DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West will return to Arizona’s Tucson Speedway for the first time since March 10, 2001 this Saturday for the NAPA Auto Parts WildCat 150.
Despite being away from Tucson for 14 years, experience at the .375-mile asphalt oval may be a factor in Saturday’s event.
Only one driver on the current entry list has competed in a K&N Pro West event at Tucson: 2001 race winner, Johnny Borneman. The 37-year-old Ramona, California, native passed Tony Schmidt on the final lap to win the event.
James Bickford and Alex Schutte will have an edge heading into Saturday as well. Their crew chiefs, Bill Sedgwick (Bickford) and Steve Portenga (Schutte), competed against Borneman in 2001 and finished 15th and 18th, respectively.
Tucson has undergone major renovations since the last time the K&N Pro Series West was there. It has been closed twice, including most recently 2010-13. The track has seen extensive work with the most recent remodel occurring in 2013 by new owners John Lashley and Brad Cornelious. Since 2012, over two-miles of cracked asphalt was torn out and the surface was repaved and resealed. The stands, concession stands and bathrooms have been remodels and new landscaping has been done around the track.
One driver very familiar with the track over the years is NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Arizona champion Ron Norman. The local fan favorite won his ninth Late Model title at Tucson last year — fourth under the banner — en route to the state title. Norman tallied two wins, five top fives and six top 10s in six starts last year as Tucson returned to being a NASCAR-sanctioned track. This will be Norman’s third start in the K&N Pro West, earning his best finish of 14th at Irwindale.
|RACE:||NAPA Auto Parts WildCat150|
|DATE:||Saturday, May 2|
|TIME:||8:30 p.m. MST|
|TV SCHEDULE:||Thursday, May 7 TBA on NBCSN|
|TRACK LAYOUT:||.375-mile paved oval|
|2014 WINNER:||Event not held|
|2014 POLE WINNER:||Event not held|
|EVENT SCHEDULE:||Friday – Optional Track Test: 4-9 p.m. Saturday – Garage Opens: 9 a.m.; Practice: 4:45 p.m.; Rookie Practice: 1:45-2:05 p.m.; Final Practice: 2:15-2:45 p.m.; Driver/Crew Chief Meeting: 4:45 p.m.; Qualifying (2-Laps): 5:30 p.m.; Driver Autograph Session (On-Track): 6:15 p.m.; Driver Introductions: 8 p.m.; NAPA Auto Parts WildCat 150: 8:30 p.m.|
|TRACK CONTACT:||John Lashley, General Manager, (520) 850-2822 or [email protected]|
|EVENT TWITTER HASHTAG:||#WildCat150|
*All times are local (MST) and subject to change
The Race: The NAPA Auto Parts WildCat150 is the third race of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West season. It is the third of 11 oval track events and 13 races overall on the schedule. This is the series’ first visit to the track since March 10, 2001.
The Procedure: The race will be run in two segments. There will be a five minute break at or near the conclusion of Lap 75. The starting field is limited to 24 starters including provisionals. The first 20 starting positions will be determined through two-lap qualifying. The remaining four spots will be awarded through the provisional process.
The Track: Tucson Speedway was known as Tucson Raceway Park until 1993 and was named Raven Speedway from 1968-93. The track was built in 1968 and originally had a clay surface. The track was closed in 2010 and it re-opened in 2013. Tucson re-joined the Whelen All-American Series in 2014.
The Records: The one-lap qualifying record was set by Butch Gilliand on June 15, 1996 at 15.284 seconds, 88.328 mph. The race record was set on March 10, 2001 by Johnny Borneman at one hour, 24 minutes 50 seconds at 66.836 mph.
TUCSON RACE NOTES
Sargeant Returns East
Championship points leader Dalton Sargeant has one win, two top fives, two top 10s and two poles in his previous West starts this season. Sargeant, who competed for Jefferson Pitts Racing in the K&N Pro Series West, is concentrating on the NASCAR K&N Pro East schedule. That opens the door for a new points leader after Tucson. Chris Eggleston trails Sargeant by two points and is one of four drivers within nine points of one another. The group includes David Mayhew (four behind Eggleston) and rookie teammates Noah Gragson and Gracin Raz.
Kann Making Debut
Bill Kann will make his season debut this weekend at Tucson. The 21-year-old Scottsdale, Arizona, native competed in six events last season, tallying two top-10 finishes at Colorado National Speedway (eighth) and Utah’s Miller Motorsports Park (10th). This will be Kann’s ninth series start.
Home Tracks: Banghart Has Early Lead At Tucson
In addition to the NASCAR K&N Pro West, Saturday’s racing will include several of the track’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions: Pro Stocks (Div. II), Modifieds (Div. III) and Hornets (Div. V). Paul Banghart leads the Div. I Super Late Models by eight over Ron Searle Jr. and 12 over Chuck Wares. Jason Davis (Pro Stock) and Michael Egurola (Div. IV Late Model) are the other early points leaders, while the Modifieds will race their first event. Tayler Riddle kicked off the racing season at Tucson in February by winning the track’s second annual Chilly Willy 100 Super Late Model event in a photo finish over Jason Jefferson.
-NASCAR IMC Press Release. Photo Credit: NASCAR/Getty Images