Road Racer Ave to Drive No. 38 at Sonoma
Trans-Am Champ Prepped with Front Row at VIR Test
Defending SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am Series champion Tony Ave will bring his road-racing skills to NASCAR when he pilots the No. 38 Long John Silver's Ford at Infineon Raceway this weekend. Ave will need to qualify on speed at the Sonoma, Calif., road course in order to make his third career Sprint Cup Series start in Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350.
The Hurley, Wis., native prepared for his return to NASCAR by testing with Front Row Motorsports' No. 38 team at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) last week.
Ave is the current points leader in the Trans-Am Series season and has won the last three races. His two previous starts in the Sprint Cup Series came at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International in 2004 and 2009. The 2009 start was also for Front Row team owner Bob Jenkins.
Comments from Long John Silver's driver Tony Ave on driving for Front Row Motorsports at Sonoma:
"I'm looking forward to it, for sure. I've been racing the Trans-Am Series the last few years. I won it last year and I'm leading the points again this year, so I obviously like to do a lot of road racing. I'm looking forward to running in the Cup car just because it's a little bit different. In Trans-Am, we don't do the pit stops and stuff, and NASCAR races are longer, so I'm looking forward to the change. And, obviously the competition is tougher there than anywhere. It's always good to measure yourself against the best guys and see how you can do.
"I'm definitely familiar with the track. I raced Sonoma years ago in Trans-Am and tested there a lot. I didn't race on the current configuration - I raced on a configuration that the IndyCars race on. But I tested recently on the track. I was just up there testing a car last fall. So, I've got enough time on the racetrack and I'm looking forward to running the laps this weekend.
"I tested with Front Row last week at VIR and it went really well. We learned some things that will put us a step ahead next weekend, so it was definitely worth doing. We got the car the way I like it, and I got a bit more used to the Cup car feel, because it's quite a bit different than what I normally race. I really like (crew chief) Jay Guy and the guys and got along good with them, so it was a really good test for us and hopefully it pays off with some good results out there. It went so well I really can't wait to get out there, actually."