WWS: Madera: Round four preview

Reed brings experience from other NASCAR division with him to Madera DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 27, 2003) - When the NASCAR Grand National Division, Winston West Series visits Madera (Calif.) Speedway on Saturday, May 31, many drivers will be ...

Reed brings experience from other NASCAR division with him to Madera

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 27, 2003) - When the NASCAR Grand National Division, Winston West Series visits Madera (Calif.) Speedway on Saturday, May 31, many drivers will be getting their first taste of competition on the third-mile oval. For drivers like Mark Reed, however, the fairgrounds facility in California's Central Valley will be familiar territory. Reed (No. 3 Royal Bath & Body Products Pontiac) and several other competitors on the circuit have raced at Madera in the NASCAR Elite Division, Featherlite Southwest Series. "This is an awesome track. It's one of my favorites," said Reed, who finished second in a Featherlite Southwest Series race at Madera in 2001. "We're looking for a chance to win here." Saturday's NAPA 150 Presented by Madera Auto Center and NAPA Belts & Hose is to be televised to a national audience on the SPEED Channel cable network on a tape-delay basis. It is slated to air at 10 a.m. ET on June 7.

"I think you'll see a lot of action," Reed predicted. "I think you're going to see a lot of two-wide racing. And then you're going to see guys splitting traffic and going three-wide going down the front stretch to lap cars."

Reed expects that both the low groove and high groove through the turns will be used. "The West cars promote much more forward bite with the (suspension) than a touring car or late model car," he said. "The cars are harder to make run on the bottom, however. So, you're going to have some drivers that get their cars working good on the bottom and some that work high."

With a short-track such as Madera, some drivers may put more emphasis on qualifying, Reed said. "It's a tight track and qualifying is going to be huge." It is possibly to come from the back of the pack, however, he pointed out. "The last time I ran here with the Southwest Series, I ended up getting put at the back of the pack early in the race and came back to finish second," he said.

Reed is hopeful his experience at Madera will benefit him for this event. "The line is on the bottom, but there are some distinguishing points about the track - the way you have to approach the turns and the way you have to race the track, especially later in the run," Reed pointed out.

Reed - who finished second in the championship standings in the series, while winning the rookie title in 2001 - is faced with making a come-from-behind effort in the points chase this season after joining the Adair Motorsports team after the season opener. Their strategy this year is different than the way they approached races in the three events Reed was with the team last season.

"I think we're taking a more balanced approach," Reed said. "Last year I only ran three races with this team. So, there was no shot at the championship. All we went for were the wins. In 2001, when I ran for the championship, we had a different mindset. You want to win races, but you have to finish them to have any shot at the championship. We're trying to get top-five finishes. That's our primary goal and win when we can."

Despite having to come from behind, Reed expects he will make his way to the top of the standings by the end of the year. "I think we have a legitimate shot at a top-five finish in the points and an outside shot at the top three in the championship, depending on if some of the point leaders have trouble during the year," he said.

Although his surroundings on this team are different than they were on his own team in 2001, Reed is confident he can recapture the success he had in his rookie year. "A lot is different . different crew chief, different motor package, different everything - but the series and the way you approach it is the same," Reed said. "I think we can be a contender."


Ø The race . This event is the fourth of 13 races on the series schedule for 2003. It marks the first visit by the series to Madera Speedway since 1996.

Ø The track . Madera Speedway is a third-mile paved oval with blended banking of six, nine and 12 degrees in the corners and banking of six degrees in the straights. The facility, located in California's Central Valley, has hosted five Winston West Series events.

Ø Five races, five winners . The five series races at Madera resulted in five different winners - Jack McCoy, Bill Sedgwick, Doug George, Lance Hooper and Butch Gilliland. An interesting note is that all five of those drivers went on to win the series championship sometime during their career. Three of them - McCoy, George and Hooper - won the title the same year they won at Madera.

Ø Five different Bud Pole winners, too . The five series visits to Madera also resulted in five different drivers winning the Bud Pole Award. They were McCoy, Sedgwick, George, Mark Krogh and Scott Gaylord (No. 00 Oliver Gravity Separators/Denver Seminary Chevrolet).

Ø Top marks . Gilliland has the most top-five finishes in series competition at Madera Speedway, with three. He and Jack Sellers (No. 15 SONIC netwizard.com Chevrolet) are tied for the most top-10 finishes on the third-mile track, with three each.

Ø Show me the money . With $17,225 in winnings, Gilliland has won the most money in Winston West Series competition at Madera.

Ø Running out front . Hooper has led the most laps of series competition at Madera. He was out front for four laps in the spring race in 1996 and then returned later in the year to dominate by leading all of the 250 laps of competition.

