WS: Fontana: News of note, schedule

* Eric Norris to return to series with Monaco Enterprises * Ernie Irvan team targets problem of graffiti NEWS OF NOTE * The race . The King Taco 200 is the third of 13 races on the series schedule for 2004. * The track .

*         Eric Norris to return to series with Monaco Enterprises

* Ernie Irvan team targets problem of graffiti

NEWS OF NOTE * The race . The King Taco 200 is the third of 13 races on the series schedule for 2004.

* The track . California Speedway is a superspeedway with turns banked 14 degrees, 11 degrees of banking in the front straight and three degrees banking in the back straight. The track has hosted eight West Series events.

* Familiar faces . Two familiar faces to the series are teaming up for this event. Eric Norris, who won this event en route to winning the series championship in 2002, will be behind the wheel of car owner Gene Monaco's No. 85 Mission Inn/John Hardie Chevrolet. FOX Television analyst and a former championship crew chief in NASCAR's premier division, Jeff Hammond, will serve as the team's crew chief.

* Bowyer returns . Clint Bowyer, who pilots a Richard Childress Racing entry in the NASCAR Busch Series, will compete in his second West Series race this season in the Bill McAnally Racing No. 20 Chevrolet. Bowyer, who finished 8th in the season opener at Phoenix, won the championship in the Midwest Region of the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series in 2002 and competed last year in the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Midwest Series.

* Irvan entry targets graffiti problem . The roster of cars for this event also includes an entry from car owner Ernie Irvan, who retired from NASCAR's premier series as a driver in 1996 with 15 victories. Irvan and driver, Kevin Conway (No. 28 T.A.G. Chevrolet), are promoting an educational program aimed at battling graffiti. "The Difference Between ART and GRAFFITI" was developed as a spin-off from the County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors-supported Totally Against Graffiti (T.A.G.) program that has been underway for four years. Conway is scheduled to sign autographs at the Speed Zone go-kart track on Wednesday, April 28, from 7 to 10 p.m.

* Fiesta Broadway . Jose Luis Ramirez (No. 17 Juegos Del Valle/Guerrero Ford) made a special appearance at the huge Cinco de Mayo celebration, Fiesta Broadway, in Los Angeles on Sunday, April 25.The event featured 100 exhibitors, carnival games and international talent performing from six concert stages throughout the day.

* Kickoff . Defending series champion Scott Lynch (No. 08 Yerf-Dog/Orleans Racing Dodge) and Jason Jefferson (No. 25 TOE Performance/Red Line Oil Pontiac) - fresh off his victory in the season-opener in the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest Series - are slated to meet fans and sign autographs during the annual SpeedFreaks kickoff party at Game Works in the Ontario Mills Mall on the evening of Thursday, April 29.

* West drivers on Trackside . Norris and Austin Cameron (No. 16 NAPA/NAPA Belts & Hose Chevrolet) are to appear this week on SPEED Channel's "Trackside" program. The show will be broadcast live from California Speedway on Friday evening.

* Last year's event . Bud pole winner Johnny Borneman (No. 8 Borneman Plastering/Red Line Oil Ford) set the pace through the early stages of the 2003 event. Ken Schrader (No. 99 Federated Auto Parts Pontiac) took the lead on lap 23, but gave up the top spot to pit during the second of three cautions. A succession of several different leaders left Schrader to inherit the lead during the final caution on lap 84. Shortly after the restart, however, Steve Portenga piloted the Performance Motorsports No. 77 Ford out front - where he remained to the finish.

* Seven different race winners . The eight series events at Fontana have produced seven different winners. Schrader is the only driver to win it twice, with victories the first two years it was held (1997 and 1998).

* Seven different pole winners . The eight events featured seven different Bud Pole Award winners. Schrader is also the only driver with multiple poles - setting the fast lap in this event in 1998 and 2000.

* Top marks . Schrader leads several categories of series competition at California Speedway. He has the most top-five finishes, with five, and the most top-10 finishes, with six. With $61,940 in winnings, Schrader has won the most money in West Series competition at the two-mile track. He has also led the most laps, running out front for 188 circuits.

* How they compare . Among drivers who have competed in four or more series races at California Speedway, Schrader has the best average finish. He has an average finish of 2.33 in six races. Steve Portenga is second on the list with an average finish of 5.75 in four races.

* Return performance . Scott Gaylord (No. 00 Oliver Gravity Separators/Denver Seminary Chevrolet) is the only driver to compete in all eight West Series races that have been held at California Speedway.

* Manufacturers' battle . Chevrolet has the most wins at California Speedway among automobile manufacturers, with four. A Ford was in victory lane the last two years, however.

* Stat of the race . The Bud Pole winner went on to win the race in three of the eight series events at California Speedway.

* Etc. . Ninety-seven different drivers have competed in the eight series races at California Speedway.

BIRTHDAYS

Drivers who will be celebrating a birthday during the month of May include Daryl Harr, who will turn 22 on the 5th; Jose Luis Ramirez, who will turn 25 on the 8th; Scott Lynch, who will turn 24 on the 14th; Eric Norris, who will turn 39 on the 20th; and Steve Portenga, who will turn 34 on the 22nd.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

On May 15, 1977, Gary Johnson won the third race of the season, a 100-lap event on the 2.5-mile Ontario (Calif.) Motor Speedway.

Fast Facts

What: King Taco 200,
NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series Race #3 of 13

Where: California Speedway, Fontana, Calif.
When: 9:20 a.m., Saturday, May 1.

Track layout: 2-mile superspeedway.
Distance: 100 Laps, 200 miles.

TV: HDNet (Live)
SPEED Channel (tape-delay, May 15, 9 a.m. PT)

Pre-race schedule: Thursday - Practice, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Qualifying, 3:30 p.m. Practice, 5-6 p.m. Note: Subject to change.

Field: 36 cars possible. Fastest 30 through time trials. Two provisional positions based on final 2003 West Series championship owner point standings, two positions based on final 2003 West Series championship driver standings, one position based on final 2003 Busch North Series championship owner point standings, one position to West Series champion.

-nascar-

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About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Ernie Irvan , Ken Schrader , Steve Portenga , Eric Norris , Scott Gaylord , Scott Lynch , Daryl Harr , Clint Bowyer , Kevin Conway , Austin Cameron , Jason Jefferson , Jose Luis Ramirez , John Gary
Teams Richard Childress Racing