PHOENIX, Arizona Scott Lynch repeated his performance of a year ago at Phoenix International Raceway, winning the Subway 150 on Sunday. A year ago the defending champion in the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series led the final 47 laps en route to victory. This time he paced the field to the finish for the final 48 circuits.
In addition to capturing back-to-back wins in the Phoenix event, Lynch scored his second consecutive victory this season and established momentum as the series begins a string of four consecutive races to close out the 2004 campaign.
"People don't realize what it takes to be a team," Lynch said. "This is not an individual sport. This team has really come a long way. We' re starting to bond right now, just like last year, and things are clicking. That's what it takes to win championships and win races. We're up for a few more races right in a row."
Lynch inherited the lead on lap 20, when Mike Duncan slowed with mechanical trouble. Duncan, who led the championship standings coming into the event, had won his sixth Bud Pole of the season in qualifying with a lap of 126.801 mph in the Lucas Oil/Ron's Rear Ends Chevrolet. Duncan's hopes of extending his string of 20 consecutive top-10 finishes faded, however, as he slowed and headed to the pits with a broken exhaust header. He later returned to the track more than 25 laps off the pace, to finish 19th.
That opened the door for Lynch and Johnny Borneman, who had both been pursuing Duncan. The pair swapped the top spot back and forth as they circled the one-mile, D-shaped PIR oval. Brett Thompson gained the point after pit stops by the leaders during a caution on lap 94, but Lynch was back out front shortly after the restart. This time, however, he found series veteran Scott Gaylord filling up his mirrors. Borneman shadowed them, but was not able to mount a serious challenge in the closing laps.
Lynch held on to win by .440 of a second, at an average speed of 101.964 mph in the Yerf-Dog/Orleans Racing Dodge. The victory, the sixth of his career, netted the 24-year-old Burley, Idaho, driver $9,744. "I was doing anything and everything to try to keep him behind me," Lynch said of Gaylord. "His car came on strong at the end. We misadjusted on that pit stop, but we were able to keep it out front and that's what counts."
Gaylord's runner-up finish in the Oliver Gravity Separators/Denver Seminary Chevrolet matched a career-best mark for the Lakewood, Colo., driver. Borneman of Ramona, Calif., finished third in the Borneman Plastering/Red Line Oil Ford. Thompson of Jerome, Idaho, held on for fourth in the Rich Thompson Trucking Chevrolet - followed by series rookie David Gilliland of Riverside, Calif., in the RaceCarFans.com Chevrolet. Rounding out the top 10 were Mike David, Austin Cameron, Daryl Harr, Tim Woods III and Carl Harr.
The race featured five lead changes among four drivers - Lynch, Borneman, Thompson and Duncan. The pace of the event was slowed by just three cautions for 16 laps.
Duncan saw his lead in the championship standings shrink to just 48 points over Cameron - 1,607 to 1,559. Gaylord moved to third with 1,503 points, followed by Gilliland with 1,486 points and David with 1,483 points. Rounding out the top 10 are Lynch at 1,456, Daryl Harr at 1,320, Carl Harr at 1,265, Tim Woods at 1,242 and Jose Luis Ramirez at 1,183.
Gilliland, meanwhile, continues to lead in the chase for the Auto Meter Rookie of the Year Award. He tops the list with 93 points, followed by Daryl Harr with 80; Carl Harr with 77; Nick DeFazio with 69; Jose Luis Ramirez with 67; Tavo C.T. Hellmund with 32; Brian Richardson with 15; Alfredo Tame with 8 and Takuma Koga with 2.
The next event on the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series schedule will be the NAPA 150 at Colorado National Speedway near Denver on Oct. 9.