WS: Colorado: Series round 11 preview

NASCAR Camping World Series West News & Notes Toyota/NAPA 150 Banks Makes First Trip To Colorado National Speedway Talented Young Rookies Continue Tight Battle For Title Five Different Winners In Six Series Events At CNS Banks Hopes For...

NASCAR Camping World Series West News & Notes
Toyota/NAPA 150

Banks Makes First Trip To Colorado National Speedway
Talented Young Rookies Continue Tight Battle For Title
Five Different Winners In Six Series Events At CNS

Banks Hopes For Another Strong Short-Track Performance

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Although he prefers racing on the road courses, Wes Banks (No. 3 Valvoline Ford) has excelled in short-track events this year in NASCAR Camping World Series West competition. His best finishes have come on tracks of a half-mile or less in length.

"Short tracks have been good to us," said the 48-year-old driver from Oakdale, Calif. "Road courses are what I like, but short tracks have been my best so far this year."

He hopes that trend continues as the NASCAR Camping World Series West heads to Colorado this week for the Toyota/NAPA 150 at Colorado National Speedway on Saturday, Aug. 15. It will be the 11th event of a 13-race series schedule this season.

Although he has never been to the .375-mile paved oval just north of Denver, Banks is optimistic of getting a good finish there. "I'm looking forward to Denver," he said. "The short tracks have been appealing to me this year."

Competing on a tight budget, Banks had initially considered skipping the race in Colorado. But with a shot at moving into the top 10 of the championship standings, he has opted to make the trip.

"We're only a few points out of 10th," he said. "We decided we're going to go to Denver and let it all hang out. We're going to go for broke and see what happens."

Banks has run nine of the 10 races so far this year -- missing one event because of a personal commitment.

"We missed one and that hurt, but I didn't have a choice on that," he said. "I wish we'd hit them all. We would have been a little better off in points. We're hoping to pull out of the year with a top 10. We're not a top-five team, but we can run in the top 10."

Like many California competitors, Banks began his racing career in off-road competition -- where he developed his touch for car control. "We were out there running 140 miles an hour across the desert," he recalled. "Car control is pretty tight. You make one little mistake and you can get hurt real quick."

Banks made the transition to stock cars -- competing initially in weekly competition on a paved half-mile track near Tracy, Calif., and then in the former NASCAR Southwest Tour.

"When I left the off-road racing, we started racing modifieds at Altamont," he said. "We caught on to that fairly easy. We were pretty successful toward the end of that."

After racing select events in the former NASCAR Southwest Tour, Banks made the move to the NASCAR Camping World Series West -- competing in four races in 2007 and eight last year.

"These stock cars are tough to handle, because they are so precise," Banks said of the NASCAR Camping World Series cars. "You look at the qualifying times. A tenth of a second is a big deal, especially on a short track. These are a lot more finesse."

Nonetheless, Banks says he enjoys the challenge. "Actually, I feel pretty comfortable in these," he said. "I just wish we had better finishes to prove for it, though."


News & Notes

The race -- The Toyota/NAPA 150 is the 11th of 13 races on the NASCAR Camping World Series West schedule for 2009. It marks the only series visit to the state of Colorado this year.

The procedure -- The starting field is 22 cars, including provisionals. The first 18 cars will qualify through two-lap time trials. The remaining four spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 150 laps (56.25 miles).

The track -- Colorado National Speedway is a .375-mile paved oval with four degrees of banking in the straights and progressive banking of six to 12 degrees in the corners. The track has hosted six NASCAR Camping World Series West events.

The records -- Qualifying: Brian Ickler, June 2, 2007, 82.057 mph, 16.452 seconds; Race: Eric Holmes, June 7, 2008, 62.888 mph, 53 minutes 40 seconds.

Duncan only repeat winner at CNS -- With wins at Colorado National Speedway in 2004 and 2007, Mike Duncan is the only driver with multiple wins at CNS. Drivers with a single win at Colorado include Mike Chase in 1995, Ron Hornaday Jr. in 1996, Steve Portenga in 2001 and Eric Holmes (No. 20 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota) last year.

