January 29, 2002, (Roseville, Calif.) -- Defending NASCAR Winston West Series championship owner and Orleans Racing partner, Bill McAnally is ready to unleash another 2-car team endeavor for the 2002 season opener at Phoenix, Arizona. The California native has won the title as a car owner three times in a row with the No. 16 NAPA car, and is ready to begin his campaign for a record fourth championship.
The newly added Orleans Racing NASCAR Winston West Series drivers, Austin Cameron and Brett Thompson, are eager to compete in the season opening Winter Heat Presented by Bosch, Feb. 2 at Phoenix International Raceway. Both drivers are geared up to fill some mighty big shoes. Cameron will be piloting the No. 16 NAPA Chevrolet that has muscled its way to three championships. The first of those came in 1999 with Sean Woodside and then two consecutive times with Brendan Gaughan in 2000 and 2001. Teammate Brett Thompson will be sitting behind the wheel of the No. 61 MBNA Chevrolet, the same car that the legendary Hershel McGriff drove last season.
And just what are the goals of the two new drivers?
For Austin Cameron it is simple. “There are a lot of tracks but only one road,” said Cameron. “Being a part of Orleans Racing and NAPA Auto Parts is a great opportunity for me and I plan on taking full advantage of it. My focus right now is on the Winter Heat at Phoenix and getting a jump on the season. We have a great team with awesome cars and engines by Kroyer, so we just need to get down to business and start on that one road, the road toward the championship.”
Thompson has a very focused plan as well. “Our goal is to capture the rookie-of-the-year title and to win a race in the MBNA car,” said Thompson. “I am looking forward to a very competitive year for the Orleans Racing team. As hard as Austin is going to be working to bring NAPA their fourth championship, Orleans Racing/Thompson Motorsports is going to be trying just as hard to bring MBNA their first.”
And what might be the game plan of the savvy master of the Series, McAnally for 2002?
“The 2002 plan for Orleans Racing is to see our championship sponsor NAPA and driver Brendan Gaughan driving for rookie-of-the-year and the first title for the team in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and for Cameron to bring NAPA its 4th consecutive championship in the NASCAR Winston West Series,” commented McAnally.
“We are also proud to field a second effort with rookie-of-the-year contender Brett Thompson, who showcased his talents at Rocky Mountain Raceways in 2001 taking the Bud Pole and scoring a top-five in the event. Brett has paid his dues and gained a lot of valuable experience,” McAnally continued. “He is ready to be a contender for the championship in the NASCAR Winston West Series. We are proud to have a 2nd year with corporate support from MBNA and to have two cars in contention for the championship.”
McAnally has assembled a group of people whose experience is vast and extensive to compliment the newly signed drivers. With each driver being paired with a veteran crew chief; Chuck Carruthers on the No. 16 and Duane Knorr on the No. 61. Both individuals have the competitive edge McAnally desires in a team.
One of the many things McAnally has been successful at is picking winning teams. It looks as if he has picked another robust pairing for the 2002 season. Perhaps his biggest challenge is not worrying about if Orleans Racing will win the NASCAR Winston West Series championship, but which Orleans Racing team will win the championship.
For more information on Orleans Racing WW visit the team’s website at: www.OrleansRacingWW.com. A tape delayed broadcast of the race will air March 4th on the Speed Channel (formerly known as Speed Vision) at 8pm EST.