'Man, that's a lot of banking' Brandon Whitt and the ...
'Man, that's a lot of banking'
Brandon Whitt and the #38 McMillin Homes/Cure Autism Now Toyota Tundra team head to the .5-mile Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, for a mid-week showdown, Wednesday's O'Reilly 200; the 17th race of the 2005 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season.
The sophomore driver from El Cajon, Calif., Whitt scored his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory at Memphis Motorsports Park in July, becoming the first to do so from the Rookie Class of 2004. Known for his penchant of being fast and loving speed, Whitt is considered one of the top up-and-coming young drivers in stock car racing. His truck his owned by Red Horse Racing, which consists of general manager Marty Gaunt, a winning veteran leader of motorsports teams; Jeff Hammond, a NASCAR Nextel Cup championship crew chief now serving as an analyst for FOX Sports; and Tom DeLoach, a former Mobil Corp. executive who, with Hammond, owns and operates PIT Instruction and Training LLC, the number one pit crew training center in the world.
The Cure Autism Now Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and funding autism research and accelerating the pace of scientific progress toward effective treatments and a cure. The organization is the largest private funder of biological research in autism, providing more than $20 million in grants since its inception in 1995.
The thoughts of McMillin Homes/Cure Autism Now Toyota Tundra driver Brandon Whitt heading into Bristol:
"The Truck Series gets to race at some really neat places all over the nation, but I have to admit, I always circle Bristol on the calendar. There's nowhere like it. I love short-track racing, most of us do, and, man, there's no feeling like Bristol. Even racing on Wednesday night, that place will pack the fans in, and you can feel the energy especially during driver intros and the parade lap. It's an absolutely awesome atmosphere.
"One of the reasons I think Bristol is such an adrenaline rush, is because of the speed. We're flying around that half-mile track and you can feel it. Just walking down the banking coming into the track on Wednesday morning; we always walk across the track down close to turn three and you get about halfway down that banking and look down into three and four and think, 'Man, that's a lot of banking.' It is a lot of banking, and once you stand there and sense that, you understand how you can get around that half-mile in about 15 seconds.
"We've been super fast on short tracks all season. Here lately we've been fast everywhere. We've qualified well for about the past month. Other than IRP where qualifying was rained out, we haven't started outside the top 10 in over a month, which is definitely a sign that this team is improving. Unfortunately, with the exception of Memphis and Kentucky, something has happened to us to prevent us from having four or five straight top ten finishes.
"Bristol is great bumper-to-bumper racing, but along with that comes the danger of getting into one another. There's little room for error because we're all stacked on top of each other. You have to protect the bottom at all cost. If not, if you happen to get moved up the race track, whether you slip up or get 'moved' up, then you're going to lose a lot of positions.
"I've only raced there once and it was great. We didn't even have that memorable of an evening, but ever since then I've looked forward to going back. To run well at Bristol is kind of like a badge of honor or something. It's looked at all over as one of the top short tracks in all of major league motorsports and to run well there gives you a lot of respect. Not to mention the satisfaction of doing well at one of the tracks I've always admired. I know this McMillin Homes/Cure Autism Now Tundra will be fast. If we can stay out of trouble, we have another chance to score a special kind of finish."