All About the All-Star Showdown by Penny Aicardi
Irwindale Event is Coming Up for Grand National Competitors
Eddie MacDonald is a driver who is locked intot he starting field for the Showdown, thanks to his victory at Stafford earlier this season. (Mary Hodge Photo)
For the two series of NASCAR Grand National Division, the schedules is complete, the champions are crowned, and now it’s time to get serious. In serious I mean the Toyota All-Star Showdown; a post-season non-points race in which drivers from the NASCAR Busch East Series and the West Series vie for over $400,000 in posted awards ($27,000 to win) and the use of a Toyota Tundra for a year. But it’s not the same Toyota All-Star Showdown we’ve had the last four years. There are plenty of changes for the fifth running of the race, and we’re ready to bring you up to speed.
Invitations? Not for the select few anymore…
In the past, the Toyota All-Star Showdown was only for the top-15 drivers in the Grand National Division points – both East and West. You finished up there, and you were in the show. This year, many drivers will receive an invitation, but you had to earn a lock-in spot by means of a win during the regular season or a series title.
Therefore guaranteed starting positions were only reserved for Joey Logano, Eddie MacDonald, Sean Caisse, Matt Kobyluck, and Rogelio Lopez on the East Series side.
For the West Series the lock-ins are: Mike David, Scott Lynch, David Gilliland, Brian Ickler, Jason Bowles, and Eric Holmes. Invitations went out to every driver of the Grand National Division, and also included invitees from the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, the
NASCAR Mexico Series and the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.
This year’s race is 250-laps – the longest distance yet. In previous years, the race has been a 125-lap affair (2003) and 150 laps (2004-2006). However, there were also two 50-lap races to decide the drivers starting positions. This year, the Toyota All-Star Showdown will include time trials for those not locked into position already and a last-chance open race.
Okay, there is potential with all the invitees this year that they could nearly fill the field before you even get there. It’s unlikely, however, that they will all show up. First of all, drivers like
Donny Lia, the champion of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, don’t have the equipment to compete in a Grand National race. It would be a huge undertaking and expense for him to enter the race. Does that mean he won’t? No, but I’d be surprised to see him there.
As of today, entries have come in for the following NASCAR Busch East Series drivers: Joey Logano, Matt Kobyluck, Sean Caisse, Mike Olsen, Marc Davis, Rogelio Lopez, Peyton Sellers, John Salemi, Mike Johnson, Stephen Berry, Michelle Theriault, Antonio Perez, Chris Bristol, Eddie MacDonald, and Jamie Hayes.
It is likely that the West Series will have about the same number of entries.
There are 40 starting positions. So there’s plenty of room for all those Busch East Series drivers to make it, and then some.
How they set the field
Twelve drivers (the winners and champions) have a locked in position. The rest of the field will participate in time trials. Those will make up positions 1-26. Positions 27-34 are provisional starting spots, which are available to the highest ranking of the top-30 drivers in the final 2007 NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East and West Series Championship driver point standings who have not qualified for one of the original 26 starting spots. Positions 35-40 will be filled by the open race.
Matt Kobyluck, the defending race winner is excited about this year’s edition of the Toyota All-Star Showdown. He has the best average finish of any driver that has been there before, and he’s a favorite heading into this race. There’s only one thing: no driver has ever repeated.
“Not till this year,” said Kobyluck. “We’re going back to the same car we used last year, and I think we are that much better this year. We learned a lot and we plan to put that to use. This is one of the races that there is no pressure: it’s all money, all
Matt Kobyluck (#40) won last year's race at Irwindale.
bragging rights, and no points. It’s a very relaxing race for me. I like to think we excel at those types of races.”
And Kobyluck isn’t afraid of all the added invites either. In fact, he applauds NASCAR for adding new faces to the mix.
“This is an all-star race so let’s get them all there,” he said. “I want to walk away from there knowing that we have the best program and the best car. I’d rather win the race knowing that the best was there to compete against instead of people saying, ‘Well, you won it, but this guy wasn’t there and that guy wasn’t there.’ Bring it on.”
