Bakersfield, CA – This weekend’s historic “double header” at Mesa Marin Raceway is loaded with attractive and intriguing story lines. With both touring series going back-to-back on the west’s fastest half-mile oval, it doesn’t take long to discover the wealth of underlying scripts waiting to unfold.
Among these storylines for the April 9th, NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series Lucas Oil 150, having the 2004 series champion as the race sponsor’s driver is considered near, or at the top of list. Mike Duncan, driving the Lucas Oil/Ron’s Rear Ends Chevrolet returns to his home track at Mesa Marin, hoping to capture a victory that would cement his name amongst the best drivers to ever embrace Mesa Marin as their own.
As Duncan and Crew Chief, Bill Sedgwick prepare for the exciting weekend, Mike replies to a question regarding his familiarity with Mesa Marin and how that will play into the race. “It definitely helps a driver and crew chief prepare for a race with a little more confidence (when it’s on your home track)”, but he then he cautiously adds, “ there’s going to be some great drivers out there that know Mesa Marin as well as anybody.” When asked if he felt any added pressure as the reigning tour champ and driver of the race sponsor’s car, Duncan replies in his trademark respectful tone, “With the level of talent that this race will showcase, the pressure is already there . . . and to represent Lucas Oil makes it even more exciting.”
In discussing the amount of attention the Lucas Oil 150 is receiving – an intense line-up of rookies, the return of West series giant Steve Portenga, the insertion of female driver Sarah Fisher and the atmosphere of a live television event – Duncan’s approach appears to be a studious one. “We won it (‘October Classic’) in 2003, and we led for most of our two races (at Mesa Marin) last year before things happened and we finished second (3/27/04) and fifth (10/17/04), so Sedgwick and I learned a few things from last year that we hope will position us to make a run at a victory.”
Always a crowd favorite at his home track, the 2000 Mesa Marin Late Model champion hopes for a great night of racing for the knowledgeable and passionate NASCAR fans. “I know that these race fans are in for a great night of racing”, and added, “With the Southwest tour heating up the track before us, our race should make for an exciting finale.” With all of the story lines for this big weekend at Mesa Marin, Mike Duncan figures to be one of the main characters in the plot.