DAYTONA BEACH, Florida -- Austin Cameron knows that confidence can be critical to success. He credits the confidence instilled in him by his crew with enabling him to battle back from two mishaps and a one-lap deficit to notch his fifth win this season in the NASCAR Winston West Series.
His victory came at Douglas County Speedway in Roseburg, Ore., on Sept. 21 in the NAPA Auto Parts 200 presented by NAPA Belts & Hoses and Royal Purple Synthetic Motor Oil.
Cameron, who started on the outside of the front row, spun on lap 26 as the leaders were working their way through lapped traffic. He was able to get the NAPA/Martin Senour Chevrolet restarted, but fell a lap behind in the process.
"I was like a bull seeing red," Cameron recalled of his feelings after the incident. "I was extremely upset. I had this terrible feeling in my heart that things were crumbling and any hopes for a championship were fading."
Members of the Orleans Racing team did not despair, however. The confidence offered over the radio by car owner Bill McAnally and crew chief Chuck Carruthers became an overriding factor in recovering from the incident, according to Cameron. "Everybody gave me plenty of confidence," he said. Despite a second spin in the front stretch, Cameron continued his charge to the front. "Fortunately, we didn’t lose a lap that time," said the 25-year-old driver from El Cajon, Calif.
Cameron continued to work his way through the field, eventually taking the lead on lap 196. Despite a late-race caution that extended the race to 205 laps, with a green-white-checkered finish, Cameron was able to hold on to win by a margin of .320 of a second at an average speed of 73.360 mph.
Eric Norris of Dana Point, Calif., finished second in the JaniKing/Ultra Wheels Ford. Third place went to Eric Holmes of Escalon, Calif., in the Royal Purple/Taco Bell Chevrolet. Mike Duncan of Lamont, Calif., was fourth in the MB Duncan Motorsports Chevrolet, followed by Brandon Ash of Umpqua, Ore., in the Little Trees/Fuji Film/Auto Marine Ford.
Rounding out the top 10 were Eddy McKean, Kevin Richards, Johnny Borneman, Greg Pursley and Mark Reed.
Scott Gaylord, who for the second consecutive event won the Bud Pole Award and dominated the first half of the race, was eliminated from competition in a late-race incident. Gaylord had established a series mark for the newly renovated half-mile paved oval, with a speed of 113.665 mph in qualifying. He kept the Oliver Gravity Separators Chevrolet out front for 115 circuits, to win the Gatorade Front Runner Award.
The race featured two lead changes among three drivers – Gaylord, Borneman and Cameron. The pace of the event was slowed by 14 cautions for 61 laps.
With his victory, Cameron shaved 10 points off the lead held by Norris in the championship standings. Norris has a 36-point advantage, 1,490 to 1,454, with one race remaining on the schedule – The Orleans 150 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Oct. 12. Richards is a close third at 1,412, while Duncan is fourth at 1,317 and Borneman is fifth at 1,313. Mike David is sixth at 1,298, followed by Ash at 1,262, Gaylord at 1,239, Pursley at 1,234 and Brett Thompson at 1,174.
Pursley edged closer to David, meanwhile, in the chase for the Stage 8 Locking Fastener Rookie-of-the-Year Award. David leads with 82 over Pursley with 78 and Thompson with 74.