DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The points battle in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West is heating up as the series returns to Shasta Speedway in Anderson, California, for the first time in 22 years for Saturday’s Bill Schmitt Memorial 150.
Twelve points separate the top four drivers — including the two leading Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidates — and the series has already seen four different winners in the first four races.
Rookie Noah Gragson leads the way with 166 points after picking up his first career win at Arizona’s Tucson Speedway at the beginning of the month. Chris Eggleston, who won at California’s Irwindale Speedway, lurks just four points back, while Gragson’s Jefferson Pitts Racing teammate and fellow rookie, Gracin Raz follows with 157. Series veteran David Mayhew rounds out the top four at 154.
The .375-mile oval is similar in length to Colorado National, where Eggleston won last year, and Tucson, where Gragson won earlier this season. It is the second of six tracks under a half-mile that the series will visit this year.
If the leaders get in trouble on the bullring, there are a number of contenders looking to climb back in the championship picture. Rookie Ryan Partridge is only five points back of Mayhew, while rookie Nicole Behar is 10 points further back in sixth — but only five points in front of 11th.
Race: Shasta 150
Date: Saturday, May 30
Time: 8 p.m.
TV Schedule: Thursday, June 4 at 4 p.m. on NBCSN
Track Layout: 3/8-mile paved oval
2014 Winner: Race was not held
2014 Pole Sitter: Race was not held
Event Schedule: Friday, May 29 – Optional Track Practice: 4-9 p.m.; Saturday, May 30 – Garage Opens & Inspection begins: 8 a.m.; Practice: 11 – 11:45 a.m.; Rookie Practice: 12:15 – 12:40 p.m.; Final Practice: 12:50 – 1:20 p.m.; Qualifying: 4:15 p.m.; Driver Autograph Session: 6:00 p.m.; Shasta 150: 8 p.m.
Track Contact: Frank Bramante, Managing General Partner, (530) 515-8282, [email protected]
Event Twitter Hashtag: #Shasta150
The Race: The Bill Schmitt Memorial 150 marks the return of the K&N Pro Series West to Shasta Speedway after a 22-year absence. It’s the fifth of 13 races overall in the K&N Pro Series West.
The Procedure: Starting positions first thru 20th will be determined by qualifying. The provisional starting positions 21, 22, 23 will be assigned based on the current 2015 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship point standings.
The Track: Shasta is a .375-mile paved oval that was built in the late 1940s. The surface was originally dirt and was paved in 1972. It was configured as a quarter–mile oval until 2005 when it was lengthened to its current configuration.
The Records: The one-lap qualifying record on the old oval is held by Bill Schmitt at 90.024 mph on April 30, 1978. The 185-lap record was set by Rick Carelli on June 19, 1993 at 59.450 mph (one hour, 17 minutes and 17 seconds).
SHASTA RACE NOTES:
K&N Pro Series West Returns To Shasta: The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West is returning to Shasta after a 22-year absence. The last time the K&N West was at the Anderson, California track was on June 19, 1993.
Remembering A Legend: Saturday’s race is being held in honor of the late Bill Schmitt, who passed away last December at the age of 78. Schmitt was a four-time West champion (1977. ’79, ’89 and ’90) and one of the most popular drivers of his generation. He races for raced in the series for 20 seasons, from 1974 to 1993. During that span he competed in 237 races, scoring 19 wins and garnering 24 poles. Several of his career marks remain as records in the modern era of the series (1971 to present): 122 top-five finishes, 163 top-10 finishes and 4,274 laps led.
A New Generation: A new generation of drivers will be taking the track this weekend at Shasta. The last time the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West competed at Shasta, eight of the 17 drivers scheduled to compete this weekend had not been born.
McReynolds Making A Comeback: Brandon McReynolds is mounting a strong comeback after a rough start to his season. McReynolds started 2015 with awreck four laps into the opener at Kern County Speedway. He has slowly made gains, and two weeks ago it all came together when he captured his first career win at Iowa and has climbed the rankings to 10th.
Looking To Bounce Back: Nicole Behar, James Bickford, and Ryan Partridge are looking to bounce back after tough showings at Iowa. Partridge ran 20th with Behar following right behind in 21st. Bickford finished 24th after blowing a tire and running two laps down.
New Faces In The West: The field at Shasta Speedway this weekend will feature two new drivers, Buddy Shepherd and Rodd Kneeland. Shepherd, 15, will drive the No. 55 for Jefferson Pitts Racing this weekend. Kneeland, 49, will be starting in his fifth K&N West race. His best finish in the series was on September 26, 2009 when he finished 11th at All-American Speedway.
Chevrolet Proven Successful: In the 12 races that have taken place at Shasta Speedway, Chevrolet has the most trips to Victory Lane with four. Pontiac and Oldsmobile follow closely behind with three, while Buick and Ford have only tallied one win each.
-NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications Press Release. Photo credit: Getty Images for NASCAR