Compton Not in a Hurry to Make a Move

Compton in no hurry to make a move Shawn A. Akers TOPEKA, Kan. (Aug. 23, 1998) Stacy Compton believes in the old adage, "You've got to crawl before you can walk, and you've got to walk before you can run." The driver of...

Compton in no hurry to make a move Shawn A. Akers

TOPEKA, Kan. (Aug. 23, 1998) Stacy Compton believes in the old adage, "You've got to crawl before you can walk, and you've got to walk before you can run."

The driver of the No. 86 Royal Crown Cola Ford in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series has thought about that bit of advice a lot lately, especially considering the rumors that are currently swirling around his leaving the truck series.

"I think everybody's goal in the vicinity of my age wants to go Winston Cup racing one day, but I don't think another year of truck would hurt me a bit," said Compton, in his second full season in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. "I'd love to run some Busch races for seat time, because I think the experience would help me quite a bit.

"But the thing is, I love this series (the truck series). I love the people in it. The bottom line is, I'm still learning. Every time I get into the truck I'm still learning. Like I said, another year in the trucks is not going to hurt me a bit. I need more seat time, and it never hurts to get that."

The 31-year-old Virginia native, who earned his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory earlier this year at Portland, is reportedly being courted by several NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division and even NASCAR Winston Cup Series teams. But then that's news to Compton's ears, who said he hasn't talked with anyone about moving up to the next level or beyond next season.

That's not to say, however, that Compton wouldn't leave the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series under any circumstances.

"It would have to be an awful, awful good deal to leave here and go somewhere else," Compton said. "David (Hodson, team owner) gave me an opportunity that a lot of other people wouldn't have given me with this situation. It would have to be an awfully good opportunity in a good situation, because I'm in a good situation right now."

Sixth in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series point standings going into Sunday's Lund Look 275K at Heartland Park Topeka, Compton has run one NASCAR Winston Cup Series event in his career, qualifying ninth at Martinsville in 1996. His main concern about moving up the NASCAR ladder is moving up too soon and getting into the wrong situation.

He draws upon the experience of Kenny Irwin, the 1997 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Rookie of the Year. After one year in the trucks, Irwin was thrust into the role as the driver of the No. 28 Texaco-Havoline Ford in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, owned by Robert Yates, one of the more high-profile rides in that division.

Not that Compton faults Irwin for taking that ride, but Compton said he feels Irwin could have done well with more seasoning in the truck series.

It's a different situation for everybody," Compton said. "If you look at the Kenny Irwin situation, Kenny didn't really have a choice (about moving up). He went with one of the premier teams around. It was an opportunity of a lifetime to get with one of the best car owners and engine builders out there.

"If I would have been in the same situation, I wouldn't have been ready to go, but how do you pass something like that up? Kenny's done a good job. Sure, he's struggled, but he's going to these places for the first time, just like we were last year. Kenny struggled a lot last year, too. He won some races, but he also took five provisionals. Everybody's situation is different, but I think if the right situation comes along, you don't have a choice but to go."

Compton still isn't under contract with Hodson and Royal Crown for the 1999 campaign. But Compton said he hopes all parties involved can come to an agreement soon, and he can go about the business of trying to contend for a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship next season.

Compton, a veteran of the Late Model Stock Division in the NASCAR Winston Racing Series, said he most likely will try to run some ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series events next season in addition to his truck schedule, just to gain some experience with those type of cars.

"Right now, David's doing some things on his end, and I'm doing some things on my end," Compton said. "RC's getting their thing together, but nobody's done anything concrete yet.

"Sure, I could use more experience, and that would be good for me. But then, I can't wait around a whole lot longer, either. I'm 31 years old, and eventually, it will be time for me to make the move. And if it's going to better my career, I don't think David will try to hold me back."

Source: NASCAR Online

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Stacy Compton , Robert Yates