EGGLESTON IN FOR TWO WEEK ADVENTUREadmin
This will be the second time that Eggleston has attempted the Chilly Willy, and “Showdown” events, in consecutive weekends. In 2018, Eggleston won the Chilly Willy 150, but finished a disappointing 29th in the Winter Showdown at Kern County Raceway. The operation is made more challenging by the differences in the venues, rules, and distance to home, for the winner of “The Race”, a $75,000-to-win event for the PASS South Series at North Wilkesboro Speedway in 2011. But Chris is thankful for the help he will receive, from a fellow NASCAR West Series competitor, to help make the “double” possible.
“We have attempted the two-weekend effort once before, where we won the Chilly Willy the week before, and hope to repeat this year”, Eggleston told the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series. “I have to give special thanks to Matt Levin, in Tucson AZ, for letting us use his shop. We will service the car over there, for a couple days, before heading over to California. It is a little bit of work, as the two races require 125 pounds difference in total car weights, which significantly changes load numbers and overall setup. However, we will rely on some good notes to get our car swapped over to be competitive in Irwindale.”
Irwindale Speedway is one of Eggleston’s favorite tracks. The two-time winner of the Colorado Challenge Cup, at Colorado National Speedway, has seen his fair share of success at Irwindale. In the “West” Series he has four starts, scoring a win, two seconds and a third-place result. In July of 2019, he made the trip Irwindale to compete with the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series. Eggleston brought the car home eighth in that event, in his first time racing a Super Late Model at the facility. The experience gave the 30-year-old driver a good starting point for the “All-Star Showdown”, and an idea of his expectations for the “Showdown” weekend.
“Having been at Irwindale once last year, I believe we have a little better baseline to unload with, and not spend so much time chasing balance”, Eggleston stated. “The SRL series has some serious racers. A good realistic goal would be to run in the top-five, and maybe with a with a little luck, sneak out a win.”
The personable Colorado racer is one of several drivers entered in the event, who have experience in both the SRL Super Late Models, and with the heavier NASCAR “West” Series cars. Both types of cars present their own set of challenges at the facility, and the fast way around the track may be different for both, as Eggleston notes.
“In the “West” Series I had a lot of fun at Irwindale”, Eggleston recalled. To go fast, you had to run it up against the fence and make slide jobs stick to pass. However, with the Super Late Models, the cars are much lighter and turn a lot better, making the bottom almost the preferred groove versus the top. I think it will also depend a lot on how they prep the track, with sticky stuff on the bottom, or leave it alone.”
The 200-lap event is not something new to the nine-time NASCAR “West” Series winner. Eggleston has competed in a plethora of longer events, including his starts in the NASCAR Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series and events such as the Summer Showdown at Evergreen Speedway, where he finished fourth in 2018. But he senses the format, with a half-time break, will feel more like a typical 100-lap event, in terms of race management. It is something the 2009 ASA Late Model North Division Champion is comfortable with in his racing career, and will use to set his strategy on race day.
“I feel like I have a pretty good head on my shoulders, when it comes to longer races”, Eggleston explained. “However, the 200-lap race shouldn’t really race much different than a 100-lap race, since we are taking tires at the break. I feel like the best way to manage tires is to race close to the front, and not in a large pack. Hopefully we have a solid qualifying effort, to make that strategy a little easier
With the vast amount of success that Chris has experienced over his racing career, he has always had help in achieving those triumphs. The consecutive weekends of racing in the west, will also require a large effort, from those who support his endeavors. Eggleston is appreciative for those efforts, and is pleased to be able to thank them.
“This two-weekend adventure is kind of our one-time hurrah for the year”, Eggleston began. “I would like to thank George Green and my dad for the help in the shop, prepping for these two weeks. I’d also like to thank my great sponsors for making this possible; Core & Main Fire Protection, BlazeMaster Pipe & Fittings, and H2O Fire Protection Inc..”
The resumption of the All-Star Showdown, after a nine-year hiatus, will take place on February 1st. It will pay $25,000 to the winner of the 200-lap Feature Event, thanks to Sunrise Ford’s, Bob Bruncati and Ken Clapp from the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame. Over $75,000 will be paid out to the 36 starters, plus additional cash bonuses for the drivers eligible for the Spears Manufacturing Frequent Flyer Program. If needed, the Last Chance Qualifying race will pay $1,000 to those on the SPEARS Frequent Flyer Program, who do not make the Feature Event.
The SPEARS Southwest Tour Series Super Late Models will be joined by the Spears Modified Series, as well as the Pro Late Models for a huge weekend at the speedway. The Pro Late Models will race for a $10,000 payday.
Celebrating its twentieth season in 2020, the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series is a regional stock car series competing on paved ovals in the southwestern portion of the U.S. “The SPEARS Southwest Tour Series…Where the Champions Race”.