Wednesday, November 25, 2009

NASCAR Camping World Series West Offseason Musings

NASCAR Camping World Series West Offseason Musings
By Steven Blakesley

The NASCAR Camping World Series West is a series that many would consider the top series in the western United States. Hearing NASCAR announce at the regional awards banquet that the tour has only six confirmed races for 2010 sent a shockwave throughout the racing world.

I have had conversations with many people who have said "Did you hear the west series only has six races?" or "Why bother with the west series; it only has six races."

The confirmed dates for the NASCAR Camping World Series West are Phoenix in April, Iowa in May, Infineon in June, Irwindale in July, Portland in July, and Phoenix in November.

There is no way that anyone can actually think that this is the full 2010 schedule, yet by announcing this partial schedule it made many in the west series very worried.

What NASCAR needed to say was that flying to the west coast multiple times to make a west schedule is a big expense. There is no longer a person like a Ken Clapp managing the west coast operations. The important meetings with Roseville, Roseberg, Colorado National, Stockton, Madera, and others will take place in Reno next week during the promoters workshops.

I predict a 10-12 race schedule and I think that's what we will get once its all announced.

On the drivers front, news already announced is that Lakeside, Calif.'s Auggie Vidovich will run full-time for Cass Racing in the #50 car. Unconfirmed but strongly rumored is that Luis Martinez, Jr. is taking over the #6 Bruncati entry from 2009 champ Jason Bowles. Bill McAnally Racing has not made any driver announcements but it would not surprise me to see 2009 NASCAR Whelen Rookie of the Year Jacob Gomes bring funding to the table for a seat. Perhaps even Johnathan Hale could end up in a BMR seat? The status of Moses Smith and 2008 champ Eric Holmes is unknown at this time.

Stay tuned for a full 2010 NASCAR Camping World Series West schedule, coming soon.

Most Colorful Fan Winner Cynthia Peace


Cynthia Peace of Havana, Ill. to be Recognized
During Induction Weekend in May 2010

HACKETTSTOWN, N.J. -- Mars Chocolate North America announced that Cynthia Peace of Havana, Ill., was selected as the grand prize winner of “M&M’S® The Most Colorful Fan® of NASCAR® Contest.” Peace bested thousands of other colorful NASCAR fans who participated in the 24-week contest at and will become the first fan recognized in the new NASCAR Hall of Fame™ when the Hall opens its doors on May 11, 2010.

Peace will be showcased inside the new 150,000-square-foot attraction in Charlotte, N.C., as part of an exhibit devoted to M&M’S Most Colorful Fan of NASCAR Contest. Peace’s colorfulness will also be honored with a VIP trip for two to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™ Ford 400 Championship weekend in Homestead-Miami.

“This is an exciting new extension to M&M’S Most Colorful Fan of NASCAR platform and is the ultimate “thank you” to all the fans for their year round colorfulness,” said Suzanne Beaudoin, vice president, Sponsorships and Sports Marketing, Mars Chocolate North America. “NASCAR was built on the passion of fans, so it’s fitting that our most colorful fan has an opportunity to be featured in a venue that features all things NASCAR.”

M&M’S Most Colorful Fan of NASCAR Contest, recognizes, celebrates and rewards all NASCAR fans for showcasing their colorful passion for the sport and drivers of NASCAR. The contest went live during the Daytona 500 on February 15, 2009, at NASCAR.COM, the official Web site of NASCAR. For 24 weeks, fans were able to showcase their unmatched love for the sport, as well as their favorite teams and drivers, by uploading their most colorful racing-themed photos to More than seven million votes were cast over the duration of the contest this season, eclipsing the 2008 contest total votes of 360,000, a testament to the growth of the program and engagement by the race fans.

At the beginning of September, the 24 weekly winners were placed into a bracket-style “photo playoff” challenge, competing in a special head-to-head competition over a four week period where fans’ votes advanced the finalists to the next round until only three remained. The three finalists then battled it out for a chance to claim this year’s title. Along with the support of family and friends, Cynthia’s passion helped her stand out among the thousands of photos submitted, earning her the title of “The Most Colorful Fan of NASCAR.”

