Rocket-Man Raudman after his performance at The Bullring in Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago," Reed said of his driver. "Based on what we saw at the test session, he has no intention of letting go of his new nickname anytime in the near future. The team is behind the effort, and we fully expect to be a top-runner Saturday at Irwindale."

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Drivers Craig Raudman