Ø Pole performance . Gaylord notched one of his four career Bud Pole Awards on the third-mile oval. He is the only driver with a top-five finish in series competition who is expected to compete in this event.

Ø Return showing . Gilliland and Sellers have raced in the most series races at Madera, each competing on the third-mile track four times.

Ø High marks . Eric Holmes (No. 12 NAPA Belts & Hose/Madera Auto Center Chevrolet) is no stranger to Madera, having competed on the third-mile on a regular basis in the NASCAR Elite Division, Featherlite Southwest Series. In addition to winning there in 2001, he finished second in 1996 and 2000; and fourth in 2002. Other drivers with a top-five finish at Madera in the Featherlite Southwest Series include Mark Reed (No 3 Royal Bath & Body Products Pontiac), second in 2001; Mike David (No. 2 Injury Helpline.com Ford), second in 1998; Steve Portenga (No. 77 King Taco Ford), fourth in 1997; and Scott Lynch (No. 08 Yerf-Dog/The Orleans Dodge), fifth in 1999.

Ø Substitute role . C.T. Hellmund has been named to drive the No. 16 NAPA/NAPA Belts & Hose Chevrolet for this event - substituting for Austin Cameron, who was diagnosed with cancer in April and is undergoing treatment.

Ø Experienced crew chiefs . Two Winston West Series crew chiefs bring with them first-hand experience of what it takes to win at Madera. Two-time series champion Bill Sedgwick, crew chief of the No. 9 MB Duncan Motorsports Chevrolet, nabbed his first of career victory at Madera in 1989. Doug George, crew chief of the No. 16 NAPA/NAPA Belts & Hose Chevrolet, took the win at Madera in 1995, meanwhile.

Ø Various distances . The Winston West Series races at Madera Speedway have varied in distance. The first visit by the series in 1973 was 100 laps. Three of the races were 200 laps, while the last event was 250 laps.

Ø Stat of the race . Three of the five series events at Madera were won from the Bud Pole.

Ø Etc. . Sixty-one different drivers have competed in the five series races at Madera Speedway.

Ø Leading the pack . Jim Inglebright (No. 20 Jelly Belly/NAPA Chevrolet) has led the most laps of series competition so far this year. The 173 laps he led at Las Vegas tops the tally for any driver in the first three races.

Ø Most laps completed . Portenga is the only driver to complete all 473 laps of competition run in the first three races.

Ø Top money winner . Portenga is the top money winner in the series for the first three events in 2003, with $28,250 in winnings.

Ø Speaking of money . With more than $10,000 in prize money for his third-place finish at Fontana, Kevin Richards (No. 85 Monaco Enterprises/Jerry Springer Chevrolet) has moved to fifth on the list of career money leaders in the series with $637,207.

Ø Best average finish . With top-five finishes in all three races so far, Portenga has the best average finish with a 3.33. No other driver managed top five or top-10 finishes in all three events.

Ø Leading rookie . Scott Lynch has jumped into the early lead in the chase for the Raybestos Brakes Rookie-of-the-Year Award.

Ø Tough manufacturers' battle . The battle for the Manufacturers' Championship is off to one of the most interesting starts in the history of the series. The three races run so far have featured three different manufacturers in victory lane. Pontiac, which leads the standings with 21 points, won at Phoenix. Chevrolet, which won at Las Vegas, is second in the standings with 17 points. Ford, with a victory at Fontana, trails closely with 16 points. Dodge is poised close behind with 12, meanwhile.

Ø Blow out the candles ... Scott Schmidt will be celebrating his 37th birthday on Saturday, May 31. Drivers celebrating a birthday during the upcoming month of June, meanwhile, include Jason Small, who turns 24 on the 7th; Kevin Richards, who turns 41 on the 13th; Brett Thompson, who turns 26 on the 17th; and Johnny Borneman, who turns 26 on the 30th.

Ø From the archives . On May 5, 1973, Jack McCoy won from the pole position over Mike James and Bob Kauf at Madera (Calif.) Speedway.

NAPA 150, Presented by Madera Auto Ctr/NAPA Belts & Hose
NASCAR Grand National Division, Winston West Series Race #4 of 13
Madera Speedway, Madera, Calif.

Race: 8:30 p.m., Saturday, May 31.

TV: SPEED Channel
(tape-delay, June 7, 10 a.m. ET)

Pre-race schedule: Saturday - Practice, 1-2 p.m., 3-3:30 p.m. Qualifying, 2:15 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.


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Drivers Jason Small , Steve Portenga , Mark Reed , Jim Inglebright , Scott Gaylord , Jack Sellers , Brett Thompson , Scott Lynch , Mike David , Kevin Richards , Eric Holmes