WS: Utah: Round ten preview

NASCAR Camping World Series West News & Notes Miller Motorsports Park 125 Fresh Off Win At Portland, Inglebright Heads To MMP In Utah Bowles Maintains Lead Over Holmes In Championship Chase Hershel McGriff Not About To Slow Down At 81 Years Of...

NASCAR Camping World Series West News & Notes
Miller Motorsports Park 125

Fresh Off Win At Portland, Inglebright Heads To MMP In Utah
Bowles Maintains Lead Over Holmes In Championship Chase
Hershel McGriff Not About To Slow Down At 81 Years Of Age

Inglebright Returns To Miller Motorsports Park With Momentum

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Jim Inglebright (No. 1 Jelly Belly Chevrolet) came within a lap of winning last year's NASCAR Camping World Series West event at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah. But he ran out of gas on the white-flag lap after the race distance had been extended due to a late-race caution.

The veteran West Coast competitor from Fairfield, Calif., will be looking for a little redemption when the series returns to the 3.06-mile road course this week for the Miller Motorsports Park 125 on Saturday, Aug. 1. Inglebright brings momentum with him, after winning the most recent NASCAR Camping World Series West race -- which was at Portland (Ore.) International Raceway on July 19. Although the race distance in that event was also extended, again due to a late-race caution, Inglebright had enough gas this time to make it to the finish and capture his third career series victory.

"When we came in under the yellow, we tried to come in toward the latter part of the yellow, so we knew we would have a little in reserve in case we had a green-white-checkered," said Inglebright, who had just enough gas to make it to the finish line and do a quick burnout after a victory lap. "When we got it back to the shop, there wasn't much left in the tank."

In preparing to return to Miller Motorsports Park, Inglebright says his approach will vary from last year's.

"We are going to treat it a little different," he said. "We short-pitted last year because the driver didn't do a very good job qualifying. It kind of forced our hand a little bit to pit early and get track position. So, my focus is to get it qualified a little better and just stay on track with the leaders -- pit a little later in the race." The spacious Utah track, meanwhile, has quickly become one of his favorites, according to the 47-year-old competitor.

"I love the race track and I love the facility," Inglebright said. "And the fans treat us great."

The track itself is one that fits his driving style, he said. "It's kind of conducive to the way I drive," Inglebright said. "The race track's real fast and I like fast tracks. And it's a road course. For some reason, I've really adapted to the road courses."

He attributes some of that ability to his 13 years of racing motorcycles on motocross tracks, from the time he was 13 years old to the age of 26. "I think the motorcycles definitely had an influence on it," Inglebright said. "I've always said the road courses put a little more into the driver's hands."

"You can make up for a car that's not handling quite as well," he said. "On circle tracks, if the car's not right, there's really not a lot you can do. With a road course, there's a lot you can do. You can change your line; you can bounce off the curbs; you can lift early or drive it in deeper and try to roll through. There's a lot you can do to change your driving style on a road course versus a circle track." Inglebright, who had to cut back from running the full series schedule this year due to a lack of funding, said it was important for him to include the three road-course races among the events he raced this season.

Looking ahead to 2010, meanwhile, Inglebright hopes to not miss any events. "We're hoping next year to go back to a full season," he stressed.

After retiring from racing motorcycles, Inglebright began racing late model stock cars -- winning back to back titles in 1991 and 1992 at a track near his home in Northern California. He later concentrated much of his effort in the former NASCAR Southwest Tour, where he finished second in the championship standings in 1995 and won a major event at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., for three consecutive years.

He has competed in 58 NASCAR Camping World Series West races, dating back to 1995. In addition to three wins, he has accumulated 16 top-five and 30 top-10 finishes. He also raced on a limited basis in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2000 and 2001. A highlight to his career came when he was tabbed by Richard Childress Racing to drive in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Infineon Raceway in 2004.


News & Notes

The race -- This event is the 10th race for the NASCAR Camping World Series West in 2009. It is the third of three road-course events this season and marks the only visit to the state of Utah this year. The track -- Miller Motorsports Park is a multi-purpose road course with four possible configurations. The track is located adjacent to Tooele County's Deseret Peak Recreation Complex, approximately 35 minutes from downtown Salt Lake City.

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 41 laps (125.46 miles).

The records -- Qualifying: Jason Bowles, Aug. 2, 2008, 94.888 mph, 116.095 seconds; Race: Jason Bowles, July 14, 2007, 70.384 mph, 1 hour 46 minutes 57 seconds.

