DUNCAN OUTRUNS GILLILAND TO WIN FROM BUD POLE AT EVERGREEN SPEEDWAY MONROE, Wash. (July 30, 2005) - Mike Duncan outran David Gilliland to the finish line to become the first driver in more than 20 years to win a 200-lap NASCAR...
DUNCAN OUTRUNS GILLILAND TO WIN FROM BUD POLE AT EVERGREEN SPEEDWAY
MONROE, Wash. (July 30, 2005) - Mike Duncan outran David Gilliland to the finish line to become the first driver in more than 20 years to win a 200-lap NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series race from the Bud Pole position at Evergreen Speedway.
Duncan's win in the Coors Light 200 on Saturday, July 30, marked his first victory of the season and his fourth career series win. He matched the 1982 mark of Ron Eaton, who was the last driver to win the Bud Pole and go on to win the race in a 200-lap event on the .646-mile track.
Duncan, the 2004 series champion, battled back-and-forth throughout the event with Gilliland, the top series rookie in 2004. Duncan turned a lap of 99.232 mph in qualifying to nab his fourth Bud Pole Award in six races this season.
It was Gilliland, however, who shot from his starting position on the outside of the front row to pace the early laps. Duncan charged by Gilliland on lap 65, but relinquished the top spot five laps later to pit for fuel and fresh tires during a caution. Gilliland, one of only three lead lap cars to not pit during that caution, regained the lead. The pair shuffled the lead before pitting again on lap 111, leaving Sarah Fisher to take charge. Fisher, who was third quickest in qualifying, ran in the top five through 60 laps and gained the lead after pitting during a previous caution.
Duncan demonstrated the strength of his Lucas Oil/Ron's Rear Ends Chevrolet in the second 100 laps, charging back and moving out front on lap 118. Following a subsequent caution period, Gilliland restarted in fifth after a pit stop. He steadily charged to the front and it appeared that he might rally for the win. Gilliland was up to second by lap 150 and closed in on the leader a few times, but could never mount a serious threat.
Duncan led the field to the finish - winning by a margin of 1.604 seconds, at an average speed of 68.085 mph. The Bakersfield, Calif., driver netted $8,467 for the win - including the Bud Pole Award.
Gilliland of Riverside, Calif., was second in the RaceCarCeilingFans.com Chevrolet. Burley, Idaho driver Scott Lynch, who leads the championship standings, finished third in the GP Earthworks Dodge. Tim Woods III of Chino Hills, Calif., had a strong run in his Chino Hills Ford Ford to finish fourth - with series rookie Andrew Lewis of Ramona, Calif., taking fifth in the Teen Arrive Alive Chevrolet. Mike David and Scott Gaylord were sixth and seventh. Rounding out the top 10 were Chris Schmelzle, Daryl Harr and Ed Watson - all of whom finished on the lead lap after receiving the beneficiary award during cautions periods in the event. The "beneficiary" rule - which allows the first driver off the lead lap to return to the last position on the lead lap, under caution - was one of the changes to race procedures recently announced for the NASCAR Grand National Division.
Although Fisher came home on the lead lap in 11th at Monroe, her Bill McAnally Racing teammate was not as fortunate. Steve Portenga, who entered the event second in the championship standings, encountered mechanical problems and finished 18th.
The race featured seven lead changes among three drivers - Duncan, Gilliland and Fisher. The race pace was slowed by six cautions for 42 laps.
Lynch, who won the series championship in 2003, continues to lead the point standings. He is out front with 1,009 points - followed by Duncan with 961, Gilliland with 916, Portenga with 907 and David in fifth with 870. Completing the top 10 are Brett Thompson at 798, Woods at 789, Gaylord at 777, Lewis at 771 and Andrew Myers at 755.
This year's battle for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year title continues to be wide open. Lewis retained his lead with 51 points - followed by Myers with 44, Fisher with 40, Jason Jefferson with 29, Rick Ruzbarsky with 27, Tim Smith with 26, Spencer Clark with 23, Schmelzle with 20, David Cardey with 15 and Brandon Miller with four.
The next event on the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series schedule will be the 4th Annual Dodge Country, NAPA Auto Parts 200 by Havoline at Stockton (Calif.) 99 Speedway on Aug. 13.
In addition to the beneficiary rule, the NASCAR Grand National Division races now feature "double-file" restarts after any caution periods. The cars are aligned in two rows, in the order they were running when the caution period began. Any lapped cars are placed at the rear of the field, also in double-file formation.