CHAMPIONS HONORED AT NASCAR DODGE WEEKLY SERIES AWARDS BANQUET IN NASHVILLE
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Oct, 30, 2004) - NASCAR honored the regional champions and national champion of the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series, Oct. 30 in a grand awards banquet at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville. More than 700 people, including NASCAR President Mike Helton, gathered at the exquisite resort to recognize the drivers and salute Santa Clarita, California's Greg Pursley, the series' 2004 national champion.
"It is a real honor to be here tonight as your national champion," said Pursley, who raced at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway to win the title. "I knew we had a good season, but never imagined I'd be standing up here like this."
Pursley, who won 13 races in Irwindale's Lucas Oil Super Late Model division, collected prize money totaling $170,000 from NASCAR, Dodge and other participating sponsors. Pursley is the first California driver to win NASCAR's national title since Doug McCoun accomplished the feat in 1985.
"For all of us, it's been an amazing year," continued Pursley. "I'll never forget the experience I've had as the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series champion, and I can't wait to see who's going to race for it next year."
Russ Pursley, Greg's father and crew chief, was presented with the $5,500 Lunati Cams national champion crew chief award, while car owner Dave Hays received the Lincoln Electric national champion car owner award of $5,000.
NASCAR Vice President Jim Hunter, who oversees the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series, spoke about the state of the series, telling the crowd "Our challenge as an industry is to get people to believe [short track racing] is a vibrant, exciting sport. Weekly short-track racing is the absolute backbone of stock-car racing. It also, in many ways, transcends our sport. It is a part of Americana."
Hunter's remarks set the stage for the program, which paid tribute to several drivers and special award winners. In addition to Pursley's honors, regional champions Steve Blackburn (Prestonsburg, Ky.), Andy Bozell (Portage, Mich.), Doug Hoffman (Allentown, Pa.), Charlie Menard (Eau Claire, Wis.), Jerry Robertson (Arvada, Colo.), Mark Wertz (Virginia Beach, Va.) and Ricky Wolf Jr. (Northwood, N.H) were recognized for their accomplishments. Each of these regional champions received nearly $45,000 in post-season awards. Track champions from each of the 65 NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series tracks were also acknowledged during the banquet. Altogether, these drivers and award winners were presented with $1.7 million in prize money.
Craftsman, the official tools of NASCAR, presented its $5,000 Craftsman Mechanic of the Year award to Dexter Canipe, who works on the Limited Late Model car driven by his son, Dexter Canipe Jr., at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway. Canipe, of Claremont, N.C., was the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series national champion driver in 1997.
Fox Sports TV personality Dr. Dick Berggren served as master of ceremonies.
NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series Banquet News & Notes
Ø Sam Bass presents special award ... Renowned motorsports artist Sam Bass designed a special commemorative Gibson Les Paul guitar for the national champion, and was on hand to personally present his creation to Pursley. Bass, the first officially-licensed artist of NASCAR, is known for his exquisite hand drawn paintings and prints of NASCAR stars, along with paint schemes that have appeared on nearly every NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series car since 1988.
Ø Dodge upbeat about sponsorship ... Dodge has been the title sponsor of the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series since 2003, and the manufacturer's Motorsports Marketing Manager, Bo Puffer, is optimistic about his company's involvement with weekly short track racing. "It's been another great year for the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series, and I have to thank everyone in this room for that," Puffer said in his remarks to the drivers, track operators, sponsors and NASCAR officials in attendance. "Thanks to the drivers, who, on a weekly basis, provide the greatest show on earth." On Friday before the banquet, Puffer held a drawing for participating track operators to win a new Dodge Durango and LaCrosse (Wis.) Fairgrounds Speedway promoter Chuck Deery won the prize.
Ø Up next? Pursley headed to NYC For NEXTEL Cup Series celebration ... Greg Pursley's championship celebration isn't over. While he was the guest of honor in Nashville, Pursley will also attend the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series awards banquet, Dec. 3 at the world-famous Waldorf=Astoria Hotel in New York City. Pursley will attend the exclusive event along with the champions from NASCAR's regional racing divisions, NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
JERRY ROBERTSON CLINCHES NASCAR DODGE WEEKLY SERIES NORTHWEST REGION CHAMPIONSHIP
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 22, 2004) – Jerry Robertson, of Arvada, Colo., closed out his 2004 campaign with a big come-from-behind win at Colorado National Speedway Sept. 18, to clinch his second consecutive championship, and third overall, in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series Northwest Region.
Robertson – who had also won a previous regional championship in 2000 – scored 10 wins, 15 top-five and 15 top-10 finishes in 18 late model events on the 3/8-mile oval, located just north of Denver. His Competition Performance Index of .8234 was highest in the region. The CPI is the statistical formula used to determine the regional championships.
The 42-year-old competitor, who stands to collect up to $45,000 in post-season awards at NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series awards banquet in Nashville on Oct. 30, is one of two regional champions to repeat in 2004. Mark Wertz, from Langley Speedway in Hampton, Va., has also won a second consecutive regional title in NASCAR’s East Coast Region.
Robertson expressed relief after hearing he had won a third regional title. “To win it after all that I’ve been through all year is so relieving,” Robertson said of the “ups and downs” he experienced this season. “It’s so exciting.”
"This year’s is the sweetest of the three regional championships. We didn’t think we were going to win it,” Robertson said. “We didn’t think we even had a shot until last week. Then all of a sudden everything came together and we won it. It’s very emotional and very exciting. After Saturday, we thought we had won it, but we were not sure.”
