Monday, March 22, 2010

News & Notes: K&N Pro Series West Ready To Kick Off Season At All American Speedway

The stage is set for another exciting year of competition in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West. The 2010 season gets underway with the Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts Bonus Challenge presented by A-All Mini Storage at All American Speedway in Roseville, Calif., on Saturday, March 27.

The Bill McAnally Racing Promotions event at the Placer County Fairgrounds has become a very popular attraction among fans – featuring an action-packed midway with numerous activities to supplement a full card of racing.

Another tough season of competition is expected this year in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, with veteran drivers and talented rookies vying for the spotlight as the West’s oldest stock car racing circuit celebrates its 57th season.

Wheeling the car sponsored by Roseville event sponsors – NAPA Auto Parts and Toyota – is one of the local favorites, Eric Holmes (No. 20 NAPA Toyota). The series veteran from Escalon, Calif., has won this event the past two years driving for Bill McAnally Racing, based in nearby Antelope. In taking aim at a third consecutive win, Holmes also hopes to gain an early lead in his quest for a third championship. He won the series title in 2006 and 2008 and finished second in points last year.

Two drivers who shadowed Holmes in the standings last season are returning for a shot at this year’s championship.

In returning to the series full time last year, Greg Pursley (No. 26 GPM Performance Parts/SMR Ford) joined with the Parker, Ariz.-based team of car owner Gene Price to become a title contender. After netting a third-place finish in the standings with one win, eight top-five and 11 top-10 finishes in 2009, Pursley is set to return with the team to make a championship run.

David Mayhew (No. 17 MMI Services/Ron’s Rear Ends/KHI Chevrolet) is also expected to contend for the 2010 title. He registered two wins, six top-five and eight top-10 finishes last year for car owner Steve McGowan and returns for another season with the team from Bakersfield, Calif..

A couple of second-year drivers from the East Coast – Paulie Harraka (No. 12 NAPA Gold Filters Toyota) of Wayne, N.J., and Blake Koch (No. 21 Daystar Chevrolet) of West Palm Beach, Fla. – waged a fierce battle for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award last season and are taking aim at the championship this year.

Harraka won two of the final three races, including a dominant victory in the season finale at Roseville, to nail down the prestigious rookie title and finish fourth in the overall standings. Harraka, who adopted All American Speedway as his home track after winning a Late Model championship there two years ago, hopes to continue the momentum he and his BMR team established at the end of the year.

Koch, who finished his freshman season eighth in the final standings, is looking to build on the success he experienced with car owner Jim Offenbach and his Golden Gate Racing Team in conjunction with Richard Childress Racing.

Meanwhile, veteran West Coast driver Auggie Vidovich (No. 50 Towne Place & Spring Hill Suites by Marriott Chevrolet) of Lakeside, Calif., will be looking for a strong showing in his first full season of competing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West. Vidovich, who won a championship in the former NASCAR Southwest Tour in 2003 and competed in more than 20 races in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2006, has joined with the TCR team to take a shot at this year’s title.

Another driver expec-ted to be a contender in his first full season in the series is Jonathon Gomez (No. 22 Heritage Cattle/Century Boatland Chevrolet) of Twin Falls, Idaho. Gomez, who has competed in eight series races in the past two seasons, scored top-10 finishes in his first two series events in 2008.

A series veteran who also looks to be in the hunt this year is Moses Smith (No. 16 HASA Pool Products/White Flyer Toyota). The Tempe, Ariz., driver – who is entering his fourth full season of series competition – collected his second consecutive Most Popular Driver Award in 2009.

Two series veterans from Northern California returning to the series this season are Wes Banks (No. 3 Valvoline Ford) of Oakdale and Jack Sellers (No. 15 Greyhound Adoption Center Chevrolet) of Sacramento – who celebrated his 25th season in the series last year. Teaming with Sellers for a third season is Jonathan Hale (No. 51 Greyhound Adoption Center Chevrolet) of Rio Linda, Calif. Piloting a third entry for the team in select events this season will be Justin Funkhouser (No. 5 Greyhound Adoption Center Chevrolet) of Paradise, Calif.

A talented field of freshman drivers should make for another exciting year of competition for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award this season. Those looking to figure into the chase for the rookie title include Taylor Barton (No. 60 Full Tilt Poker.Net Chevrolet) of Las Vegas, Nev.; Josh Combs (No. 9 Grape King/Sunrise Ford Ford) of Sacramento, Calif.; Luis Martinez Jr. (No. 6 King Taco/Sunrise Ford/Lucas Ford) of Long Beach, Calif.; Travis Milburn (No. 14 Cooks Collision Chevrolet) of Eagle, Idaho; Greg Rayl (No. 07 Ford) of Roseville, Calif.; Michael Self (No. 88 J. Michael Self MD Chevrolet) of Park City, Utah, and Todd Souza (No. 13 Central Coast Cabinets Chevrolet) of Aromas, Calif.

Souza, who won the rookie award in the former NASCAR Southwest Tour in 2000, has run select events in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West since 2004 and registered a win in 2008.

Martinez, who made two series starts in 2008, takes controls of the Bob Bruncati-owned car that was driven to the 2009 championship by Jason Bowles. Combs, also driving for Bruncati, made his series debut at the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown in January. Self, who made two series starts last year, will be the primary driver this season for the Motorway Motorsports team headed by Mike Naake. Milburn competed in four races in the series last season and made two starts in 2008. Rayl has competed in four series events, including three in 2009.

Other drivers in the mix this season who are on the entry list at Roseville include Kyle Kelley (No. 7 Dodge) of Huntington Beach, Calif.; Troy Ermish (No. 38 Cooks Collision Dodge) of Fremont, Calif.; and Paul Pedroncelli Jr. (No. 0 Lee’s Auto Body/Native Hut Chevrolet) of Sonoma, Calif.
Photo by Tim Quievryn

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