“I’ve been a NASCAR fan over a decade,” said Peace. “I’ve been hooked ever since I attended my first Busch (now Nationwide) Series race in St. Louis. I’m especially excited to share this experience with my family members in California, Oklahoma and Texas who all love NASCAR!”

For more information about The Most Colorful Fan of NASCAR Contest, visit or

Congratulations to my good friend Cynthia Peace! Here are a couple of photos she posted on Facebook:

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Photos From The Night of Champions
Touring Awards Gala

Photos by "Timmy Q from The Third Turn"

Moses Smith, #16 Hasa Pool Products Toyota
2009 Most Popular Driver

Many thanks to Tim Quievryn for sharing these photos from the night of NASCAR Champions Touring Series Awards Gala. Tim took 1,293 pictures, photographed 256 people, and ate two desserts to die for! He attended the banquet in his capacity managing a local racing community called The Third Turn (

It’s all about the fans!

Moses Smith’s fans spoke through their votes, and he won the 2009 Most Popular Driver Award in the NASCAR Camping World Series West!

This makes Moses a two-time winner of the prestigious award. This year, Moses and the team are also to be congratulated on receiving the Featherlite Most Improved Driver of the Year Award.

For the first time, fans everywhere were invited to watch the NASCAR Touring Series Awards Gala live online presented by (the official online home of NASCAR’s developmental series.) NASCAR held a huge banquet of not one, but five series under one roof at the Embassy Suites and Convention Center in Concord, North Carolina.

In addition to the championship awards, the Most Popular Driver Awards for each series were also presented during the ceremony. The five drivers honored with the prestigious award were Ted Christopher in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, Andy Seuss in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, Andrew Ranger in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, Steve Park in the NASCAR Camping World Series East and Moses Smith in the NASCAR Camping World Series West.

While the Camping World Series West schedule are still being finalized, NASCAR Managing Director Of Racing Operations, George Silbermann did inform the competitors that the series will finish the 2010 season during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend at Phoenix International Raceway in November.

In addition, Mr. Silbermann confirmed the return of several traditional West dates like the April Phoenix race, Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California, Toyota Speedway at Irwindale (California), and the Portland (Oregon) International Raceway road course. The series will also take part in the fourth annual combination race with the NASCAR Camping World Series East at Iowa Speedway May 23. Further dates and the complete schedule will be announced shortly.

Mr. Silbermann also reported that for the 2010 television packages. SPEED will once again return to broadcast the Camping World Series. The awards celebration capped a week of festivities in the Charlotte area aimed at providing the top drivers and track operators in NASCAR’s developmental series an up close and personal look at the hub of stock-car racing.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Awards Gala To Be Streamed Live Online

NASCAR’s historic two-night celebration of its champions from across North America will feature another first – both the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series and NASCAR Touring Series Awards Gala will be streamed live online at

The awards night for the NASCAR Camping World Series (the inaugural Night of Champions Touring Awards Gala) will be held November 14 at the Concord (N.C.) Convention Center at 6 p.m. EST. The event will bring the top drivers and car owners from NASCAR’s top developmental series on stage for one memorable evening.

Earlier this season, live audio of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race from New Hampshire was streamed on the website to an overwhelmingly positive fan response. In addition, the final two NASCAR Camping World Series East races – from New Hampshire and Dover – could be heard live online.

“NASCAR continues to look at ways to improve the championship racing experience for our fans and to elevate the stature of our developmental racing programs,” said George Silbermann, NASCAR managing director of racing operations. “We are very pleased to provide unprecedented access to these two special celebrations for the fans of local NASCAR short track racing and our five regional touring series.”

“With moving the banquets to the Charlotte area, we have received tremendous response from drivers, teams and sponsors who plan to attend. We realize, though, that fans do not have the opportunity to travel to North Carolina and be part of these two major events. Being able to view the awards ceremonies live online is a great way for fans across the United States and Canada, and literally around the globe, to become NASCAR VIP virtual guests at these ceremonies, and be able to cheer for their favorite drivers and hometown heroes.”

