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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Dec. 18, 2007) -- As we prepare to ring out 2007, Mike David does so with mixed emotions. The NASCAR Camping World Series West veteran driver is savoring his first series championship, while also looking ahead at the challenge of defending his title.
"It's an honor to be the champion of the West series," David said. "It was a goal of the whole team and we look forward to representing the series as the champion."
Looking ahead to 2008, meanwhile, David says he is already feeling the pressure as the defending champion. It's the first time he finds himself starting the season as the driver everyone is chasing. "It almost seems like more pressure than there was in 2007 to try to defend our championship," David said. "We're already working on our cars and working hard to improve our program."
David closed out his 2007 season by clinching the series title by 114 points in the season finale in September. A month later the 40-year-old driver from Modesto, Calif., raced to a 14th-place finish in the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown. One night later he was crowned as the series champion during a special awards ceremony in Pasadena, Calif. But the honors did not stop there. David and his wife, Christie, traveled to New York earlier this month to take part in the elegant festivities of NASCAR's Champions Week.
"That was incredible," David said of his trip to the Big Apple. "NASCAR took very, very good care of us. It was red carpet treatment all the way. I loved all the old architecture we saw while walking around there and the banquet was a fantastic experience. One of the greatest things was getting a police escort on the way to the champions photo shoot at the Brooklyn Bridge. That was a cool experience."
Now it's time to get back to work, however. In each of his six full seasons of competing in the series, David has advanced higher in the championship standings each year. He finished seventh in 2002, sixth in 2004, fifth in 2005 and second in 2006. Now he is faced with the challenge of successfully defending his championship.
"We're going to have some good competition. It's not going to be easy," David said. "Our team's working hard to make sure we have all our cars prepared. We've already sent our engines to be freshened up and one car is getting a new body. Hopefully by the time Roseville rolls around we hope to have everything in place for the 2008 season."
The NASCAR Camping World Series West will kick off a 13-race schedule for 2008 at All American Speedway in Roseville, Calif., on March 29. The broadcast schedule for the series on HDNet and SPEED is to be announced in the near future.