WWS: SWS: Raudman thrills Irwindale fans

Rancho Santa Margarita, California (April 21, 2001) -- Craig Raudman, driver of Dave Reed Racing's ...

Rancho Santa Margarita, California (April 21, 2001) -- Craig Raudman, driver of Dave Reed Racing's #2 Yerf-dog Fun Karts/ITPS Chevrolet in the Featherlite Southwest Series, NASCAR Touring and NASCAR Winston West Series, led a crowd-thrilling charge in tonight's Foods 4 Less "150" Southwest Series event at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway from his starting position on the pole to his eventual second-place finish.

Raudman started the evening off right by winning the Bud Pole Award with a lap time of 17. 692 seconds around the half-mile oval.

Raudman took and held a strong lead throughout the first half of the race, keeping a steady six-to-eight car lengths between himself and eventual race-winner, M.K. Kanke. An early-race caution closed the gap, but Raudman quickly shot ahead again after the restart.

As Raudman approached lapped traffic at the halfway mark, Kanke inched up to within striking distance, but Raudman was able to stretch his lead once again when he got back out onto the open track.

By lap 100, with the two battling lapped traffic once again, Kanke got up to Raudman's side, setting off a side-by-side dogfight that lasted the remaining 50 laps of the race.

The two exchanged the lead several times and even made slight contact on the front straightaway, setting off a roar from the grandstands.

Raudman was a threat to the finish after Kanke slid into the lead. He made a final charge during the last couple of laps, and crossed the stripe in second place.

Raudman and Kanke were in a class by themselves tonight. Just after the halfway point in the race, the two had put eight seconds between themselves and the then third-place car, and they flew past the fifth place car on lap 141.

"That was one of the most fun races I can remember in a really long time," roared Raudman to the crowd in a post-race interview. "Kanke and I have raced against each other for years, and we have a lot of respect for each other. If I had to finish second, that's the way to do it."

Dave Reed Racing operates NASCAR Winston West and Featherlite Southwest Series, NASCAR Touring teams featuring Craig Raudman as driver. Raudman has collected nine wins and eleven Bud Pole Awards throughout his Southwest Series career, and finished in the top five in final points standings in four of his past five full Southwest Series seasons.


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Drivers Craig Raudman