BAKERSFIELD, California -- David Gilliland of Riverside, Calif. inherited the lead when then leader Craig Raudman and current point leader Jim Pettit II tangled with three laps to go and held on to score the victory at Mesa Marin Raceway. The victory was Gilliland's second of the season in NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series competition and eighth of his career. 2001 series champion Eddy McKean crossed the line in second with long-time series regular M.K. Kanke scoring finishing third to score his second top five finish of the season. Dan Holtz and Eric Schmidt rounded out the top five finishers in the For Motorcraft Parts sponsored event.
Kanke topped the speed charts in qualifying to collect his 28th career Bud Pole Award. Jim Pettit II, Holtz, Gilliland, and Rip Michels rounded out the top five qualifiers. Travis Bennett, Stan Silva Jr., Todd Burns, and Dustin Jones transferred into the 150-lap event from the 10-lap non-qualifiers race. Kevin Para, Eddie Bryans, and Scott Calvin failed to qualify.
The race went seventeen extra laps due to two late race cautions setting up a green, white, and checkered finish. It was the fourth such finish of the season.
With only two races left to go in the 14-race championship series Pettit extended his championship point lead to 39 markers over Craig Raudman with a sixth place finish, while Raudman crossed the line in 14th. Burney Lamar maintains the third position, while second place finisher McKean moves into fourth and Eric Holmes drops to fifth.
The race took one hour, 10 minutes, and 58 seconds to complete at an average speed of 70.596 mph. There were five caution periods for 34 laps, with 25 cars running at the conclusion of the event. Travis Bennett collected the PowerAde Award for improving the most positions in the event (14), with Gilliland winning the Featherlite Award. Michels was the top finishing rookie.
The next event for the Southwest Series is Sunday, October 24 in Tucson, Arizona. The Tucson race was originally scheduled for September 18 but inclement weather forced the race to be rescheduled.