The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West visits Portland (Ore.) International Raceway on Sunday, July 24, for the Bi-Mart Salute to the Troops 125.
The event, which will be televised to a national audience on SPEED at 6 p.m. ET on Aug. 18, marks the third and final road course event of the season for the series.
Greg Pursley, who has a commanding 298-point lead in the championship standings, will be looking to keep his momentum rolling and add to the six wins he has scored in eight races this season. One of those wins was a victory on the road course at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah in April.
Second in the standings is series veteran Moses Smith. With a road racing background, Smith is hopeful of breaking through with his first career series win at Portland. Michael Self and Luis Martinez Jr. - who are third and fourth in points, respectively - are also looking for their first career win.
They are not the only ones hungry for a victory, however. With Pursley's domination, it has left all the other series regulars without a win this season. Fifth in the standings is three-time series champion Eric Holmes - who had five wins a year ago, but has yet to visit Victory Lane in 2011.
In addition to the series regulars who will tackle the left and right turns on the 1.967-mile Portland track, the entry list is comprised of a contingent of drivers who each year focus primarily on the road course races. They include Brandon Davis, who won the Coors Light Pole at Infineon Raceway last month; Tom Klauer, who had a top-10 finish in his series debut a year ago at Portland; Kyle Kelley; Scott Ivie and Garland Self. The list also includes the legendary Hershel McGriff, who at the age of 83 has opted to just run the road course events in the series.
This event will also mark the return of Andrew Ranger to Portland International Raceway. Ranger, a two-time champion in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, competed at PIR with the Champ Car World Series in 2005 and 2006, finishing seventh and ninth, respectively
Previous road course events this year were at Miller Motorsports Park and Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., - where NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Joey Logano took the win.
Average finish for Pursley: With eight events complete, Greg Pursley has an average finish this year of 2.0. That average includes his overall finish of fourth in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East-West combination race at Iowa, where he was credited with a win as the top finishing West driver.
Change for Thorn: Derek Thorn, who had podium finishes in both previous starts this season in the No. 44 entry, is slated to drive the No. 9 Ford of car owner Bob Bruncati.
Busy weekend for promoter: The promoter of the Portland event, Chris Evans, will have a busy weekend as he also prepares to make his series debut, driving the No. 12 entry for Bill McAnally Racing.
2 drivers set to hit career series marks at Portland
Two series veterans, Eric Holmes and Greg Pursley, will be marking milestones in their careers as the series visits Portland (Ore.) International Raceway.
A three-time series champion, Holmes is set to start his 70th series race. The second-generation driver from Escalon, Calif., made his first series start at Mesa Marin Raceway in Bakersfield, Calif., on Oct. 11, 1997.
Holmes ran just a handful of series races until making a successful bid for the championship in 2006. He spent much of the following season competing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, before returning to the West Coast and eventually joining Bill McAnally Racing to win the 2008 and 2010 titles.
Pursley, who leads the championship standings, is preparing for his 50th series start. The California native - who resides in Parker, Ariz. - made his series debut at Mesa Marin Raceway in Bakersfield, Calif., on Oct. 17, 1999.
After running the full series schedule in 2002, Pursley focused his attention on competing at the local level - winning the national championship in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series in 2004 while competing at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale (Calif.). He returned to running the full schedule in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West after joining Gene Price Motorsports at the beginning of 2009.
Klauer 'Racing to Stop Hunger'
For the second straight year Tom Klauer, driver of the No. 25 Pick-n-Pull/Schnitzer Steel Chevrolet, will use his entry at Portland as part of a campaign - Racing to Stop Hunger. Klauer, president of Pick-n-Pull and senior vice president for Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc., finished 10th in his series debut a year ago at Portland.
Pick-n-Pull and Schnitzer Steel joined efforts by launching a donation campaign prior to and during last year's event and raised in excess of 112,000 pounds of food for the Oregon Food Bank. This amount was approximately 14 percent of the annual intake at Oregon Food Bank and was enough to provide over 448,000 meals to the hungry people of the Portland area.
During the past few years, efforts by Pick-n-Pull and Schnitzer have been focused on helping local communities through food drive events. The Racing to Stop Hunger campaign was formally launched in 2010.
Last Year's Event
Patrick Long showed off his road-course expertise, winning in dominant fashion in last year's NASCAR K&N Pro Series West event at Portland International Raceway.
It marked the second career series win for the Porsche factory driver from Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Long led by as much as 10 seconds in the first half of the race before making a green-flag stop for gas. He restarted in 14th on Lap 36 and picked up nine spots on the ensuing lap. He retook the lead for good from Greg Pursley on Lap 45.
The race was extended two laps by a late caution to 65, and ended under the yellow flag after an abbreviated attempt at a green-white-checkered finish. Long led a race-high 51 laps.
Eric Holmes was second, followed by Paulie Harraka, who battled back after being involved in an earlier incident. David Mayhew, who won the Coors Light Pole Award earlier in the day, was fourth and Luis Martinez Jr. was fifth. Blake Koch, Stan Silva Jr., Travis Milburn, Greg Pursley and Tom Klauer rounded out the top 10.
Final Notes From Monroe
Pursley continues to roll: Greg Pursley's win in the Evergreen 200 at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash., on July 10 marked his sixth victory of the season and the ninth of his career. He also set a track record in winning the Coors Light Pole Award, his fourth pole of the year and his ninth overall.
Kwasniewski leads the way: After leading a race-high 125 laps at Monroe, 16-year-old rookie Dylan Kwasniewski went on to finish second - matching his career-best mark.
First top-10 finish: Justin Philpott registered his first top-10 finish in just his third career series start, coming home sixth at Monroe. His previous best finish was 18th.
Great series debut: Evergreen Speedway track champion Naima Lang made his debut in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West with a seventh-place finish at his home track. Earlier in the day, Lang had won a preliminary event - a 100-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Super Stock race.
Strong local showing: In addition to Lang's finish, two other drivers from the local area finished in the top 10 at Monroe. Jeff Barkshire, who won in the previous series visit to Evergreen Speedway in 2008, finished eighth. Jason Fraser, who finished 14th at Monroe in 2007 in his only previous series start, finished 10th. The trio thrilled fans as they staged their own battle through the final stages of the race.
Career best mark: John Wood, making just his second series start, finished 15th at Monroe - topping his previous finish of 24th.
Return to action: Kevin Culver's return to series action ended after 73 laps at Monroe, due to mechanical problems. Culver of Portland, Ore., made 42 series starts between 1994 and 2003.
Up Next: Colorado National Speedway
Tight short-track competition will be featured when the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West heads next to Colorado National Speedway in Dacono, Colo., on Aug. 6.
Bill McAnally Racing has taken home the hardware in recent series action at CNS, with Paulie Harraka winning in 2009 and Eric Holmes winning in 2008 and 2010.
It will mark the ninth visit by the series to the track just north of Denver