WWS: Douglas County: Round ten preview

Gaylord looks for continued success as series visits Oregon DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 15, 2003) - A year ago, Scott Gaylord (No. 00 Oliver Gravity Separators/Denver Seminary Chevrolet) had momentum as the NASCAR Grand National Division, Winston...

Gaylord looks for continued success as series visits Oregon

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 15, 2003) - A year ago, Scott Gaylord (No. 00 Oliver Gravity Separators/Denver Seminary Chevrolet) had momentum as the NASCAR Grand National Division, Winston West Series rolled into Roseburg, Ore. He was coming off a top-five finish in an event in which he had led the most laps and captured his first Bud Pole Award in six years.

"In the race before at Salt Lake City, we were on the pole and the car was running real good," Gaylord recalled. "We just happened to start clicking. We took that same car and setup to Roseburg."

His success continued at Roseburg's Douglas County Speedway, as Gaylord won his second consecutive Bud Pole and led 115 of 205 laps. A late-race incident left him sidelined with a 17th-place finish, however.

Gaylord has momentum going for him again this season as the series heads to Roseburg on Saturday, Sept. 20, for the NAPA 200 presented by NAPA Belts & Hose.

Just as he did a year ago, Gaylord led the most laps in the most recent series race and notched a top-five finish. In this visit to Roseburg, he hopes to experience some of the same success he did a year ago, but with a better finish.

Because the series had not visited Douglas County Speedway in two decades, the track was new to all drivers on the circuit last year. Gaylord considered that as a benefit to him. "It was the first time there for all of us," explained the 45-year-old veteran driver from Lakewood, Colo. "And we were on top of our game right then and we got our second pole in a row." The key to getting around the ½-mile Roseburg oval, meanwhile, is no different than many other short tracks, according to Gaylord. "It's pretty much like any flat track. You want to get (the car) to turn, but then you don't get any bite," Gaylord said. "So, then you want bite. You're caught be tween both situations. That's what it came down to last year. Even when we were on the pole and it was running great, I didn't feel like it was handling that good. It was just handling better than anyone else."

Patience can also be a key to success at Roseburg, Gaylord said. "That's pretty much what put us out last year," he said. "We were doing real good and led the most laps." The complexion of the race changed for Gaylord just past the midway point, however.

"In the second half we had someone spin in front of us and that put us back one spot," he recalled. "When I got into second, it was real difficult at that track with the lapped cars. It took us forever to get by lapped cars. I got tangled up with a lapped car and that put us toward the end of the pack. Then patience came in and I got impatient and ended up getting involved in an accident that happened in front of me. If I had had patience I probably would have at least had a top three out of it."

In addition to hoping to come away with a better finish, Gaylord has another reason to look forward to returning to Roseburg. "The crowd was phenomenal," he said. "I just love going to the tracks with crowds that are so enthusiastic."

Gaylord has been a part of the Winston West Series since his rookie year of 1988, running on a limited basis from 1989 to 1994 and then racing the full schedule since 1995. He is having one of the best seasons of his career, with four top-five finishes and eight top-10 finishes in nine races so far. He has also completed the most laps of competition, running 1,580 of the 1,582 possible, and is fourth in the championship standings.

He attributes the increased performance to his entire team. "We try to continue on the philosophy we had from this point on last year. That was to concentrate on getting the car set up the best we can," Gaylord said. "We have Fred Roempler as our crew chief and he is doing a great job. The whole Oliver crew has been together for a long time and it's finally coming together. We are finding what it takes to get some speed out of the cars and we have some good cars now."

Gaylord is also quick to point to the longevity of his primary sponsor, Oliver Gravity Separators, as another reason for the success. "Oliver sticks with us," he stressed. "That's a lot of it - having a sponsor that's been with us for 15 years."

NEWS & NOTES

* The race . This event is the 10th of 13 races on the series schedule for 2003. It is the only visit by the series to the state of Oregon this season.

* The track . Douglas County Speedway is a half-mile paved oval with 11 degrees banking in the corners. The track hosted four Winston West Series races between 1966 and 1971, when it was a quarter-mile oval. The circuit returned in 2002 after a renovation and expansion of the track.

* Last year's event . Scott Gaylord won his second consecutive Bud Pole Award in time trials. He set the pace for the first 115 laps, before Johnny Borneman slipped by for the lead. Austin Cameron, who had spun and lost a lap to the leaders early in the race, roared back into contention and took the lead late in the event. He held on despite several late-race cautions that led to restarts. Eric Norris secured the runner-up spot, with Eric Holmes finishing third

* Stat of the race . Last year's race was extended to 205 laps due to a late race caution.

* Etc. . A parade of Winston West Series team haulers is slated to roll along Interstate 5 and into Roseburg on Friday, Sept. 19. The parade will conclude at the Douglas County Fairgrounds, with an autograph session open to the public from 3 to 5 p.m.

* Leading the pack . Despite missing four races this season, Austin Cameron (No. 16 NAPA/NAPA Belts & Hose Chevrolet) has led the most laps of competition so far. Cameron has been out front for 223 laps, compared to 222 for Scott Lynch (No. 08 Yerf-Dog/The Orleans Dodge), 200 for Mike Duncan (No. 9 Lucas Oil Chevrolet) and 197 Kevin Richards (No. 85 Monaco Enterprises/Jerry Springer Chevrolet).

* Best average finish . Steve Portenga (No. 77 King Taco Ford) has the best average finish among drivers who have run all the so far this season. His average finish of 5.33 compares to the average finish of 5.13 for Mark Reed (No. 3 Royal Bath & Body Products Pontiac), who has run eight of the nine races so far.

* Tight championship battle . The chase for the championship continues to be a close battle among several competitors. The top four drivers are separated by just 60 points.

* Close among car owners . The standings among the car owners are even closer. Thirteen points cover the top three, while the top 10 are separated by only 171 points.

* Blow out the candles . Eddie McKean will be celebrating his 43rd birthday on Sunday, Sept. 21.

* From the archives . On June 29, 1968, Johnny Steele beat Dave James and Ray Elder to the checkered flag at Douglas County Fairgrounds in Roseburg, Ore.

Fast Facts

What: NAPA 200 Presented by NAPA Belts & Hoses,
NASCAR Grand National Division, Winston West Series Race #10 of 13

Where: Douglas County Speedway, Roseburg, Ore.
When: 8:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 20.

Track layout: .5-mile paved oval.
Distance: 200 Laps, 100 miles.

Pre-race schedule: Saturday - Practice, 11:15a.m.-Noon 1:15-2p.m. Qualifying, 5 p.m. Note: All times subject to change.

Field: 22 cars possible. Fastest 18 through time trials. Two provisional positions based on 2003 Winston West Series championship owner point standings, one additional position based on 2003 Winston West Series championship driver standings, one provisional starting position to Winston West Series champion.

-nascar-

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About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Steve Portenga , Eddie McKean , Eric Norris , Scott Gaylord , Scott Lynch , Kevin Richards , Eric Holmes , Austin Cameron