ROSEVILLE, CA. The pit area of the All American Speedway, Saturday, will be filled with side-by-side 18-wheel haulers loaded with NASCAR, SRL, Modified and WSRA race cars, packed with more tools, tires and gear than you find in many local auto ...
ROSEVILLE, CA. The pit area of the All American Speedway, Saturday, will be filled with side-by-side 18-wheel haulers loaded with NASCAR, SRL, Modified and WSRA race cars, packed with more tools, tires and gear than you find in many local auto repair shops. The NASCAR Camping World Series will bring in 20-25 cars, drivers, and pit crew teams on the second stop of the West Coast Tour for the Toyota / NAPA Auto Parts 150. The Riebes Auto Parts 125 SRL Southwest Tour will hold its 2009 season opener earlier in the evening with another 20 teams.
The race is a boost to the local economy with the influx of out-of-town race teams vying for over $150,000 in prize money for the evening. Local racing will be represented in the TMS Modified 50, part of NASCAR's Whelan All-American Series, and youngsters in WSRA Mini-Cups and Baby Grands will be racing for their share of the winnings too.
All eyes will be on the No. 20 NAPA Auto Parts-Toyota with two-time NCWS- West champion, Eric Holmes, and the No. 6 Sunrise Ford-Ford driven by Jason Bowles, 2007 Rookie of the Year. Each won closely fought races at All American Speedway in 2008, and had equally impressive pole starts and Top Ten wins for the '08 season.
Here's what Kevin Green, NASCAR, had to say about who to watch as the season starts -
ERIC HOLMES - The Escalon, Calif., driver two-for-two, having captured the NASCAR Camping World Series West championship in the only two seasons he ran the full series schedule - 2006 and 2008. He returns in 2009, hoping to score back-to-back titles and gain his third championship in four years. The 34-year-old second-generation driver enters his second season driving the No. 20 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota for Bill McAnally Racing, a team that won three consecutive series championships in 1999, 2000 and 2001.
Holmes and BMR hope to continue their strong performance of a year ago - in which he won four races and captured the Coors Light Pole Award for the year by setting the fast time in five events. He also led nearly twice as many laps of competition as any other driver in 2008.
JASON BOWLES - After winning the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award in 2007, the Ontario, Calif., driver went toe-to-toe for the championship in the NASCAR Camping World Series West in 2008. Although he ultimately finished in the runner-up spot in the final standings - 48 points out of first place - Bowles matched champion Eric Holmes in many accomplishments for the year. They each scored four wins and each driver won five Coors Light Pole Awards. They also had an equal number of top-10 finishes, with 10 each.
Championship crew chief Bill Sedgwick joined with Bowles and the team of car owner Bob Bruncati at the season opener last year. Now with a full season together as a team, Bowles could become the one to beat in 2009.
MIKE DAVID - Following his championship season, Mike David experienced an up and down year in 2008. He scored a major victory early, piloting the No. 2 Bennett Lane Winery Toyota to Victory Lane at Phoenix, and was battling for the top spot in the championship standings. But the Modesto, Calif., driver fell out of contention in the second half of the season, with a series of finishes outside of the top 10. David battled back to register a pair runner-up finishes in the final three races. He finished fourth in the points, with six top-five and eight top-10 finishes. Bolstered by that late- season momentum, look for the team of car owner Randy Lynch to have David back in contention for the 2009 season.
SUNOCO ROOKIE OF THE YEAR CANDIDATES - Among those members of the freshman class of 2009 expected to compete for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award, are several drivers who have already demonstrated their potential for success in the NASCAR Camping World Series.
Paulie Harraka, a participant in the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program, grabbed the Coors Light Pole and finished sixth in the season finale, one of three races he ran last year. Another member of the Drive for Diversity program, Jonathon Gomez, turned in top 10 finishes in both of the starts he made in the series in 2008. Blake Koch, meanwhile, captured some attention in qualifying fourth quickest in his only series appearance in the season finale.
WILD CARDS - Two drivers running limited schedules in 2008 surprised some of the regulars in the NASCAR Camping World Series West in capturing their first career win last year. Todd Souza won on the road course at Miller Motorsports Park, one of four events in which he raced, and Jason Fensler won at his home track of Altamont Raceway Park in his only start of the season. With some talented newcomers expected to run select events in the series, the potential is there for some surprise winners in 2009.