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Press Snoop: Dyer beats Cup drivers

26 June 2005

The latest news from around the world courtesy of Press Snoop Lynne Huntting...

Press Snoop: Dyer from back to front.

TOM DYER came from zero to hero to win the Blue Lizzard Australian Sunscreen 200 NASCAR Autozone Elite Division Southwest Series race on Saturday afternoon at Infineon Raceway.

His margin of victory over runner-up, pole sitter ERIC HOMES, was 0.449 seconds. Both cars belong to Holmes, and Dyer's car was the one Holmes raced the past three years. After the race, Holmes said 'If he wants to use the car next year, the price just went up'.

Third through fifth finishers were former Southwest Series champion BRYAN GERMONE - in his only appearance this season - KENNY SHEPHERD and CHRIS COOK - the top finishing Nextel Cup driver. Cook won the $750 PowerAde Award for the most positions improved - 25.

It was just the third Southwest race for the young Dyer, who is an instructor in the Jim Russell School at Infineon. He comes from a racing background. His father, BUZZ DYER, was a SCCA driver, both in club racing and in Trans-Am.

Dyer qualified seventh in the 42-car field, but had to pit on the pace lap for an over inflated tire and no radio communication with his crew. This was all after scrambling to get a pit crew together Saturday morning.

"I just tried to remain calm and hope for the best," he said, "The race kind of came to me. I am thrilled to win the Southwest Series.

"I thought starting next to BORIS SAID would make it easy for me. He'd be the snowplough and I'd just follow him. But it didn't work out that way."

Said, racing one of his scheduled ten NASCAR Nextel Cup races this season, moved up quickly after his eight-place start and was running fourth when he had a tangle on the front straight with GREG PURSLEY. Said retired on Lap 14 from the damage. Pursley continued and finished eighteenth on the lead lap.

"I don't really know what happened," Said said afterwards, "We were taking it easy. I don't know if it was the #62 or the #70, but we came out of turn 11, I shifted to third gear and something either broke on his car or he hit the brakes or missed a gear. But I just ran right into the back of him. I've had a lot of bad luck this tour race. We'll keep coming back and win some day."

Pursley told a different story.

"Boris was on my inside," he reported, "He bumped my left rear and got me turned sideways and kept his foot in it trying to drive through me."

The Nextel Cup drivers finishers - Cook (fifth), KYLE BUSCH (ninth), TRAVIS KVAPIL (twelfth) and DAVE BLANEY (thirty-second, after retiring with transmission problems). MICHAEL WALTRIP was unhurt, but withdrew from the race Friday after crashing in the last Friday practice. His State Fair Corn Dogs sponsorship was moved to polesitter Holmes' car for the race.

There were six cautions for 19 laps in the 64-lap race, and for awhile it appeared that the pace car would lead the most laps. There were three leaders and two lead changes. Pole sitter Holmes never led a lap after second-place starter Lamar got the jump on him and led for the first 20 laps. DAVE GILLILAND led the next 15 laps. While leading, Gilliland pitted for fuel and tires and Dyer took the lead. Gilliland's team-mate for the weekend was Kyle Busch.

DUSTIN JONES was the top placing Sunoco rookie, with a nineteenth place finish. He is second in the rookie standings, one point behind DON CAMPBELL, who finished twentieth.

JIM PETTIT II finished fifteenth after starting nineteenth, but he leads the standings with 1092 points. BURNEY LAMAR second, finished sixth and is second in the points, with 1050. Dyer is not in overall contention as this is his first race this season.

The Southwest Series next races on 16 July at Stockton 99 Speedway in California.