WS: Douglas County: Round eight preview

* Eric Hardin Looks Forward To Return To Douglas County Speedway * Festivities To Include Hauler Parade, Special Flyover, Fireworks * First Live Coverage Of Roseburg Race Carried By HDNet DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 25, 2007) -- As a...

* Eric Hardin Looks Forward To Return To Douglas County Speedway

* Festivities To Include Hauler Parade, Special Flyover, Fireworks
* First Live Coverage Of Roseburg Race Carried By HDNet

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 25, 2007) -- As a rookie in the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series last year -- Eric Hardin (No. 5 Alta Dena Dairy Chevrolet) was getting his first look at many tracks on the circuit. Hardin's experience is paying off this season, in knowing what to expect as he returns to tracks he competed on last year.

"It helps a ton with the tracks that I've been to and it's pretty clear in my results and how we've been finishing this season that we struggled more on the tracks that I haven't been on," said Hardin, who registered two top-five and three top-10 finishes in the first six races this year. "It just takes longer to figure them out," he said of a first-time visit to a track.

The experience gained as a rookie helps in various ways, according to Hardin. "For me, it's really beneficial -- just knowing where to be on the track and braking points and things like that," he said. "It helps us get more time to work on the actual car, rather than work on me as the driver. I'm excited about going to these tracks that I've been to."

Hardin hopes the trend continues as the Grand National West Series returns to Douglas County Speedway for the BI-MART Firecracker 150 presented by NAPA Auto Parts in Roseburg, Ore., on Saturday, June 30.

Although he had an 11th-place finish at the fairgrounds facility last year, Hardin admits to struggling on tracks of that size as a rookie. He hopes to have that effort turned around, however. "We've got them figured out a little bit more than I did last year," he said. "That's definitely encouraging."

Hardin has been encouraged by his team's success this year, as they benefit from the experience as well. "We're a lot more prepared this season than we were last year," he said. "That's a huge part of it."

His game plan for Roseburg, meanwhile, will be similar to the season opener at Texas, he said. "I'm going to approach Roseburg just like Texas and keep an open mind, look for a finish and shoot for a top-five," he said.

Racing on a tight, semi-banked track such as Roseburg does require special discipline, according to Hardin. "You have to make sure not to overdrive the car," he said. "It took me a long time to figure that out."

In addition to his on-track success this year, Hardin has enjoyed the support of new sponsorship from Alta Dena Dairy.

"Without them, obviously, we wouldn't be able to be out there," he said. "It's been great. It's made the whole experience a lot different and a lot more enjoyable. We have guests from the dairy and their customers at almost all of our events. It's been really cool to get all those people out there and be around it. They're a great group of people."

NEWS & NOTES

* The race -- This event is the eighth race on the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series schedule in 2007. 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 five 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 make its way through Roseburg, Ore., on Friday, June 29. The haulers will head north on Interstate 5 from The Seven Feathers Hotel Truck Stop at approximately 2 p.m. The parade will be followed by a driver autograph session, which is open to the public, at the BI-MART at 1381 NW Garden Valley Road from 4 to 6 p.m.

* Special flyover slated -- A special flyover by vintage "war birds" is slated prior to the start of the race. The aircraft will be in Roseburg that weekend as part of a special air show, known as Roseburg's Air Fair Salute to American Veterans.

* Special fireworks celebration -- The race is to be capped off with a special fireworks show again this year to commemorate the Fourth of July.

* Competing for Showdown spot -- Race winners in NASCAR Grand National Division action this year earn a starting spot in the 2007 NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown. Under the new format introduced this season, only Grand National race winners and champions of the NASCAR Developmental Series will be locked in to the field. All others must race their way in.

* First visit by HDNet to Roseburg -- Continuing its coverage of the NASCAR Grand National West Series this season, HDNet will televise the BI-MART Firecracker 150 live in high definition to a national audience. It marks the first live broadcast of the Roseburg event. Veteran announcer Mike Hogewood returns to call the action, with color commentary by Dan Pardus. Natalie Taylor will report on action from the pits. In addition to that coverage, SPEED is to provide an enhanced replay on July 11 at 2:30 p.m. ET.

* Last year's event -- Peyton Sellers dominated last year's event at Roseburg, winning the Bud Pole Award and leading 125 of 150 laps in the NAPA Auto Parts/NAPA Belts & Hose Chevrolet. Eric Holmes waged a strong battle for the lead through much of the event, but slipped to third in the late stages. Sellers then faced a challenge from Mike David (No. 2 Bennett Lane Winery Ford), before eventually pulling away. David had to settle for second, followed by Holmes.

* Winning pair -- Austin 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 nine West Series races at Roseburg featured seven different Bud Pole winners. McCoy and Mike Duncan (No. 9 Lucas Oil/Ron's Rear Ends Chevrolet) lead, with two each.

* Leading the way -- Duncan leads several other categories in series competition at Roseburg in the modern era (since 1971). He has led the most laps of competition, running out front 318 laps. He has the most top-five finishes, with four, and the most top-10 finishes, with five. With an average finish of 3.2, Duncan also leads among drivers with at least four starts at Roseburg. The two-time series champion also leads in terms of money won in series competition at Roseburg, with $23,253.

* Returning drivers -- Five drivers have competed in all five races at Roseburg since 2002 -- Mike Duncan, Mike David, Scott Gaylord (No. 00 Gaylord Racing Chevrolet), Jack Sellers (No. 15 Aramark Chevrolet) and Brett Thompson (No. 61 Pets Best/Thompson Motorsports/Windmill Inn Chevrolet).

* Stat of the race -- Four of the six West Series races in the modern era were won by the Bud Pole winner.

BIRTHDAYS

Drivers celebrating a birthday during the month of July include Gary Smith, who turns 39 on the 6th; Brendan Gaughan, who turns 32 on the 10th; Rick Ruzbarsky, who turns 42 on the 11th; Brandon Ash, who turns 30 on the 17th; and Jack Sellers, who turns 63 on the 27th.

FAST FACTS

What: BI-MART 150, presented by NAPA Auto Parts
NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series Race #8

Where: Douglas County Speedway, Roseburg, Ore.
When: 8:30 p.m., Saturday, June 30

Track layout: .5-mile paved oval.
Distance: 150 Laps, 75 miles.

Posted Awards: $115,787

TV: HDNet (Live)
SPEED (enhanced replay, July 11, 2:30 p.m. ET)

2006 winner: Peyton Sellers.
2006 polesitter: Peyton Sellers.

Records: Qualifying: Austin Cameron, Sept. 20, 2003, 118.632 mph, 15.173 sec.; Race: Peyton Sellers, July 1, 2006, 78.603 mph, 57 min. 15 sec.

Pre-race schedule: Saturday -- Practice, 11:15 a.m.-Noon, 1:15-2 p.m. Qualifying, 5 p.m. Note: All times subject to change.

-credit: nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Brendan Gaughan , Scott Gaylord , Jack Sellers , Brett Thompson , Mike David , Eric Holmes , Rick Ruzbarsky , Brandon Ash , Austin Cameron , Peyton Sellers