NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown Preview Notes  NASCAR PR Report
Rip Michaels, Eddie Mac and Details About The Irwindale Race
Irwindale Speedway   (Irwindale Speedway Photo)
While the first five years of the event were held in the Fall, immediately after the regular season ended, the move to January provides a break in the monotony of winter and an opportunity to get back to racing.

“I’m so excited about the date and everybody able to come,” Michels said. “I just feel like this is a home run.

“All the other Showdowns were great, but this is by far the biggest event I’ve been to. Having it in January, when there is no other racing going on — the whole world gets to see the No. 1 track and all the best short-track drivers.”

Early entries for the Camping World Series portion of the event have already exceeded 50, and the Super Late Model and Late Model races are expected to match that number.

Michels was the runner-up at the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown in 2004 in the former NASCAR Elite Division race.

But what he would really like is to get to Victory Lane. He built a car specifically to run in the race, bearing sponsorship support from Stock Building Supply and Anderson Windows. He only ran the car one night at Irwindale last year, sweeping twin features.

If not him, Michels is pulling for Cole Whitt and Dan Moore. Michels is supplying cars to both drivers. Whitt won the 2008 USAC Midget National Championship.

The trio will get plenty of competition. Already entered into the Super Late Model race is Nick Joanides, who won 10 times at Irwindale in 2008 en route to the track title, and two-time NASCAR Whelen All-American Series champion Philip Morris, who is entered in all three races.

MacDonald getting geared up to take a run at Victory Lane

Eddie MacDonald is bringing a winner out West. The NASCAR Camping World Series East veteran is bringing his top ride to the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown in two weeks — the car he piloted to a season sweep in 2008 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

MacDonald is hoping the speed he found on the Magic Mile will translate to the multi-grooved, high-speed half-mile of the Toyota Speedway at Irwindale.

“That’s definitely our best car,” MacDonald said. “I’m really excited to go out there.

“With (crew chief) Rollie (LaChance) doing all the setups, we should be pretty good.”

It was the win at New Hampshire in June that locked the Rowley, Mass., native into the
40-car starting field at the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown.

Race winners of NASCAR Camping World Series events and champions of each of
NASCAR’s seven developmental series earn secured spots in the race.

Kobyluck, Dillon, Trevor Bayne, MacDonald, Peyton Sellers, Brian Ickler, Aric Almirola,
Eric Holmes, Jason Bowles, Jeff Barkshire, Mike David, Todd Souza and Jason Fensler
won NASCAR Camping World Series races.

In addition, 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) won
championships. Kobyluck and Holmes won the NASCAR Camping World Series East and
West, respectively.

As of Friday afternoon, 52 drivers had submitted entries for the 250-lap NASCAR Camping
World Series East race.

Knowing he’s going to be in the show before he even puts the truck in gear in New England
is a big relief for MacDonald. But he knows he’ll have his hands full when he gets to California.

In addition to the NASCAR Camping World Series East and West regulars, three-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday Jr. and defending event winner Joey Logano are also entered into the event.

“It’s tough anytime you get these cars to go fast, it doesn’t matter who you’re racing,” said MacDonald. “But having all those guys in the field makes it a lot more challenging.”

This will be MacDonald’s fifth trip to Irwindale. He recorded his best finish in 2007 with a fifth. He was also sixth in the inaugural event in 2003.

He’ll be returning with the No. 71 Chevrolet, backed by car owner Rob Grimm and sponsor Grimm Construction. They also received sponsorship support for this event from New England Mechanical Overlay.

More Information

Locked In … Thirteen drivers have locked in a spot in this year’s NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown by winning a NASCAR Camping World Series race (see chart on page 4). In addition to those drivers, champions of the NASCAR Developmental Series will be locked in. Antonio Perez (NASCAR Mexico Series), Scott Steckly (NASCAR Canadian Tire Series) and Philip Morris (NASCAR Whelen All-American Series) have entered the event, along with NASCAR Camping World Series champions Matt Kobyluck (East) and Eric Holmes (West).

All-Star Experience … Five drivers have competed in five previous NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown Camping World Series races. The list includes 2006 winner Kobyluck. Mike Johnson, Mike Olsen and Mike Duncan have also competed five times. Nine other drivers have run at least four times.

Seat Time … None of the five winners in the Camping World Series race have been able to repeat. Outside of the inaugural event of 2003, Joey Logano (2007) is the only driver to win the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown in his first appearance. In addition, Logano is the only rookie and the only driver to follow up a series championship with a Showdown win.

Finishing Up Front … Kobyluck has the most five-five finishes in the Camping World Series race with four. The only year he didn’t finish in the top five was the first event when he was 12th. Sean Caisse and Duncan are the only other drivers with multiple top-five finishes, with two each. Kobyluck has a race-high four top 10s and has the best average finish (4.2) of drivers who have made more than one start.

Leading The Way … David Gilliland has led the most laps in the Camping World Series race. The Riverside, Calif., competitor — who since graduated to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series — led a total of 133 laps (91 in 2004 and 42 in 2005).

Qualifying … The 2007 event was the first to feature qualifying laps. Caisse earned the pole award with a lap of 18.271 seconds/98.517 mph.


Tickets for the 2009 NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown, which will take place Jan. 23-24 at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale, are available for purchase at the Toyota Speedway ticket office, by calling (626) 358-1100 and online at


Rip, Roaring And Ready - Michels can’t wait to get back to racing at Irwindale

Rip Michels knows one thing: There’s going to be a party after the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown. He just hopes he’s in the middle of it all.
“We want that Showdown really bad,” said Michels. “I’ve led laps there. I feel like I’m always in contention but at the end of the night, it’s always somebody else walking out with the girl and I’m sitting there pretty bummed out.”

Michels will be one of the top contenders to take down the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Super Late Model feature, one of the three races that make up the biggest weekend on NASCAR’s short-track racing calendar.

The NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown will feature two days of exciting action Jan. 23-24 among some of the top drivers in NASCAR Camping World Series and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action. The competition will air live on SPEED beginning at 7 p.m. PT both nights.

A four-time track champion at the Toyota Speedway at Irwindale, Michels earned the pole for the 2007 Super Late Model portion of the Showdown, only to finish second to rival Greg Pursley.
Eddie MacDonald