Irwindale -- An action-packed day of stock car racing is slated for Irwindale Speedway as the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West kicks off its season with the Toyota / NAPA AUTO PARTS 150 on Saturday, March 19, 2016. Chase Elliott, who drives the NAPA AUTO PARTS entry in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, will be a special guest at the event, which in addition to the K&N West, will also feature the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series and the Spec Late Model Series in action.
Fans are encouraged to arrive early, as Elliott and other drivers making a special appearance at the track are to participate in an autograph session on the front stretch of the speedway, slated to begin at 5:30 p.m. He is also scheduled for a visit with NAPA VIP guests at the event. Elliott, the son of NASCAR Champion Bill Elliott, is in his rookie season in the Sprint Cup Series after replacing Jeff Gordon in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 entry.
Another exciting season of racing is anticipated this year in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, with a blend of veteran drivers being challenged by talented young newcomers, according to racing officials. It should make for an exciting event at Irwindale with drivers trying to get a jump on their competition as the West's oldest stock car circuit launches its 63rd season, said a spokesperson.
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series and the Spec Late Model Series will each compete in 50-lap races. Both divisions are known for their tight door-to-door competition. Many of the region's top drivers will be in action, with such a big day of racing planned.
Irwindale Speedway has hosted 23 K&N West events and eight NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown events since it opened in 1999. Many of the competitors who went to Victory Lane in NASCAR K&N Pro Series action at Irwindale are slated to participate in the festivities as part of this event, as well as drivers who compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series.
Two-time K&N West champion Brendan Gaughan, who races in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, heads the list of past winners who plan to be at Irwindale Speedway and participate in the driver autograph session. Gaughan swept three K&N West races at the speedway in 2001, while on his way to winning the second of his back-to-back titles on the circuit.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series veteran David Gilliland, whose 15-year-old son, Todd, will be competing in his rookie season in the series, will also be part of the activities at Irwindale. Gilliland, from nearby Riverside, won the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale in 2005.
The festivities will also feature Austin Cameron, the all-time winningest K&N West driver at Irwindale. In addition to his five K&N West victories, Cameron also won the inaugural NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale in 2003.
Other winners in K&N West competition at Irwindale Speedway who are scheduled to attend include Steve Portenga, whose two wins included the inaugural series visit to Irwindale; and defending series champion Chris Eggleston, who won last year's series race at Irwindale Speedway.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers David Ragan and Matt DiBenedetto are among those who compete at the national level in NASCAR who plan to participate in the festivities at Irwindale Speedway.
Kyrsti Jewell, a contestant this season on American Idol, will sing the national anthem on Saturday night at Irwindale Speedway prior to the start of the Toyota / NAPA AUTO PARTS 150.
Fans attending the event will also get a chance to see some cars on display, with the Whitewalls & Hot-Rods car club putting on a show 'n' shine near the entrance to the speedway.
Gates will open at 4 p.m. on Saturday and qualifying gets underway at 5 p.m., autograph session at 5:30 p.m., and racing is set to begin at 6 p.m. Ticket information is available at BMRnapa.com or by calling 916-676-0010 ext 1103.