WS: Irwindale: Round seven preview

Hardin Wants To Get Back Up Front At Irwindale Cameron Set To Make His 100th Career Start BMR Pushes To Continue Dominant Performance Hardin Heads Home With High Hopes At Toyota Speedway After getting off to a solid start this season, Eric ...

Hardin Wants To Get Back Up Front At Irwindale
Cameron Set To Make His 100th Career Start
BMR Pushes To Continue Dominant Performance

Hardin Heads Home With High Hopes At Toyota Speedway

After getting off to a solid start this season, Eric Hardin (No. 5 Direct Shopping Network Chevrolet) encountered some bad luck that knocked him out of the top 10 of the championship standings in the NASCAR Camping World Series West. The Anaheim, Calif., competitor hopes a visit to his NASCAR Home Track, Toyota Speedway at Irwindale, will provide him with an opportunity to turn his season back around.

"I'm real excited about going to Irwindale, since it's my home track," Hardin said. "I have not had the opportunity to race there in a while. Every time I do, I get that confidence back. I'm real comfortable there."

The NASCAR Camping World Series West heads to Toyota Speedway at Irwindale this week for a special Fourth of July event, the California Highway Patrol 200, on Friday. The race will be televised live in high definition to a national audience on HDNet. In addition, SPEED is to provide an enhanced replay on July 18.

Although his team has run well there, Hardin's finishes at the Irwindale facility have not always reflected it. "We haven't had a good finish there yet, but we've always run well," he said. "So, we look for good things from it."

Hardin hopes that by continuing to work hard, his team will be able to change their luck.

"We'll just keep doing what we've been doing and try to be more prepared at the races," he said. "That's all you can do." The success he experienced late last year and early this season, meanwhile, has provided him with the confidence to know he's capable of running with the leaders in the series.

"It was really good running toward the front, where we need to be," said Hardin, who turned 26 on Sunday. "Unfortunately, we've had a couple of crashes recently. So, that kind of brings you down a little bit. Coming off of Sonoma to my home track gives me something to really look forward to."

Hardin, who lost part of one leg to cancer as a youngster, is in his third full season of competing in the NASCAR Camping World Series West. He has three top-five and 11 top-10 finishes in 33 starts.

News & Notes

The race -- The California Highway Patrol 200 is the seventh event on the NASCAR Camping World Series West 2008 schedule. It is one of two races scheduled at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale this season, with the series set to return Aug. 16. This marks the second straight year for the track to host this race as a special Fourth of July event.

The procedure -- The starting field is 30 cars, including provisionals. The first 26 cars will qualify through two-lap time trials. The remaining four spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 200 laps (100 miles).

The track -- Toyota Speedway at Irwindale is a half-mile paved oval with blended banking of six, nine and 12 degrees in the corners and banking of six degrees in the straights. The track has hosted 16 NASCAR Camping World Series events, dating back to June of 1999.

The records -- Qualifying: Butch Gilliland, June 19, 1999, 100.722 mph, 17.871 seconds; Race: Austin Cameron, July 27, 2002, 76.062 mph, 1 hour 18 minutes 53 seconds.

Midway point -- This event marks the midway point in the 2008 season, with six races complete and six remaining.

Irwindale winners -- Austin Cameron (No. 18 NAPA Auto Care Toyota) leads winners at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale, with five victories. Coincidently, Cameron will be making his 100th series start at Irwindale.

Other Irwindale winners -- NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver and two-time NASCAR Camping World Series West champion Brendan Gaughan follows Austin Cameron on the list of winners at Irwindale, with the three races he swept in 2001. Bobby Dotter and Steve Portenga are also multiple race winners, with two victories each.

11 pole winners at Irwindale -- The 16 visits to Irwindale resulted in 11 different drivers winning a pole. Cameron, Mike Duncan, Eric Holmes (No. 20 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota), Scott Lynch and Sean Woodside are multiple winners, with two each.

Team dominance -- The Bill McAnally Racing team has dominated competition at Toyota Speedway, winning eight of 11 races since 2001. Gaughan swept all three visits for BMR in 2001. Three of Cameron's five Irwindale wins were with BMR, one in 2002 and two in 2004. Portenga added a BMR win in 2005 and Brian Ickler won there for BMR last year.

Front runner -- Gaughan has the most top-five finishes at Irwindale, with six. The Las Vegas native also won the most money at the state-of-the-art facility, with $71,690, and led the most laps, running out front for 674 laps.

Most top 10s -- Scott Gaylord has scored the most top-10s at the Irwindale track -- finishing in the top 10 in 11 of 13 races he has competed in there.

Widespread competition -- In the 16 races at the Southern California track, 143 different drivers have taken the green flag. Austin Cameron and Jack Sellers (No. 15 Aramark Chevrolet) top that list, each starting 14 of those races. Other drivers to compete in NASCAR Camping World Series West events at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale include NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kurt Busch, who finished 22nd in the inaugural series race there in June of 1999; three-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday Jr., who finished fourth in that event; NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Mike Wallace, who finished fifth behind Hornaday; and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series regular Matt Crafton, who finished a close second to Bobby Dotter in 2000.

Comparing the finishes -- Among drivers who have raced in four or more races at Irwindale, Bobby Dotter has the best average finish of 4.0 in four races. Gaughan is close behind, with an average of 4.63 in eight races.

Manufacturers' battle -- Chevrolet has been in Victory Lane for 14 of the 16 races at Irwindale. Joe Bean scored Ford's only win there in 2000 and Scott Lynch nabbed the only win for Dodge at Irwindale in 2003.

Going the distance -- The 16 events have varied in distance. Seven were 250-lap races (two in 1999, two in 2000 and three in 2001); five were 200 laps (one each in 2002 and 2003, two in 2006 and one in 2007); three were 150 laps (both in 2004 and one in 2005) and one was 300 laps (the season finale in 2000).

Stat of the race -- Three of the 16 races at Irwindale were won from the pole position.

Birthdays -- Drivers celebrating a birthday during July include Gary Smith, who turns 40 on the 6th; Brendan Gaughan, who turns 33 on the 10th; Rick Ruzbarsky, who turns 43 on the 11th; Brandon Ash, who turns 31 on the 17th; Kris Terris, who turns 30 on the 17th; and Jack Sellers, who turns 64 on the 27th.


The Race: California Highway Patrol 200

The Place: Toyota Speedway at Irwindale (Calif.)
The Date: Friday, July 4

The Time: 8:10 p.m. PT
TV Schedule: HDNet (Live)
SPEED (enhanced replay) July 18, 1:30 p.m. (ET)

Track Layout: .5-mile paved
Race Purse: $115,232

2007 Winner: Brian Ickler
2007 Pole: Eric Holmes

Schedule: Friday: Practice 11 a.m.-12 p.m., 12:30-1:00 p.m., Time Trials 4:00 p.m.

-credit: nascar

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Drivers Mike Wallace , Kurt Busch , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Bobby Dotter , Matt Crafton , Brendan Gaughan , Steve Portenga , Scott Gaylord , Jack Sellers , Scott Lynch , Eric Holmes , Rick Ruzbarsky , Brandon Ash , Austin Cameron , Brian Ickler