Long returns to MMP -- The entry list for this event includes Patrick Long (No. 9 Sunrise Ford/AASCO Motorsports Ford), a Porsche factory driver from Thousand Oaks, Calif., who has been on the winner's podium at Daytona and LeMans. He won the GT2 Utah Grand Prix at Miller Motorsports Park with teammate Jorg Bergmeister in May. This will be Long's third NASCAR Camping World Series West race this season. He is a teammate to Jason Bowles (No. 6 Sunrise Ford) in the NASCAR Camping World Series West.

Championship battle -- Jason Bowles has increased his lead in the championship standings to 33 points over defending series champion Eric Holmes (No. 20 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota).

See-saw rookie chase -- The tight battle for this year's Sunoco Rookie Award continues between Blake Koch (No. 21 Chevrolet) and Paulie Harraka (No. 12 NAPA AutoCare/Adaptive One Brakes Toyota).

McGriff rolls on -- After finishing 13th at Portland (Ore.) International Raceway, 81-year-old Hershel McGriff (No. 04 Park Corp. Chevrolet) heads to Utah -- where he will get his first look at MMP.

Experience at MMP -- Only eight drivers competed in both NASCAR Camping World Series West races held at MMP -- in 2007 and 2008.

Top finishes -- Mike David (No. 2 Bennett Lane Winery Ford) is the only series driver with two top-five finishes at the Utah track. He finished third in 2007 and second in 2008.

Top 10s -- Mike David and Jason Bowles are the only drivers to finish in the top 10 in both series events at MMP. Bowles won in 2008.


Fast Facts

The Race: Miller Motorsports Park 125
The Place: Miller Motorsports Park, Tooele, Utah

The Date: Saturday, Aug. 1
The Time: 1:45 p.m. MT

Track Layout: 3.06-mile road course
Race Purse: $171,211

2008 Winner: Todd Souza
2008 Pole: Jason Bowles

Friday: Practice 11 a.m.-12 p.m., 1:45-2:45 p.m.
Saturday: Time Trials 10 a.m.


Last year's event ...

Todd Souza won a wild scramble at the finish to take the victory in this event last year.

Souza took the lead on the final lap from Jim Inglebright, who suddenly ran out of fuel and slowed going around the back portion of the winding 3.06-mile course.

Inglebright had stopped early for fuel, but his plan of making it to the finish came up short as a late-race caution led to the race distance being extended for a green-white-checkered finish. Inglebright was not the only leader to suffer misfortune late in the race, however, as the first and second-place cars of Jason Bowles and David Mayhew both had to pit with flat tires just a few laps from the finish. The final lap also featured several cars spinning off track and a couple of drivers limping to the finish line with flat tires.

Souza's crew had cautioned him, meanwhile, that Inglebright might run out of gas. While some leaders had trouble late in the race, Souza had encountered a problem earlier with a flat tire on his No. 13 Central Coast Cabinets Chevrolet. His flat tire may have ended up benefiting him, he later admitted.

Souza crossed the finish line with a margin of victory of 1.460 seconds. Mike David was able to avoid trouble late in the race to take the runner-up spot, followed by Austin Cameron. Cameron's teammate, Moses Smith, had a career-best fourth-place finish, with Daryl Harr coming home fifth.


Final Notes From Portland

Thrilling finish -- In winning the Bi-Mart Salute to the Troops 125 NASCAR Camping World Series West event at Portland International Raceway on July 19, Jim Inglebright (No. 1 Federated Auto Parts/Jelly Belly Chevrolet) only led one lap. In fact, he only led a small portion of the lap. But he was out front at the finish line and that gave the veteran driver from Fairfield, Calif., his third career series victory. His first win came on the short track in Las Vegas in 2003. He was also credited with a win as the top-finishing West driver in the NASCAR Camping World Series East-West combination race at Iowa Speedway last year.

Showdown bound -- With his win, Inglebright secured a starting spot in the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown, which will be held on Jan. 29-30, 2010 at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale (Calif.).

Another pole -- David Mayhew (No. 17 MMI Services/Ron's Rear Ends/KHI Chevrolet) turned a lap of 93.386 mph at Portland to win his third Coors Light Pole Award of the season.

Top mark -- Brian Wong (No. 89 Quicksilver/Northeastern University Dodge) turned in a great performance at Portland. Wong --making just his seventh start in two seasons of running selected series events -- started seventh, led the most laps and finished third.

Shuffling the lead -- The Portland race featured 10 lead changes among nine drivers, one short of the series record of 10 different leaders.

-credit: nascar

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Drivers Paulie Harraka , Jörg Bergmeister , Jim Inglebright , Mike David , Daryl Harr , Todd Souza , Austin Cameron , Hershel McGriff , Jason Bowles , David Mayhew , Brian Wong , Blake Koch
Teams Richard Childress Racing