Ickler Looks To Top Off Career Accomplishment With Success At All-Star Showdown From NASCAR PR
He's Won in East and West Series, Now He's Aiming For the Biggest Victory of Them All
Brian Ickler joined an elite list of drivers this year who have won races in the NASCAR Camping World Series East and in the NASCAR Camping World Series West. He added to that accomplishment with a major victory in a combined event, winning this year’s NASCAR Camping World Series combination race in Iowa.
Now he wants to top it all off by winning the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown.
“We’re going to Irwindale to win. That’s definitely our number one goal,” said Ickler. “We’ve been successful there. We’ve won at Irwindale in the Super Late Model division and in the (NASCAR Camping World Series) West.”
The prestigious post-season event, slated for Jan. 23-24 at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale (Calif.), is considered the ‘Daytona 500 of short-track racing.’
The NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown’s two days of racing – which will also include NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model and Super Late Model races – will be aired live on SPEED beginning at 7 p.m. PT both nights.
Ickler is one of 13 drivers to earn a secured spot in the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown by winning a NASCAR Camping World Series event in 2008. He joins a growing list of short-track stars to sign up for the season’s biggest race. Already committed to the all-star event are NASCAR Camping World Series champions Matt Kobyluck (East) and Eric Holmes (West); along with former NASCAR Camping World West champion Mike David, Jason Bowles, Todd Souza, Jason Fensler and Peyton Sellers; and NASCAR Camping World Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year winners Austin Dillon (East) and Jeff Barkshire (West).
In addition to Holmes and Kobyluck, champions in NASCAR’s other developmental series include Philip Morris (NASCAR Whelen All-American Series), Scott Steckly (NASCAR Canadian Tire Series), Antonio Perez (NASCAR Mexico Series), Ted Christopher (NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour) and Brian Loftin (NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour).
This will be Ickler’s third appearance in the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown at Toyota Speedway. The 23-year-old driver from San Diego raced in two all-star events while competing for Bill McAnally Racing on the West Coast, finishing fifth in his rookie year in 2006 and coming home sixth in 2007. This time around, he will be in his family-owned entry he has driven on the East Coast this past season.
“We’ve run great the last two years in the showdown with Bill McAnally,” said Ickler. “And I think we’ve got a great chance to go out there with a great team this time. We’ve been building on all the technology with our cars all year and really look forward to going out West.”
After facing the challenge of learning his way around unfamiliar tracks at each event in the East this year, Ickler will be relieved to return to Toyota Speedway.
“I definitely have more experience of any race track there at Irwindale,” he said. “So, I’m very excited to go back there.”
The half-mile Southern California track was the site of one of Ickler’s three wins in the NASCAR Camping World Series West in 2007. He then moved to the East Coast, where he notched another three victories this year.
He is among a handful of drivers who have visited Victory Lane in the NASCAR Camping World Series West, which was known for many years as the NASCAR Winston West Series, and the NASCAR Camping World Series East, long known as the NASCAR Busch North Series. Other drivers credited with wins in both include Chuck Bown, Rick Craven, Joey Logano, Ken Schrader and Peyton Sellers.
Only Ickler and Bown have won multiple races in each series.
“It feels good to have won in the West and then come out here and be competitive right out of the gate,” Ickler said of his 2008 season with his own team. “When I stop and think what we’ve accomplished in a year, racing out West and packing up everything I had and having the season we’ve had and what we’ve built on, I’m really proud. You step out of the element and you’re kind of in awe and cannot believe what we’ve done in a year.”
Bown also made the transition from being a regular on the West Coast to joining the ranks of the East Coast racers. The Portland, Ore., driver – who registered three wins on each side of the country – also clinched the championship in the NASCAR Camping World Series West in 1976 and finished as the runner-up in the championship standings in the NASCAR Camping World Series East in 1987. He went on to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship in 1990.
Logano, who is taking over Tony Stewart’s ride at Joe Gibbs Racing, scored one win in the West and had five victories in the East en route to winning the NASCAR Camping World Series East championship in 2007. Craven, the 1991 NASCAR Camping World Series East champion who went on to compete as a regular in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, had one win in the West to go with 13 victories in the East. Schrader, a long-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver, had one win in the East and 11 in the West. Sellers, meanwhile, added his name to the list this year – gaining a win in the East to go with a win he scored while running the entire 2006 season in the West.
This will mark the sixth edition of the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown at Toyota Speedway.
To purchase tickets for the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown, fans can go to www.toyotaspeedwayatirwindale.com or call the track at (626) 358-1100.
Brian Ickler (NASCAR Photo)