DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 12, 2002)-- Competition in the NASCAR Winston West Series has taken Scott Gaylord to 23 different tracks since he first joined the circuit in 1988. From the famed "Brickyard" at Indianapolis to Twin Ring Motegi half way...
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 12, 2002)-- Competition in the NASCAR Winston West Series has taken Scott Gaylord to 23 different tracks since he first joined the circuit in 1988. From the famed "Brickyard" at Indianapolis to Twin Ring Motegi half way around the world in Japan-- the former road racer has seen action on a variety of short tracks, superspeedways and road courses.
Missing from his resume of 117 series races, however, is the historic quarter-mile paved oval of Stockton (Calif.) 99 Speedway-- a track the series has not visited since 1983. In fact, Gaylord has never tackled any track that size in his 3,400-pound stock car.
Race fans will get the opportunity to see Gaylord and his competitors challenge the tight, high-banked track as the NASCAR Winston West Series returns to Stockton on Saturday, Aug. 17, for the NAPA Auto Parts 200 by Stockton Speedway Dodge Country, presented by ProLong and JaniKing.
The $112,959 event will be televised to a national audience on the SPEED Channel cable network. It is to air on a tape-delay basis at 2 p.m. ET on Sept. 3.
Gaylord admits to a bit of apprehension when he first found out the series was going to compete on a quarter-mile oval this year. "There was a little bit of concern, but short track racing is a big part of what the Winston West Series is all about," said the 44-year-old driver from Lakewood, Colo. "I think we'll do fine. From my understanding, it did okay in the past," Gaylord said of previous visits by the series to the Stockton track.
"It seems to me like we're able to get going two wide after a while, no matter where we are at, and sometimes even three wide," he continued. "I really don't care where we go as long as we can race side by side. Then we all have a chance at winning. Anywhere we go, we're all in the same boat. So, let's just go at it."
Competing on the tight track will require some special adjustments to the cars, however, according to Gaylord. "We have some pretty big cars that don't like to turn that quick," he said. "So, we're going to have to work on that and focus on getting the car to handle well at a track that we have not been to."
The key to success on a short track is taking care of the car, Gaylord pointed out. "I think it's going to be hot," he predicted. "We're going to have to take care of the car and the driver. We're not going to have the speed and the air flow that we normally do to keep things cooled down. So, we may have to do things that we would do on a road course to keep the brakes, engine and the driver cool.
"On a speedway, you basically tape up and go for it," Gaylord explained. "On a short track you have to make sure you have good cooling for the engine, keep the brakes cool and keep the driver comfortable. And hopefully you're there at the end."
Racing in such close quarters will also require race teams to be ready for action and to make repairs if there is substantial contact. "We're going to have to plan for that and be prepared," said Gaylord, who has driven the Oliver Gravity Separators/Denver Seminary-sponsored Chevrolet Monte Carlo to four top-10 finishes in six races so far this season.
Gaylord also emphasized the importance of drivers pacing themselves to the midway point of the race. "Hopefully, the drivers will pace themselves somewhat," he said. "You have to take care of your car to get to the end of the race or at least to the halfway break and then go from there. With the halfway break, you have to get there and find out what's going on and what it's going to take to win the race in the second half."
Saturday's race will be run in two segments, with a short break between them to allow the crews to change tires and make adjustments for the second segment of the event.
A preliminary practice for the event is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 16, beginning at 2 p.m. The regular practice session, meanwhile, is slated to begin at noon on Saturday, with time trials set to begin at 5:30 p.m. The race is scheduled to get the green flag at 8:30 p.m.
NEWS OF NOTE
* Experience counts... The only three drivers to compete in all nine NASCAR Winston West Series events at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway, finished one-two-three in this year's event at the Southern California track.
* Show me the money... Eric Norris tops his competitors in terms of money won so far this season. He has won $79,378, including the $10,000 Winston Leader Bonus he recently received.
* Best average finish... With an average finish of 3.33 in the first six races, Norris leads his competition in that category, as well.
* Going the distance... Norris is tied with Kevin Richards for completing the most laps of competition so far this season. They each ran 962 of the 963 possible in the first six races.
* Leading the pack... Austin Cameron tops the list in terms of leading laps of competition this season. He has had the NAPA/Martin Senour Chevrolet out front for 353 circuits.
* Blow out the candles... Drivers celebrating a birthday during the month of August include Mike Grady, who turned 43 on the 9th; Scott Gaylord, who turned 44 on the 12th; Greg Voigt, who turns 34 on the 25th; and Travis Powell, who turns 38 on the 26th.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
* Eric Norris (No. 32 JaniKing/Ultra Wheels Ford) continues to finish up front. He has four consecutive top-three finishes. His string of eight straight top 10 finishes includes the final two events of 2001.
* Kevin Richards (No. 85 Monaco Enterprises Chevrolet) has finished in the top 10 in all six events so far this season.
* Johnny Borneman (No.8 MotorSportDirect.com Ford) turned in his fourth consecutive top-10 finish at Irwindale Speedway.
* Brett Thompson (MBNA/Rich Thompson Trucking Chevrolet) also turned in his fourth straight top-10 finish at Irwindale.
* Greg Pursley (No. 77 Food 4 Less/King Taco Ford) was fourth at Irwindale Speedway, his best finish in his six races in the series.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
* In May of 1980, Ivan Baldwin drove a Mercury to victory in a 200-lap NASCAR Winston West Series race at Stockton 99 Speedway.