Competing on a tight budget, Wes Banks had initially considered skipping the race in Colorado. But with a shot at moving into the top 10 of the championship standings, he has opted to make the trip.
Courtesy: NASCAR Media Relations
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Although he prefers racing on the road courses, Wes Banks (No. 3 Valvoline Ford) has excelled in short-track events this year in NASCAR Camping World Series West competition. His best finishes have come on tracks of a half-mile or less in length.
“Short tracks have been good to us,” said the 48-year-old driver from Oakdale, Calif. “Road courses are what I like, but short tracks have been my best so far this year.”
He hopes that trend continues as the NASCAR Camping World Series West heads to Colorado this week for the Toyota/NAPA 150 at Colorado National Speedway on Saturday, Aug. 15. It will be the 11th event of a 13-race series schedule this season.
Although he has never been to the .375-mile paved oval just north of Denver, Banks is optimistic of getting a good finish there. “I’m looking forward to Denver,” he said. “The short tracks have been appealing to me this year.”
Competing on a tight budget, Banks had initially considered skipping the race in Colorado. But with a shot at moving into the top 10 of the championship standings, he has opted to make the trip.
“We’re only a few points out of 10th,” he said. “We decided we’re going to go to Denver and let it all hang out. We’re going to go for broke and see what happens.”
Banks has run nine of the 10 races so far this year – missing one event because of a personal commitment.
“We missed one and that hurt, but I didn’t have a choice on that,” he said. “I wish we’d hit them all. We would have been a little better off in points. We’re hoping to pull out of the year with a top 10. We’re not a top-five team, but we can run in the top 10.”
Like many California competitors, Banks began his racing career in off-road competition – where he developed his touch for car control.
“We were out there running 140 miles an hour across the desert,” he recalled. “Car control is pretty tight. You make one little mistake and you can get hurt real quick.”
Banks made the transition to stock cars – competing initially in weekly competition on a paved half-mile track near Tracy, Calif., and then in the former NASCAR Southwest Tour.
“When I left the off-road racing, we started racing modifieds at Altamont,” he said. “We caught on to that fairly easy. We were pretty successful toward the end of that.”
After racing select events in the former NASCAR Southwest Tour, Banks made the move to the NASCAR Camping World Series West – competing in four races in 2007 and eight last year.
“These stock cars are tough to handle, because they are so precise,” Banks said of the NASCAR Camping World Series cars. “You look at the qualifying times. A tenth of a second is a big deal, especially on a short track. These are a lot more finesse.”
Nonetheless, Banks says he enjoys the challenge. “Actually, I feel pretty comfortable in these,” he said. “I just wish we had better finishes to prove for it, though.”