SWS: Raudman hopes to get the PIR monkey off his back

Rancho Santa Margarita, California (January 30, 2001) - Phoenix International Raceway has never been easy on Craig Raudman, driver of Dave Reed Racing's ...

Rancho Santa Margarita, California (January 30, 2001) - Phoenix International Raceway has never been easy on Craig Raudman, driver of Dave Reed Racing's #2 Yerf-dog Fun Karts/ITPS Chevrolet in the Featherlite Southwest Series, NASCAR Touring and NASCAR Winston West Series.

Although Raudman has led many laps at PIR and won the Bud Pole award during the 1998 Copper World weekend with a qualifying run of 27.546 seconds, mechanical problems or accidents have taken him out of contention in every event he has entered at PIR.

In his last visit to PIR, the November 2000 season-ending Southwest Series event, Raudman was caught up in a nasty pileup on lap one that took a total of eleven cars out of the event. Raudman's car suffered extensive right front suspension damage after he spun into the grass, then was struck by another car. Although the team did manage to get him back out onto the track, he was down too many laps to regain a strong position by the end of the event.

Raudman hopes to turn all that around in this Sunday's Southwest Series event in the NAPA Auto Parts NASCAR Winter Heat Presented by Bosch at PIR.

Raudman recently tested in an open session at PIR, and consistently clocked the fastest times three days in a row among the over 25 participating Southwest Series cars. He and the team reworked their race setup from previous years and feel they gained enough to put them at the front of the field.

"We've had a lot of just plain bad luck at PIR," Raudman said. "It's time we turned that around. The test session was very helpful. We've got the car where we want it now. We're going to look forward, not back, and see if we can pull this one off."

Dave Reed racing

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Craig Raudman