Robertson competed in the same car this year that carried him to his 2003 championship. It’s a car that was originally built in 1992, but that he has modified and updated. “I think there are features on the old cars that the new cars don’t have,” he explained. “I kind of rework the old cars and I put the front geometry where I want it. I kind of redo the cars and powder coat them and they look brand new when I get done with them.”
Robertson began his racing career as a high school senior when the Colorado track had a dirt surface. He continued racing dirt late model stock cars while living in Charlotte during the 1980s. Robertson returned to Colorado in 1989 and not long after CNS was converted to a paved surface, he also made the transition. The change met with success, as he won the championship and the rookie title in the modified division. Robertson got a glimpse of racing on a national level, competing in limited events in the NASCAR Busch Series and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series during the late 1990s. However, he opted to return to competition in the late model division at CNS in 2000, where he won the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series track championship and the regional title.
Northwest Region Leaders…
Driver Home Track Starts Wins Top-5 CPI
1. Jerry Robertson Colorado National Speedway 18 10 15 .8234
2. Bruce Quale Magic Valley Speedway 19 15 18 .7749
3. Gary Madsen Rocky Mountain Raceways 18 6 13 .7639
4. John Zaretzke Evergreen Speedway 17 7 16 .7447
5. Frank Borges Jr. Madera Speedway 18 6 16 .7323
6. Dave Byrd Stockton 99 Speedway 19 4 15 .6827
7. Mark Cooper Watsonville Speedway 19 4 15 .6827
8. Alan Pyszora Shasta Raceway Park 16 1 14 .6073
Iowa Driver Wins Dual Titles and $17,000 NASCAR Point Fund Award
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 23, 2004) – Ron Barker, a 45-year-old Modified race car driver from Dubuque, Iowa, has made NASCAR history.
Barker, who competes at Dubuque Fairgrounds Speedway as well as Farley (Iowa) Speedway, has won the 2004 NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series ShorTrack Division national championship – the top honor for support division racers in the series. Winning a championship is nothing new – Barker was the ShorTrack Division Midwest Region champion in 2003. What Barker has done this season, however, has never been accomplished before in the 22-year history of the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series.
By competing at those two tracks – Dubuque and Farley – Barker has won both the Midwest Region and Heartland Region championships for the ShorTrack Division. He is the first driver to win two NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series regional championships in the same season.
NASCAR’s ShorTrack Division regional championships are determined by the Competition Performance Index (CPI), which measures wins, top-five finishes and other factors to establish a regional ranking of drivers. The national title is decided by a CPI comparison of the racing records of the eight regional champions and it’s easy to see how Barker accomplished this feat.
At Farley, Barker recorded 12 wins and 16 top-five finishes in 18 starts. His Dubuque record was equally impressive: 10 wins and 14 top-five finishes. Barker uses the same race car at both tracks; competing at Farley on Friday nights and Dubuque on Sundays. Along with the regional and national honors, Barker has won track championships at both facilities.
At the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series awards banquet in Nashville, Barker will be presented with $1,000 for each of his two track titles, $2,500 for each of the regional championships along with a $10,000 national champion’s bonus from Whelen Engineering – a total of $17,000 in post-season prize money.
While Barker was the top award winner in the ShorTrack Division, six other drivers also won regional championships.
Atlantic Region … Travis McIntire, 27, of Harrisburg, N.C., won the ShorTrack Division Atlantic Region championship after recording 15 wins and 16 top-five finishes in the Limited Stock division at Concord (N.C.) Motorsport Park. McIntire is employed by Ken Schrader Racing, where he works as a fabricator on Schrader’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, NASCAR Grand National Division West Series and NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division Southwest Series cars.
East Coast Region … After 12 wins and 16 top-five finishes in the Charger division at Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Speedway, 20-year-old Jeremy McDowell, of Conway, S.C., has earned the title of NASCAR ShorTrack Division champion in the East Coast Region.
New England Region … Corey Hutchings, of Salem, Conn., has won the ShorTrack Division New England Region championship with nine wins and 17 top-five finishes at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway, where he competes in the Late Model division. This is the second regional title for Hutchings, who won the same honor in 1999.
Northeast Region … Gary Eicher, 42, of McKean, Pa., won the ShorTrack Division Northeast Region title with nine wins and 15 top-five finishes in Lake Erie Speedway’s Dodge Truck division. Eicher becomes the second consecutive driver from Lake Erie to win the ShorTrack Division Northeast Region championship, after Neil Hopkins accomplished the feat in 2003.
Northwest Region … 58-year-old Mike Wade, of Salt Lake City, won the ShorTrack Division Northwest Region championship after a successful season at Rocky Mountain Raceways in West Valley City, Utah. Wade finished the season with six wins and 12 top-five finishes in Rocky Mountain’s Super Stock division.
Sunbelt Region … Justin Oates, of Adkins, Tex., has been racing cars for longer than he’s held his driver’s license – and it’s paid off. This season, the 17-year-old LaVernia High School senior won the ShorTrack Division Sunbelt Region crown after recording nine wins and 14 top-five finishes in the Sportsman division at San Antonio (Tex.) Speedway.
Irwindale Speedway Driver Wins $170,000
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 22, 2004) – A veteran race car driving instructor is at the head of the class in NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series competition this year.
Greg Pursley, 36, of Santa Clarita, Calif., has returned the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series national championship to the Golden State for the first time in nearly two decades. Pursley has won the series’ national championship by competing and winning at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway. Doug McCoun, of Prunedale, Calif., last took the series’ national champion’s trophy to California in 1985.
