WDW Dobson moves to trucks

For Immediate Release DOMINIC DOBSON JOINS NASCAR CRAFTSMAN TRUCK SERIES LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Jan. 12, 1998 -- Dominic Dobson is leaving his Indy-style car and sports-car roots to participate in one of America's favorite new racing...

For Immediate Release

DOMINIC DOBSON JOINS NASCAR CRAFTSMAN TRUCK SERIES

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Jan. 12, 1998 -- Dominic Dobson is leaving his Indy-style car and sports-car roots to participate in one of America's favorite new racing circuits -- the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS).

Dobson will make his NCTS debut in the second annual Chevy Trucks Challenge at Walt Disney World Speedway on Sunday, Jan. 18. Dobson will wheel the No. 78 Dodge Ram pickup, prepared by the PacWest Team based in Indianapolis.

``We're hoping that our Dodge Ram is going to be more competitive than ever in '98,'' said Dobson. ``Dodge has done a lot of work on the aerodynamics and the engine program in hopes that all the Dodges can do better against the competition. Having been with Dodge the last couple years in the Super Touring program, we know what they're capable of when they put their mind to it. So we're very optimistic.''

The PacWest Touring Car team is co-owned by Dobson and Bruce R. McCaw. McCaw owns PacWest Racing Group, which campaigns cars in two open-wheel series.

Dobson, who has extensive experience in open-wheel cars and sports prototypes, spent the last two years piloting a Dodge Stratus sedan in the North American Super Touring Championship, where he won six races and nine poles. The Seattle driver, who will be sponsored by MCI, finished second in the 1996 drivers' standings and fourth in 1997, behind championship-winning teammate David Donohue. The team also secured the manufacturers' championship for Dodge.

When Chrysler made the decision to withdraw its Dodge Stratus from the touring series, Dobson went shopping for another racing venue. The touring series is on hold for the 1998 season. ``So we were really left with the option of running in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series,'' said Dobson. ``I enjoyed SuperTouring a lot and we'll miss it, but we're looking forward to the Craftsman Truck Series a lot, too.''

PacWest put this team together in November, following the '97 NCTS season, but Dobson doesn't sound like a driver behind the 8-ball. ``We got a late start,'' he conceded. ``We bought three trucks from Roehrig Racing, which they ran last year. We had to hire some new people, buy pit equipment and a hauler. I've had to do some testing and some acclimation stuff for the truck. We feel like we're just beginning our preparations for what will be a very long season.''

Dobson had his first taste of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series racing when PacWest attended an open test at Walt Disney World Speedway on Dec. 16. Dobson said he'll be race-ready for the Chevy Trucks Challenge. ``I think Disney will be a fine place,'' said Dobson. ``It's early and the weather is predictable. It ought to be good. We suffered through one day of rain (during the open test), but in January the weather is good. I like the track and I'm looking forward to going back there and racing.''

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Dobson is one of the early favorites for the 1998 Cintas Rookie of the Year Award. But the veteran driver says some of his vast racing knowledge just won't translate to the truck series. ``There are some things you have to unlearn,'' said Dobson. ``There are things that a truck won't do that an open-wheel car will do, mainly because of the downforce. The single biggest thing is the tendency to get back on the throttle too early in the corner. So, there is a lot of waiting, it takes a lot of patience. Having said that, there are probably a lot of other bad habits that I've picked up. But, in a way, I feel like I'm starting very fresh. I have spoken with some Craftsman drivers with road-racing backgrounds. I've spoken with Boris Said, who's run a lot Trans-Am stuff.''

Dobson hopes to follow in the footsteps of Mike Bliss and Kenny Irwin, who came up through the United States Auto Club (USAC) open-wheel ranks, then experienced success in NCTS. Bliss is expected back in NCTS this season, while Irwin, the 1997 truck series rookie, is moving on to NASCAR Winston Cup after scoring two wins in '97.

``I expect the truck series to be a steep learning curve, and it will be interesting to be a rookie again,'' said Dobson. ``We've already had a very successful first test in the trucks, and we'll be ready to go for the first race in Orlando.''

Can Dobson win the Chevy Trucks Challenge? ``That'd be a tall order,'' said Dobson. ``I'd love to think we could. That's why we're racers, because we think we can win, otherwise no one would show up. But realistically, we're looking to win the Cintas Rookie of the Year Award and to finish races competitively.''

And, Dobson is excited about holding a NASCAR license. He's always had an interest in stock car racing, and feels the truck series offers the best incoming opportunity. ``I think both as a driver and as a team, NASCAR offers tremendous opportunities for a team that wants to get involved,'' said Dobson. ``The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is a great place for the team to start.''

``We've committed to the Craftsman Truck Series because we believe it is a great opportunity to strengthen our relationship with Dodge,'' McCaw said. ``Chrysler has clearly demonstrated a serious commitment to the series, and we are looking forward to bringing PacWest into this exciting venue."

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Boris Said , David Donohue , Mike Bliss , Dominic Dobson