NASCAR GRAND NATIONAL DIVISION, WEST SERIES NEWS & NOTES -- MONROE * Duncan Posts Remarkable Numbers At Evergreen Speedway * Big Night Of Racing Features 500 Laps Of Competition With Three Races * Mayhew Named To Drive GGRT/RCR...
NASCAR GRAND NATIONAL DIVISION, WEST SERIES NEWS & NOTES -- MONROE
* Duncan Posts Remarkable Numbers At Evergreen Speedway
* Big Night Of Racing Features 500 Laps Of Competition With Three Races
* Mayhew Named To Drive GGRT/RCR Entry
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 31, 2007) -- When it comes to recent competition in the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series at Evergreen Speedway, Mike Duncan (No. 9 Lucas Oil/Ron's Rear Ends Chevrolet) has been Mr. Consistency.
Duncan has scored five consecutive podium finishes, including a win in 2004, at the .646-mile track in Monroe, Wash. He will attempt to extend that streak when the West Series returns this week for the NAPA 300 presented by Basalite on Saturday, Aug. 4.
Despite his record at Monroe, the two-time series champion plans to try something new with the set up on the suspension of his 3,300-pound stock car for this event.
"We're going up there again with a good past record, but we're going to try something totally different this time," said Duncan, who has an average finish of 3.0 -- with top 10 finishes in all of his six starts overall at the historic fairgrounds facility. "I don't know if there's room to gain or not, but we're going to definitely look and see."
A new pit stop format for the Grand National Division and the progression of other teams have brought about the need to try new things, according to Duncan. Under the pit stop format adopted by the West Series this year, teams are not allowed to refuel the race cars and change tires during the same pit stop.
"I think this year will be different," said the 45-year-old driver from Bakersfield, Calif. "This new format, with the pit stops and double-file restarts, there's a whole different set of scenarios that could be part of having success up there. I don't feel the past is going to be as critical."
Duncan also feels it is necessary to make changes to keep up with his competition.
"There's some new technical ability that is out there that people have hit on," he said. "I think it's going to make a difference."
Although he's in contention for this year's championship, Duncan fears his MB Duncan Motorsports team is slipping behind the competition. "We've got to keep trying new things to try to get caught up," Duncan said. "I don't think we're as good as where some of these guys are getting close to being. It's taken us until right now to start to experiment with this stuff. We just don't have any choice. We've got to start trying new things."
With regards to his success at Monroe, Duncan is quick to credit his crew chief Bill Sedgwick, who like Duncan, won back-to-back West Series championships as a driver and also made two visits to victory lane at Evergreen Speedway. "I think a lot of it is Sedgwick knowing what to put under the car," Duncan said. "These different places that we go to, his input, his coaching, is coming from somebody that probably has more laps around these places than anybody. So, it's real important to know what the consequence is if you don't do as instructed. That's a lot of difference at the end of the race where you end up. That's been a big part of our success."
When it comes to Monroe, Duncan knows to expect the same thing from the track each year. "We know it's an old slippery track," Duncan said. "The track is real abrasive on tires. That's the way it is. We don't expect anything different. We don't really want it to be any different. We want to go there knowing that our notes are still good and we can try to improve on where we've been in the past."
Although the track does not change from year to year, experience is important in knowing what to expect during a race -- especially with this year's race distance extended to 300 laps. "I think somebody without experience at a place like that would most likely be at a disadvantage," Duncan said. "If you're not educated on the tendency of the track, it could be a problem. Everybody pretty well knows the tendency of the track -- but to experience it and know where your setup needs to be to stay underneath you for the whole night, that's a different situation," said Duncan, knowing that both of Sedgwick's wins at Monroe were 500-lap races (1990 and 1992).
"Even I have never ran 300 laps there," Duncan admitted. "So, it's going to be a new challenge for me, as well."
While he plans to alter his approach for the longer race, Duncan has yet to determine his exact strategy. "We haven't really sat down yet to strategize what our game plan will be," Duncan said. "I'm sure it'll be a little different approach."
NEWS & NOTES
* The race -- The NAPA 300 presented by Basalite is the 11th event of a 13-race NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series schedule for 2007. It is the only visit by the series to the state of Washington this year.
* The track -- Evergreen Speedway is a semi-banked .646-mile paved oval with turns banked eight degrees and four degrees banking in the straights. The track has hosted 48 NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series races overall, with 39 of those in the modern era since 1971.
* Big night of racing -- The West Series race is part of a big NASCAR night of competition at Evergreen Speedway that features 500 laps of competition, known as the Washington 500. In addition to the 300-lap West Series race, the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Super Stock class will race 150 laps in the Wired X Energy Drink 150 presented by Top Food & Haggen Food. The entry list for that event includes Daytona 500 winner Geoff Bodine, who won the Washington 500 at Monroe in 1991. Evergreen Speedway's Bomber class is slated to round out the Washington 500 with a 50-lap race.
* Special event at Seattle Center -- Four Grand National West Series drivers, along with several local drivers from Evergreen Speedway, are slated to be on hand to meet the media, greet fans and sign autographs during a special event at Seattle Center on Friday, Aug. 3. Autograph sessions are planned from noon to 1 p.m. and from 4 to 5 p.m. In addition, several race cars are to be displayed adjacent to Key Arena throughout the afternoon on Friday.
* Winning car repaired, ready for return -- Johnny Borneman (No. 8 Twisted X Boots/Red Line Oil Ford) plans to return to Monroe with the same car he won this event with last year. The car required extensive repairs after suffering major damage during a last-lap incident at Altamont Motorsports Park earlier this year.
