NASCAR stock car racing is once again a part of Laguna Seca's racing fabric. Following a grand return in 2000, the NASCAR Winston West Series will rumble around the track for a second straight year during the Monterey NASCAR Challenge featuring the Salinas 250, May 19 and 20.
The Challenge will offer a chance to see up-and-coming NASCAR standouts like defending Winston West Series points champion Brendan Gaughan, Laguna Seca race winner Bobby Dotter and 2000 Winston West Rookie of the Year Mike Duncan driving V-8-engined Monte Carlos, Grand Prix and Tauruses identical to those raced in Winston Cup. Watching a Superbike or a Champ Car slip through the Corkscrew is one thing - but the image of a 3-thousand pound stock car storming through the turn is a sight to behold!
NASCAR stock cars are nothing new to Laguna Seca. Back in the 70's and early 80's, Winston West legends like Hershell McGriff were joined by Winston Cup greats including Richard Petty and Bobby Allison and future star Ernie Irvan for thundering romps around the then nine-turn course. It was quite an experience to see the big, heavy Chevys and Fords return to the track last May, and make some more right-hand turns.
The happiest driver at the end of NASCAR's return weekend to Laguna Seca was veteran stock car driver Bobby Dotter. The North Carolina resident earned his first Winston West victory by passing rookie John Borneman on the last lap of the Salinas 250 after Borneman's left rear tire went flat.
The Winston West won't race alone in May. There will be an outstanding set of support races highlighted by a premier 250cc shifter kart event. Karting is a hotbed for up-and-coming young drivers and a passionate hobby for long-time motorsports icons like motorcycle racing legends Wayne Rainey and Eddie Lawson. Rainey and Lawson are scheduled to participate in this unique event, and competitors from as far away as Australia, Great Britain and France have also expressed interest in taking part.
Also planned for the Monterey NASCAR Challenge is the return of the Historic Stock Car Racing Group West with its retired Winston Cup cars including Bobby Unser's 1972 Ford Torino, Bill Elliot's five-time winning Ford Thunderbird from 1992 and Dale Earnhardt's road course Chevy Lumina from 1993.
What a power-packed way to kick off the 2001 race season - modern and classic stock cars, speedy and agile shifter karts and more - at the Monterey NASCAR Challenge featuring the Salinas 250, May 19 and 20!