As car owner Bill McAnally aims for his third consecutive NASCAR Winston West Series championship this year, he is also celebrating his 10th season in the series.
His BMR (Bill McAnally Racing) team won the series title in 1999 with Sean Woodside behind the wheel. Brendan Gaughan took over the driving duties in 2000 as McAnally won his second championship - this time as president of Orleans Racing, a partnership he developed with Michael Gaughan.
If the NAPA Auto Parts-sponsored team is to win a third-straight title, they will have to do so in a fashion that contrasts their 2000 season - when they took the lead in the championship standings after the second race and never looked back. This year, the Orleans Racing team has had to mount a come-from-behind effort. After failing to finish in the top five in the first three races, Gaughan has reeled in eight consecutive top-five finishes - including four victories. He steadily moved up in the championship standings as the season progressed and took the lead last month. He holds a 32-point advantage as the series heads toward the final three races of 2001.
Despite this year‘s come-from-behind approach, McAnally is optimistic about the team garnering a third consecutive title. “Although we encountered some bad luck early this season, this team has demonstrated that it has what it takes to overcome adversity and stay focused on the goal of winning a third championship,” McAnally said. ”They have worked hard to make up ground in the standings. You have to do that in this business. The level of competition in this series is moving forward at such a rate that it would be real easy to fall behind.”
"Each year this team has been able to build on its accomplishments," McAnally stressed. "NAPA has helped us develop into a top contender in the NASCAR Winston West Series and we owe it to them and our other great sponsors, such as Martin Senour, to deliver."
Although McAnally is now known for his role as a car owner, he was both the owner and driver when he first joined the NASCAR Winston West Series. After winning a NASCAR Weekly Racing Series championship in 1990 at his hometown track in Roseville, Calif., McAnally made the move to the West's oldest stock car racing circuit in 1992.
He competed in two events his first year and five his second, while preparing to run for the rookie title in 1994. His car and nearly all of his equipment was destroyed by vandals just before the start of the season, however, leaving McAnally to start over again. He quickly began rebuilding. He raced in eight events in I994 and by 1995 was able to compete in all of the stand-alone events on the schedule, finishing ninth in the championship standings. He finished ninth in the final standings, again, in 1996 and seventh in 1997.
Early in the 1998 season, McAnally made the decision to relinquish his role as a driver and focus entirely on being a car owner. He now puts his energy into running the Orleans Racing team out of its 75,000-square-foot facility in Las Vegas. In addition to defending the championship in the NASCAR Winston West Series in 2001, the team is competing in a limited number of events in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, again.
McAnally is also busy this year overseeing a second NASCAR Winston West Series team, with the legendary Hershel McGriff behind the wheel and sponsorship from MBNA and Park Corp.
As for commemorating his 10th season of competition in the NASCAR Winston West Series, McAnally says any celebrating will wait until the end of the year- "There would be no better way than winning another championship to celebrate my 10th year on the circuit," he said.
The last car owner in the NASCAR Winston West Series to win three consecutive championships was Lois Williams - who won the titles with the late Jim Robinson in 1983,1984 and 1985.
The NASCAR Winston West Series is one of nine NASCAR Touring Series’ that blanket the United States, bringing special events to many NASCAR Weekly Racing Series tracks and soma MASCAR superspeedways and road courses, NASCAR Touring Series’ can provide a competitor with an entire career or they can provide valuable experience to competitors moving through the NASCAR ranks.
Corporate sponsors make significant contributions to NASCAR Touring Series point funds. These sponsors include Anheuser-Busch, Featherlite, Goody’s Headache Powders, O’Reilly Auto Park, Raybestos Brakes, REIMAX International, Inc., Slim Jim, and RJ Reynolds brand, Winston.