In the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series, eight regional champions are compared to determine a national champion, and Pursley’s honors begin with NASCAR’s Sunbelt Region, which includes eight tracks in Arizona, California, Nevada, Texas, Tennessee and Georgia. As the regional champion, Pursley will collect $45,000 in post-season prize money. National championship bonuses from NASCAR, Dodge and other participating sponsors add up to $125,000, for a total payout of $170,000.
Pursley will be the guest of honor at the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series awards banquet, Oct. 30 in Nashville, and he’ll enjoy a V.IP. trip to the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series awards banquet in New York City in December.
Pursley’s No. 13 King Taco Monte Carlo shattered old records and set new ones in 2004, including records for feature wins in a single season (11), consecutive wins (five), and a new Late Model track qualifying record (17.817 seconds/101.027 mph).
Although Pursley didn’t contend for the regional championship race in 2003, he was a factor at Irwindale, where Rip Michels won the 2003 Sunbelt Region championship. Pursley won the track’s Miller Big-10 Championship Series, but finished third in the overall track points race.
“We were really hit or miss through the year. We tried a new set-up, and then tried a couple of other things toward the end of the year, and built on that this year,” Pursley said. “This year, the car is where I really like the feel of it, and it’s been working great. We have the same crew and we just really got good. It’s been like a dream season. It’s the best we’ve ever done.”
Winning the 2004 NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series national championship, Pursley says, wasn’t even dream-able.
“We never thought this would happen, I’ll tell you that!”
He also says that racing with Michels in 2003 was good for both competitors. Michels advanced to the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series in 2004 while Pursley took aim at Irwindale’s Super Late Model ranks.
“We had a lot of good battles,” Pursley said. “We ran each other pretty hard, and I think we both stepped up and became better drivers because of that.”
Irwindale Speedway bills itself as “L.A.’s Half-Mile Superspeedway,” for good reason: it is one of the premier short-track facilities in America. The track’s 6,500-seat grandstands provide picture perfect views of action on the multi-banked half-mile oval, as well as the inner third-mile oval. The state-of-the-art facility features 14 corporate sky box suites, along with premium sound and lighting systems.
“It’s one of the best tracks I’ve ever raced on,” Pursley said. “It’s beautiful. It’s well run, and it’s competitive. As soon as the track opened, I fell in love with it. It’s really fun to drive. It’s kind of technical in some places, and not technical in other places. You can run three and four wide here. That makes for some very good racing.”
Pursley knows Irwindale Speedway almost as well as the crews who constructed it. His full-time job is as an instructor at the Performance Race Training School, based at the track. The school offers full training for competition, as well as the popular “ride-along.” It attracts individuals as well as corporate clients, and some stars from nearby Hollywood as well. Actors Matt Dillon and Breckin Meyer, stars of the 2005 film “Herbie: Fully Loaded” attended the school this year.
“As an instructor, I’m standing by the fence on the radio,” Pursley said. “It’s a great job for a driver, though. Most of our clients are individuals who want to see what racing is like. We also have a competition class where race car drivers can come and work on their lines and braking points. We even have in-car video cameras.”
As a national championship winning NASCAR race car driver, Pursley has his own fast way around Irwindale.
“The biggest thing is to be smooth,” he said. “If you can get your car to go around the corner smoothly, and keep the car itself nice and smooth the whole race, you’re going to do well here,” Pursley said. “The track is so wide it invites you to drive deep into the corner. If you’re leading, you can run higher on the track and let the tires cool down.
Pursley’s occasional NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series and NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series starts helped him attract sponsorship from King Taco, a popular Los Angeles-area restaurant with a dozen locations specializing in authentic Mexican cuisine. Other sponsors for the team include A-1 Spring, Ringer’s Gloves, Watkins Racing Engines, Garrett Custom Trailers, Cowboy Gears, and Speedway Engineering.
In addition to Pursley and owner Dave Hays, team members include crew chief Russ Pursley, Carey Brewer, Kevin Fox, Mike Teeman, and Dusty Fox. Pursley and his wife, Heidi, have two children, Taylor and Tyler. The Pursleys were true childhood sweethearts. As neighborhood kids, they first met at age 8.
2004 NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series Regional champions
Driver Region Home Track Starts Wins Top-5
Greg Pursley Sunbelt Irwindale Speedway 18 13 15
Andy Bozell Heartland Kalamazoo Speedway 18 8 18
Doug Hoffman Northeast Big Diamond Raceway 21 8 19
Charlie Menard Midwest LaCrosse Fairgrounds Spwy 18 6 16
Jerry Robertson Northwest Colorado National Speedway 18 10 15
Steve Blackburn Atlantic Lonesome Pine Int’l. Raceway 19 14 19
Ricky Wolf Jr. New England Lee USA Speedway 18 7 16
Mark Wertz East Coast Langley Speedway 21 7 18
* Regional title contenders await final weekend of racing
* $1.7 million in prize money on the line at 65 tracks in the U.S. and Canada
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 15, 2004) – It all comes down to this: for competitors at 65 short track facilities across North America, this weekend represents their final chance to win a NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series championship.
The highest stakes will be played out by an elite group of drivers who are racing for one of NASCAR’s eight regional championships. Championships are determined by NASCAR’s Competition Performance Index (CPI), which measures wins, top-five finishes, starts and other factors to establish a regional ranking of drivers. Each regional champion can win up to $45,000 in prize money and they’ll be honored at the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series awards banquet, Oct. 30 in Nashville. The NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series concludes Sept. 19.