* Mayhew joins GGRT/RCR -- David Mayhew has been named to replace Ryan Foster in the No. 21 Golden Gate Petroleum/RCR Chevrolet for Jim *ffenbach's Golden Gate Racing Team, which operates a driver development program with Richard Childress Racing. Mayhew of Atascadero, Calif., has registered two top-10 finishes in four West Series races this season. He led 56 laps at Phoenix International Raceway in April, before encountering engine failure late in the race.
* Mack returns to action -- Lloyd Mack (No. 83 Borneman Plastering Ford) is slated to be back in action. The Los Angeles driver is to make his second appearance in a Borneman Motorsports entry.
* Veteran Northwest driver to debut -- Travis Bennett will step aside from his spotter duties to get back behind the wheel and make his West Series debut at Monroe. Bennett, who has served as a spotter this season for series rookie Eric Richardson (No. 20 Basalite Chevrolet), competed as a driver in NASCAR Elite Division, Northwest Series from 2004-2006, missing the championship by just one point in his first year on that circuit.
* Local competitor to make series debut -- Jason Frazer of Snohomish, Wash., is also slated to make his debut in the West Series this weekend. Fraser has won this season in the NASCAR Whelen All American Series Super Stocks at Evergreen Speedway. He spent last season racing in the Northwest Series in NASCAR's Elite Division.
* Competing for Showdown spot -- Drivers in the West Series only have three more chances to secure a spot in the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown by winning a race. Only Grand National Division race winners and champions of the NASCAR Developmental Series will be locked in to the field for the prestigious post-season event. All others must race their way in. (A special graphic listing drivers who have secured a spot in this year's NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown is available at www.nascarmedia.com and is updated each Tuesday.)
* Last year's event -- Last year's race culminated in an emotional victory lane, with Johnny Borneman winning the event where his father had won 28 years earlier. After starting 11th and running mid-pack through the first half of the race, Borneman charged to the high side of turn two to seize the lead on lap 164 and end what had been a dominant run by Eric Holmes. Borneman streaked away from the field to quickly establish a sizeable lead. While that margin was erased by a fifth and final caution on lap 183, Borneman had no trouble in pulling away after the restart to win by more than 14 seconds. Mike Duncan (No. 9 Lucas Oil/Ron's Rear Ends Chevrolet) finished second, followed by Steve Portenga.
* Many different winners -- Twenty-five different drivers have won a series race at Evergreen Speedway since 1971. Brendan Gaughan was the last repeat winner, in 2000 and 2001.
* Big winners -- Ray Elder has the most wins at Evergreen Speedway, with five. He visited victory lane in 1971, twice in 1972 and twice in 1975. Other multiple winners include Ron Eaton (1979, 1980 and 1982), Chad Little (1986, 1988 and 1989), Brendan Gaughan (2000 and 2001), Butch Gilliland (1996 and 1998), Harry Jefferson (1974 and 1977), Neil Newberry (1976 and 1979), Jim Robinson (1983 and 1984) and Bill Sedgwick (1990 and 1992).
* Most poles -- Eaton and Bill Elliott share the distinction for winning the most Bud Pole Awards at Monroe, with four each. Eaton won his in 1977, 1980, 1982 and 1985; Elliott won his in 1986, 1987, 1989 and 1990.
* Best finishes -- The late Roy Smith leads the lists for most top-five finishes (nine) and top-10 finishes (14) in series competition at the track since 1971.
* Most money -- Bill Sedgwick leads in terms of money won in series events at Evergreen Speedway in the modern era. He has winnings of $108,351 in 10 races.
* Out front -- Chad Little has led the most laps of series competition around the Monroe track since 1971, staying out front for 1,183 circuits.
* High marks -- With his five consecutive podium finishes, Mike Duncan has the best average finish among active drivers with four or more starts at Monroe. His average in six events is 3.0.
* Manufacturers' battle -- Ford tops the list of manufacturer wins at Evergreen Speedway with 11, including last year's victory by Johnny Borneman
* Stat of the race -- Only nine of 39 winners at Evergreen Speedway since 1971 started from the Bud Pole spot.
* Going the distance -- This will mark the second time for the West Series to run the 300-lap distance at Monroe. The season opener in 1991, one of two visits to the speedway that year, was 300 laps long.
* Etc. -- A total of 304 different drivers have competed in the 39 series races at Evergreen Speedway since 1971.
Drivers celebrating a birthday during the month of August include Scott Gaylord, who turns 49 on the 12th; Burney Lamar, who turns 27 on the 21st; Travis Powell, who turns 43 on the 26th; John Moore, who turns 44 on the 27th; Brandon Loverock, who turns 30 on the 27th; Brian Richardson, who turns 32 on the 28th; and Brandon Miller, who turns 26 also on the 28th.
What: NAPA 300 presented by Basalite
NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series Race #11
Where: Evergreen Speedway, Monroe, Wash.
When: 8 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 4
Track layout: .646-mile paved oval.
Distance: 300 Laps, 193.8 miles.
Posted Awards: $137,128
2006 winner: Johnny Borneman.
2006 polesitter: Eric Holmes.
Records: Qualifying: Mark Krogh, June 29, 1996, 99.589 mph, 23.352 sec.; Race: Mike Chase, May 4, 1991, 72.283 mph, 2 hr 40 min 52 sec,
Pre-race schedule: Saturday -- Practice, 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m. Qualifying, 3:30 p.m. Note: All times subject to change.
NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series Top 10: 1. Mike David 1,548, 2. Johnny Borneman 1,434, 3. Mike Duncan 1,418, 4. Jason Bowles 1,406, 5. Brian Ickler 1,358, 6. Eric Hardin 1,352, 7. Brett Thompson 1,319, 8. Justin Lofton 1,270, 9. Alex Haase 1,270, 10. Eric Richardson 1,217.