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Drive For Diversity Program

Drive For Diversity Program News
Twice As Nice: Harraka Sweeps To All American Speedway Title
Sep 9, 2008 - updated Sep 9th, 2008 10:38pm
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Roseville, Calif. --

Wins Final Twin Features To Claim Late Model Crown Becomes First Drive For Diversity Driver To Win Track Championship

Paulie Harraka finished the season at All American Speeday with a flourish. The 18-year-old drove the No. 16 Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse Toyota to wins in both ends of the twin 50-lap features Saturday night and rallied to capture the track’s Late Model division championship.

The wins gave Harraka 11 for the year and resulted in the first track title for a driver in NASCAR’s Drive For Diversity program.

“I’m really proud to bring it home for Bill McAnally Racing and Drive For Diversity,” Harraka said. “NASCAR has a fantastic ladder program, and this is definitely a boost to get to the NASCAR Camping World Series, and hopefully eventually to the Craftsman Truck, Nationwide Series or Sprint Cup Series.

“To win a NASCAR championship is big. I’ve won a lot of championships, but to get a trophy that says NASCAR on it is just awesome.”

Harraka entered the weekend trailing John Moore by 16 points. Drivers receive two points per position, with a maximum 50 for first, plus an additional five bonus points for wins. Last year, Harraka finished second to Eric Schmidt in his first year running Late Models at All American.

Saturday, Harraka qualified seventh for the first feature, while Moore qualified second. But Harraka was able to work his way to the front just past the halfway point.

“We were the class of the field,” Harraka said of the first feature, where he outran runner-up Bobby Grewahl in the closing laps.

With Moore finishing third, Harraka closed the gap to seven points – meaning a win in the second feature would earn Harraka the title by tiebreaker by virtue of more wins (11-3).

Harraka drew the fifth starting spot on the invert, quickly moved to second, and tracked down fellow Drive For Diversity driver Kristin Bumbera. Harraka made the pass for the lead, but a caution with 11 to go and then another with five to go, had Harraka and Moore side-by-side in the front row for both restarts. Each time, Harraka moved to the lead.

“It was absolutely awesome,” Harraka said. “Everybody really deserved it. Everybody worked their tails off through the entire year.”

Bumbera, who was fifth in the first feature, finished fourth in the second race.

Harraka returned to North Carolina Sunday, where he is attending Duke University. He plans to compete in the final two NASCAR Camping World Series West races – at Altamont Motorsports Park in Tracy, Calif. Saturday, Sept. 13 and at All American Saturday, Oct. 25.


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