* Daryl Harr rebounds from early season frustration * Series history in the making with 3 female drivers entered * Annual parade and autograph session kick off festivities DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 12, 2005) - This year...
* Daryl Harr rebounds from early season frustration
* Series history in the making with 3 female drivers entered
* Annual parade and autograph session kick off festivities
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 12, 2005) - This year has been like a tale of two seasons for Daryl Harr (No. 71 WestWorld Computers Chevrolet). His competition in the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series early in 2005 was filled with frustration. The 23-year-old Canadian from St. Albert, Alberta, managed to turn his season around, however, and is enjoying momentum as the series heads into its final three events.
Harr hopes to keep things moving in a positive direction as the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series heads to Douglas County Speedway in Roseburg, Ore., for the NAPA 200 presented by NAPA Belts & Hose on Saturday, Sept. 17. It will mark the first time for the annual event to be televised to a national audience on SPEED Channel.
Harr, who finished ninth in this event a year ago, is looking forward to returning to Roseburg. "It's like a lot of tracks in Canada," he said of the half-mile paved oval at the fairgrounds. "It's small, it's flat, it has really tight quarters and no walls in the corners. It's a lot of fun, actually."
His team heads to Oregon bolstered by its recent performance, according to Harr. "Coming off of qualifying third and finishing sixth at Fontana, everybody on my team's riding high," he said. "I think that's going to give us a boost of confidence going in there. This year we hope to be in the top five there. I think that's attainable with the car that I'll be bringing."
His optimism is contrary to his outlook earlier in the year when he failed to crack the top 10 in the first four races. "The early part of the season was really frustrating, especially coming off of last year where we finished seventh and had so many top 10s in what I felt was equipment that was not as good as what we had this year," Harr explained.
"I didn't know what was going on or what I could do to make it better," he said. "We had some bad luck - got spun a couple of times, lost a motor and I made a couple of mistakes."
With four of 12 races completed, Harr was mired near the bottom of the championship standings. "After the first four races we had a long break and it gave me a lot of time to think," he recalled. "I was back in 14th or 15th position in the point standings. In the first four races I had wanted to establish myself solid in the top 10. Instead, I found myself having to reevaluate my goals for the season."
He and his father, Carl, who operated as a two-car team, decided it was time for a change. They opted to park Carl's car on a temporary basis and concentrate on Daryl's effort.
"With a quarter of the season over already, it was time to change the game plan," Harr said of the decision for his dad to put his driving career on hold. "I was real fortunate that my dad was able to come over and help. Once we started working together, I think the results were almost automatic."
The change has allowed the team to concentrate on just one car, Harr pointed out. "The biggest resource that we were able to contribute was to focus - focus on one team, focus the manpower on one team, focus all our knowledge on one team. That really brought us all back together. We all know what our goal is - that is to get the 71 car the best it can be. In some aspects, it's great having a teammate, but when you don't have the resources or you're spread too thin, it's all for not. The way it's been going is a lot better than the way it was."
In addition to improving the team's performance, it has also made this season fun again, Harr said. "That's the biggest thing in the last half of the season; I've been having fun," he said. "I want to go out there and do the best I can and have fun."
Since making the change, Harr has finished in the top 10 in four of five races. An engine failure accounted for his only finish out of the top 10. He feels the team's recent performance indicates their true potential. "It reflects the way we're going with the team," Harr said. "It's only going to get better. I know as a driver, I've been able to focus on what's going in the driver's seat. I haven't had to worry about mechanical problems. I haven't had to worry about making chassis changes. I get in the car and focus on what the car is doing. I get out and say 'this is what it's doing.' From there I can focus back on what I'm doing on the race track. For the last five races it's just been getting better and better.
"I think by the end of the year, barring any bad luck, I think you're going to see our runs continue to get better," he said. "I'm confident in my crew. I'm confident of the cars that we have. We have a lot more time to focus on just the one team and the one car. With that, we're bringing in a better arsenal of knowledge to the track to do better."
Although Harr just moved to 10th in the championship standings, he is only 31 points out of seventh. He is hopeful of continuing his climb in the point standings with three remaining races. "My goal is to get back to where I was last year, which was seventh," he said. "With 31 points, I could get there in one race if things go the right way. I'd be thrilled if we get back up to seventh. I think it's really going to show the character of the team."
NEWS & NOTES
* The race . The NAPA 200 presented by NAPA Belts & Hose is the 10th race on the series schedule for 2005. It is the only visit by the series to the state of Oregon this year.
* The track . Douglas County Speedway is a half-mile paved oval with 11 degrees banking in the corners. The track - located just off Interstate 5 on the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Roseburg, Ore. - hosted four West Series races between 1966 and 1971, when it was a quarter-mile oval. The series has made three visits to the track since it was renovated and expanded in 2001.
* Annual kick-off festivities in Roseburg . The annual parade of NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series team haulers is slated to wind its way through Roseburg, Ore., to the speedway on Friday, Sept. 16. It will be followed by a driver autograph session, which is open to the public, at the speedway from 3:30 to 5 p.m.
