SANTEE, California -- Mike Mendenhall of Santee wrapped up his first season with the AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series with an outstanding fourth place finish in the Star Nursery.com 150 at Tucson Raceway Park Sunday afternoon.
It looked like it would be a tough day for Mendenhall’s #10 Crower Cams / Newton Communications Chevrolet. “I crashed with about two minutes before the end of practice and tore the right front off,” Mendenhall recounted. But the team, including Mendenhall’s brother Rob, Ward Newton, and Jimmy Villa went to work. With the help of some parts loaned by Danny Burson’s #56 Great Western Electric Chevrolet team, Mendenhall was able to start the race though they had to use a provisional after missing qualifying.
In only his sixth Southwest Series start, Mendenhall started in the back of the 24-car field. His goal was to just to try to stay out of trouble. He passed a car here and there and slowly worked his way forward. Late in the race he passed 2003 champ Auggie Vidovich II and then 2002 titlest Eddy McKean to take fourth place. Mendenhall also collected the $750 PowerAde Power Move-of-the-Race check for improving his position the most.
Mike and Rob would like to thank Crower Cams, Newton Communications, Schmitt Equipment Sales, Ron’s Rear Ends, Pete Thompson, Steve Luecht, Bobby Roland and crewmen Ward Newton, Joe Engle, and Jimmy Villa for their assistance during 2004. The team will not be competing at Phoenix this weekend. It does plan on running the Southwest Series again in 2005 and hopes to see everyone again.