WS: Rocky Mountain: Round eight preview

* Tim Woods III experiencing one of his best seasons * Will RMR produce a sixth different winner in sixth year? * Duncan hopes to continue streak of top-10 finishes DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 31, 2004) - Tim Woods III (No.

*         Tim Woods III experiencing one of his best seasons

* Will RMR produce a sixth different winner in sixth year?
* Duncan hopes to continue streak of top-10 finishes

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 31, 2004) - Tim Woods III (No. 54 Chino Hills Ford Ford) is experiencing one of his best seasons in the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series. He began his 2004 campaign with a career-best sixth-place finish and recently improved on that with a second-place finish. Woods hopes the stepped up performance continues as the West Series makes its annual trek to Rocky Mountain Raceways near Salt Lake City for the NAPA 200 on Monday, Sept. 6.

The 3/8-mile track, located in West Valley City, is one of Woods' favorites. He finished seventh there last year and is optimistic of improving on that with this visit. "I like that track," he said. "We had a good car there last year and I feel good about our chances. We're going to go up there and do the best we can."

The 29-year-old Chino Hills, Calif., competitor hopes to qualify well and save his car for later in the race. "We want to qualify up front and keep our nose clean," he said. "We can't afford any more damaged racecars. We're going to go up there and try to keep the fenders on it. For the second half of the race we're going to try to win it."

Rocky Mountain Raceways is favorite track of drivers and fans alike, with plenty of opportunity for two-wide and sometimes even three-wide racing. Woods compares it to his home track of Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway, where he scored his career-best runner-up finish in July. "It seems like a little smaller version of Irwindale," he said. "It's got two or three lines. You can work a different groove and not just play follow-the-leader. You can race side-by-side lap after lap."

Woods enters the event eighth in the championship standings. He attributes his accomplishments this year to experience and an increased effort to attract a sponsor. "I've got a little more pressure on me now," he said. "I' m just trying to make it happen."

He is also focused on a goal he set for himself of finishing in the top 15 of the final standings and gaining an invitation to the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale Speedway on Nov. 11-13. The post-season event will feature the top NASCAR Touring drivers from across the country vying for more than $500,000 in prize money.

Woods, who raced a limited schedule in 2003, finished just outside the top 15 and missed the inaugural Toyota All-Star event.

"It was a goal of mine that since we didn't make it last year that I definitely wanted to be in it this time," he said. "It's going to mean a lot to me because it's in front of my hometown fans. I feel good about our chances of showing that we can run with the best."

Woods, who also competes at Irwindale in the Super Late Model division of the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series, is a third-generation racer. His father and grandfather were pert of the Hall of Fame drag racing team known as "Stone, Woods and Cook," which competed in the A/Gas Supercharged ranks and raced in the 1960s and 1970s. Tim opted to focus on stock cars, however, after racing go-karts as a youngster.

In addition to his racing, Woods also competed on the gridiron. He was a member of the Mt. San Antonio College football team that won a national junior college title.

NEWS & NOTES

* The race. This event is the eighth of 13 races on the series schedule for 2004.

* The track . Rocky Mountain Raceways is a 3/8-mile paved oval with five degrees banking in the straights and progressive banking of seven to 11 degrees in the corners. The track has hosted five West Series races.

* Top 10 streak . Mike Duncan (No. 9 Lucas Oil/Ron's Rear Ends Chevrolet) has scored 18 consecutive top 10 finishes, dating back to the second race of the 2003 season, and will attempt to add a 19th at Rocky Mountain Raceways. He is the only driver to finish in the top 10 in all seven races so far this season. Duncan has finished in the top 10 in two of the three races he has competed in at RMR.

* Plateaus for drivers . Several series veterans have reached a significant mark in the number of races in which they have competed. Jack Sellers (No. 15 Aramark Pontiac) will be running his 175th series race. Meanwhile, Scott Gaylord (No. 00 Oliver Gravity Separators/Denver Seminary Chevrolet) has logged 140 series races and Austin Cameron (No. 16 NAPA/NAPA Belts & Hose Chevrolet) has 75 in the books.

