MYERS CAPTURES FIRST CAREER WIN WITH VICTORY AT PHOENIX AVONDALE, Ariz. (April 20, 2006) - Andrew Myers held on during a two-lap dash to the finish at Phoenix International Raceway on Thursday, April 20, to capture his first career win in the...
MYERS CAPTURES FIRST CAREER WIN WITH VICTORY AT PHOENIX
AVONDALE, Ariz. (April 20, 2006) - Andrew Myers held on during a two-lap dash to the finish at Phoenix International Raceway on Thursday, April 20, to capture his first career win in the NASCAR Grand National Division, AutoZone West Series.
Myers battled series rookie Peyton Sellers door-to-door as a late-race caution extended the Casino Arizona 150 to 153 laps, with a thrilling green-white-checkered finish under the lights at PIR.
"I was getting a little nervous out there, but I knew that the car was great and it would run well right on the starts," Myers said of his Toyota of Escondido-sponsored Chevrolet. "Being in the lead, I was pretty confident my two crew chiefs, Jamie Aube and Phil Bonifield, had put a really great car underneath me. It all adds up to a great finish and I think we just proved ourselves this time."
Myers of Huntington Beach, Calif., was just one of nine drivers to lead the hotly contested event that featured 15 lead changes. Two-time and defending series champion Mike Duncan set the early pace - after capturing his 16th career Budweiser Pole in qualifying with a lap of 125.821 mph in qualifying in the Lucas Oil/Ron's Rear Ends Chevrolet.
NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series regular Matt Kobyluck was out front by lap six and appeared to have the car to beat - maintaining command for 59 laps. Kobyluck, who had registered two third-place finishes in four trips to Phoenix, began to fade after losing the lead on lap 63 and eventually retired with engine trouble.
Mike David initially took over the top spot, but relinquished the lead when he and most of the other leaders headed to the pits during a lap 75 caution. Peyton Sellers, who had charged to the front after having to start at the back of the field for an unapproved adjustment, slipped out front at the restart. Although he lost that lead to Ted Christopher during another restart on the subsequent caution, Sellers quickly responded and moved back to the point.
The final 63 laps featured a fierce battle between Sellers and Myers, as numerous cautions provided the pair several opportunities to charge out front on restarts. Myers jumped into the lead on a lap 97 restart, but Sellers did the same on lap 127. Myers rebounded to take charge again during a restart on lap 136.
Two additional late-race cautions set the stage for Sellers to battle back. Although he put the nose of his NAPA Auto Parts/NAPA Belts & Hose Chevrolet out front on a lap 151 restart, Myers was able to use the inside line to pull by and edge out front. Myers won by a margin of 1.122 seconds, at an average speed of 74.082 mph. The win netted him $14,725 in prize money and posted awards.
Sellers finished in the runner-up spot in only his second AutoZone West Series race. The Danville, Va., native won last year's national championship in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series and is driving for Bill McAnally Racing this year as part of a driver development program with Richard Childress Racing.
Mike David of Modesto, Calif., took third in the Bennett Lane Winery Ford - followed by Eric Holmes of Escalon, Calif., in the Sunoco Race Fuels/Paul Oil Chevrolet and Steve Portenga of Sparks, Nev., in the King Taco Ford. Rounding out the top 10 were Austin Cameron, Duncan, Jim Inglebright, Spencer Clark and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series regular Ken Schrader.
Sellers and Homes sit atop the AutoZone West Series championship standings, with 330 points each. Schrader is third with 319, followed by Clark with 308 and Portenga with 301. Sixth through 10th in the standings are David at 291, Myers at 285, Inglebright at 284, Duncan at 280 and Brian Ickler at 265.
Sellers, meanwhile, leads a large freshman class battling for this year's Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award. He has 20 points - followed by Ickler with 15, Justin Lofton with 12, James Bruncati with nine, Brian Pannone with nine, Spencer Clark with nine, Justin Fisher with eight, Eric Humphries with seven, Daniel DiGiacomo with six, Nick Lynch with six, Eric Hardin with four, Bruce Betts with four and Ed Watson with two.
Did not qualify: (4) Chris Oddo (#32), Daniel DiGiacomo (#31), Todd Souza (#13), Stan Silva Jr. (#65).
Time of Race: 2 hours 3 minutes 55 seconds
Margin of Victory: 1.122 Seconds
Caution Flags: 10 for 59 laps
Lead changes: 15 lead changes among 9 drivers.
Lap Leaders: Mike Duncan 1-5, Matt Kobyluck 6-49, Mike David 50, Kobyluck 51-62, David 63-75, Tim Woods, III 76, Brian Pannone 77, James Bruncati 78, Peyton Sellers 79-88, Ted Christopher 89, Sellers 90-96, Andrew Myers 97-126, Sellers 127-135, Myers 136-150, Sellers 151, Myers 152-153.
NASCAR Grand National Division, AutoZone West Series Top 10 Driver Points: Eric Holmes 330, Peyton Sellers 330, Ken Schrader 319, Spencer Clark 308, Steve Portenga 301, Mike David 291, Andrew Myers 285, Jim Inglebright 284, Mike Duncan 280, Brian Ickler 265