WWS: Phoenix: Orleans Racing race summary

Orleans Racing Turns In Solid Performances At Phoenix International Raceway Orleans Racing picked up right where they left off - in the winner's circle as they begin their quest for a 4th-consecutive NASCAR Winston West Series championship for...

Orleans Racing Turns In Solid Performances At Phoenix International Raceway

Orleans Racing picked up right where they left off - in the winner's circle as they begin their quest for a 4th-consecutive NASCAR Winston West Series championship for NAPA.

Driver Austin Cameron piloted the No. 16 NAPA/Martin Senour Chevrolet to victory lane in the season opener at Phoenix International Raceway on February 2.

Cameron, who started outside the front row, battling pole sitter Eric Norris, made a charge to take the lead on lap 16 and never looked back, leading the final 133 laps. A wreck on lap 31 saw Cameron threading the needle as he maneuvered his way between a spinning car and the pit wall. En route to his first victory of the season and the 2nd of his career Cameron drove a smart race, dominating a field of highly skilled competitors including Winston Cup regular Ken Schrader.

It was an emotional victory for the Orleans Racing NAPA team. In a symbolic gesture on the podium former two-time championship driver, Brendan Gaughan proudly handed over the winning wheel to the newest winning driver of the NAPA car.

An elated Cameron looked out at the fans from the Victory Lane podium and thanked NAPA, Martin Senour, NAPA Belts and Hose, NAPA Filters. "This is what I hoped and dreamed for," said Cameron. "The communication and effort between this team is what it takes. I look to remain on the path to success with this team for many years. We feel we beat the best. I also want to take the opportunity to thank my biggest fans, my mom and dad."

Crew chief, Chuck Carruthers added after the event, "By far this is the best team on the West Coast. Orleans Racing never misses a beat. The records are meticulously kept. They are a pleasure to work for. You just can't say enough about NAPA. They are the cornerstone. They boost everyone's confidence."

Car owner Bill McAnally, who has led the team to three straight championships, said, "It is great to be able to consolidate all the changes we made and translate them into a win. I think we made all the right decisions, with moving our shop location and choosing our drivers. It didn't slow us down at all. To have made so many changes and still gel so well says a lot for this NAPA team and all the great people involved with it."

Orleans Racing features a one-two punch again this season with a two-car team, while the veteran Cameron is behind the wheel of the No.16 NAPA Chevrolet; the series rookie Brett Thompson is driving the No. 61 MBNA/Thompson Trucking Chevrolet.

"I was pleased with the efforts of the No. 61 MBNA team," continued McAnally. "They overcame many problems to be able to qualify and finish this event. The team really worked together, and Brett did a great job with the little speedway experience he has. I know the MBNA team will be in contention at The Bullring at Las Vegas."

"The MBNA car was awesome and we gained a lot of positions early on," said Thompson. " We were running up in 7th when we had some mechanical problems. Just like customers can bank on MBNA, I was able to bank on my pit crew to gain a few positions on the pit stop. Of course we would have liked a better finish, but we are looking forward to the next race, it's a short track and that is our specialty. I won a pole last season on a short track we should have a great run there."

The next event for the Orleans Racing team is at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Last year Cameron placed 4th at the Bullring and Thompson crossed the line 6th. This year their goal is to better their finishes. Never wanting to be too optimistic, the team is hopeful of strong performances by both the NAPA and MBNA Chevrolets.

For more information on the Orleans Racing Winston West team visit their website at: www.OrleansRacingWW.com

A televised broadcast of the Winter Heat 150 Presented by Bosch is slated to air on the NASCAR SpeedChannel (SpeedVision) on February 25.

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About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Ken Schrader , Brendan Gaughan , Brett Thompson , Austin Cameron