WELCOME, North Carolina -- Kerry Earnhardt came up just short of capturing his first NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series victory Saturday at Colorado National Speedway after finishing fourth in the NAPA 150 at the 3/8-mile Erie, Colo., oval.
The Kannapolis, N.C., driver qualified his Bill McNally-owned No. 18 Napa Auto Care Chevrolet fourth in the 19-car field and led 91 circuits of the 150-lap event. Earnhardt scrubbed the wall on lap 108, but came back from deep in the field to snag his second top-five and fifth top-10 in six NASCAR West Series events this season.
Earnhardt’s BMR teammate Austin Cameron started the event on the outside pole and finished runner-up to winner Mike Duncan.
Earnhardt, 34, has made four NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series starts for Richard Childress Racing (RCR) this season with a best finish of 24th coming two weeks ago at Talladega in the No. 33 Bass Pro Shops Chevy. Earnhardt also made one NASCAR Busch Series start for RCR this season where he wheeled the No. 29 ESGR entry to a 23rd-place finish last month at Dover.
Next up for Kerry Earnhardt in the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series will be a trip to Mesa Marin Raceway in Bakersfield, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 17 for the October Classic 150. Earnhardt will return to NASCAR NEXTEL Cup competition Sunday, Oct. 31 for the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The event will be broadcast live on NBC, PRN and XM Satellite Radio.
“Man did we have a fast race car. I took the lead early and after about three laps I looked in my mirror and the second-place car was half a straightaway behind me. A couple laps later I looked in my mirror again and there was no one back there. We should have won the race, but I got up into the loose stuff on the top of the track and hit the wall. It bent the rear-end housing and the truck arm, but the car still absolutely flew. I made my way all the way back to fourth and was getting reading to pass the guys running second and third and the caution came out and froze the field. I hate it for all the guys on the crew. They gave me an incredible car. I can’t wait to go to Mesa Marin this weekend.”