Atlantic Region … In this region, which includes tracks in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, Lonesome Pine International Raceway driver Steve Blackburn leads Motor Mile Speedway’s Frank Deiny Jr. in the standings. Deiny, of Mechanicsville, Va., had led the Atlantic Region for several weeks, however a 20th-place finish Sept. 11 caused him to drop behind Blackburn in the standings. Deiny has one chance to re-gain his lead, as Motor Mile hosts a 100-lap Late Model Stock Car event on this final NASCAR weekend. Blackburn has concluded his racing schedule at Lonesome Pine.
Atlantic Region top five: 1. Steve Blackburn (Lonesome Pine International Raceway, Coeburn, Va.), 2. Frank Deiny Jr. (Motor Mile Speedway, Radford, Va.), 3. Matt McCall (Hickory Motor Speedway, Hickory, N.C.), 4. Timothy Peters (South Boston Speedway, South Boston, Va.), 5. Kenneth Headen (Greenville-Pickens Speedway, Greenville, S.C.).
East Coast Region … South Carolina driver Jason Calhoun inherited the East Coast Region lead Sept. 4. Calhoun, the 2002 Myrtle Beach Speedway track champion, leads Langley Speedway driver Mark Wertz in the standings. Wertz, a 2003 regional champion, could still overcome Calhoun’s lead with a strong run in the Sept. 18 event at Langley. Danny Fair, of Manassas, Va., competes at Virginia’s Old Dominion Speedway and is also a contender for the title, despite being second in his home track point standings. In the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series, a driver must be his/her track points leader in order to be eligible for the regional championship. Fair’s CPI rating of .7647 is good enough to contend with Calhoun (.7641) and Wertz (.7604), however he must first re-gain the track points lead, currently held by Brandon Butler, who is also a former regional champion. Fair and Butler will settle the score Sept. 18 at Old Dominion.
East Coast Region top five: 1. Jason Calhoun (Myrtle Beach Speedway, Myrtle Beach, S.C.), 2. Mark Wertz (Langley Speedway, Hampton, Va.), 3. Brandon Butler (Old Dominion Speedway, Manassas, Va.), 4. Bobby Morris (Oglethorpe Speedway Park, Pooler, Ga.), 5. Tom Rogers Jr. (Riverhead Raceway, Riverhead, N.Y).
Heartland Region … Andy Bozell, of Portage, Mich., has led the Heartland Region standings for the entire year, signaling the strength of his Super Late Model program at Kalamazoo (Mich.) Speedway. Bozell wrapped up his 2004 season Sept. 11, by winning twin Super Late Model races at his home track. Bozell finished the season with eight wins and 18 top-five finishes in 18 starts, along with his seventh consecutive track championship. Bozell has this weekend off from racing, so there’s little left for him to do but wait for NASCAR’s final championship results to be tallied.
Heartland Region top five: 1. Andy Bozell (Kalamazoo Speedway, Kalamazoo, Mich.), 2. Tim Ice (Columbus Motor Speedway, Columbus, Ohio), 3. Ray Guss Jr. (Peoria Speedway, Peoria, Ill.), 4. Scott Lindsay (Delaware Speedway, Delaware, Ontario, Canada), 5. Jeff Aikey (Dubuque Fairgrounds Speedway, Dubuque, Iowa).
Midwest Region … Charlie Menard, of Eau Claire, Wis., took a huge step towards winning his first NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series regional title, by locking up the 2004 LaCrosse (Wis.) Fairgrounds Speedway track championship Sept. 4. The win boosted Menard’s standing in the NASCAR Competition Performance Index (CPI), to a level that is nearly out of reach of his closest regional challenger, Tim Karrick, of Basehor, Kan. Karrick will need a strong winning performance at his home track, Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City, Kan., in order to catch Menard in the standings.
Midwest Region top five: 1. Charlie Menard (LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway, LaCrosse, Wis.), 2. Tim Karrick (Lakeside Speedway, Kansas City, Kan.), 3. Jon Lemke (Elko Speedway, Elko, Minn.), 4. Jeff Aikey (Farley Speedway, Farley, Iowa), 5. Chris Spieker (Nebraska Raceway Park, Greenwood, Neb.).
New England Region … Two-time New England Region champion Ted Christopher, of Plainville, Conn., leads this region ahead of New Hampshire’s Ricky Wolf Jr. Christopher’s record of 13 wins and 18 top-five finishes at Stafford Motor Speedway gives him a CPI rating of .7638, compared to Wolf’s .7588 rating after six wins and 15 top-five finishes at Lee USA Speedway. The difference between these two rivals is small, and the scales could be tipped depending on Wolf’s performance this Friday night, Sept. 17, at Lee. Christopher can do nothing but sit and watch as Stafford Motor Speedway is idle this weekend.
New England Region top five: Ted Christopher (Stafford Motor Speedway, Stafford Springs, Conn.), 2. Ricky Wolf Jr. (Lee USA Speedway, Lee, N.H.), 3. Jeff Strunk (Grandview Speedway, Bechtelsville, Pa), 4. Todd Ceravolo (Thompson International Speedway, Thompson, Conn.), 5. Aaron Fellows (Twin State Speedway, Claremont, N.H.).
Northeast Region … Doug Hoffman, of Allentown, Pa., clinched his fourth track championship at Big Diamond Raceway Sept. 3, but his prospects for the Northeast Region title aren’t so sure. With Big Diamond’s NASCAR schedule completed, Hoffman has no more chances to improve his record and ensure victory in the regional contest this week. Meanwhile, Lake Erie Speedway’s Todd Hoddick is ranked second in the Northeast Region and can make one last attempt to steal the title away from Hoffman this Friday night.
