STRONG IN-HOUSE ENGINE PROGRAM HAS OUTGUNNED SOME BIG NASCAR TEAMS THIS SEASON
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (September 28, 2005) -- There was a time, not too long ago, in ARCA RE/MAX Series racing when a team could take a hand-me-down NASCAR Cup car and engine to the track and compete. On the rare occasions when a big-time NASCAR team would show up to prove new parts, or a new driver, the bigger team would devour the smaller fish in the ARCA pool by winning races at Pocono, Atlanta or Michigan by incredible margins.
In today's professional ARCA arena, those days are long gone. One sign of that is the #9 team of Hagans Racing. This season, Hagans has run wheel-to-wheel with teams like Penske Racing South and Roush Racing. They've beaten teams supported by Joe Gibbs Racing, Evernham Motorsports and Hendrick Motorsports. All in all, the Hagans team has led rookie driver Joey Miller to four victories and six pole awards. In a little more than one season with the team, Miller has led 399 superspeedway laps -- more than the career totals of ARCA veterans through the years like Bobby Gerhart, Jimmy Horton, Mark Gibson, Andy Hillenburg and Bob Keselowski. In fact, despite his short time in the series [all behind the wheel of Hagans' #9 car], Miller is 12th on the all-time superspeedway lap leader list.
Having a strong in-house engine program, something unheard of not that long ago, has helped make that happen for Hagans Racing.
"We are one of a few teams that build their engines in-house," said team owner Matt Hagans. "What we have accomplished this year is a big testament to how well Greg Iossi runs that program. We've run strong against Cup teams that have come to ARCA and we've had a very impressive season. Our engine department is a major part of this team's success and we will continue to further improve what we have. We want to stay ahead of the technology curve to give us that added edge at the racetrack. This sport is always changing and we plan on getting stronger and stronger with every race."
"Matt is wonderful to work for," said Iossi, the team's chief engine builder. "He gives us all of the resources that we need to do our job. Matt has spent a lot of money to make this program as good as it is. The success that we've had this season has been great and we're going to keep getting better and better from here on out."
Next year the Hagans Racing Engine Development team is researching the possibilities of taking this program one step further.
"We are exploring our options of beginning an engine-lease program within the ARCA RE/MAX Series," added Hagans. "We believe, with our efforts, we could help teams in ARCA with power under the hood. We have Cup-level technology going into our engines and we would like to partner up with a couple of teams, which will only help our program develop that much more."
The Hagans team is devoted to the development of young drivers like Miller. In fact, Miller's results with the team this season helped him earn a one-race ride in one of Darrell Waltrip's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series entry at Las Vegas. In the future, the team plans to develop even more young talent. Hagans is currently considering drivers who will be a part of their program in 2006 and beyond.
Miller has nearly clinched the Rookie of the Year title in ARCA, as well as second place in the point standings heading into the season's final race at Talladega Superspeedway this weekend. The team made quite an impression in February at Daytona when they managed to place two cars into the top 10. Team owner Hagans finished fifth in the race, while Miller finished seventh.
The Food World 300 at Talladega Superspeedway will take place this Saturday, October 1st. The race will be broadcast on a same-day basis on SPEED Channel starting at 9:30pm ET.