The NASCAR Night of Champions Touring Gala will feature the champions and top drivers from all of NASCAR’s North American regional touring series including invitees from the NASCAR Camping World Series East, the NASCAR Camping World Series West, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, and the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series. provides NASCAR.COM with weekly touring series news, photos, standings and results, and features all the latest information from all of NASCAR’s developmental series.

Information harvested from Herald News Services.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

News & Notes, Year End
NASCAR Camping World Series West

2009 NASCAR Camping World Series West Season Recap
by Kevin Green

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The 2009 season in the NASCAR Camping World Series West featured another close chase for the championship, with the battle coming down to the wire between Jason Bowles (No. 6 Sunrise Ford) and Eric Holmes (No. 20 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota) for the second consecutive year.

Although Holmes led the championship standings through the first half of the season, Bowles came on strong late in the year and clinched the title in the season finale by a 123-point margin.

Circumstances had been reversed in 2008, when Holmes led Bowles going into the final event and went on to win his second championship in three years by a 48-point advantage.

Bowles – a 26-year-old former open-wheel driver from Ontario, Calif. – was in his third season of competition in the series this year. In his first season in 2007, he won the Sunoco Rookie of the Year title and finished third in the overall standings.

Holmes, meanwhile, had won the 2006 series championship as well as the 2008 title. The 34-year-old driver from Escalon, Calif., had only competed in a handful of series events before 2006. Much of his racing focus prior to that was in the former NASCAR Southwest Tour.

While Bowles and Holmes led the championship chase nearly all year, David Mayhew (No. 17 MMI Services/Ron’s Rear Ends/KHI Chevrolet) and Greg Pursley (No. 26 Gene Price Motorsports/Star Nursery Chevrolet) were also in contention and remained within striking range of the title through much of the season.

In addition to the championship, there was a tough battle in the series for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award this year. Paulie Harraka (No. 12 NAPA AutoCare/Adaptive One Brakes Toyota) of Fairlawn, N.J., edged Blake Koch (No. 21 Chevrolet) of West Palm Beach, Fla., late in the season to take the prestigious award.

The series kicked off its 56th season on March 14 at Thunderhill Raceway in Kyle, Texas with an event that featured a wild scramble at the finish. Greg Pursley went from third to first on the final lap of the Allstate Texas Thunder 150 to record his first career series win. Moses Smith (No. 16 HASA Pool Products/White Flyer Toyota) was second, followed by Eric Holmes.

A dominant victory and repeat win by Holmes in the Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts 150 before a sold-out crowd at All American Speedway in Roseville, Calif., on April 4 appeared to set the stage for him to make a run for his third championship in four years. Bowles finished second, with Paulie Harraka close behind.

A visit to Phoenix International Raceway on April 16 for the Jimmie Johnson Foundation 150 presented by Shamrock Farms featured a dramatic back-and-forth battle between Bowles and East Coast driver Steve Park that ended with a green-white-checkered finish. Bowles battled back in the final laps to take the win. Holmes took advantage of the scramble in the final two laps to gain second, with Park finishing third.

Holmes then padded his points lead in the championship chase by winning a fierce short-track battle at Madera (Calif.) Speedway on April 25. His victory in the NAPA Auto Parts/Toyota 150 presented by Exclusive Energy Drink marked his second win in four races and stretched his lead to 66 points. David Mayhew took second, followed by Mike David. Bowles, who lost two laps due to a flat tire, charged back to finish seventh.

While Kyle Busch dominated the overall competition in the NASCAR Camping World Series East-West combination race at Iowa Speedway in May, David Mayhew came away with a win as the top finishing NASCAR Camping World Series West driver in the annual event in Newton, Iowa. Among West drivers – Mayhew finished third overall, followed by Paulie Harraka, who was fifth overall, and Brett Thompson (No. 61 RTT Chevrolet), who was seventh overall. The advantage Holmes had in the points standings took a hit, when an accident in the Iowa event left him to finish last among the 16 West drivers.