Northeast Region top five: Doug Hoffman (Big Diamond Raceway, Minersville, Pa.), 2. Todd Hoddick (Lake Erie Speedway, North East, Pa.), 3. Rick Miller (Motordrome Speedway, Smithton, Pa.), 4. Garry Wiltrout (Jennerstown Speedway, Jennerstown, Pa.), 5. Jeff Zuidema (Monadnock Speedway, Winchester, N.H).
Northwest Region … Idaho’s Bruce Quale leads the Northwest Region heading into the final weekend of competition, however it won’t be Quale who’s racing for the Northwest Region title – his division has already completed its schedule at Magic Valley Speedway. At Evergreen Speedway, however, John Zaretzke, of Monroe, Wash., can still mathematically win the Northwest Region championship with a strong finish at his home track Sept. 18. Gary Madsen, of Salt Lake City, is ranked second behind Quale, however he won’t have a chance to improve his record because he has already wrapped up his NASCAR racing season at Rocky Mountain Raceways. Needless to say, expect some anxious crowds this weekend in both Twin Falls, Idaho and Monroe, Wash. as Zaretzke’s championship challenge comes to a conclusion.
Northwest Region top five: 1. Bruce Quale (Magic Valley Speedway, Twin Falls, Idaho), 2. Gary Madsen (Rocky Mountain Raceways, West Valley City, Utah), 3. John Zaretzke (Evergreen Speedway, Monroe, Wash.), 4. Frank Borges Jr. (Madera Speedway, Madera, Calif.), 5. Dave Byrd (Stockton 99 Speedway, Stockton, Calif.).
Sunbelt Region … Greg Pursley, of Santa Clarita, Calif., was cruising to win after win at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway. From May 15 to Aug. 21, Pursley won nine out of 10 races in the track’s Super Late Model division. On Aug. 28, a 10th place finish slowed his pace, but he remains a strong favorite to win NASCAR’s Sunbelt Region crown. Should Pursley prevail, he would become the second consecutive Sunbelt Region champion from Irwindale Speedway, following Rip Michels, who accomplished the feat in 2003. Pursley concludes his championship bid with twin 50-lap feature events Sept. 18. Wins or top-five finishes will be icing on the cake, but getting on the starting grid for both races is critical. Pursley must start both events in order to meet NASCAR’s requirement of 18 starts in order to be eligible for a regional championship.
Sunbelt Region top five: 1. Greg Pursley (Irwindale Speedway, Irwindale, Calif.), 2. David Beat (Cajon Speedway, El Cajon, Calif.), 3. David Mayhew (Mesa Marin Raceway, Bakersfield, Calif.), 4. Mike Ray (The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas, Nev.), 5. Dwayne Buggay (Lanier National Speedway, Braselton, Ga.).
* Gary Madsen Shows Championship Mettle at Rocky Mountain Raceways
* Jim Wood Paces NASCAR ShorTrack Division
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 25, 2004) – The NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series Northwest Region championship picture was turned upside down last week, when Jerry Robertson, who had led the regional standings for 12 consecutive weeks, was disqualified from twin feature events at Colorado National Speedway Aug. 14. The result left Robertson off the regional leader board for the first time this season and thrust Utah’s Gary Madsen into the championship spotlight.
Madsen, of Salt Lake City, competes at Rocky Mountain Raceways in West Valley City, Utah, where he has six wins and 13 top-five finishes. Madsen’s best previous finish in the Northwest Region standings was fourth in 2003, but he now finds himself in the middle of a close battle for the $45,000 Northwest Region crown.
Bruce Quale, of Twin Falls, Idaho, is ranked second in the standings with 12 wins and 15 top-five finishes at Magic Valley Speedway in Twin Falls. Like Madsen, Quale was a long shot to win the title while Robertson led, but he’s now a close second behind Madsen. Not far behind Madsen and Quale is Frank Borges Jr., of Saint Helena, Calif., who is ranked third with six wins and 15 top-five finishes at Madera (Calif.) Speedway.
The added pressure from this standings shakeup could be a factor in the final results. Madsen showed serious championship mettle by winning two twin 40-lap feature races Aug. 21. Quale had last weekend off at Magic Valley, but returns to action Aug. 28 with twin feature events of his own. Madsen, meanwhile, has one final points race on Sept. 6 to settle his chances at the Northwest Region title.
Wood Leads ShorTrack Division … In the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series ShorTrack Division, which awards regional championship honors to support division racers at each participating track, Madera Speedway’s Jim Wood leads the Northwest Region with five wins and 11 top-five finishes. Wood is a resident of Fresno, Calif. and competes in Madera’s Toyota Sedan division.
This Week’s Regional Leaders…
Driver Home Track Starts Wins Top-5 CPI
1. Gary Madsen Rocky Mountain Raceways 17 6 13 .7794
2. Bruce Quale Magic Valley Speedway 16 12 15 .7604
3. Frank Borges Jr. Madera Speedway 17 6 15 .7371
4. John Zaretzke Evergreen Speedway 12 6 11 .7298
5. Dave Byrd Stockton 99 Speedway 19 9 12 .7060
6. Dennis Pelphrey Watsonville Speedway 17 4 14 .6978
7. Alan Pyszora Shasta Raceway Park 14 1 12 .6348
8. Scotty Backman Colorado National Speedway 14 2 7 .6347
* Five weeks remain in battle for NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series championships
* Keys to victory include weather, winning races and withstanding competition
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (August 19, 2004) – The NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series season is winding to a conclusion at 65 participating race tracks in the U.S. and Canada. Just five weeks remain until the final night of NASCAR points competition (Sept. 19) and the race for the championship is on.
