AURORA, Oregon -- When Mike Warn started MJ2 Racing five years ago he did not know where his racing adventures would take him. As the 2008 racing season rapidly approaches, Warn has his sights clearly focused on the NASCAR Grand National West Series where he will lead a two-car team featuring his oldest son Jim and three-time NASCAR Northwest Series champion Jeff Jefferson behind the wheel of twin Gran Prix Imports sponsored Chevrolets.
Warn is excited about the move to the West series in 2008 after successfully campaigning a two-car effort this past season on the ARCA West LMCS tour where his team combined for two wins, 13 top five and 16 top ten finishes in nine races. “We feel that now is the time to make a move and compete against the very best on the West coast,” Warn said. “We have top notch equipment and a first class team ready for the challenge. I am so excited for Jim and Jeff and can’t wait until the first race.”
Warn successfully managed and lead his family-owned business (Warn Winch) until 2000 when he sold it to his employees. Now he manages several business entities including a cattle ranch in Eastern Oregon, Gran Prix Imports, and his MJ2 Racing team. “We have a three-year plan for the West series,” Warn explained. “My hope is that we are competitive and can win races creating an opportunity one or both of our drivers to move up the NASCAR ranks.”
Putting together a team to run competitively on the West series is a daunting task, let alone fielding a two-car effort. Helping to ease the transition is long-time crew chief and respected car builder Chuck Carruthers. Carruthers will oversee the maintenance of both cars and call signals on race day for the younger Warn. “We owe a lot to both Chuck and Jeff,” Warn offered. “We would not have been able to get to where we are at today without Chuck’s leadership. From equipment gathering to finding the guys to serve on the team, both have been a great mentor and coach for Jim as he learns and adapts to stock car racing.”
While Jim Warn is relatively new to stock car racing his does have experience behind the wheel. Warn (Jim) started racing at age 15 piloting various road racing vehicles but soon he looked for new challenges. In 2004 Warn tried his hand at winged sprint cars, but that choice proved an unpopular one for his family. “My mom was a little freaked out by sprint cars,” Warn recalls. “We decided that stock cars may be the way to go.”
Warn joined the stock car ranks in 2005 racing in the Super Stock class at South Sound Speedway located outside Rochester, Washington where he adapted quickly to the full-bodied machines and earned Rookie-of-the-Year honors that season. He continued racing in the Late Model division in 2006 under the guidance of Jeff Jefferson and then moved to the ARCA West series for 2007.
“We had fun this past season with the ARCA West but we are really looking forward to the challenge of competing against the best competition on the West coast,” Warn said. “I am really looking forward to the different tracks, pit stops, and longer races. I feel that the bigger tracks suit my driving style, but qualifying at he beginning of the season will be my biggest challenge.”
Jim Warn is the business manager for Gran Prix Imports, a family-owned business specializing in exotic cars like Lamborghini, Spyker, and Panoz. The company also services Bentley, Porches, and BMW. Warn is a 2006 graduate of Washington State University with a degree and Business Management.
The 2008 Grand National West Series season is set to kick off at All-American Speedway in Roseville, CA in late March. All-American is a wide quarter-mile banked oval that will test the most seasoned driver. While Warn will be focused on ensuring he qualifies for the race, Jeff Jefferson is excited about his full-time return to the West series. “I am very thankful to Mike (Warn) and his family for this opportunity,” Jefferson said.
Jefferson is no stranger to the West series having competed in 24 previous events where he has scored one win, two pole awards, and 12 top ten finishes. He finished 13th in the final 2000 point standings after competing in eleven of twelve races that season. Jefferson’s lone West series win came at the old Portland Speedway in the final asphalt race staged at the historic half-mile oval.
The off-season typically leaves drivers and teams a chance to relax and reflect about the past year, but this “off” season leaves little time for relaxation for Jefferson. The MJ2 Racing team recently purchased six Busch Series cars from Kevin Harvick and went right to work preparing them to do battle on the West series. “All the cars have been prepped and painted,” Jefferson said. “All we have to do is just fit the seats and we are ready to start testing.”
“This has been a pretty exciting time,” Jefferson continued. “Mike (Warn) has put together a first class operation and I am privileged to be able to drive his cars. I have had a lot of fun racing with Jim this past season and I know he is going to do well in the series. Having a two-car team is going to be a big benefit for both of us and I know we will be very competitive.”
Both Jefferson and the younger Warn have always wanted to race cars. Both are graduates of Washington State University, and both look forward to winning in the West series this next season. While both drivers are at different phases in their racing careers, both share a passion for competition and winning that has created a unique bond; a bond that will propel both to success in the West series.
About the NASCAR Grand National West Series
The NASCAR Grand National Division consists of two series, on opposite coasts but operating under identical rules – the Busch East Series and the West Series.
NASCAR Grand National Division cars are similar to those used on the NASCAR Nationwide Series. They are powered by 350- to 358-cubic-inch V-8 engines with a maximum compression ratio of 12:1. Both 105- and 110-inch wheelbase cars are allowed, with a minimum weight of 3,300 pounds. They are equipped with Goodyear bias-ply tires.
The West Series enters its 55th season in 2008, making it the West Coast’s oldest stock car racing circuit. The West Series historically competes throughout Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada and Arizona, and has been a launching pad for the careers of Derrike Cope, Brendan Gaughan, Kevin Harvick, Lance Hooper, Rick Carelli, David Gilliland and many other drivers. Chad Little, now NASCAR’s Director of Racing Development, Mexico, raced in the West Series before he advanced his own driving career into the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
About Gran Prix Imports
Gran Prix Imports is more than a luxury auto dealership located in Wilsonville, Oregon, we strive to be a shrine dedicated to automotive perfection and innovation; specializing in the sale and service of new and pre-owned exotic sports cars, European luxury cars, top performance vehicles, and the royal line of racing cars.
Gran Prix Imports was created not only as a sale and service point, but as a gathering place for the Northwest's auto enthusiast community. Every detail of Gran Prix Imports was carefully planned to enhance the enthusiast's experience, from our classic racing art, to our espresso bar and pool lounge.
An authorized dealer of Spyker and Panoz, our new and pre-owned inventory is carefully selected by an expert staff to showcase an exciting and diverse array of the world's finest automobiles.
Our drive and passion to be the best is reflected in everything we do. So, whether you are looking for a vehicle, in need of service, or just a place to relax and enjoy the company of other enthusiasts, we invite you to be our guest at Gran Prix Imports.
-Distributed by MJ2 Racing Public Relations. For additional information please contact:
Mike Warn, Owner MJ2 Racing, 503/678-1090
Derrick Shannon, MJ2 Racing PR, 208/870-8066