BAKERSFIELD, California -- For Burney Lamar, currently third in the point standings, it's getting down to the nitty-gritty in the run for the championship in the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division - Southwest Series. Three races are left: this Saturday at Mesa Marin (CA) Speedway, Tucson Raceway Park (AR) on the 24th, and the season finale at Phoenix International Raceway on November 4th.
So far this season, Lamar has put the #4 Groeniger/HPS/Tri-C/Victory Circle Chassis Chevrolet Monte Carlo in the victory column once, in the top five six times, in the top ten eight times, and has three Bud poles in the seasons first eleven races.
At two of the upcoming tracks, the W. Sacramento driver has done very well. In two events at Tucson, he has qualified in the top five both times and finished in the top ten both times. PIR has been good to the 24 year old college graduate having sat on the pole twice and finishing in the top ten in half of his appearances.
Mesa Marin on the other hand has not been as kind. Although he has qualified in the top ten six times, including a pole, he has only finished in the top ten three times.
In Saturdays "Ford Motorcraft 150", Burney and his crew fully intend to turn things around. Says the youngster, "We did some testing at Mesa a few days ago, and we were up with the fast guys. My crew chief, Mark Lundgren, has good notes from running there a lot. The engine is strong, and the car handles really well. My whole team is pumped up and so am I. We've still got a good shot at the championship and this race is really important".
Burney also has other reasons for doing well this weekend. His prime sponsor, Groeniger and Company, one of California's largest waste water, fire protection, irrigation and water works companies, and a prime promoter of auto racing over the past several years, will have a large contingent of fans in attendance. Also on Saturday, Les and Sue DenHerder's HPS Mechanical company, a major residential and commercial plumbing contractor, and which is headquartered in Bakersfield, have invited many of their employees and fans to the race.
Saturday is a big day for Lamar. "I know luck plays a big part in racing, but we're ready, the car is ready, and if she'll smile on us just a little bit, we'll be there. Man, it's time to go for the gold."