The top prize, for nearly 1,600 NASCAR weekly short track competitors, are NASCAR’s regional championships, which award up to $45,000 to eight winning drivers along with a chance at the overall series title and a $125,000 bonus.
NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series regional championships are determined by the Competition Performance Index (CPI), which measures winning percentage (# of wins / # of starts), top-five finish percentage (# of top-five finishes / # of starts), starts and other factors to establish a regional ranking of drivers. The eligible driver with the highest CPI rating in each of eight geographical regions wins the regional title. Here’s an outlook on these NASCAR championship battles…
ATLANTIC REGION: Frank Deiny Jr., a California native who resides in Mechanicsville, Va., has led the Atlantic Region standings for the past three weeks. After recording eight wins in 17 starts, Deiny is in the driver’s seat to win his first regional championship.
Keys to winning: Deiny wraps up the NASCAR season with three consecutive events at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va. – including a 200-lap Late Model Stock Car event on Sept. 4. To clinch the championship, Deiny will need to record solid top-five finishes in each of these events – while winning those races would improve his chances even more. Wins will be more likely to increase his CPI rating and distance Deiny from his rivals at Lonesome Pine International Raceway in Coeburn, Va., Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway and South Boston (Va.) Speedway. If Deiny fails to reach the winner’s circle, his CPI could remain even and Lonesome Pine driver Steve Blackburn (currently ranked second in the standings) could close in on Deiny’s lead with a winning effort of his own.
EAST COAST REGION: Manassas, Va. driver Danny Fair leads the East Coast contest, after recording eight wins in 17 starts. Fair, who competes in the Late Model Stock Car division at Old Dominion Speedway in Manassas, drives a Dodge car which means a $2,500 bonus (from Dodge) awaits him if he remains the highest-ranked Dodge driver in the East Coast Region. Sitting second in the regional rankings is Virginia Beach, Va. driver Mark Wertz, the 2003 regional champion who competes at Langley Speedway in Hampton, Va. Wertz has recorded seven wins in 20 starts so far this season – an impressive figure but with only 38.8% percent of his starts resulting in wins, he trails Fair, whose winning percentage is 47%.
Keys to winning: The remainder of Fair’s NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series schedule includes twin 75-lap feature events Sept. 4, a challenging test for any driver. Fair must keep a close eye on the track point standings, which he’ll need to lead after Sept. 19 in order to be eligible to win the regional championship. Brandon Butler, a 2001 NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series regional titlist, is second in the Old Dominion track point standings by a margin of only 30 points.
HEARTLAND REGION: Six-time Kalamazoo (Mich.) Speedway Super Late Model track champion Andy Bozell has led the Heartland Region standings since day one of the 2004 season – and the 41-year-old veteran shows no signs of letting up. Bozell, of Portage, Mich., has won five races in 15 starts at Kalamazoo and has yet to finish outside the top five.
Keys to winning: Kalamazoo concludes its NASCAR season Sept. 11, one week before the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series championship window officially closes. The Sept. 11 event will mark Bozell’s 18th start – the required minimum number of starts to win a NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series regional title. Any wet weather will become a factor in Bozell’s championship chase – if any dates are missed before Sept. 19 he could be out of the running. Under dry conditions, Bozell’s track points lead is strong but not assured and he’ll need to keep his No. 83 machine ahead of Kalamazoo rival Richard Sexton to maintain his track and regional lead. Tim Ice, of Seville, Ohio, is ready to take advantage of any miss-steps by Bozell. Ice is ranked second in the standings after five victories and 12 top-five finishes at Columbus (Ohio) Motor Speedway.
MIDWEST REGION: The Midwest Region championship competition has been one of the closest battles of the season, with Kansas dirt track driver Tim Karrick squaring off against Wisconsin’s Charlie Menard. Karrick, who competes at Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City, Kan., leads the Midwest Region standings this week but Menard, who races on the asphalt at LaCrosse (Wis.) Fairgrounds Speedway, has led the region on several previous occasions himself. It’s anyone’s championship at this point as Karrick and Menard lead Minnesota driver Jon Lemke in the regional rankings.
Keys to winning: Karrick needs to complete four more races in order to reach the NASCAR minimum of 18 starts, while Menard needs three more starts to complete this requirement. All other factors equal – both Karrick and Menard will need to flat out win races to give themselves a chance at the $45,000 Midwest Region title. If neither reaches the winner’s circle for the remainder of the season, top-five finishes could play a factor. Menard, who has recorded 13 top-five finishes in his 15 starts this year (86%), has shown a slight edge in this category.
NEW ENGLAND REGION: Two-time New England Region champion Ted Christopher, of Plainville, Conn., is back on top after eight wins and 10 top-five finishes at Connecticut’s Stafford Motor Speedway. Christopher, who also competes full-time on the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Series, leads Lee USA Speedway driver Richard Wolf Jr., of Northwood, N.H., in the regional rankings.
Keys to winning: Christopher’s lead over Wolf in the CPI standings is fairly solid, so consistent top-five finishes may be all he needs to clinch his third New England Region crown. A key night for Christopher is Aug. 27, when Stafford hosts twin 40-lap features for its SK Modified® Division. Wolf and the rest of the title contenders need to add to their win totals in a hurry if they want to catch up.