* History in the making . History will be made in the West Series at Roseburg, with three female drivers entered in the event. Indy 500 veteran Sarah Fisher (No. 20 NAPA Filters/Domino's Pizza/Office Depot Chevrolet) has two top-10 finishes this season and is currently 12th in the championship standings. Kristi Schmitt (No. 10 Kristi Schmitt Racing Dodge), the granddaughter of four-time series champion Bill Schmitt, is slated to make her third career start in the series. Series newcomer 19-year-old Michelle Theriault (No. 77 NutriSystems/Sherm's Thunderbird Markets/Mission Foods Ford) of Bristol, Conn., meanwhile, has raced quarter midgets, Legends and late model stock cars.
* Last year's event . Scott Lynch (No. 08 Mr. Gas Dodge) appeared almost surprised to be in victory lane following last year's event. Mike Duncan (No. 9 Lucas Oil/Ron's Rear Ends Chevrolet) won the Bud Pole and paced the field for much of the event, with Austin Cameron running second. Although Duncan stretched out his lead just past the midway point of the race, it was erased by a caution on lap 110. Just after the restart, Duncan and Cameron spun to the inside of the track as they came in contact coming off turn two - leading to a wild scramble as drivers swerved to avoid the pair. Their two cars, along with several others, were damaged in the incident, but all were able to continue after visiting the pits for repairs. Lynch, meanwhile, avoided the incident and took over the lead and went on to win. David Gilliland (No. 88 RaceCarCeilingFans.com Chevrolet) took the runner-up spot, while Duncan recovered for third. The first portion of the race was run on Saturday night, but inclement weather halted the action on lap 68 and postponed the conclusion of the 200-lap event until Sunday.
* Winning . Cameron and Jack McCoy lead the way in West Series victories at Douglas County Speedway, with two each. McCoy's wins were in 1966 and 1969 - while Cameron's were back-to-back, in 2002 and 2003.
* Bud Poles . The seven West Series races at Roseburg featured six different Bud Pole winners, with McCoy being the only driver to win it more than once.
* Leading the way . Cameron has led the most laps of competition (210) at Roseburg and also tops the list of money winners at Roseburg, with $20,990.
* Top finishes . With three top-five finishes in the three races he competed in at Roseburg, Duncan leads the list of top finishers. Duncan and Cameron are tied for top-10 finishes, with three each.
* Average finish . With an average finish of 2.66, Cameron holds a slight advantage in terms of his average finish at Roseburg over Duncan's average of 3.0.
* Stat of the race . Two of the four West Series races in the modern era (since 1971) were won by the Bud Pole winner.
* Pairs of wins in '05 . Victories seem to be coming in pairs this season. Four drivers - Lynch, Duncan, Steve Portenga (No. 16 NAPA Auto Parts/NAPA Belts & Hose Chevrolet) and Burney Lamar (No. 33 HPS/Groeniger Chevrolet) - each have two wins this season.
* Points lead same as last year . The margin between first and second in the championship standings is the same with three races to go this season as it was last year with three to go. Lynch, the 2003 series champion, has a 48-point lead in the point standings over Duncan, the defending champion. A year ago, Duncan was 48 markers ahead of Austin Cameron with three races remaining.
* Other tight races . The four drivers in seventh through 10th in the championship standings are also in a tight points battle. Tim Woods III (No. 54 Chino Hills Ford Ford), Andrew Lewis (No. 18 Teen Arrive Alive Chevrolet), Scott Gaylord (No. 00 Oliver Gravity Separators/Denver Seminary Chevrolet) and Daryl Harr (No. 71 WestWorld Motorsports Chevrolet) are separated by just 31 points.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
On July 14, 1974, Jack McCoy won a 150-lap series event at Coos Bay Speedway in Coos Bay, Ore. McCoy overtook Ray Elder on the 49th lap and charged to the win. It was his third consecutive victory in three successive nights of racing. The event also marked the fifth of five series races within an 11-day span in the state of Oregon, as the series made its traditional swing through the Pacific Northwest. Despite McCoy's hot streak, Elder went on to win the series championship that season.
What: NAPA 200, Presented by NAPA Belts & Hose
NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series Race #10
Where: Douglas County Speedway, Roseburg, Ore.
When: 8:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 17.
Track layout: .5-mile paved oval.
Distance: 200 Laps, 100 miles.
Posted Awards: $109,895
TV: SPEED Channel (enhanced replay, Oct. 21, 5:30 p.m. ET)
2004 winner: Scott Lynch.
2004 polesitter: Mike Duncan.
Records: Qualifying: Austin Cameron, Sept. 20, 2003, 118.632 mph, 15.173 sec.; Race: Austin Cameron, Sept. 20, 2003, 84.309 mph, 1 hr 11 min 10 sec
Pre-race schedule: Saturday - Practice, 11:15 a.m.-Noon, 1:15-2 p.m. Qualifying, 3:15 p.m. Note: All times subject to change.
NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series Top 10: 1. Scott Lynch 1,519 2. Mike Duncan 1,471 3. Steve Portenga 1,403 4. David Gilliland 1,358 5. Mike David 1,292 6. Brett Thompson 1,233 7. Tim Woods III 1,181 8. Andrew Lewis 1,157 9. Scott Gaylord 1,151 10. Daryl Harr 1,150