Daytona Beach, FL — To say Ricky Carmichael is a pretty big deal in Southern California may be an understatement. The man whose success earned him the title of ‘Greatest of All-Time’ in the motocross world had a great deal of his success on the West Coast.
When the 29-year-old Clearwater, Fla., native heads back to the Los Angeles area next weekend, though, it will be in a stock car. And he’s looking forward to treating his longtime fans to a glimpse of a new career at the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown.
“I’m pumped to be racing for my fans out there,” Carmichael said. “Southern California has been good to me. It’s a great market for supercross and it’s been great for me as well.
“I’m pumped for the fans in California to see what I’ve been doing – racing in the NASCAR Camping World Series – it’s a great series.”
The NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown will feature two days of exciting action Jan. 23-24 among some of the top drivers in NASCAR Camping World Series and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action. The competition will air live on SPEED beginning at 7 p.m. PT both nights.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” Carmichael said. “It will be nice to go out and race before we get geared up for this season’s racing. It will take some time to get the cobwebs off, but for the race, I think I’ll be good.”
Carmichael, who is close to announcing his 2009 plans, recently got the green light to run in the race from Ken Schrader Racing, which will bring three cars to the postseason showcase at the Toyota Speedway at Irwindale.
Carmichael will be reunited with Schrader, for whom he ran in the NASCAR Camping World Series East in 2007. He’ll be joined in Irwindale by teammates Jamie Hayes and Dakoda Armstrong. Hayes has run the past two seasons in the NASCAR Camping World Series East, while Armstrong is making the transition from the USAC Midget Series.
In just his first full season in a NASCAR touring series, Carmichael showed the ability to quickly acclimate himself to his new pursuit.
He won the Coors Light Pole Award at South Boston (Va.) Speedway in just his third race. He was ninth at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International in his first road-course excursion, and fifth in his first trip to New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Carmichael was running second with two laps to go in the return trip to New Hampshire before running out of fuel. He also had a seventh-place finish at Dover International Speedway.
“That series is such a great series,” Carmichael said. “That’s an awesome development series. You just learn so much. And there is such great competition. I definitely surprised myself in areas.
“It was a great learning experience for me and I really enjoyed it.”
Carmichael was also a hit with the fans, earning the NASCAR Camping World Series East Most Popular Driver Award in online voting through NASCAR.com and NASCARHomeTracks.com.
Carmichael joins a list of big-name, short-track drivers headed to Irwindale for the event.
He’ll be joined by three-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday Jr., Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Marc Davis and Joey Logano, 2008 NASCAR Camping World Series West champion Eric Holmes, former NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champions Peyton Sellers and Greg Pursley, and Eddie MacDonald – who swept the NASCAR Camping World Series East races at New Hampshire last year.
The list of top short-track drivers who have already committed to the event also includes NASCAR Camping World Truck Series veteran Matt Crafton, 2008 NASCAR Camping World Series East champion and 2006 NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown winner Matt Kobyluck.
Also confirmed to compete are four drivers who have earned rookie of the year honors in the NASCAR Camping World Series in the last three seasons (Jason Bowles, Sellers, Jeff Barkshire and Austin Dillon), Brian Ickler, winner of the NASCAR Camping World Series combination race in Iowa this past May, and five of NASCAR’s 2008 developmental series champions Kobyluck, Holmes, Scott Steckly (NASCAR Canadian Tire Series), Philip Morris (NASCAR Whelen All-American Series) and Antonio Perez (NASCAR Mexico Series).
Through Monday afternoon, 57 entries had been received for the Camping World Series portion of the event.
In addition to competition for the NASCAR Camping World Series, which is NASCAR’s top developmental series, action in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series will feature a Late Model race and a Super Late Model race.
To purchase tickets for the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown, fans can go to www.toyotaspeedwayatirwindale.com or call the track at (626) 358-1100.
Sources:Jason Christley/NASCAR PR