SWS: Sears Point Inglebright post-race report

Inglebright Shines at Sears Point Sonoma, Calif. Jim Inglebright only makes the occasional appearance with the Featherlite Southwest Series, NASCAR Touring division, but when he does he makes it count. Inglebright waited like a fox to take the...

Inglebright Shines at Sears Point

Sonoma, Calif. Jim Inglebright only makes the occasional appearance with the Featherlite Southwest Series, NASCAR Touring division, but when he does he makes it count. Inglebright waited like a fox to take the lead with two laps to go and went on to win the SNAP-ON TOOLS "200" Saturday at Sears Point Raceway.

Steve Petty of Alamo, Calif. set the pace in qualifying with a new track record on the recently reconfigured two-mile layout. Petty's lap of 1 min, 16.792 seconds/93.760 MPH landed the road race veteran on the pole for the 64-lap affair. Eric Holmes, Greg Pursley, Inglebright, and Craig Raudman rounded out the top five starters. Unable to start the event was series point leader, M.K. Kanke. Kanke was involved in a single car qualifying accident that left the four-time winner this season side lined with a broken leg.

Petty lead the first 27 laps until Inglebright was able to out brake Petty going into turn 7 and take the lead for the next two laps. Mark Reed then took control of the race on lap 30 and lead the next 31 laps. Reed pitted on lap 21 for four tires and fuel. Reed would go the rest of the way in hopes that short pitting would spell victory.

Rookie-of-the-Year point leader Burney Lamar had his car solidly in the top five from his tenth place starting position and was looking to extend his Rookie point lead. Those hopes were dashed when he was involved in a multi-car incident on the pit straight coming out the hair pin. Also involved were Pursley, Raudman, and Auggie Vidovich Jr.

Pole sitter Steve Petty had been battling an ill handling racecar and found himself back in the 21st position when the car got away from him exiting turn 1. The resulting spin caused the car to roll gently off the track onto it's roof. Petty was able to remove himself from the car under his own power, but was air lifted for precautionary measures complaining of shoulder pain.

The race was slowed several times for full course yellow's as many of the competitors had difficulty finding the groove to negotiate the fast layout. Reed continued to lead the charge until a restart on lap 59 bunched up the filed and gave several drivers a clear shot at the front. Jim Inlgebright had waited patiently like a fox stalking his prey. His opening came at the top of turn 2 when Reed's car got a little loose and the two battled side-by-side with Inglebright taking the advantage going into turn 3. By this time the #80 of Jon Nelson had moved his way up through the pack from his 29th starting position and dove underneath Reed for second. Inglebright would not be denied and went on to take the checkers over Nelson by 2.653 seconds. Raudman was able to pass Reed for third on the final lap, with Reed hanging on the fourth over fifth place finisher Kenny Shepherd. Greg Pickett managed to stay in the top 10 all day and finish sixth, Rudy Revak, outside pole sitter Eric Holmes crossing the line in eight. Darrell LaMoure and Steve Belletto rounded out the top ten.

The average speed of the race 59.405 mph and took 2 hours, 5 minutes, and 59 seconds to complete. There were eight caution periods for 22-laps, with three lead changes among three drivers. Mark Reed took home the Gatorade Front Runner Award for leading the most laps (32) and Rookie of the Race honors went to Mike Ledbetter of Ceres, Calif. Steve Petty won the Bud Pole Award with a time of 1:16.792/93.760 MPH.

The FSWS travels next to Mesa Marin Raceway in Bakersfield, Calif. Saturday, June 30 for their second visit of the season on the high-banked half-mile oval in the Community Recycling "150". This event will mark the start of the second half of the 2001 campaign.

The Featherlite Southwest Series is one of nine NASCAR Touring Series that blanket the United States. NASCAR Touring brings special events to many NASCAR Weekly Racing Series tracks and some NASCAR superspeedways and road courses. NASCAR Touring Series can provide a competitor with an entire career, or they can provide valuable experience to competitors moving through the NASCAR ranks. Corporate sponsors make significant contributions to NASCAR Touring Series point funds. The sponsors include Anheuser-Busch, Featherlite Trailers, Gatorade, Goody's Headache Powders, O'Reilly Auto Parts, Raybestos Brakes, RE/MAX International, Inc., and R.J. Reynolds brand Winston.


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Drivers Greg Pickett , Mark Reed , Jim Inglebright , Greg Pursley , Eric Holmes , Burney Lamar , Darrell LaMoure , Mike Ledbetter , Craig Raudman , Steve Belletto , Kenny Shepherd , Steve Petty , Auggie Vidovich