He rebounded at Douglas County Speedway, however. A year after overcoming a flat tire and fighting his way through the field at the Roseburg, Ore., track to get the victory, Holmes stayed out front all night and led all 150 laps en route to winning the Toyota/Bi-Mart 150 presented by NAPA on June 6. It increased his series points lead to 36 points over Bowles, who finished second. Mayhew was third.

The complexion of the championship chase began to change as the series visited Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., on June 20 for the first of three road-course events on tap in 2009. A wild finish there left Jason Bowles in Victory Lane as the repeat winner in the Bennett Lane Winery 200 presented by Supercuts. Bowles inherited the win following a last-lap incident between his teammate, Patrick Long (No. 9 Sunrise/AASCO Motorsports Ford), and race leader Joey Logano. Mayhew finished second and Holmes third.

Bowles benefited from a visit to his home track of Toyota Speedway at Irwindale (Calif.) on July 4, scoring his third consecutive win on the half-mile track and taking over the lead in the championship standings. Bowles led 132 of 200 laps in taking the victory in the King Taco 200 before a Fourth of July capacity crowd. Jeff Barkshire was second, followed by Paulie Harraka.

The return of the NASCAR Camping World Series West to Portland International Raceway featured a thrilling dash to the finish on the final lap, with Jim Inglebright taking the win in the BI-MART Salute to the Troops 125 on July 19. Inglebright was third as the field thundered down the front stretch of the road course for a restart with two laps to go in a green-white-checkered finish. He charged to the outside of Brian Wong heading into the first turn. Then a lap later, he slipped to the inside of Greg Pursley heading to the checkered flag. Pursley, who slid wide in Turn 12 on the final lap, held on to edge out Wong for second. The event marked the return of the series to the 1.98-mile road course, which it last visited in 1986. Hershel McGriff, who won that race 23 years ago, was back at the age of 81 and finished 13th.

The series made a visit to Miller Motorsports Park on Aug. 1 for an event which Patrick Long dominated. He won the 41-lap event on the massive 14-turn road course by more than five seconds over Paulie Harraka, who had started at the tail of the field due to a transmission change. Jason Bowles was third.

Harraka held off a fierce charge by Jim Warn (No. 10 MJ2 Racing/GPI Chevrolet) to score his first career series win when the NASCAR Camping World Series West visited Colorado National Speedway near Denver on Aug. 15. His victory in the Toyota/NAPA 150 marked the first win in the NASCAR Camping World Series by a Drive for Diversity participant. Following Harraka and Warn across the finish line was Moses Smith.

There was no holding back David Mayhew when the NASCAR Camping World Series West returned to Iowa Speedway for the Central Iowa Building and Construction Trades 125 on Sept. 4. When Coors Light Pole winner Greg Pursley had to drop to the rear for the start, due to an engine change earlier in the day, it moved Mayhew up to start on the pole and from there he never looked back. He led all but one lap en route to the victory over Bowles and Max Gresham.

Bowles entered the season finale at All American Speedway on Sept. 26 needing only to finish 16th or better to wrap up the championship over Eric Holmes. As it turned out, Holmes encountered an early problem and fell back. While Bowles was clinching the championship, Harraka was out front dominating the action in the Toyota/Copart 150 – leading 149 of 150 laps. Eric Schmidt shadowed him for much of the race and finished second. Pursley took third.

Bowles raced his way to fourth at the finish, winning the championship over Holmes 2,158 to 2,035. Pursley concluded the season third in the standings with 1,978 points – followed by Harraka with 1,951 and Brett Thompson with 1,805. Completing the top 10 were David Mayhew at 1,799, Moses Smith at 1,766, Blake Koch at 1,726, Jim Warn at 1,590 and Jamie Dick at 1,423.

The season featured seven different race winners, including four first-time winners and six different pole winners.