When Jack Sellers made his debut in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West in 1985, the series was known as the NASCAR Winston West Grand National Division. On a national level, Ronald Reagan was the President of the United States, the highest grossing movie of the year was "Back to the Future" with Michael J. Fox and the song of the year was "Careless Whisper" by Wham.
A lot has changed since then, but Sellers has continued to motor along. He is set to make his 250th series start on Saturday in the Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts 150 at Colorado National Speedway.
With each race, Sellers extends his record for the most starts by a driver in the modern era of the series (1971 to present). Already 40 years old when he started racing in the series, the Sacramento, Calif., driver celebrated his 67th birthday last week.
Sellers competed in his first event at Sonoma, Calif., on April 28, 1985 and ran five races that season, finishing 11th twice. He has been a part of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West for the 27 seasons since.
"I never would have dreamed that I would go this far," said Sellers, who registered a career-best finish of seventh on four occasions. "When you've been doing it so long, it's not something that you can just quit."
There have been struggles along the way, but Sellers and his team have never been a group to give up.
"Not that I expect to win, but I expect to do better," he said. "It's always a challenge."
Early in his career, Sellers raced the full series schedule. He finished in the top 10 of the championship standings in seven of eight seasons between 1987 and 1994, with his best year being 1993 when he was fifth in points. In other years, Sellers opted not to compete in all the races. And for several seasons, between 1997 and 1999, he only ran a handful of events. In recent years, however, Sellers has run the bulk of the schedule each season."
Local driver set to make series start: Ronnie Hults, the 2010 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model champion at Colorado National Speedway, is slated to compete in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West event at CNS.
East Drivers Head West To Colorado
Several rookies from the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East are expected to take advantage of a break in their schedule to compete in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at Colorado National Speedway. The trio includes Alex Bowman, Ben Kennedy and Chad Boat.
Bowman has three top five and six top-10 finishes in nine starts in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East this season and is coming off a career-best second-place finish at Columbus (Ohio) Motor Speedway. The 18-year-old driver from Tucson, Ariz., is fifth in the championship standings. Kennedy of Daytona Beach, Fla., has one top-five finish in nine starts this season in the East and is 14th in points. Kennedy, 19, is the great grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. Boat is a 19-year-old second-generation racer from Phoenix who has also made three starts in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West. He has one top-10 finish in the East this season and is 15th in the championship driver standings.
CNS Holds Special Tree-Planting Ceremony
A ceremony by Colorado National Speedway at Legacy Trailhead in Dacono, Colo., will mark the first NASCAR Green Clean Air tree planting for a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track. The event on Friday, Aug. 5, will commemorate the planting of 70 trees to benefit the City of Dacono Parks & Recreation Department as part of the industry-leading NASCAR Green Clean Air initiative.
The number of trees was determined by the total green flags counted during a 100-lap Late Model race at Colorado National Speedway on July 3. It marked the first Whelen All-American Series track to host such an event.
NASCAR announced earlier this year that it was expanding its "NASCAR Green Clean Air" program to include tree-planting projects in several NASCAR Whelen All-American Series markets throughout the remainder of the 2011 season.
Last Year's Event
Eric Holmes notched one of his five wins of 2010 with a victory last year at Colorado National Speedway. He drove his No. 20 NAPA Toyota around Luis Martinez Jr. for the lead on Lap 107 and held on during a 10-lap shootout to take the win. The victory was the second in a row and fourth of the year for the Escalon, Calif., driver.
Paulie Harraka almost made it two wins in a row at CNS as he made a late charge to finish second to Holmes. Martinez, who won his first career series pole in qualifying, finished a career-best third. Greg Pursley and David Mayhew completed the top five.
Martinez led initially - but Holmes, who started on the outside front row, took the lead on Lap 3. Holmes remained out front until Martinez got back around after a restart on Lap 78. Martinez set the pace while going after his first career win. Holmes was able to get back past Martinez for the lead on Lap 107, however, and stayed out front the rest of the way.
The race was slowed six times by caution with the only multi-car incident of the race occurring during the final caution on Lap 136 after Michael Self and Blake Koch collided while racing in the top 10. The final incident set up the sprint to the finish.
Final Notes From Portland
First time winner: Luis Martinez Jr. captured his first career series win with a victory in the Bi-Mart Salute to
the Troops 125 at Portland (Ore.) International Raceway on July 24. Martinez also won the Coors Light Pole Award in qualifying, his second career pole and his first on a road course.
Another podium finish for Thorn: Derek Thorn finished third at Portland, his third podium finish in three series races this year. It marked his first time behind the wheel for car owner Bob Bruncati and his first series race on a road course. Thorn did double duty over the weekend, leaving Portland after the first practice on Saturday, July 23, to compete in a Spears SRL Southwest Tour Series race near Salt Lake City - where he also finished third.
Busy weekend for Davis: After having the fastest time in practice at Portland on Saturday, July 23, Brandon Davis flew to Toyota Speedway at Irwindale (Calif.) to score his eighth win of the season in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model division. He flew back the next morning to Portland, where he qualified eighth and finished 11th.
A first for Pursley: Greg Pursley, who led a race high 37 laps, experienced his first DNF (did not finish) of the season at Portland when his engine erupted in smoke on Lap 47. He retained a commanding lead of 233 points in the championship standings, however.
First top five: Dave Smith notched his first career series top five at Portland. Making just his third series start, he came from 17th on the grid to finish fifth.
Top 10 for Gallagher: Spencer Gallagher registered his first career series top 10 finish with a seventh-place finish at Portland.
Career best finish: Tom Klauer improved on his 10th-place finish of a year ago at Portland, coming away with a career-best ninth-place finish this year.
30th series start for Souza: Todd Souza made his 30th career series start at Portland. The Aromas, Calif., driver has one win, two top five and 14 top 10 finishes since making his series debut in 2004.
Up Next: Montana Raceway Park
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West heads next to Montana for the Toyota/TTC 150 presented by Miller Lite at Montana Raceway Park in Kalispell on Aug. 13.
Eric Holmes came away with the win when the series made its inaugural visit to the track last year.