SWS: Series reaction to All-Star Showdown announcement

Toyota All-Star Showdown applauded by Featherlite Southwest Series drivers and teams. DAYTONA BEACH, FL. (April 23, 2003) When NASCAR announced today the history-making inaugural Toyota All-Star Showdown to be held Nov. 6-8 at Irwindale (Calif.)...

Toyota All-Star Showdown applauded by Featherlite Southwest Series drivers and teams.

DAYTONA BEACH, FL. (April 23, 2003) When NASCAR announced today the history-making inaugural Toyota All-Star Showdown to be held Nov. 6-8 at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway, the drivers of the NASCAR Elite Division, Featherlite Southwest Series applauded the invitation-only event. The event will bring together the top teams in NASCAR's Grand National and Elite divisions, to compete for national recognition and over $500,000 in posted awards, and be showcased live on the SPEED Channel.

Current Featherlite Southwest Series point leader, Auggie Vidovich Jr. of Lakeside, Calif., was in awe at the announcement. "That is going to be awesome," Vidovich said. "This type of event is a really big deal and something beyond a championship that I can really look forward to. I think it is going to be great to race against the best drivers in the country in this type of car."

Frank Deiny Jr., who hails from Mechanicsburg, Virg., is the current 2003 Victory Circle Rookie-of-the-Year point leader on the Featherlite Southwest Series. Deiny won the biggest Late Model race in the country last season, the TACO Bell 300 at Martinsville (Virg.) Speedway, wants to be in the top ten at seasons end just for the bragging rights. "This is the type of event that means more than money," Deiny said. "This is more important than a championship trophy, this is about being the top dog. I want to be the top dog."

For a racer like Greg Fowler, who makes the long tow to each Featherlite Southwest Series race from Longmont, Colo., this event gives him a lot of incentive to make each race. Fowler originally did not plan on racing at Stockton (Calif.) 99 Speedway this weekend, but if he did not attempt to make the show, he, more than likely, would be out of the points race. "We're sitting just 38 points out of tenth place," Fowler said. "I may not contend for a championship this season, but I sure can battle for the top ten. The Toyota All-Star Showdown gives us a lot of incentive to make each race all season. We may go broke, but we are going to be there."

2002 Featherlite Southwest Series Rookie-of-the-Year Brandon Whitt from El Cajon, Calif. is focused on ascending the NASCAR ladder and knows competing in the Toyota All-Star Showdown will be an event that is watched by everyone in racing. "It is an awesome event that NASCAR and Toyota have put together," Whitt said. "To race against the best in the United States will let me know where I stand. It is going to be a measuring stick for me and a whole lot of fun."

For Craig Raudman of Bakersfield, Calif., the 2001 Featherlite Southwest Series Champion, this event will be looked at as the biggest race of the year. "I am not going to race any differently because of it," Raudman said. "I plan on being there. We are going go out and try to win every race, but to know that we have a chance to race against guys you only read about gives us a reason to be there. The money is nice, but to lay it on the line and go flat out racing against the best on live television, now that is going to be something."

As the Featherlite Southwest Series drivers eye the prize in November, the race this weekend at Stockton (Calif.) 99 Speedway may turn out to be the most important race of the year.

-nascar-

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Brandon Whitt , Craig Raudman , Auggie Vidovich