Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tight Points Battle

Tight Points Battle At Midway Point
In Nascar K&N Pro Series West

As the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West passes the midway point of its 2010 season, the challenge for the championship has shaped up into another tough points battle that extends throughout the top 10 and beyond in the standings.

As was anticipated this season, newcomers to the series have added to the action and made for another season of tough competition as the West’s oldest stock car circuit celebrates its 57th season. Six races have produced five different winners, with two first-time series winners. The first half of the season has also featured five different Coors Light Pole Award winners.

Four different drivers have led the standings since the season started in March, with two-time series champion Eric Holmes (No. 20 NAPA Toyota) currently out front by a 64-point margin. If successful in his quest for a third title – the 35-year-old driver from Escalon, Calif., would become just the seventh driver to win three or more championships in the series that was initially known as the Pacific Coast Late Models and then as the NASCAR Winston West Series.

Holmes – who could also deliver Bill McAnally his fifth series championship as a car owner – has accumulated 937 points; with two wins, four top five and five top 10 finishes in the first six races of the season.

Despite finishing outside the top 20 in the past two events, series veteran David Mayhew (No. 17 MMI Services/Ron’s Rear Ends/KHI Chevrolet) has been able to retain a solid hold on second in the standings with 873 points. Mayhew, who led the standings through two events, has one win and four top five finishes.

Drivers chasing Holmes and Mayhew in the championship standings have shuffled positions with each event, with only 110 points currently separating the nine drivers in third through 11th in points.

Jonathon Gomez (No. 22 Heritage Cattle/Century Boatland Chevrolet) of Twin Falls, Idaho, is third in the standings with 843 points. Gomez, in his first full season of competition in the series, has two top five and four top 10 finishes.

Series veteran Moses Smith (No. 16 HASA Pool Products/White Flyer Toyota) is seven points back from Gomez in fourth with 836. The Tempe, Ariz., driver has two top five and four top 10 finishes this season.

His Bill McAnally Racing teammate, Paulie Harraka (No. 12 NAPA Gold Filters Toyota), is 12 points further back in fifth with 824. The 2009 Sunoco Rookie of the Year from Wayne, N.J., has one win and three top five finishes.

Heading up this year’s talented rookie class is Luis Martinez Jr. (No. 6 King Taco/Sunrise Ford/Lucas Oil Ford), of Long Beach, Calif., who is 29 points back from Harraka in sixth with 795 points. Just two points behind him is second-year driver Blake Koch (No. 21 Daystar Chevrolet) of West Palm Beach, Fla., with 793 points. Another member of the freshman class, Michael Self (No. 88 Johnny Walker Performance Center/Team Viva Chevrolet) of Park City, Utah, is seven points back of him with 786. He is followed by another rookie, Todd Souza (No. 13 Central Coast Cabinets Chevrolet) of Aromas, Calif. – who is 38 points back of him with 748.

Greg Pursley (No. 26 GPM Performance Parts/Star Nursery Ford) – a veteran driver from Southern California who moved to Parker, Ariz., a year ago to be near his team – is three points further back in tenth with 745. Another of this year’s rookies, Josh Combs (No. 9 Grape King/Sunrise Ford/Lucas Oil Ford) of Sacramento, Calif., is 12 points out of 10th place with 733 points.

Competition in 12th and beyond in the standings is tight, as well. Johnathan Hale (No. 5 Greyhound Adoption Center Chevrolet) of Rio Linda, Calif., holds down the 12th spot with 669. Just five points back from him is series rookie Travis Milburn (No. 14 Cooks Collision Toyota) of Eagle, Idaho, with 664. Long-time series veteran Jack Sellers (No. 15 Greyhound Adoption Center Chevrolet) of Sacramento, Calif., is 19 points back from there with 645. Trailing him by 15 points is rookie Greg Rayl (No. 07 Spectator Racing Ford) of Roseville, Calif., with 630. Troy Ermish (No. 38 Datsun Parts Outlet Chevrolet) of Fremont, Calif., is 16th in the standings with 579.

The next race on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West schedule is the Bi-Mart Salute to the Troops 125 at Portland (Ore.) International Raceway on Sunday, July 18.
Races on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series schedule this year are televised on SPEED, the nation’s first and only cable television network dedicated to automotive and motorcycle racing, performance and lifestyle. The events air on Thursdays at 6 p.m. ET.

K&N Engineering became the title sponsor for NASCAR K&N Pro Series at the beginning of 2010, entitling NASCAR’s top developmental series – the long-standing Grand National Division, East and West Series. The Riverside, Calif.-based K&N Engineering is the inventor and leading innovator of reusable cotton gauze filter technology for automotive applications. K&N, which has grown from a family-run business to a global company, traces its involvement with NASCAR back to the days of supplying parts for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at the old Riverside Speedway.

by Kevin W. Green, NASCAR Public Relations
Photo by Denny Strimple

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