'HEADING TO THE SHOWDOWN' A glance at the Top 15 drivers in the NASCAR Grand National Division, AutoZone West Series DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 17, 2006) -- Now that the championship has been settled, drivers and teams in the NASCAR Grand ...
'HEADING TO THE SHOWDOWN'
A glance at the Top 15 drivers in the NASCAR Grand National Division, AutoZone West Series
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 17, 2006) -- Now that the championship has been settled, drivers and teams in the NASCAR Grand National Division, AutoZone West Series are quickly preparing for the fourth annual NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown this week in Southern California. The following is a glance at the 15 AutoZone West Series drivers who will face off with the top 15 drivers from the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series in this year's prestigious post-season event at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 20-21. The event awards nearly $500,000 to competitors and will be televised nationally on SPEED.
No. 1 -- Eric Holmes, Escalon, Calif. (No. 62 Sunoco Race Fuels/Paul Oil Chevrolet), Beebe Racing Enterprises. Holmes clinched the AutoZone West Series championship on Sunday by a 83-point margin. He came close to winning two NASCAR titles on the West Coast this year, missing the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series championship by one point. Holmes becomes the first driver to simultaneously gain invitations in both divisions for the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown. He won the Elite portion of the post-season event in 2004.
No. 2 -- Mike David, Modesto, Calif. (No. 2 Bennett Lane Winery Ford), Lynch Racing. David concluded the regular season as one of only three drivers with multiple wins in 2006, sweeping both visits to his home track of Stockton before its closure at the end of the season. The wins, coupled with his consistent finishes kept him in contention for the championship throughout the year. David has competed in two NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdowns (2005, 2004).
No. 3 -- Mike Duncan, Bakersfield, Calif. (No. 9 Lucas Oil/Ron's Rear Ends Chevrolet), MB Duncan Motorsports. Duncan, with back-to-back championships in 2004 and 2005, scored a major win with a victory at California Speedway this year. He logged more laps than any other driver this season, completing 1,993 laps. Duncan capped off the regular season with a seventh-place finish at Altamont on Sunday. He is one of only four series drivers to compete in all three previous NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdowns.
No. 4 -- Steve Portenga, Sparks, Nev. (No. 77 King Taco/Signco Ford), Performance Motorsports. Known for his consistency as a veteran driver, Portenga had another solid year in 2006. During the regular season, he finished in the top 10 in 10 of 12 races. Portenga's first career series win came in the inaugural series visit to Irwindale in 1999. He has competed in two NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdowns (2005, 2003).
No. 5 -- Peyton Sellers, Danville, Va. (No. 16 NAPA Auto Parts/ NAPA Belts & Hose Chevrolet), Bill McAnally Racing. Sellers, the national champion in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series in 2005, won this year's Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award in the AutoZone West Series. Sellers is part of the Richard Childress Racing driver development program with Bill McAnally Racing. He scored his first career series win midway through the season at Roseburg, Ore.
No. 6 -- Jim Inglebright, Fairfield, Calif. (No. 1 Jelly Belly Chevrolet) Roadrunner Performance Motorsports. Inglebright returned to the AutoZone West Series full-time this season after seeing limited competition the past two years. He wrapped up his regular season with a sixth-place finish at Altamont on Sunday. Inglebright -- who competed many seasons in the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series -- has raced in one NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown (2003).
No. 7 -- Scott Gaylord, Lakewood, Colo. (No. 00 Oliver Gravity Separators/Denver Seminary Chevrolet), Scott Gaylord Racing. Gaylord matched his all-time best mark in the season finale, finishing in the runner-up spot for a fourth time in his career. He prepares to bid farewell at this event to long-time sponsor Oliver Gravity Separators, which has been part of his racing program for nearly 20 years. Gaylord is one of only four series drivers to compete in all three previous NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdowns.
No. 8 -- Austin Cameron, El Cajon, Calif. (No. 88 RaceCarFans.com Chevrolet) MRG Motorsports. Cameron wrapped up his 2006 campaign at Altamont on Sunday with a win, his second of the year and the 15th of his career. He hopes to carry that momentum with him to Irwindale, where he won an AutoZone West Series race in July. Cameron won the inaugural NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown in 2003. The MRG Motorsports team he drives for this year won last year's post-season event with David Gilliland behind the wheel.
No. 9 -- Brian Ickler, San Diego, Calif. (No. 20 McMillin Homes/NAPA FILTERS.COM Chevrolet), Bill McAnally Racing. Ickler had an outstanding freshman year, finishing second in the challenge for this year's Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award and ninth in the overall championship standings. The 21-year-old driver concluded the regular season with three straight top-10 finishes, including an eighth-place finish at Altamont on Sunday.
No. 10 -- Johnny Borneman, Ramona, Calif. (No. 8 Borneman Plastering/Red Line Oil Ford) Borneman Motorsports. Borneman was one of nine drivers to visit victory lane in 12 AutoZone West Series races this season. He won at Monroe, where his father had scored a victory 28 years before. Misfortune in several other races relegated him to finish 10th in the final standings. Borneman has raced in two NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdowns (2005, 2003).
No. 11 -- Justin Lofton, Westmorland, Calif., (No. 66 Bob Lofton Cattle Feeding Investments Chevrolet), Justin Lofton Racing. Lofton was one of the talented young rookies who were in contention for this year's Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award. His year was highlighted by a midseason run of five consecutive top-10 finishes.
No. 12 -- Tim Woods III, Chino Hills, Calif. (No. 54 Chino Hills Ford Ford), T-III Motorsports. It was a common sight to see Woods running up front this season. He led laps in four events this year -- including Irwindale, where he led the most laps. He capped off the regular season with a solid fourth-place finish at Altamont. Woods has competed in two NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdowns (2005, 2004).
No. 13 -- Eric Hardin, Anaheim, Calif. (No. 18 Hardin Buick-Pontiac-GMC/DSNTV Chevrolet), Bill McAnally Racing. Hardin was another of the talented young freshman drivers to tackle the AutoZone West Series this year. He had a solid season that included three top-10 finishes.
No. 14 -- Andrew Myers, Huntington Beach, Calif., (No. 44 Toyota of Escondido Chevrolet), Myers Racing. Myers opened up his season with victories in two of the first three events he raced, including a win at Irwindale in May. In addition to competing in the AutoZone West Series, Myers traveled to the East Coast to race in several Busch East Series races this year. He has competed in one NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown (2005).
No. 15 -- Jack Sellers, Sacramento, Calif., (No. 15 Aramark Pontiac), Sellers Racing. Sellers, a long-time veteran, made his 200th career start in the series this year. He concluded the regular season 31 points ahead of Brett Thompson, to finish 15th in the standings and secure his invitation to the post-season action at Irwindale. Sellers is one of only four series drivers to compete in all three previous NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdowns.
The race: NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown
The drivers: Top 15 drivers from each of the two series in the NASCAR Grand National Division, including the Busch East Series and AutoZone West Series -- Top 10 drivers from each of the four series in the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, including the Midwest Series, Northwest Series, Southeast Series and Southwest Series.
The place: Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway
The dates: Friday, Oct. 20 and Saturday, Oct. 21
Radio: NASCAR Radio on XM Satellite Radio (Channel 144)
Posted awards: $500,000
Track layout: Half-mile oval
2005 Grand National Division winner: David Gilliland
2005 Elite Division winner: Auggie Vidovich