SWS: Raudman Irwindale report

Rancho Santa Margarita, California (October 8, 2000) - It looked as though Craig Raudman, driver of the ...

Rancho Santa Margarita, California (October 8, 2000) - It looked as though Craig Raudman, driver of the #2 Yerf-dog Fun Karts/ITPS Chevrolet in the Featherlite Southwest Series, NASCAR Touring, was headed for the win in Saturday's Food 4 Less 150 at Irwindale Speedway.

Strong from the start, lap leaders Raudman, Matt Crafton and Auggie Vidovich Jr. traded the front position several times throughout the event. When Raudman passed Vidovich on lap 92 to take the lead, he lengthened his lead within just ten laps around the 1/2-mile oval to more than ten car lengths.

It looked like an easy win, until trouble in turn two intervened. Scott Busby spun his car in turn two on lap 115. When his car hit the wall, oil began running down the track, challenging those coming up fast behind him, including Raudman, to keep from losing control of their cars.

On the restart at lap 125, Raudman again shot ahead and retained his lead. With Vidovich right behind him and starting to look low for a place to pass, Raudman found out the hard way that residual oil in turn two made the high groove he had been using impossible to hold.

Vidovich dug his way past Raudman on lap 127, launching a dogfight between the top three contenders that lasted until the checkered flag dropped.

Raudman crossed the stripe in second place behind Crafton, with Vidovich following in third.

"I figured it would be a fight, but I didn't figure it would be as tough as it was," Raudman said, just after the race. "My car was very strong, but it wasn't that great on the restarts. After Busby's wreck in turn two, I had to change my line to avoid the oil. The low line wasn't as good as the high line I'd been running. Between that, and the fact that my car took a couple of laps to come in after the restarts, it was hard to keep the lead. I was right there, but catching them and passing them are two different things."

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Drivers Matt Crafton , Craig Raudman , Auggie Vidovich