LAKESIDE, California— Last Saturday night, Auggie Vidovich, NASCAR Elite Division, Southwest Series 2003 champion had what was going to be a great finish for the night but the high banked Mesa Marin wall stopped Vidovich short of a potential second place finish and a possible challenge for a win on the final lap.
Vidovich ran two consistent practice sessions during the day before the late afternoon two-lap qualifying session at the 1/2-mile track, qualifying 13th at 18.699 by only seven tenths off the pole for the 150-lap race - live for the HD NET TV audience.
Vidovich started the "Ford Motorcraft Parts 150" race in row seven, moved up to 12th position by lap 10 and moved the No. 11 Centrifugal Technologies Chevrolet up to tenth by lap 13. With no pressure during most of the race, Vidovich was in eighth by lap 48 before the first caution flag waived. By lap 141, Vidovich was now in fourth behind Craig Raudman, Jim Pettit, and David Gilliland racing side by side with Gilliland for several laps and passing Gilliland on lap 143. Laps later another yellow waived on lap 148 with a green, white, checkered to follow. The restart on lap 157 now had Raudman, Pettit, Gilliland and Vidovich racing hard, when on the back stretch Raudman appeared to run out of gas and Pettit slowed following him, Gilliland and Vidovich moved by, Pettit checked up as Vidovich was passing Pettit and Pettit hit Vidovich in the left front sending the No. 11 to the wall unable to finish the race. "This is a disappointing ending to a perfect night as the car felt good all race," Vidovich said as his car was towed into the pit area finishing 22nd for the night. "Mike Harvick and the team prepared a great car for Mesa Marin - it was awesome," Vidovich said.
This Sunday, Vidovich heads back to Tucson Raceway Park for the postponed "StarNursery.com 150" presented by AutoZone. The race was postponed due to showers during the first practice on September 18 and rescheduled for this weekend. Vidovich took the No. 11 Centrifugal Technologies Chevrolet to Tucson prior to the original race for a test session and was fast off the hauler and is looking to be fast again this weekend. Seventeen drivers, including Vidovich in 2000, have victories in the 20 races held at Tucson Raceway Park. This weekend's 150-lap race will be race 13 of 14 for the Southwest Series.
The Lakeside, California resident, Southwest Series runner-up in 2001 and 2000, will also race the final race of the series at Phoenix International Raceway on Thursday, November 4 where he finished fourth October 3.
The "StarNursery.com 150" race takes the green at 2:00 p.m. PST Saturday to be rebroadcast on SPEED TV December 18 at 9:00 a.m. PST. Check your local cable or satellite for actual times and channels in your area.
For more information on 2003 NASCAR Elite Division, Southwest Series Champion Auggie Vidovich, driver of the No. 11 Centrifugal Technologies, Ultra Boats, Creative Touch Interiors, Ransom Brothers True Value Lumber and Eibach Springs Chevrolet, click on www.vidovichracing.com.