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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – NASCAR announced today that the 2011 NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown, the sport’s premier short-track racing showcase will return to the Toyota Speedway at Irwindale (Calif.) on Jan. 28-29.
The eighth running of the event, which brings together the top racers from across North America and has grown into the ”Daytona 500 of short-track racing,” will be highlighted by the 225-lap NASCAR K&N Pro Series all-star race.
“The NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown is the premier event of our short-track calendar,” said George Silbermann, NASCAR managing director of racing operations. “From Austin Cameron’s emotional win in the very first event to last year’s dramatic debut of Sergio Pena, each successive race has continued to build the prestige of the Showdown. This all-star weekend shines the spotlight on our champions and the sport’s rising stars.”
The NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown main event is broken up into three sections – two 100-lap segments preceding a 25-lap dash to the finish. Last year, Joe Gibbs Racing driver Joey Logano became just the second driver to win two Showdowns when he held off a furious challenge over the closing laps from the 17-year-old Pena, who was making his series debut for Revolution Racing/Drive for Diversity.
The race features secured starting spots for the 2010 champions of NASCAR’s developmental series and race winners of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series from the 2010 season. Eighteen-year-old Ryan Truex leads the field of drivers who have already earned spots, having recently wrapped up his second straight NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship.
Other drivers who have secured starting spots include NASCAR K&N Pro Series race winners Ty Dillon, Max Gresham, Paulie Harraka, Erik Holmes, Patrick Long, David Mayhew, Brett Moffitt, Andrew Ranger, Greg Pursley, Auggie Vidovich, and Darrell Wallace Jr., in addition to NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion Keith Rocco and NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 champion DJ Kennington.
The schedule also includes a 75-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Super Late Model race and a 50-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model race. The top five NASCACR state champions in attendance will have secured starting spots in the Late Model race. New to this year, the 25-car fields for each of those races will be set by a pair of heat races – 25 laps for the the Super Late Models and 20 laps for the Late Models.
Both nights of racing will air live on SPEED as part of full weekend of racing on SPEED that includes the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series’ Rolex 24 at Daytona.
“Year in and year out, the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown has provided some of the best racing action of the season,” said Bob DeFazio, Toyota Speedway at Irwindale track operator. “Last year’s sell-out crowd at the Toyota Speedway at Irwindale witnessed a race they will be talking about for years, and we are honored to once again host the pinnacle of short-track racing in NASCAR. Toyota Speedway’s graduated banking and multiple racing grooves are a perfect place to showcase this tremendous pool of talent in NASCAR. This event is a perfect way to give race fans a final send-off to the 2010 racing season and whet their appetite for more exciting racing in 2011.”
The NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown main event – contested in NASCAR K&N Pro Series cars – is open to any driver approved to drive on a half-mile or longer tracks in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series.
Current national series drivers such as Logano, Ricky Carmichael, Brian Ickler, Trevor Bayne, Matt Crafton, Ron Hornaday Jr. and Justin Lofton have competed in the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown. In addition, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. have launched their careers in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. The series is the top developmental step for drivers looking to make the jump to one of NASCAR's national series.