BMR Prepares For Return Of K&N West To Irwindale Speedway

19 Mar 2014
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This year’s return of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West to Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway has been circled on the calendar at Bill McAnally Racing since the 2014 schedule was announced.

The state-of-the-art track east of Los Angeles was a traditional stop on the circuit from the time it opened in 1999 until its temporary closure, which came at the end of the 2011 season.

BMR had once dominated series competition at the half-mile track. The Northern California-based team hopes to recapture their past performance when the series returns there for the NAPA 150 on Saturday. The highly-anticipated event is slated to be televised on FOX Sports 1 on April 4 at noon ET.

Brandon McReynolds, in his first full season with BMR, is behind the wheel of the familiar blue and yellow No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota. In addition, the team will have a second entry at Irwindale, with Patrick Staropoli in the No. 99 PEAK Toyota.

McReynolds hopes to add his name to the list of drivers who have delivered car owner Bill McAnally with an Irwindale victory.

“We are looking forward to the series returning to Irwindale,” said the 22-year-old driver from Mooresville, N.C. “I’ve heard so many great things about the track and the fans. Hopefully, we can get BMR another win there.”

BMR won eight of 11 series races at Irwindale Speedway between 2001 and 2007, with four different drivers visiting Victory Lane – Brendan Gaughan, Austin Cameron, Steve Portenga and Brian Ickler. In addition to those eight victories, Cameron won the inaugural NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown there in 2003.

Gaughan, a current NASCAR Nationwide Series driver who swept all three K&N West races at Irwindale in 2001 en route to winning his second of two consecutive series championships with BMR, is scheduled to attend Saturday’s race – along with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Clint Bowyer, who drove for BMR in 2004. They are to be joined by NAPA-sponsored driver Chase Elliott, who is competing in his rookie season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series this season.

Gaughan is also set to join current BMR drivers at Irwindale Speedway on Friday night to treat a group of NAPA store owners and shop owners to a special ride around the speedway. The NAPA ride-along car that will be used is the same car in which Gaughan dominated the competition there more than a decade ago.

In an additional event leading up to the race, BMR drivers will be a part of a contingent of Toyota drivers set to visit the Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. headquarters in Torrance, Calif., on Thursday to celebrate Toyota Motorsports Day with the company’s employees.

Saturday’s NAPA 150 at Irwindale is the second race of 14 events on this year’s K&N West schedule.

McReynolds was poised for a runner-up finish in the season opener at Phoenix last month, but was caught up in an incident when a lapped car blew a tire in the closing laps. He faded to eighth at the finish. Just prior to Phoenix, McReynolds had netted a third-place finish in NASCAR K&N Pro Series East competition on the short track at Daytona International Speedway at Daytona Beach, Fla.

Staropoli, who raced in two K&N West events for BMR last season, is competing in select events for the team again this season. The 24-year-old Plantation, Fla., driver opened his 2014 campaign for BMR with three K&N East races – finishing 11th at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway, eighth on the short-track at Daytona and sixth at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.


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Steven B. Wilson

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