WWS: Tri-City: Round five preview

* Sellers looks forward to series return to Tri-City Raceway * Inglebright flying toward NASCAR triple-header * Portenga leading many categories of competition DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 16, 2003) - Many drivers in the ...

*         Sellers looks forward to series return to Tri-City Raceway

* Inglebright flying toward NASCAR triple-header
* Portenga leading many categories of competition

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 16, 2003) - Many drivers in the NASCAR Grand National Division, Winston West Series will get their first look at Tri-City Raceway when the circuit visits West Richland, Wash., for the NAPA 150 on June 21. On the other hand, series veteran Jack Sellers (No. 15 Aramark/Dayco Belts Chevrolet) has many memories of the half-mile tri-oval that the series last visited in 1994. The 58-year-old competitor from Sacramento, Calif., had top-10 finishes in three of his four races at Tri-City Raceway. He led there briefly in 1990 and equaled his career-best performance with seventh-place finishes there in 1993 and 1994. "I always enjoyed going there," recalled Sellers, who is in his 19th season in the series. "It's a fun place. I'm looking forward to going back there very much. I was very happy when I heard it was on the schedule this year."

Sellers describes the track as a backwards tri-oval. "The tri-oval is in the back stretch," he explained. "The front straight away, where all the fans are, is very short."

Like any track, the key to a good finish at Tri-City is staying out of trouble. "You've got to stay out of trouble, because it gets real busy on the back side going into the tri-oval," Sellers pointed out. "You have to really stay out of trouble there. You have to be careful. Going in to the tri-oval, all the cars get bunched up and sometimes you get booted out of the pack."

Although it's classified as a short track, Sellers says the raceway has more room to maneuver and affords drivers a chance to recover from trouble. "There's a lot more room than we're used to on a short track," Sellers said. "It's a half mile, but to me it seems like a wide open half mile. You could get into a little trouble and not hurt your car. There are no walls around much of it. You can get off the track and spin out in the dirt there and get back into the race. You might get into a fender-bender there, but it's not usually one that would take a car out."

Despite his success at Tri-City Raceway, Sellers says he is not able to attribute his performance there to anything in particular. "I can't put my finger on it," he said. "The last time I was there I did well, even though we had a problem with the car."

NEWS & NOTES

* The race . This event is the fifth of 13 races on the series schedule for 2003. It marks the first visit by the Winston West Series to Tri City Raceway since 1994.

* The track . Tri-City Raceway is a half-mile tri-oval with turn 1 banked 7.5 degrees, turn 2 banked 8 degrees and turn 3 banked 8.5 degrees. Banking in the three straight sections varies from 3 to 4 degrees. The track has hosted eight Winston West Series events.

* Busy itinerary . The weekend should be a very busy one for Jim Inglebright (No. 20 Jelly Belly/NAPA Chevrolet). In addition to racing in the NAPA 150 at Tri-City Raceway, he plans to compete in two events at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. - the NASCAR Winston Cup Series race and the NASCAR Elite Division, Featherlite Southwest Series race. Following the Featherlite Southwest Series race early Saturday afternoon, he will take a jet to Pasco, Wash., for the NASCAR Winston West Series race at Tri-City Raceway. Inglebright, along with crew chief Doug George and car owner Bill McAnally, will return to Northern California for the Winston Cup race on Sunday.

* Help in practice . The Bill McAnally Racing team has called on Kevin Hamlin to practice in the No. 20 Jelly Belly/NAPA Chevrolet in helping to prepare the car for Inglebright's late arrival from California. Hamlin is the two-time defending champion in the NASCAR Elite Division, Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series and won a race in that series at Tri-City in 2001.

* Returning in substitute role . Jeff Jefferson will return to competition in the Winston West Series, driving the No. 16 NAPA/NAPA Belts & Hose Chevrolet. He is the third driver to occupy the seat in a substitute role as Austin Cameron continues his recovery.

* Two Jeffersons in the field . While Jeff Jefferson will be making his return to the series, his younger brother Jason Jefferson is scheduled to make his debut in the Winston West Series at Tri-City Raceway. The brothers won both Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series events at Tri-City Raceway last year - with Jeff winning the spring race and Jason winning in the fall. Jason also won the 2002 track championship in his late model stock car.

* Other Northwest drivers . Other drivers from the Pacific Northwest joining the series for its swing through the state of Washington include Ed Watson (No. 55 Creekside Retirement Ford) and Dan Obrist (No. 12 Obrist Recycling Chevrolet).

* Multiple wins . With two victories each, Ray Elder and Roy Smith are the only drivers to win more than once at Tri-City. Elder won in 1968 and 1970, while Smith had back-to-back wins in 1989 and 1990. Other series winners at Tri-City were Mike Chase, Jim Cook, Jack McCoy and Dirk Stephens.

* Most poles . Bill Sedgwick won the Bud Pole Award at Tri-City in back-to-back years, 1989 and 1990, to become the only driver with more than one Bud Pole at the half-mile facility.

* Top marks . Mike Chase accumulated three top-five finishes in series competition at Tri-City, the most of any driver in the modern era. John Krebs (No. 5 Aramark Pontiac) holds the mark for the most top-10 finishes, with four.

* Show me the money . With $12,000 in winnings, Chase won the most money in Winston West Series competition at the half-mile track.

* Running out front . Chase also holds the mark for leading the most laps of series competition at Tri-City, running out front for 244 circuits.

* Career high . Jeff Davis (No. 1 Aramark Chevrolet) turned in his best career finish at West Richland, finishing fourth in his rookie season in 1994.

* Manufacturers' battle . Ford has the most wins at Tri-City Raceway among automobile manufacturers with four, followed by Dodge with three and Chevrolet with one.

* Stat of the race . Only one Winston West Series event at Tri-City Raceway was won from the Bud Pole. Ray Elder was the fast qualifier and race winner in 1970.

* Leading the pack . Mike Duncan (No. 9 MB Duncan Motorsports Chevrolet) has led the most laps of series competition so far this year - running out front for 200 circuits.

* Most laps completed . Steve Portenga (No. 77 Food 4 Less/King Taco Ford) is the only driver to complete all 625 laps of competition in the first four races this season.

* Top money winner . Portenga leads the competition in terms of money won so far in 2003, with $30,783 in winnings.

* Best average finish . Portenga tops the competition with the best average finish. His average finish in the four races completed is 4.0.

* Leading rookie . Scott Lynch (No. 08 Yerf-Dog/Orleans Dodge) has opened up an early lead in the chase for this year's Raybestos Brakes Rookie-of-the-Year Award.

Fast Facts

What: NAPA 150, NASCAR Grand National Division, Winston West Series Race #5 of 13
Where: Tri City Raceway, West Richland, Wash.
When: 8:30 p.m., Saturday, June 21.

Pre-race schedule: Saturday - Practice, 3-4 p.m., 4:30-5 p.m.; Qualifying, 6:30 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 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 , Jeff Jefferson , Jack Sellers , Scott Lynch , Austin Cameron , Jason Jefferson