FF: National Championships preview

FOCUS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS BEGIN SATURDAY AT VENTURA; CONCLUDE "TURKEY NIGHT" AT IRWINDALE SPEEDWAY The 2006 USAC Ford Focus National Championship opens Saturday at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway with drivers from across the...

FOCUS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS BEGIN SATURDAY AT VENTURA; CONCLUDE "TURKEY NIGHT" AT IRWINDALE SPEEDWAY

The 2006 USAC Ford Focus National Championship opens Saturday at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway with drivers from across the country, Canada and Holland set to battle for recognition on the Henry Ford Sweepstakes Trophy.

The two-race championship, which concludes Thursday, Nov. 23, at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway as part of this year's "Turkey Night Grand Prix" program, includes a pair of 50-lap feature events.

Drivers will be trying to add their name to 2005 National Titlist Robbie Ray on the prestigious championship trophy.

USAC's 2006 driving champions, who are among the original 72 invitees for this year's Nationals, include Tate Martz (Midwest Pavement), Bobby Michnowicz (California Dirt), Jordan Noblitt (Midwest Dirt), James Robertson (Indiana), Chase Scott (Carolina/Virginia), Tim Skoglund (California Pavement) and Ryan Smith (Northeast and Florida).

Martz, of Rushville, Ind., Smith, of Kunkletown, Pa., Chris Veach of Livermore, Calif. and Mike Ward of Charlotte, N.C. appear to have an edge in the two-race championship. They are the only four drivers to win Focus races on both dirt and paved ovals this season.

In addition to Chris Veach, brother Cameron, plus Californians Michnowicz, Keith Janca of Livermore, Dennis Howell of Rancho Palos Verdes and Nic Faas of Huntington Beach have all won Focus races this year at Ventura. Tim Skoglund of Fresno and Michael Faccinto of Hanford will bear watching at Irwindale as they both have 2006 victories there this season.

Martz, USAC's 2004 and 2005 Midwest Focus Champion, added this year's Midwest Pavement title and earned another significant honor along the way. He's the winningest driver in USAC competition this year! His nine Ford Focus feature wins plus two victories in Regional Midget racing give him a total of 11 for the year.

A full complement of preliminary races are on tap at each track.

-credit: usac

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Series USAC
Drivers Henry Ford , Jordan Noblitt , Ryan Smith , Chase Scott , Bobby Michnowicz , Nic Faas , Robbie Ray