Greg Pursley saw an opening and took it, dashing from third to first on the final lap of the Allstate Texas Thunder 150 at Thunderhill Raceway on Saturday to record his first career win in the NASCAR Camping World Series West.
Pursley was trailing Mike David and Eric Holmes in the closing stages of the event, when a caution led to the race distance being extended for a green-white-checkered finish.
On the restart, David and Holmes roared side-by-side around the tight .375-mile oval with Pursley nipping at their heels. The trio took the white flag and charged into Turn 1. David’s car spun as they came through Turn 2, leaving Pursley to take the lead in the No. 26 Gene Price Racing/Star Nursery Chevrolet.
“You know what happens on a green-white-checkered,” Pursley said. “Mike David and Eric Holmes were running each other really, really hard. He (David) got into Turn 1 pretty hard and got up on Eric Holmes and I got under him. He turned down on me. That was it. It definitely wasn’t intentional. Me and Mike are good friends. We’ve always raced clean together. Hopefully, he’ll get over it after a while.”
Pursley took the win by a margin of .847 seconds over a hard charging Moses Smith of Tempe, Ariz., who registered his best career-best finish in the No. 16 HASA Pool Products Toyota. Holmes of Escalon, Calif., finished third in the No. 20 NAPA Toyota. Jamie Dick of Albuquerque, N.M., was close behind in the No. 88 Viva Auto Group/Johnnie Walker Performance Center Chevrolet. Fifth went to Brett Thompson of Jerome, Idaho, in the No. 61 Rich Thompson Trucking Chevrolet. David Mayhew, who won his first career Coors Light Pole Award and led 78 laps early, was sixth. David salvaged a seventh-place finish, after leading for 74 laps. Jonathon Gomez, Jason Bowles and James Warn completed the top 10.
The race featured four lead changes among four drivers. The pace of the event was slowed by seven cautions for 38 laps.
In making his initial visit to Thunderhill Raceway, Pursley appeared to quickly figure out how to get around the track. ”We used the first practice to kind of learn the track,” said the Newhall, Calif., driver. “Then, I tried to hang in the top five tonight and stay out of trouble.”
The event, which kicked off the 2009 season for the NASCAR Camping World Series West, marked Pursley’s 17th start as he returns full-time to the series. Although he raced the entire 2002 season, the 2004 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion had competed on a limited basis in the West Series in recent years.
“I’m definitely happy,” Pursley said the start to his season. “We’ve got a great bunch of guys here and a great team. Racing is a lot of fun in this series.”
The next event on the NASCAR Camping World Series West schedule will be the Toyota / NAPA AUTO PARTS 150 at All American Speedway in Roseville, Calif., on April 4.
NASCAR CAMPING WORLD SERIES WEST
ALLSTATE TEXAS THUNDER 150 Results
Saturday At Thunderhill Raceway
Lap length: 0.375 miles
(Start position in parentheses)
1. (5) Greg Pursley, Newhall, Calif., Chevrolet, 155 laps, 57.836 mph, $7,000.
2. (11) Moses Smith, Tempe, Ariz., Toyota, 155, $6,000.
3. (2) Eric Holmes, Escalon, Calif., Toyota, 155, $3,850.
4. (7) Jamie Dick, Albuquerque, N.M., Chevrolet, 155, $2,800.
5. (3) Brett Thompson, Jerome, Idaho, Chevrolet, 155, $3,050.
6. (1) David Mayhew, Atascadero, Calif., Chevrolet, 155, $3,800.
7. (8) Mike David, Modesto, Calif., Toyota, 155, $2,250.
8. (15) Jonathan Gomez, Twin Falls, Idaho, Chevrolet, 155, $2,525.
9. (12) Jason Bowles, Ontario, Calif., Ford, 154, $2,175.
10. (10) Jim Warn, Aurora, Ore, Chevrolet, 154, $2,150.
11. (4) Blake Koch, West Palm Beach, Fla., Chevrolet, 154, $2,100.
12. (13) Wes Banks, Oakdale, Calif., Ford, 153, $2,075.
13. (19) Jack Sellers, Sacramento, Calif., Chevrolet, 152, $2,050.
14. (9) Johnathan Hale, Rio Linda, Calif., Chevrolet, 152, $2,000.
15. (14) Jim Inglebright, Fairfield, Calif., Chevrolet, 150, $1,950.
16. (16) Bow Carpenter, San Antonio, Texas, Chevrolet, 147, $1,900.
17. (6) Paulie Harraka, Wayne, N.J., Toyota, 106, engine, $1,875.
18. (18) Phillip Hollis, Evadale, Texas, Chevrolet, 29, fuel pressure, $1,350.
19. (17) Jim Marchino, Modesto, Calif., Ford, 5, ignition, $1,286.
Time of Race: 1 hour 18 seconds
Margin of Victory: .847 seconds
Fastest Qualifier: D.Mayhew (89.203 mph, 15.134 seconds)
Caution Flags: 7 for 38 laps.
Lead Changes: 4 among 4 drivers.
Lap Leaders: D.Mayhew 1-34; E.Holmes 35-36; D.Mayhew 37-80; M.David 81-154; G.Pursley 155.
Standings: 1. G.Pursley, 185; 2. M.Smith, 170; 3. E.Holmes, 170; 4. J.Dick, 160; 5. D.Mayhew, 160; 6. B.Thompson, 155; 7. M.David, 151; 8. J.Gomez, 142; 9. J.Bowles, 138; 10. J.Warn, 134.