STOCKTON, California -- Eric Norris continued his impressive campaign in the 2002 NASCAR Winston Series, finishing 4th in the “NAPA Auto Parts 200 Presented by Jani-King and Prolong” at Stockton 99 Speedway yesterday. Norris’ sixth top-5 finish in seven races this year moves him closer to his goal of winning the championship. With three races remaining, Norris’ points lead now stands at 75.
Norris, who qualified sixth, battled his Jani-King Ford through the ¼ mile oval, the smallest track he has ever raced. Despite having a strong race car all night long, Norris found himself driving defensively with all the bumping going on as drivers jockeyed for position on the tiny track that offered limited passing opportunities. With the championship in mind, Norris drove a smart race with the goal of keeping his car in one piece and leaving the track with his points lead intact. He accomplished both of his goals, aided by crew chief Jerry Pitts’ decision to pit for fresh right side tires with 19 laps remaining. Johnny Borneman led all 202 laps en-route to his first victory this year.
Said Norris, “This is a huge race for us in terms of the championship. We viewed Stockton as pretty much of a crap-shoot because of its size, so our plan was to stay clean, keep the car in one piece and make at run at the end. It worked out good for us, especially with Jerry’s decision to pit for right side tires at the end. With a few more laps we may have won because we were the only car with fresh tires. We were inches from finishing 3rd but we’ll take 4th – especially when it extends our points lead.”
The next race for Norris and his Jani-King team is August 31 at Rocky Mountain Raceways in Salt Lake City, Utah. Norris is looking forward to the race because it’s a track he has run very well at only to be sidelined by mechanical problems.
“We feel really good about our chances to win some more races this year and the championship,” commented Norris. “We know we should be good at Salt Lake and Las Vegas, and Oregon’s a new track for everybody so that should make things even. Hopefully we can get to our last race in Las Vegas with the points lead, where the championship will likely be decided. It’s going to be a battle, which should be really exciting for everyone, especially the fans.”
The “NAPA Auto Parts 200 Presented by Jani-King and Prolong” will be televised by the SPEED Channel on September 3 at 2 pm ET, 11 am PT.
For more information on Eric Norris and Norris Racing, visit www.NorrisRacing.com.