* Series milestone . This event will also mark a milestone for the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series. It will be the 700th stand-alone race for the series, dating back to 1954. In addition, the series also ran 70 combination races, primarily with NASCAR's premier division.

* Local entry . The entry list at RMR includes Rick Craig (No. 5 Driver TV Chevrolet) of Draper, Utah - who will be making his series debut.

* Another notable entry . The entry list also includes Eddy McKean (No. 19 Magic Valley Pile & Steel Ford) of Jerome, Idaho. McKean won the 2002 championship in the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series and was a two-time regional champion in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series. He has competed in two West Series races, finishing sixth in his debut in 2002.

* Special pre-race party slated . Some of the West Series teams will arrive in the Salt Lake City area early to participate in a special pre-race party from 5 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 5, at Jordan Commons in Sandy. Cars will be displayed and drivers will be on hand to meet fans and sign autographs for the annual event.

* Last year's race . Scott Lynch (No. 08 Yerf-Dog/Orleans Racing Dodge) became the first repeat winner of 2003, with a victory at Rocky Mountain Raceways in August. It ended a string of eight different winners in the first eight races for the season. Although he started on the outside of the front row, Lynch did not appear as a threat to win until late in the event. Bud Pole winner Cameron led the early stages - followed by Gaylord, who held the point through much of the race. Tavo (C.T.) Hellmund (No. 39 Suzuki Motorcycles & ATVs Pontiac) gained the lead when he opted to remain on the track and not pit during a late caution. After the restart, however, Lynch was able to slip by him 12 laps from the finish for the win.

* Five races, five different winners . The five series races at RMR (1999-2003) produced five different race winners - Lynch, Cameron, Butch Gilliland, Bobby Dotter and Sammy Potashnick.

* Five different Bud Pole winners . The five visits to RMR also featured five different Bud Pole winners - Cameron, Gaylord, Brendan Gaughan, Brett Thompson (No. 61 Rich Thompson Trucking Chevrolet) and Sean Woodside (No. 3 Jerry Springer Pontiac).

* Five for five . Only three drivers - Cameron, Gaylord and Kevin Richards - have competed in all five series races at RMR.

* Top performer . Gaylord has the most top-five finishes at RMR, having finished in the top five in three of the past four events. He is the only driver to finish in the top 10 in all five series races.

* Running out front . Gaylord has also led the most laps of series competition at the Utah track. He led in three of the races, running out front a total of 286 laps.

* How they compare . Among drivers who have competed in four or more series races at Rocky Mountain Raceways, Gaylord has the best average finish. He has an average finish of 5.8 in five races. Thompson is second on the list with an average finish of 7.75 in four races.

* Top money . With $33,258 in winnings, Cameron leads in terms of money won in series competition at Rocky Mountain Raceways.

* Stat of the race . This event has never been won from the Bud Pole position. Twice, however, the winner started second on the grid.

* Leading the competition . Duncan leads series competition in more than just the championship points. He continues to top the series in terms of the most laps led so far this year, running out front for 393 circuits. He has also completed the most laps of competition, keeping his MB Duncan Motorsports entry out front for 1,106 of the 1,108 laps possible. Duncan leads in winnings, with $45,743 in money won. The Bakersfield, Calif., driver also tops his competition with the best average finish. His average finish in the first seven races is 4.43. Cameron and Gaylord are second on the list, each with an identical average of 6.71.

BIRTHDAYS

Drivers celebrating a birthday during the month of September include Troy Shirk, who turns 36 on the 3rd; Todd Burns, who turns 31 on the 4th; Carl Harr, who turns 51 on the 9th; Bobby Hillis, who turns 43 on the 10th; Nick DeFazio, who turns 21 on the 12th; Dan Obrist, who turns 58 on the 27th; and Zan Sharp, who turns 39 on the 30th.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

On Sept. 6, 1975, Jim Insolo led a 100-lap race wire-to-wire from the pole position to score a victory on the half-mile paved oval at Yakima (Wash.) Speedway. It was one of two wins by Insolo during the 1975 season and one of his 25 career series victories.

-nascar-

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About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Bobby Dotter , Tim Woods , Bobby Hillis , Scott Gaylord , Brett Thompson , Scott Lynch , Austin Cameron