NORTHEAST REGION: Doug Hoffman’s bid for the 2003 Northeast Region championship was spoiled by rain, as the track only completed 13 feature events during the year. Hoffman, of Allentown, Pa., is now in position to win his first regional title and weather won’t stop him this time. The Big Diamond Modified field has already completed 19 events (ensuring that Hoffman meets the NASCAR requirement of 18 starts) and Hoffman’s eight victories place him on top of the track and regional standings. Todd Hoddick, of Lancaster, N.Y., is ranked second in the Northeast with six wins and 11 top-five finishes at Lake Erie Speedway in North East, Pa.
Keys to winning: For Hoffman, the biggest threat to his regional championship hopes might not come from around the region, but from his home track. Veteran Craig Von Dohren and Doug’s brother, Keith, have combined for nine victories this year. Their efforts will keep Hoffman focused on the track championship picture first, and regional prizes second. Big Diamond’s dirt Modified field finishes its 2004 NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series season Sept. 3.
NORTHWEST REGION: The Northwest Region championship picture became less clear after a post-race inspection by track officials found that the engine in regional leader Jerry Robertson’s car did not conform to the Colorado National Speedway Rule Book specifications. The resulting disqualifications from twin feature events held on Aug. 14 dropped Robertson to third in the track point standings and therefore out of the regional lead as well. Bruce Quale, who competes at Magic Valley Speedway in Twin Falls, Idaho, and Gary Madsen, from Utah’s Rocky Mountain Raceways, now find themselves within reach of the Northwest Region championship for the first time this season.
Keys to winning: Quale and Madsen, along with Evergreen Speedway driver John Zaretzke, will now stage a furious battle in an attempt to seal their chances at the title while Robertson attempts to re-establish his lead. All three drivers have shown their ability to win and finish in the top five; the driver who shows it the most between now and Sept. 19 may end up a NASCAR champion.
SUNBELT REGION: Greg Pursley, who competes at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway, has established a strong lead in the Sunbelt Region standings after 10 wins in 14 starts. Pursley’s closest challenger for the regional honors is Cajon Speedway driver David Beat, an El Cajon, Calif. resident and 2003 track champion. Mike Ray, of Las Vegas, is ranked third with four wins and 10 top-five finishes at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Keys to winning: Pursley has shown a knack for winning races on Irwindale’s half-mile oval – including victories in eight of the past nine Super Late Model features. This dominance has helped him establish a healthy lead in both the track and regional standings, so while a few more wins would be nice, Pursley could possibly wrap up the prize as long as he stays in the top five for the remaining weeks’ events.
* Championship contenders prepared for stretch run
* Eight NASCAR regional titles to be decided Sept. 19
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (August 5, 2004) – At 65 race tracks across the United States and Canada, teams and drivers have seven more weeks to win the most prestigious prize in short track racing – the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series championship. After the season concludes Sept. 19, NASCAR will compile the final results, crown eight regional champions and distribute $1.7 million in prize money – the largest point fund of any short track racing series in North America.
Each regional champion can receive up to $45,000 in post-season awards. Also, the eight regional winners’ records will be compared to determine an overall NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series champion. That driver can receive a $125,000 bonus for a total prize of $170,000. All regional champions will be honored at NASCAR’s gala awards banquet, Oct. 30 in Nashville.
Here’s a rundown of the championship contenders from each region…
ATLANTIC REGION … Frank Deiny Jr., a resident of Mechanicsville, Va., has led the Atlantic Region standings for the past three weeks. Deiny, who has seven wins and 13 top-five finishes at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va., leads Lonesome Pine International Raceway driver Steve Blackburn in the standings. Blackburn, of Prestonsburg, Va., has won 11 races at Lonesome Pine. Sitting third in the standings is Matt McCall, a Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway competitor who has eight wins at his home track.
EAST COAST REGION … Manassas, Va. driver Danny Fair leads this region, which includes tracks in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey and New York. Fair, who competes at Old Dominion Speedway in Manassas, has eight wins and 14 top-five finishes in 16 starts. 2003 NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series regional champion Mark Wertz, of Virginia Beach, Va., has seven wins in 19 starts at Langley Speedway in Hampton, Va., and is ranked second in the East Coast Region. Jason Calhoun, of Marion, S.C., is making a run for his second track championship at Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Speedway and is ranked third with eight wins and 12 top-five finishes.
HEARTLAND REGION … Andy Bozell, of Portage, Mich., has led the Heartland Region standings for the entire season thanks to four wins and 13 top-five finishes at Kalamazoo (Mich.) Speedway. Bozell, who competes in the track’s Super Late Model division along with his brother and son, is a six-time track champion, but has yet to win a NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series regional title. Ray Guss Jr., of Milan, Ill., has chased Bozell in the standings for several weeks. This week, Guss remains in second place with three wins and 10 top-five finishes at Peoria (Ill.) Speedway.
MIDWEST REGION … Charlie Menard, an asphalt Late Model driver from Eau Claire, Wis., and dirt Modified driver Tim Karrick, from Basehor, Kan., have battled for the Midwest Region lead for several weeks. Karrick competes at Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City, Kan., the home track of 2002 regional champion Clint Bowyer, who now drives for Richard Childress Racing in the NASCAR Busch Series. Karrick, the 2003 track championship runner-up at Lakeside, has five wins and nine top-five finishes and has led the Midwest Region on several occasions, and as recently as last week. Menard, meanwhile, has re-gained the top spot in the Midwest Region standings after recording his 11th top-five finish at LaCrosse (Wis.) Fairgrounds Speedway. Menard is attempting to become the first asphalt driver to win the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series Midwest Region championship since Minnesota’s Jeff Martin accomplished the feat in 1997.
