SWS: Sean Monroe returns at Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS Sean Monroe, a former California stock car racing driver with great promise, returns to NASCAR's Southwest Tour Oct. 13 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after a two-year absence. Monroe, now 33 and living in Venice, Calif., will drive one...

LAS VEGAS Sean Monroe, a former California stock car racing driver with great promise, returns to NASCAR's Southwest Tour Oct. 13 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after a two-year absence.

Monroe, now 33 and living in Venice, Calif., will drive one of the two Chevrolets entered by CBA Motorsports owner Clarence Broussard of Sylmar, Calif., as a teammate to rookie Troy Adams of Riverside, Calif. The team is newly sponsored by forkliftsdirect.com of San Dimas, Calif., which leases and sells lifting equipment.

Formerly a protege of Ron Hornaday Jr., the NASCAR Craftsman Truck champion and Winston Cup driver now racing out of North Carolina, Monroe came home from the East two years ago to concentrate on his pool maintenance business in Culver City. Meanwhile, he built his own car to race locally and was "discovered" by Broussard at a recent Irwindale Speedway event in California.

Broussard, the Southwest Tour's only African American car owner, has recently reorganized his team after poor showings and with his own driver, Adams, unable to qualify for the Irwindale main event on Labor Day weekend went out of his way to help Monroe mechanically for the same race. Monroe qualified 21st and finished 8th.

That week Monroe joined CBA Motorsports and began preparations for the next race, to be held on t he 1.5-mile, banked oval here. He is also helping Adams set up his own Chevrolet stock car in the same shop in Arcadia, Calif., and during testing sessions.

Completing the reorganization, veteran crew chief Vince Barnes has come to the team with Monroe, and so have several of their former associates as mechanics. Retired driver Jimmy Insolo is prominent in Monroe's entourage.

Monroe made his Southwest Tour debut on Oct. 13, 1995, winning a 300-lap main at Mesa Marin Raceway, Bakersfield, leading the last 20 laps and beating Ron Hornaday (second-place finisher) and Ken Schrader (third). Driving for Hornaday, he led 93 of 125 laps and won at Springville, Utah, on Aug. 3, 1996. Racing out of Hornaday's shop at Mooresville, N. C., Monroe competed in several series before returning home in 1999.

A regular at Saugus Speedway before stepping up to touring, Monroe was a main event winner there on Aug. 7, 1993, and finished second in championship points that year. He also won a main event on July 30, 1994, and was eighth in points that season.

Since word got out that Monroe was back in racing, he reportedly has had other offers to drive cars but turned them down, saying, "Clarence offered to help me when I needed it. I plan to stick by him as long as I can help him."

Monroe's teammate, Adams, is the circuit's only African American driver this season. He has an extensive kart racing background and varied stock car experience here and on the East Coast. Since the team reorganization he has been working with a new crew and has Monroe as a role model.

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Ken Schrader , Ron Hornaday Jr.