NASCAR TOYOTA ALL-STAR SHOWDOWN
IRWINDALE SPEEDWAY (CA)
Series Car # Driver Car Owner Crew Chief Year/Make
1 BES 20 JOEY LOGANO JD GIBBS Mike Sibley
2 BES 18 MARC DAVIS JD GIBBS Scott Klbury 06/Chevy
3 WW 5 ERIC HARDIN DENNIS HARDIN Mike Harvick 06/Chevy
4 BES 52 JAMIE HAYES KEN SCHRADER Donnie Richeson 06/Chevy
5 BES 03 ROGELIO LOPEZ DAVE DAVIS Freddy Skaff 06/Chevy
6 WW 21 DAVID MAYHEW JIM OFFENBACH Steve Portenga 06/Chevy
7 WW 54 TIM WOODS III TIM WOODS III Gary Otis 05/Ford
8 BES 83 PEYTON SELLERS BERT SELLERS HC Sellers III 07/Chevy
9 WW 57 DAVID ROSS GREG ROSS Todd Burns 07/Chevy
10 WW 8 JOHN BORNEMAN III JOHN BORNEMAN JR Kevin Cram 06/Ford
11 WW 29 NICK LYNCH KAREN ANN LYNCH Chuck Kruthers 07/Chevy
12 WW 14 JASON GILBERT RANDY GILBERT Randy Gilbert 06/Chevy
13 WW 1 JIM INGLEBRIGHT VALERIE INGLEBRIGHT Rodney Haygood 05/Chevy
14 WW 46 JEFF BARKSHIRE BOB BARKSHIRE Brandon Reihl 06/Dodge
15 BES 21 ANTONIO PEREZ LORI WILLIAMS Troy Williams 06/Dodge
16 BES 22 AMANDO FITZ LORI WILLIAMS Troy Williams 06/Chevy
17 WW 81 BRETT THOMPSON RICH THOMPSON Lonnie Rush Jr 07/Chevy
18 WW 52 RYAN PHILPOTT RYAN PHILPOTT Chuck Doznier 04/Ford
19 BES 63 JOHN SALEMI JOSEPH SALEMI Kevin Salemi 06/Chevy
20 BES 61 MIKE OLSEN VICTORIA OLSEN Harry Norcross 06/Chevy
21 BES 44 SEAN CAISSE ANDY SANTERRE Andy Santerre 07/Chevy
22 BES 37 MICHELLE THERIAULT JEFF SPRAKER Scott Goyer 07/Chevy
23 WW 66 JUSTIN LOFTON JUSTIN LOFTON Rob Dixon 06/Ford
24 WW 9 MIKE DUNCAN MIKE DUNCAN Bill Sedewick 06/Chevy
25 WW 42 RICK WALL RICH WALL Bob Johns 05/Ford
26 BES 96 MIKE JOHNSON ALBERT JOHNSON Peter Founier 05/Ford
27 WW 88 ALEX HAASE MARK GOLEMBESKI Mike Naake 04/Chevy
28 WW 84 JAMIE DICK JIMMY DICK Mike Naake 04/Chevy
29 WW 85 THOMAS MARTIN JOHN MARTIN Don Joiner Sr 06/Chevy
30 WW 96 JASON NOLL FRANK LAFRANCE John Carlson 06/Chevy
31 WW 22 JASON BOWLES ROBERT BRUNCATI Chris Diederich /Ford
32 BES 40 MATT KOBYLUCK MATT KOBYLUCK Perry Waite 07/Chevy
33 WW 2 MIKE DAVID RANDY LYNCH Mario Isola 04/Ford
34 BES 3 STEPHEN BERRY GLENN RUDOLPH Jeremy Rudolph 07/Chevy
35 WW 16 BRIAN ICKLER BILL MCANNALLY Craig Raudman 06/Chevy
36 WW 20 ERIC RICHARDSON BILL MCANNALLY Roger Bracker 06/Chevy
37 WW 18 MOSES SMITH BILL MCANNALLY Duane Knorr 06/Chevy
38 WW 62 ERIC HOLMES ALLEN BEEBE Ty Joiner 06/Chevy
39 WW 04 RYAN BLACK BOB FARMER Brian Pannone 05/Ford
40 WW 71 DARYL HARR CARL HARR Carl Harr 04/Chevy
41 WW 13 TODD SOUZA KELLY SOUZA Michael Munoz 07/Chevy
42 BES 26 SCOTT BOULEY KIM GRIFFEN George Bouley 07/Chevy
43 BES 48 EDDIE MACDONALD ROLAND LACHANCE Roland Lanchance 07/Chevy
44 WWD 77 GREG PURSLEY JOE NAVA Larry Nava 04/Ford
45 98 BRANDON LOVEROCK TRACY PHELPS Steve Teats 05/Chevy
46 WWD 93 BEN WALKER MARY SAIED Jameel Saied 07/Ford
47 WWD 14 ANDREW MYERS NANCY MYERS Jamie Aube 06/Chevy
48 NWAAS 6 WOODY PITKAT ALVIN FADDEN James Lang/ Mark Lyden 06/Chevy
49 WW 01 CANDACE MUZNY DEL DALRYMPLE Tim McMillian /Ford
50 NCATS 09 RANGER ANDREW DICK MIDGLEY Billy Burns