Moses Smith is set to make his 60th career start in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West on Saturday, July 2, at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale (Calif.) in the Southern California Toyota Dealers 200 presented by King Taco.
It's appropriate that Smith, who drives the No. 16 HASA Pool Products/NAPA Filters Toyota for Bill McAnally Racing, celebrate this milestone at Irwindale. He made his series debut at the state-of-the-art half-mile track on July 22, 2006.
Since then, the 35-year-old former open-wheel competitor from Tempe, Ariz., has registered 14 top-five and 35 top-10 finishes. He is currently second in the championship standings. But he's still looking for that elusive first career series win. Smith has come close on several occasions, especially earlier this season when he had back-to-back runner-up finishes at All American Speedway in Roseville, Calif., and Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah.
He knows that first win could come this weekend at Toyota Speedway, where he has registered a string of strong finishes. Of his six starts at Irwindale, Smith finished out of the top 10 only once. His best finish there was fourth last year.
"Irwindale's always a fun track," said Smith, who has won the Most Popular Driver Award in the series the past three years. "We've had some pretty good finishes at Irwindale. Hopefully, we'll get our first win there. It would be cool to have our first start and our first win there."
Gannis plans series debut: Cassie Gannis is slated to make her debut in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale on Saturday, July 2. The 20-year-old from Phoenix, Ariz., is entered in the No. 07 Ford of car owner Greg Rayl. Gannis has competed in Late Models at Toyota Speedway, as well as The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Tucson (Ariz.) Raceway Park.
Special Advance Activities For Fans On Friday
Activities for the Southern California Toyota Dealers 200 presented by King Taco get under way with a couple of special advance activities near the track on Friday, July 1.
Fans will have an opportunity to chat with drivers and get autographs during a Meet and Greet from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Courtyard Marriott in nearby Monrovia. Team haulers are slated to head from the hotel to the track in a cavalcade, beginning at 6 p.m.
West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame induction, dinner
The West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame will hold its annual induction and dinner at the Azusa Greens Country Club in Azusa, Calif., on Friday, July 1.
Those slated for induction include Marvin Burke, Louis "Lou" Mangini, Chuck Parko, Al Schmidhamer, George Seeger and Chuck Stevenson, Cary Agajanian, Roger McCluskey, Joe Ruttman and Tim Williamson.
Festivities are set to begin with a no-host cocktail reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m. Additional information about the event can be obtained from Dusty Brandel, 818-842-7005 or 925-552-9887, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Three Consecutive Weeks Of Racing
The Southern Califorina Toyota Dealers 200 presented by King Taco marks the second of three consecutive weeks of racing, as the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West rolls through the midway portion of its 2011 schedule.
The series visited Sonoma, Calif., on Saturday, June 25. Following Irwindale, the circuit heads to Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash., for the Evergreen 200 on July 10.
Last Year's Event
Auggie Vidovich captured his first career win in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West with a victory a year ago at Toyota Speedway.
The Lakeside, Calif., driver, who was the 2003 champion in the former NASCAR Elite Division Southwest Tour, dominated the event after taking the lead on Lap 59. The victory marked a turnaround for Vidovich, whose best finish in his six previous series starts was 14th.
He charged from sixth on the grid and inherited the lead when Greg Pursley, who had won the Coors Light Pole Award earlier in the day, smacked the Turn 2 wall on Lap 42. Although Blake Koch took the lead on subsequent restart, Vidovich soon regained the top spot in his No. 59 babycancer.com/TCR Chevrolet and paced the field to the finish. He won by a margin of 6.029 seconds, giving car owner Terri Cass and the TCR team their first series win.
Koch wound up second, followed by Brett Thompson, Moses Smith and Chris Johnson. Jonathon Gomez, Timmy Hill, Dusty Davis, Luis Martinez Jr. and Eric Holmes rounded out the top 10. Brennan Newberry, making only his second regular season series start, was running second to Vidovich in the closing stages but stalled in Turn 1 with three laps to go.
Final Notes From Infineon
Logano takes win: Joey Logano's win in the Thunder Valley Casino Resort 200 at Infineon Raceway on Saturday, June 25 marked his second series victory. The 21-year-old, who won the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship in 2007, scored his initial series win at Phoenix International Raceway at the beginning of the 2007 season.
First-time pole winner: Brandon Davis won his first career series Coors Light Pole Award at Infineon Raceway. Davis, making his seventh series start and his third on the twisting Northern California road course, edged NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Joey Logano and David Gilliland with a fast lap of 77.984 seconds (91.865 mph).
Record field: The 41-car field that took the green flag this year at Infineon Raceway tied the series record for the largest field - matching the field that competed at the Sonoma, Calif., track in 2008.
Lead lap finishers: Twenty-three drivers finished on the lead lap at Infineon Raceway. The series record of 27 was set at that track in 2007.
Up Next: Evergreen Speedway In Monroe, Wash.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West will next travel to Washington state for the Evergreen 200 at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe on July 10.
The series last visited Evergreen Speedway in 2008, when Jeff Barkshire captured his first career series win. Monroe was a regular stop on the circuit, dating back to 1964.