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Lynch close to wrapping up West Series championship
Curtis Pashelka

Randy Lynch has achieved just about every goal he's set for himself, from founding a successful advertising agency to owning a winery that has produced several award-winning cabernet sauvignons.
Now the Danville-area resident is on the cusp of realizing another dream -- winning a NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series championship.

Lynch owns the No. 2 Bennett Lane Winery Ford driven by Modesto's Mike David, who leads the West Series standings by 95 points over Mike Duncan going into today's season-ending Dan Gamel RV Centers 200 at Altamont Motorsports Park.

"It's been a lifelong goal of mine," said Lynch, who started the San Ramon-based R.W. Lynch advertising agency in 1984 and purchased Bennett Lane Winery in Calistoga in 2003.

"We finished in second place last year and would have won it if we would have had one less bad race. But things have gone well this year."

Lynch became involved in motor sports in the 1960s as a crew chief for a Lafayette-based dragster but had a nearly three-decade hiatus from auto racing before becoming involved again in 1997.

Instead of jumping into Grand National Division right away, Lynch started a Spec Truck Series team and met David. It was the start of a prosperous relationship, as David won the Central Series championship in 2000.

David raced for Lynch in the West Series five times in 2001 and was named the circuit's rookie of the year in 2002.

"We got along pretty good right from the start and I've always enjoyed racing for him," David said of Lynch. "He wants to succeed in everything he does and as a driver, those are the kind of guys you want to work for."

David finished sixth in the championship standings in 2004 and fifth in 2005. Last year, David won two races and trailed Eric Holmes by 47 points going into the season's last race at Altamont. But the veteran driver suffered a flat tire on the half-mile oval and finished 13th, and Holmes took the title.

"We've got a pretty motivated team anyway, but yeah, coming so close last year added some fuel to the fire," David said. "We felt good about (our chances) last year and fell a little short. But about 80 percent of the team stuck with us this year, so we knew we'd have a good shot at it."

"Whether it's business or sport, you need to have great people around you to be successful," Lynch said. "We have great people at our winery, and I'll put our (racing) team up against anybody's at any level."

David has top-three finishes in seven of 12 races this season, including a win at Altamont in April. He needs to finish 22nd or better today to clinch the championship.

David has no plans to be conservative or race any differently than he has all season. Still, if he avoids mechanical problems and or an accident with the 27 other drivers in the race, then the title will be his.

And Lynch's lifelong goal will become a reality.

"We're confident, but not overly so," Lynch said. "We're in an enviable position with a 95-point lead, but by no means is this thing over."

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