Six different pole winners -- The six visits to Colorado have produced six different pole winners -- Eric Holmes, Garrett Evans, Butch Gilliland, Brian Ickler, Scott Lynch and Sean Woodside.

Duncan tops competition -- By virtue of his two wins, Mike Duncan, Mike David (No. 2 Bennett Lane Winery Toyota) and Jason Bowles (No. 9 Sunrise Ford Ford) lead the field in terms of the most top-five finishes in series competition at CNS. Austin Cameron has the most top-10 finishes, meanwhile, with three.

Running out front -- Mike Chase has led the most laps around the .375-mile oval, running out front for 172 laps.


Fast Facts

The Race: Toyota / NAPA 150
The Place: Colorado National Speedway, Dacono, Colo.

The Date: Saturday, Aug. 15
The Time: 8:30 p.m. MT

TV Schedule: SPEED Aug. 20, Noon PT

Track Layout: .375-mile paved
Race Purse: $103,115

2008 Winner: Eric Holmes
2008 Pole: Eric Holmes

Saturday: Practice 12-12:45 p.m., 1:15-2 p.m. Time Trials 5:15 p.m.


Last year's event ...

Eric Holmes scored his third win in five races with a victory in this event last season.

Holmes and Mike David started side-by-side on the front row for the battle around the .375-mile at CNS. Holmes, who won the Coors Light Pole Award, led initially -- but lost the top spot to David on a Lap 26 restart. Holmes demonstrated the strength of his No. 20 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota, however, in charging back past David one lap after a subsequent restart. He paced the field through the final 100 laps that went green to the finish.

After steadily stretching his lead as they worked their way through heavy traffic, Holmes later said he hoped that there would not be any cautions. Holmes crossed the finish line with a margin of victory of 7.060 seconds. David took the runner-up spot, with Jason Bowles finishing third. Mike Gallegos had a career-best fourth-place finish on his home track, followed by fifth-place finisher Daryl Harr, who equaled his career-best mark. Completing the top 10 were Moses Smith, Jim Inglebright, Austin Cameron, Jeff Barkshire and Brett Thompson.


Final Notes From Miller

First-time winner -- Patrick Long (No. 9 Sunrise/AASCO Motorsports/UIS Ford) captured his first NASCAR win with a victory in the NASCAR Camping World Series West race on the road course at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah on Aug. 1. He is the sixth different driver in the series to visit Victory Lane this season. Long is a full-time Porsche factory driver, who is running select events in the NASCAR Camping World Series this season.

Second pole -- With a qualifying lap of 94.509 mph at MMP, Long won his second Coors Light Pole Award of the season. His first was at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., in June.

Career best -- Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Paulie Harraka (No. 12 NAPA AutoCare/Adaptive One Brakes Toyota) started last in the Utah race and came away with a career-best runner-up finish.

Rookie battle -- The see-saw battle for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year title continues between Harraka of Fairlawn, N.J., and Blake Koch (No. 21 Chevrolet) of West Palm Beach, Fla. The two talented young drivers are tied in the standings for the coveted award.

Extending lead -- With a third-place finish at MMP, Jason Bowles (No. 6 Sunrise Ford) extended his lead in the championship standings to 56 points over Eric Holmes (No. 20 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota), who finished eighth. Bowles has recorded a top-10 finish in all 10 races this season. Change in positions -- A third consecutive top-five finish for Greg Pursley (No. 26 Gene Price Motorsports/Star Nursery Ford), coupled with mechanical trouble at Utah for David Mayhew (No. 17 MMI Services/Ron's Rear Ends/KHI Chevrolet) moved Pursley up to third in the standings and Mayhew back to fourth. It was the first race this season in which Mayhew failed to finish.

-credit: nascar

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Drivers Ron Hornaday Jr. , Paulie Harraka , Moses Smith , Patrick Long , Steve Portenga , Jim Inglebright , Brett Thompson , Scott Lynch , Mike David , Daryl Harr , Eric Holmes , Wes Banks , Austin Cameron , Jason Bowles , David Mayhew , Jeff Barkshire , Brian Ickler , Blake Koch