BUSCH: JR Motorsports season preview

JR Motorsports ready to embark on 2007 MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Jan. 18, 2007) -- After a short off season, the Dale Earnhardt Jr.-owned JR Motorsports No. 88 Navy Accelerate Your Life Chevrolet team is anxious to get the 2007 NASCAR Busch Series...

JR Motorsports ready to embark on 2007

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Jan. 18, 2007) -- After a short off season, the Dale Earnhardt Jr.-owned JR Motorsports No. 88 Navy Accelerate Your Life Chevrolet team is anxious to get the 2007 NASCAR Busch Series season started with preseason testing at Daytona International Speedway this week.

The No. 88 Navy team, led by crew chief Wes Ward, has prepared a brand new car for driver Shane Huffman to run during the open test session at Daytona this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The session will mark the team's first test of the season and Huffman's first superspeedway experience in a Busch car.

Despite his rookie status for the race at Daytona, Huffman has prior history at the 2.5-mile superspeedway. In 2000, the Hickory, N.C., native competed in the ARCA RE/MAX Series event at Daytona. He started 21st and finished 20th in his first-ever superspeedway race. Huffman also tested the No. 40 Chevrolet Silverado for Key Motorsports in last weekend's NASCAR Truck Series test at Daytona.

Entering the team's second season in the Busch Series, the crew at JR Motorsports has been busy during the off season. In addition to building new cars and repairing ones from the 2006 season, JR Motorsports recently moved into a new 66,000-square-foot building in Mooresville, N.C., consolidating the operations from two shops into one. Previously, the team's late model and licensing groups were housed at a facility separate from the Busch and USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series teams. Now, all of JR Motorsports operates out of the new state-of-the-art location.

"The new shop is really awesome," Huffman said. "The guys have a lot more room to work, and having everyone together in one building should really help our team continue to improve. We saw there at the end of the season last year that we could run up front on a regular basis, and we plan to maintain that trend going into this year. I'm fully confident that this Navy team is going to be a force to be reckoned with in the Busch series this season."

Huffman was also very busy during the off season. In addition to fulfilling sponsor commitments, he spent a couple days testing at Bondurant Racing School in Phoenix, Ariz., learning how to turn both left and right on road courses.

"I've never raced on a road course like that before," Huffman said. "It was definitely different from what I'm used to doing, but it was a ton of fun. The course in Mexico is one of our first races and NASCAR added the course in Montreal to the schedule, so Wes (Ward) decided I needed to go to Bondurant and gain some experience before we did any testing in our car."

In addition to this week's test at Daytona, the team is also scheduled to attend the open test session at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Feb. 5-6, before the season opens with the Orbitz 300 at Daytona on Feb. 17.

"Overall, I'm just ready to get this season underway and go racing," Huffman said. "The Navy team finished 2006 with good runs at Memphis and Phoenix and I'm ready to start back up where we ended last year."

-credit: jr motorsports

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