NEW ENGLAND REGION … Two-time New England Region champion Ted Christopher, of Plainville, Conn., is chasing his third regional crown at Connecticut’s Stafford Motor Speedway. Christopher, who also competes in the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Series and many other racing divisions throughout New England, has seven wins and nine top-five finishes at Stafford. Christopher’s closest regional rival is Richard Wolf Jr., of Northwood, N.H., who competes at Lee USA Speedway in New Hampshire. Wolf has three wins and 11 top-five finishes in 12 starts. Jeff Strunk, of Bethel, Pa., sits third in the New England Region standings after recording four wins at Pennsylvania’s Grandview Speedway. Seekonk (Mass.) Speedway driver Vinny Annarummo Jr., of Swansea, Mass., led the New England Region standings for first seven weeks of the season, but has dropped to fifth after going winless since June 5.
NORTHEAST REGION … Dirt Modified veteran Doug Hoffman, of Allentown, Pa., leads the Northeast Region standings after collecting seven wins and 15 top-five finishes at Big Diamond Raceway in Minersville, Pa. Hoffman has led the Northeast Region standings for most of the 2004 season and is seeking his first NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series regional championship. Todd Hoddick, of Lancaster, N.Y., holds down the second position in the Northeast Region, with five wins and 10 top-five finishes at Lake Erie Speedway in North East, Pa.
NORTHWEST REGION … Jerry Robertson, of Arvada, Colo., continues to lead the Northwest Region standings with a record of seven wins and 11 top-five finishes at Colorado National Speedway near Denver. Robertson, like Heartland Region leader Andy Bozell, has led the standings for the entire season. Northern California driver Justin Westmoreland is second in this week’s rankings, with eight wins and 14 top-five finishes at Madera (Calif.) Speedway. John Zaretzke, of Monroe, Wash., holds down the third position in the Northwest, with six wins at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe.
SUNBELT REGION … Greg Pursley, of Santa Clarita, Calif., has won nine races in 13 starts at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway. He leads the Sunbelt Region standings and is pursuing his first NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series title. Cajon Speedway driver David Beat, of El Cajon, Calif., is ranked second with eight wins in 13 starts at his home track.
These and other NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series championship hopefuls will continue to race for top honors until NASCAR compiles the final Competition Performance Index (CPI), which measures wins, top-five finishes, starts and the average number of cars competing at each driver’s home track. The CPI establishes a ranking of drivers and, at season’s end, the eligible driver with the highest CPI rating wins the regional title.
While each regional champion can expect to win nearly $45,000 in prize money for the championship, the second-place drivers in each region can collect up to $24,000. In total, the regional leaders (in each of NASCAR’s eight geographic regions) will share nearly $140,000 in post-season awards. Along with the POWERade Local Track Awards, Lincoln Electric Car Owner awards, Craftsman Mechanic of the Year Awards, Lunati Cams Crew Chief Awards and other prizes, NASCAR will award $1.7 million to NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series competitors this year.
* Justin Westmoreland moves up at Madera Speedway
* Bruce Quale returns to top form at Magic Valley Speedway
* Eight weeks remain in NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series season
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 28, 2004) – Jerry Robertson’s quest for a second consecutive NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series Northwest Region championship was put on hold last week, when events at Colorado National Speedway were rained out July 24. Robertson, of Arvada, Colo., will return to action July 31 as the second half of the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series season begins.
Robertson, and the rest of the Northwest Region championship contenders, have until Sept. 19 to complete their NASCAR racing schedules. After that date, NASCAR officials will calculate the final Competition Performance Index (CPI) standings, based on each driver’s performances, to determine the regional championships. The CPI measures wins, top-five finishes, starts and other factors to establish a regional ranking of drivers. At the end of the season, the eligible driver with the highest CPI wins the regional championship.
Nationwide, eight regional championships are awarded, with each winner receiving up to $45,000 in prize money and a trip to Nashville for the gala NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series banquet Oct. 30. Robertson has already accomplished this feat twice in his career, in 2000 and 2003. Thanks to this success, Robertson has collected more than $80,000 from the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series point fund since 2000.
Justin Westmoreland, of Madera, Calif., is now the closest challenger to Robertson, thanks to his record of seven wins and 13 top-five finishes at Madera Speedway. Westmoreland advanced into second place in the Northwest Region rankings this week, bumping Evergreen Speedway driver John Zaretzke, of Monroe, Wash., down to third place.
Despite an impressive record of 10 wins in 14 starts, Magic Valley Speedway driver Bruce Quale remains in fourth place in the Northwest Region standings. It’s not all bad for Quale, however, as this Twin Falls, Idaho driver is enjoying a big turnaround from his 2003 season results – which saw him place 5th in the track point standings and a distant 42nd-place in the Northwest Region standings.
This Week’s Regional Leaders…
Driver Home Track Starts Wins Top-5 CPI
1. Jerry Robertson Colorado National Speedway 10 7 10 .9064
2. Justin Westmoreland Madera Speedway 14 7 13 .7849
3. John Zaretzke Evergreen Speedway 8 5 8 .7734
4. Bruce Quale Magic Valley Speedway 14 10 13 .7488
5. Gary Madsen Rocky Mountain Raceways 12 3 8 .7292
6. Dave Byrd Stockton 99 Speedway 15 7 10 .7140
7. Mark Cooper Watsonville Speedway 14 4 11 .7047
8. Gary Pyszora Shasta Raceway Park 9 2 6 .6074
2003 Regional Page