This past season could be considered a “breakout year” for David Mayhew in the NASCAR Camping World Series West. Now he hopes to continue that success in the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown.
The annual all-star event, which attracts the top drivers from across the country to what has become the pinnacle of short-track racing in America, will be at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale (Calif.) on Jan. 29-30.
Mayhew is coming off a season in which he scored his first two career wins and first three career poles in the NASCAR Camping World Series West. The 27-year-old Californian – originally from Atascadero, but who now resides in Bakersfield – was in contention for the championship nearly all year.
He feels his success this season has fueled an attitude to continue winning.
“Any time you get your first win, that’s definitely something that boosts your confidence and gives you something to go for,” he said. “You know you can do it. Now you need to go out and do it every week.”
And now Mayhew, who drives the No. 17 MMI Services/Ron’s Rear Ends Chevrolet for car owner Steve McGowen, hopes to carry that same approach over into the postseason for an event drivers have referred to as the ‘Daytona 500 of short-track racing.’
“We’re actually going back with the car we ran in the Showdown last year,” he said. “We ran really well until we got caught up in an accident. So, I think we’ll be real good going into the Showdown this year. I think we’ll have a real good piece for there.”
As a winner in the NASCAR Camping World Series this season, Mayhew is among a group of drivers who have secured a starting spot in the big race. But that will not change his approach, he said.
“We always had a good enough car; we never really worried about missing the show,” Mayhew said of the all-star event. “So, you’re not really concentrating on making the show. You just go into it, knowing that the last 25 laps is what you have to have your car for. That’s what we’ve always based it on and we’ll do the same this year.”
Although Mayhew had demonstrated great potential since joining the series in 2007, victory had eluded him until this year. He had three runner-up finishes in 20 starts during his first two seasons, but no wins. He attributed the difference this year to luck and experience.
“We’ve put ourselves in position before to win races and just had silly things happen to us,” Mayhew said. “This year, when it came down to it, we just finished the job and didn’t give wins away like we did in the past. We just need to learn from our mistakes and do better every year and I think we can win a lot more races in the future.”
Although Mayhew was driving for his third team in three years in 2009, that did not deter him as a driver.
“You just do your best with what you’re given,” he said. “The opportunity I got this past year with Steve was awesome. It doesn’t really affect you a lot. When you’re in the race car, you do the best you can with whatever you’re given. We had good stuff and it shows on the track.”
Next month’s NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown will be highlighted by the 225-lap Camping World Series all-star race. Each race winner during the 2009 Camping World Series season is eligible for a protected starting spot, as are the 2009 champions from each of NASCAR’s six regional touring series and the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion.
In addition to eligible 2009 race winners and series champions, the starting lineup will be determined through time trials, limited provisionals for Camping World Series regulars, and the last-chance "Open" race that provides drivers one final chance to make the grid.
The 2010 NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown schedule also includes 100-lap Whelen All-American Series Super Late Model and 75-lap Late Model races.