Defending Series Champion Scott Lynch Tops Large Field in NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series at Stockton DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 19, 2004) - A growing list of entries for the Havoline/NAPA Auto Parts 150 could make it one of the...
Defending Series Champion Scott Lynch Tops Large Field in NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series at Stockton
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 19, 2004) - A growing list of entries for the Havoline/NAPA Auto Parts 150 could make it one of the largest NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series fields in the modern era of the series to compete at Stockton (Calif.) 99 Speedway. The entry list - which includes drivers representing three countries - features two series champions, as well as several very talented drivers from the local area.
Defending series champion Scott Lynch (No. 08 Yerf-Dog/Orleans Racing Dodge) tops the list of drivers who will be competing on the tight quarter-mile oval for their share of nearly $100,000 in purse money and posted awards in the May 29 event, presented by Stockton 99 Speedway Dodge Country.
Lynch, who bounced back for a ninth-place finish after spinning into the wall when the series visited Stockton last August, went on to become just the second driver in the history of the series to win the championship in his rookie year. The Burley, Idaho, native hopes to avoid a come-from-behind effort in this event. "Last year there was some oil or water on the track and by lap 20 or so we were already in a wreck," he recalled. "This year we want to focus on qualifying in the top five and running in the top five."
En route to capturing the overall Bud Pole Award for the 2003 season, Lynch was the fast-qualifier at three events last year and was the second quickest at five other races - including Stockton. He is confident of another strong qualifying effort this time out. "We barely missed the pole there last year; so I think we have a good chance," Lynch said. "One of my main goals is to go after that (season-long) Bud Pole Award again. That was a great honor."
Securing a good finish, meanwhile, requires having a good car at the end of the 150 laps. "Because it's such a small track, the trick is to take care of your equipment - keep all the fenders on the car and not rough up the nose," he said. "That way you're there in the last 30 laps and you have the equipment under you."
Taking care of the race car requires some "give and take," according to Lynch. "If someone is faster than you, you don't want to hold them up too much if they're going to be beating and banging on you," he said. "But because it's such a small track you have to be careful not to get freight-trained. Everyone gets lined up in a row. So if you get stuck on the outside in (turns) one and two, you're going to go right to the back."
In addition to Lynch, the entry list for this event includes 1999 series champion Sean Woodside (No. 3 Jerry Springer Pontiac) of Saugus, Calif., who will be getting his first taste of series competition on the historic quarter-mile track. Trying to make it two series wins in a row at Stockton, meanwhile, will be Austin Cameron (No. 16 NAPA/NAPA Belts & Hose Chevrolet) of El Cajon, Calif.
Other top competitors from the Golden State expected to compete for a starting spot in the 22-car field include Mike Duncan (No. 9 Lucas Oil Chevrolet) of Lamont, Tim Woods III (No. 54 Chino Hills Ford Ford) of Chino Hills and Gene Woods (No. 7 Circle K/Monster Energy Drinks Dodge) of Ontario - along with series rookies David Gilliland (No. 88 Honda Cars of Corona Chevrolet) of Riverside and Nick DeFazio (No. 77 Mission Foods/West Coast Choppers Ford) of Newport Beach.
Other series rookies on the entry list also include drivers from two other countries. Getting their first look at Stockton 99 Speedway will be Canadians Daryl Harr (No. 71 WestWorld Motorsports Chevrolet) of St. Albert, Alberta, and his father, Carl Harr (No. 02 WestWorld Motorsports Chevrolet) of Edmonton, Alberta - as well as Jose Luis Ramirez (No. 17 Cardenas/Del Valle/Guerrero Ford) of Mexico City and Tavo (C.T.) Hellmund (No. 39 Suzuki Motorcycles & ATVs Pontiac) also of Mexico City.
Not to be overlooked on the entry list is long-time series veteran Scott Gaylord (No. 00 Oliver Gravity Separators/Denver Seminary Chevrolet) of Lakewood, Colo. Gaylord and Duncan lead the championship standings in the series, each with 466 points.
Local drivers expect to play a big part in the outcome of the race, meanwhile. Modesto's Mike David (No. 2 Bennett Lane Winery Ford), experiencing one of his most successful seasons on the circuit, hopes to parlay his home track advantage into his first series victory. David, who finished third in both of the past two series visits to Stockton, won the rookie title in the series in 2002.
Entering his second series event this year will be John Moore (No. 20 JM Environmental Chevrolet) of Granite Bay. Moore, one of the top competitors at Stockton in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series, plans to run a limited schedule in the Grand National Division this year.
Other local drivers expected to compete in the event include Troy Shirk (No. 86 JME Motorsports Chevrolet) of Oakley and Buzz DeVore (No. 45 Reynoso Concrete Ford) of Stockton. Other Northern California drivers entered in the event include series veteran Jack Sellers (No. 15 Aramark Chevrolet) of Sacramento and Tim Smith (No. 33 FirstLine Chevrolet) of Roseville.