WS: Stockton: Round four preview
NASCAR GRAND NATIONAL DIVISION, WEST SERIES NEWS & NOTES - STOCKTON * Stockton 99 Speedway a family tradition for Mike David * First portion of Leader Bonus Program money up for grabs * Scott Lynch leads championship ...
NASCAR GRAND NATIONAL DIVISION, WEST SERIES
NEWS & NOTES - STOCKTON
* Stockton 99 Speedway a family tradition for Mike David
* First portion of Leader Bonus Program money up for grabs
* Scott Lynch leads championship standings after first three races
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 25, 2005) - Like other second-generation competitors who raced at Stockton (Calif.) 99 Speedway, Mike David (No. 2 Bennett Lane Winery Ford) has been visiting the quarter-mile track for much of his lifetime. "My dad started racing there in 1977," said the 38-year-old driver from nearby Modesto. "So, I went there as a kid to watch my dad."
David eventually got his chance to compete on the historic paved oval. Since first getting behind the wheel in 1992, he has raced at the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series track in four different classes - including entries in the weekly program as well as visiting touring divisions. In addition, he has also served as a crew chief for other racers there.
Consequently, it came as no surprise that David's first win in the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series would come at Stockton. "It's kind of natural that we got it there," David said of his victory when the series made its second of two visits to Stockton last year. "That's where we thought we might get our first win, even though there are some other tracks where we run well, too."
David hopes to score another win when the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series returns to Stockton 99 Speedway for the AutoZone Twin Championships presented by Havoline on Saturday, April 30. The 150-lap race - part of a big NASCAR doubleheader with the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series - will be televised to a national audience live in high definition on HDNet. In addition, SPEED Channel will provide an enhanced replay on June 10 at 5 p.m. ET.
David has benefited from his experience at Stockton, which some teams consider as one the trickier tracks on the circuit when it comes to dialing in a racecar's suspension. In addition to his win, he has three top-five and four top-10 finishes in four visits with the West Series to the quarter-mile track. "I have trouble with a few other tracks, but Stockton is not a problem for us," said David, who won the West Series Rookie of the Year title in 2002.
He speculated that some competitors may find the track a challenge because of its size. "It's real tight," he said. "It makes for aggressive racing. I'm sure some people have trouble with that."
Getting around Stockton 99 Speedway presents a challenge to drivers and crew chiefs equally, according to David.
"You have to work well together," he said. "If the driver is having trouble hitting his marks, the crew chief can't do his job. If the crew chief isn't getting the car where the driver is comfortable, the driver can't do his job. So, it goes hand in hand."
Ranked fourth in the championship standings with two top-five finishes in the first three races this season, David is off to a good start in 2005. He is cautious, however, about looking head at the championship. "That would sure be nice," he said. "It's too early to say that this is our championship year, but that's our goal. We're committed to run the whole season. We just want to keep picking away at those top fives and see what we can do."
David predicts that consistent finishes will be the key to winning the West Series title this year. "That always wins the title," he said. "I think we have a real good team and a real good car owner that gives us everything we need to make it happen. A little bit of consistency and no DNFs. That's what it's going to take."
NEWS & NOTES
* The race . This event is the fourth race on the series schedule for 2005. It is the first of two visits the series will make to Stockton this season.
* The track . Stockton 99 Speedway is a quarter-mile paved oval with blended banking of up to 14 degrees in turns one and two and up to 17 degrees in turns three and four. The track has hosted 17 NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series races.
* The event . This race is part of a big NASCAR doubleheader at Stockton 99 Speedway. It will mark the first time for the track to host a NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series race and a NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series race on the same night.
* Bonus money .The championship standings will have added emphasis at Stockton. A combined $50,000 in prize money will be paid out through the first portion of the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series Leader Bonus Program to the top 15 drivers in the championship standings following this race.
* Atop the standings . Scott Lynch (No. 08 Mr. Gas Dodge) has taken over the early lead in the championship standings for the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series. With 489 points, Lynch leads Steve Portenga (No. 16 NAPA/NAPA Belts & Hose Chevrolet) with 463 and Mike Duncan (No. 9 Lucas Oil/Ron's Rear Ends Chevrolet) with 441 points. Lynch last led the standings at the end of his rookie season in 2003, when he edged Duncan and Portenga for the series championship.
* Strong rookie showing .Three of 10 rookies registered for this year's Sunoco Rookie of the Year program have made their way into the top 10 of the overall championship standings in the series. The trio holding down eighth, ninth and 10th-place, respectively, are Andrew Myers (No. 44 Toyota of Escondido Chevrolet), Andrew Lewis (No. 18 Teen Arrive Alive Chevrolet) and Rick Ruzbarsky (No. 51 California Gunite/Borg Fencing Chevrolet). All three will be getting their first taste of West Series competition on a tight quarter-mile track at Stockton.
* Last year's event . Austin Cameron took advantage of lapped traffic to make a late-race pass for the lead and win this event a year ago. He slipped to the inside of Mike Duncan with just seven laps remaining as the pair battled through heavy traffic around the tight quarter-mile oval. Duncan had dominated the action up to that point, winning the Bud Pole Award and leading the first 142 laps.
* Mr. Consistency . Duncan has three runner-up finishes at Stockton in the four series races in which he has competed. Coupled with a sixth-place finish, it gives him an average finish of 3.00 in series competition at Stockton.
* Top names . With four wins, Jack McCoy tops the list of drivers to taste victory in series competition at Stockton. Dick Bown, Jim Bown and Cameron each scored two wins. Drivers with one series win on the historic track include last year's August winner Mike David (No. 2 Bennett Lane Winery Ford) - along with Ivan Baldwin, Jim Insolo, Marvin Porter, Johnny Steele and Tim Williamson.
* Most poles . McCoy was also dominant in terms of qualifying, winning five Bud Pole Awards at Stockton. Duncan and Jim Bown follow on that list with two each.
* Out front . McCoy led the most laps of competition at Stockton in the modern era of the series (1971-present). He led in three different races, for a total of 261 laps.
* Equal marks . Among active drivers, David and Duncan are tied for the most top-five finishes at Stockton - with three each. They are also tied for the most top-10s, with four each.
* Most money . Duncan leads in terms of money won in series competition at Stockton, taking home $18,625 in four races.
* Dodge leads . With five wins, a Dodge has been in victory lane at Stockton more than any other manufacturer.
* Stat of the race . Six of 13 winners at Stockton in the modern era of the series (1971-present) started from the Bud Pole.
Drivers celebrating a birthday during the upcoming month of May include Daryl Harr, who will turn 23 on the 5th; Jose Luis Ramirez, who will turn 26 on the 8th; Scott Lynch, who will turn 25 on the 14th; Eric Norris, who will turn 40 on the 20th; Steve Portenga, who will turn 35 on the 22nd; P.J. Abbott, who will turn 41 on the 28th; and Ken Schrader, who will turn 50 on the 29th.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
On May 14, 1983, Jim Bown won this event for the second consecutive year - driving the Wholesale Truck Parts Buick to victory ahead of Jim Robinson and Ron Eaton. Robinson, meanwhile, went on to capture the series championship that season - his first of three consecutive titles.
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