Keeping Pace

Pursley Hopes To Return To Victory Lane In NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown

Greg Pursley, driver of the No. 26 Star Nursery Chevrolet on the Camping World West Series. (Photo courtesy of NASCAR) (Robert Laberge / The Spokesman-Review)
Greg Pursley, driver of the No. 26 Star Nursery Chevrolet on the Camping World West Series. (Photo courtesy of NASCAR) (Robert Laberge / The Spokesman-Review)

The seventh running of the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown, which attracts the top drivers from across the country to what has become the pinnacle of short-track racing in America, is slated for Jan. 29-30 at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale (Calif.). It’s a track where Greg Pursley was based for many years.

Courtesy: NASCAR Media Relations

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Greg Pursley has tasted success in the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown. In 2007, the first year that a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Super Late Model race was added as part of the big postseason event, Purlsey won in a dramatic finish.

Now the veteran West Coast driver is taking aim at winning the Camping World Series race, which highlights the prestigious event.

The seventh running of the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown, which attracts the top drivers from across the country to what has become the pinnacle of short-track racing in America, is slated for Jan. 29-30 at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale (Calif.). It’s a track where Pursley was based for many years.

“To me, Irwindale is home,” said Pursley, who won the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national championship in 2004 while competing in the Super Late Model division at Toyota Speedway. “I started racing when the track opened. It’s probably my favorite place to race, because we ran there so much. And I ran the driving school there.”

Pursley is excited about his chances of a win in the NASCAR Camping World Series at the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown, to go with the Super Late Model win he scored there in the all-star event a couple of years ago. Boosting his optimism is the addition of championship crew chief Jerry Pitts.

“We’re really looking forward to going,” Pursley said. “I can’t wait to go. I think we’re going to be sitting pretty good.”

After racing full-time in the NASCAR Camping World Series West in 2002, Pursley focused most of his attention on his efforts at the Irwindale track until making a successful return to the series this past season. Joining with car owner Gene Price and his new team, he won the season opener at Thunderhill Raceway in Kyle, Texas, and was within range of the title throughout the year. Looking back, Pursley admitted to being surprised by the early win and their success as a first-year team.

“I was really happy with the way we came out this season,” said the 41-year-old driver, who hails from Newhall, Calif., but moved this year to Parker, Ariz., where the team is based. “We didn’t plan on doing that well right out of the box. Between me and Gene we were ecstatic on how we did this year. Finishing third for a first-year team is kind of unheard of. So, we’re really happy with that and we’re real excited about this coming year. I think we can put up a good fight for the championship.”

Pursley, with his win in Texas, is among a contingent of drivers who are assured of a starting position in the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown, which drivers have called their ‘Daytona 500 of short-track racing. Each race winner during the 2009 Camping World Series season is eligible for a protected starting spot, as are the 2009 champions from each of NASCAR’s six regional touring series and the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion.

In addition to eligible 2009 race winners and series champions, the starting lineup will be determined through time trials, limited provisionals for Camping World Series regulars, and the last-chance "Open" race that provides drivers one final chance to make the grid.

The 2010 NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown schedule also includes 100-lap Whelen All-American Series Super Late Model and 75-lap Late Model races. Both nights of racing will air live on SPEED.




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Keeping Pace

Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.






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