Winston West Series closes season in Asia

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The Independent Online

Sean Woodside enters the first NASCAR Winston West Series championship race ever held outside the United States with a comfortable lead of 109 points over Austin Cameron.

Sean Woodside enters the first NASCAR Winston West Series championship race ever held outside the United States with a comfortable lead of 109 points over Austin Cameron.

And Woodside's NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet team says it has prepared well for the season finale on Saturday at the $380 million oval Twin Ring Motegi in Japan, owned by Honda Motors.

"Preparation is key in this race, and will give the team a little extra confidence," team owner Bill McAnally, a former racer in the series, said on Wednesday. "We've gone over everything that we could possibly need."

In a close points battle over the 13 races so far this season, the 10 drivers in the second through 11th positions are separated by only 111 points. Six of those drivers are within 10 points of gaining a spot.

In fact, each position through the top 15 could change in the dlrs 635,614 Coca-Cola 500 race of 201 laps, or 311 miles (500.5 kilometers), at the 1.549-mile (2.5 kilometer) speedway.

The winner gains 175 points and the runner-up 169 points.

"A win would be great, but we will definitely be focused on the championship," said Woodside, who finished second in the last two seasons in the NASCAR Winston West championship. "If we race to win, the points will fall into place."

McAnally Racing took part in last year's exhibition race at Motegi, and ran competitively against a field of NASCAR Winston West, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and NASCAR Winston Cup Series teams. Mike Skinner won.

NASCAR exhibition races were also held on the road course at Suzuka Circuitland near Nagoya in 1996 and 1997. Skinner was victorious in 1997 and Rusty Wallace won the 1996 event.

Motegi, nestled in the hilly countryside about 120 kilometers (75 miles) northeast of Tokyo, is also a racing site for CART's Indy-car PPG Cup World Series.

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