SWS: Rookies at a glance after Mesa Marin

NASCAR Rookies at a Glance: A look at the NASCAR Elite Division, Featherlite Southwest Series Rookie 2003 Standings. DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Mar. 27, 2003) - The following is a glance at the NASCAR Elite Division, Featherlite Southwest Series...

NASCAR Rookies at a Glance:
A look at the NASCAR Elite Division, Featherlite Southwest Series Rookie 2003 Standings.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Mar. 27, 2003) - The following is a glance at the NASCAR Elite Division, Featherlite Southwest Series Rookie class of 2003 heading into the Coors Light "125" at Cajon Speedway Saturday, April 5. This will be race 3 of 14 on the NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Series schedule. After the race at Mesa Marin Raceway, there is a six-way tie atop the Victory Circle Chassis ROTY leader board. Six drivers have scored 14 rookies points thus far with Mike Price joining the rookie class bringing the total number of Victory Circle Chassis Rookie candidates to twelve.

No. 1 - Frank Deiny Jr. (No. 70 Star Nursery Chevrolet), Q Motorsports. Last week's ranking: 1. Deiny holds on to the top spot in the rookie standings despite a 24th place finish at Mesa Marin Raceway. Deiny will be attempting to make his first career start at Cajon Speedway, but is probably one of the most experienced drivers on the series and driving for one of the top teams on the circuit.

No. 2 - JR Patton (No. 97 Las Cruces Chevrolet), Las Cruces Motorsports. Last week's ranking: 2. Patton is tied with Deiny after finishing 23rd at Mesa Marin Raceway. Patton failed to qualify for the race at Cajon Speedway last year. Former series regular, Scott Brandt, joins Patton's team this year and so far the combination is working as Patton has proven to be a strong qualifier.

No. 3 - Randy Nelson (No. 68 Nelson Ford), Nelson Motorsports. Last week's ranking: 3. Nelson had another strong rookie run at Mesa Marin Raceway finishing 15th, two laps down. Nelson is from the El Cajon area and looks forward to a strong showing at his home track and in front of many friends and family.

No. 4 - Kevin Vernon (No. 51 Action Towing Chevrolet), Vernon Racing. Last week's ranking: 4. Vernon used his experience at Mesa Marin Raceway to finish 11th and jump into the top-ten in the overall season standings. Cajon Speedway presents several challenges to drivers and teams, which makes being a rookie team is all the more difficult. Vernon has always been a fast qualifier and will need a great qualifying lap to secure a starting spot in the 125-lap clash.

No. 5 - Thomas Martin (No. 21 Sierra Mist Chevrolet), Penney Racing. Last week's ranking: 5. Martin made the starting grid at Mesa Marin Raceway with the use of a provisional, but quickly made his way into the top-ten. Martin finished the race in 9th place on the lead lap and jumped into 17th in the overall point standings.

No. 6 - Greg Voigt (No. 09 Auto Pro Racing Engines Chevrolet), Voigt Racing. Last week's ranking: 7. Voigt collected the Victory Circle Chassis' Rookie-of-the-Race honors at Mesa Marin Raceway after a fourth place finish. Voigt moves into a six-way tie for the top rookie spot after two races. Voigt is a former Irwindale Speedway champion.

No. 7 - Nathan Thiesse (No. 88 Honda Cars of Corona Chevrolet), The Body Shop Racing. Last week's ranking: 11. Thiesse missed the season opening event in Phoenix but stormed back into the rookie race in dramatic fashion. Thiesse lost a motor while attempting to qualify at Mesa Marin Raceway which saw the crew change the power plant just in time for the non-qualifiers race. Thiesse started shotgun on the filed for the 25-lap race, but quickly moved to the front and by lap 10 he was in the lead. Thiesse went on to win and start the 200-lap feature in 29th. He finished the race in 6th in his first career series start.

No. 8 - Danny Burson (No. 56 Great Western Electric Chevrolet), Burson Racing. Last week's ranking: 6. Burson suffered a blown motor on lap 138 of the Star Nursery.Com 200 at Mesa Marin Raceway. The result was a 26th place finish and a fall to 23rd in the overall standings. Burson has veteran crew chief, Chuck Carruthers, turning the wrenches in 2003 and will head into Cajon prepared and ready.

No. 9 - Mike Price (No. 3 AMI Metals Chevrolet), Price Racing. Last week's ranking: N/A. Price joined the Victory Circle Chassis rookie class at Mesa Marin Raceway and started the 200-lap race in the 30th position after finishing second in the non-qualifiers event. Price finished 29th, but hopes for better things at Cajon Speedway.

No. 10 - Chris Hines (No. 96 Ironeagle Chevrolet) Pro Dyno Racing. Last Week's ranking: N/A. Hines had another difficult trip to the racetrack and did not qualify for the race at Mesa Marin Raceway. Hines, like may other drivers, were thrown a curve when they had to go out to qualify after the NASCAR Craftsman Trucks Series trucks were on the track. The combination of rubber compounds and the sealer made for a very slick racetrack. Hines is set to make the field at Cajon Speedway.

No. 11 - Richard Johnson (No. 47 Auto Glass Chevrolet), Johnson Racing. Last week's ranking: N/A. Johnson has been racing since 1971. His experience ranges from stock cars to sprint cars at several Central and Northern California dirt tracks. In his 30 plus years of racing he has claimed 8 championships. Johnson did not compete at Phoenix back in February and failed to qualify for the race at Mesa Marin Raceway.

No. 12 - Ken Weaver (No. 93 Weaver Racing Chevrolet). Weaver Racing. Last week's ranking: N/A. Weaver did not compete at Mesa Marin Raceway.

Fast Facts

NASCAR Rookies this week: 1. Frank Deiny Jr., 14; 2. JR Patton, 14; 3. Randy Nelson, 14; 4. Kevin Vernon, 14; 5. Thomas Martin, 14; 6. Greg Voigt, 14; 7. Nathan Thiesse, 9; 8. Danny Burson, 8; 9. Mike Price, 2; 10. Chris Hines, 0.11. Richard Johnson, 0; 12. Ken Weaver, 0.

Weeks at No. 1: Frank Deiny Jr., 2. Five others tied for first.

Victory Circle Chassis' offers a season ending bonus of $5,000 to the top finishing rookie at season ending banquet in December. Each rookie competitor earns rookie points for each race they start. No rookie points are awarded for races a rookie fails to qualify for. Points are awarded on a declining scale with the top finishing rookie receiving 10 points then 9,8.7 and so on. Each rookie will count their best 12 finishes of the 14 race schedule towards the 2003 Rookie-of-the-Year championship.


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Drivers Richard Johns , Ken Weaver , Danny Burson , Nathan Thiesse , Thomas Martin