For the second race in row, a driver won the first NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race of his career. This time it was Auggie Vidovich who won the King Taco 200 at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale on Saturday night.
Auggie Vidovich wins the King Taco 200 at Toyota Speedway
Vidovich, a driver from Lakeside, was making his first West Series start at Irwindale. It was only his third start of the season.
Andrew Ranger won the first West Series race of his career two weeks ago at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma.
Vidovich took over the lead at Irwindale on lap 59 and led the remaining 141 laps of the race. He led a handful of West Series part-timers who finished in the top 10. Brett Thompson was third. Chris Johnson, Vidovich's teammate at Team Cass Racing, was fifth. Timmy Hill was seventh and Dusty Davis was eighth.
For Vidovich, it was his best finish in six previous West Series starts. Before Saturday night's win, his best finish was 14th.
"Any time you get a win it's good, no matter what it's in," said Vidovich, driver of the No. 59 Chevrolet for Team Cass Racing. "They're all hard to come by because there's so many good drivers out there, just appreciate the moment. I hope I get more."
Blake Koch finished second, his third top-five and fourth top-10 finish of the West Series season. He passed Brennan Newberry, whose car lost power and slowed to a stop in turn 2 with three laps to go in the race. Newberry was running in second at the time, but ended up in 16th place.
"Auggie had a real good car," Koch said. "Brennan came on strong there at the end. I really didn't have too much tire under me at the end. And the 61 (Thompson) was real close. I'm happy with a second-place finish the way the car was driving there with 10 laps to go."
Thompson, who was making his third West Series start of the season, posted his first top-five finish of 2010. He passed Newberry as the race winded down. With Newberry's stalled on the apron of the track, Thompson said he was hoping for a caution. But track officials decided to keep the race green and have it end without a caution.
"I think if they would have brought a caution out, we could have closed the gap," Thompson said. "I know I had a better car than some of these guys. It was really coming on there at the end. It seemed like the longer we went the better the car was. We came clear from 15th. It was probably one of the easiest cars I've ever driven. I was just pointing and shooting and running 'em down. I was really pleased with that."
Greg Pursley won the pole and led the first 42 laps of the race. He got a flat tire and hit the backstretch wall on lap 43. Vidovich took over the lead for the next five laps. Koch was able to pass Vidovich and lead the race for the next 11 laps.
Vidovich regained the lead on lap 59 and held it for the rest of the race.
"The car was all right," Vidovich said. "Blake, I thought he was the one who was going to get me. I was driving my heart out. Then Newberry got in position and I didn't see much out of him, so then I just rode. When he stalled, I had a big enough lead. It really didn't matter I don't think."
Eric Holmes, the leader in the West Series standings, finished 10th. He has a 64-point lead over David Mayhew after six West Series races. Mayhew, who started on the front row with Pursley, had engine problems and finished in 23rd place.
The next NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race is at Portland International Raceway in Oregon on July 18.
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