May 20, 2001 (North Hollywood, Calif.) - Sean Woodside, driver of the ...
May 20, 2001 (North Hollywood, Calif.) - Sean Woodside, driver of the #45 Team Walker/Ron's Rear Ends/NAPA Chevrolet in the NASCAR Winston West Series, notched another podium finish today in the FoodsCo NASCAR Challenge Salinas 250 at Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif.
Woodside started from the pole position, after setting fast time on Saturday with a lap time of 1:33.980 minutes around the 2.238-mile road course.
With the advantage of an extremely strong car under him, Woodside retained and easily held his lead for the first 17 laps of the race, relinquishing it only to pit under caution, even as some of the competition stayed on the track.
Woodside reentered the track in 10th place, but regained all but the lead position by lap 43. A minor reshuffling at lap 46 put him in third place, which he easily overtook within a couple of laps.
At lap 54, then race leader Brendan Gaughan made a quick pit stop for a long-overdue tire change. Gaughan then had to make another pass through the pits a couple of laps later to make restitution for his too-quick reentry onto the track.
In what could be the moment to remember from today's race, Woodside charged ahead trackside as Gaughan attempted unsuccessfully to beat him out from the pits, returning the lead to Woodside at lap 57. A caution followed just a couple of laps later, bunching up the cars once again.
It looked as though the restart would give Woodside a comfortable lead. He easily held his lead down the front stretch, however, he got off the track enough coming out of turn two, the tight hairpin at the end of the front straightaway, to allow several cars get past him.
After quickly reclaiming control and with the board now showing him in 10th place, Woodside flamed through the final six laps of the race, overtaking enough positions to finish in third place.
It was an outstanding weekend for the team, despite having to settle for less than the win.
Woodside said, "Of course, I'm a little disappointed. We had the pole, and the team gave me a winning car. We've got a win in us, though. The way we've run the past couple of races, I believe we'll pull one off soon."
Team owner Donna Walker says that this weekend's performance underlines the team's progress since the beginning of the 2001 Winston West season.
"What an exciting race, and what a chance to show off my team's potential," Walker said. "Within just a few short months, we've been a contender for the win two races in a row. I am very proud of our work this weekend."