BUSCH: Brooklyn: Hank Parker Jr. preview

LAST RACE (Kroger 200)- Hank Parker Jr. and the No. 36 GNC Live Well Racing team finished 38th at Indianapolis Raceway Park on August 3. After starting 17th, Parker was involved in an accident on lap 62 when the No. 47 of Shane Hmiel made contact...

LAST RACE (Kroger 200)- Hank Parker Jr. and the No. 36 GNC Live Well Racing team finished 38th at Indianapolis Raceway Park on August 3. After starting 17th, Parker was involved in an accident on lap 62 when the No. 47 of Shane Hmiel made contact with the No. 26 of Ron Hornaday, setting off a chain reaction that eventually collected six cars. Parker's car suffered too much damage to continue in the event.

STANDINGS - Parker is 15th in the NASCAR Busch Series Drivers' Points Standings, and team owner Wayne Jesel holds the 20th spot in the owners' points standings.

PARKER'S HISTORY AT MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY (MIS)- In three visits to MIS, Hank Parker Jr. has never finished in the top-20. In 2001, a mechanical problem during happy hour limited the team's practice time, forcing the crew members to guess the right setup to put under Parker's machine. Parker battled a tight handling condition throughout the event and finished 28th.

THE CAR - The No. 36 GNC Live Well Racing team is bringing chassis No. 18 to Michigan International Speedway. The car has been completely reworked since its last outing at Dover International Speedway in June, where Parker spun with less than five laps remaining and collected the No. 57 of Jason Keller. Earlier this season, No. 18 was driven to a 13th-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway, and a sixth-place finish at Richmond International Raceway.

THE TEST - Hank Parker Jr. and the No. 36 GNC Live Well Racing team spent Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 5-6, testing at MIS. The first day was spent working on ways to keep the team's engine cool under race conditions. The second day was spent focusing on race setups in the morning and qualifying setups in the afternoon.

"We only made about three qualifying runs the entire time," crew chief Gary Cogswell said of the test. "The last run, we felt like we were pretty competitive, based on last year's notes and the times we saw other teams run during the test. We made a lot of race runs on the second day. Those went really well. We feel like we're going to have a really competitive car on Saturday."

GOING HOME - Racing at Michigan International Speedway is a homecoming for two members of the GNC Live Well Racing team. Crew chief Gary Cogswell was born in Eaton Rapids, Mich., while car chief Bryan Smith lists Lansing, Mich., as his hometown. Cogswell moved to North Carolina in 1991 to find work in NASCAR, while Smith made the move in 1992.

Cogswell worked as a mechanic with several Lansing-area car dealerships before moving to the Charlotte area and finding his first job in motorsports. Smith grew up on the same street as Busch Series driver Tim Fedewa, and the two began working on cars together as teenagers. When Fedewa began driving in the American Speed Association and moved to North Carolina to further his racing career in the early 1990's, Smith followed.

TEAM TRAINER ALSO COMPETING FOR A WIN THIS WEEKEND - While the No. 36 GNC Live Well Racing team does battle at Michigan International Speedway, the team's fitness and nutrition coach, David Hawk, will also be busy competing. Hawk, a former IFBB (International Federation of Bodybuilders) professional bodybuilder who has held the titles of Mr. World and Mr. USA, will be one of 27 men vying for the title of Masters Olympia Men's Bodybuilding Champion at a competition in Lynchburg, Va., on Saturday. The IFBB-sanctioned competition is an offshoot of the Mr. Olympia competition and is open to men 40 years of age and over.

"There are a number of parallels between bodybuilding and racing, believe it or not," Hawk said. "The most obvious similarity is in the total commitment a race team and a bodybuilder must have to be successful. You have to really love what you're doing, otherwise, you'd never be willing to make the sacrifices necessary to be successful. In my case, it's a total focus on training hard and eating healthy at each and every meal. In the case of crewmembers, it's 15-hour workdays, six and seven days a week, and being away from your family for three and four days every week."

HANK PARKER JR. ON MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY - "I like flat tracks, and I like fast tracks, so I really like Michigan (Speedway). It's a deceptively fast track. As far as setup, the track has a tendency to make your car really tight. If you can get a setup that allows you to turn as you enter the corner and in the middle of the corners, you should do well. The other thing I have to like about racing at Michigan is that it could come down to fuel mileage at the end. Based on my past history (Parker has two Busch Series wins that came on fuel mileage), that might play right into our hands."

ON NASCAR FINING TONY STEWART AFTER INDIANAPOLIS - "That's a tough deal. I wasn't there, so I can't really comment on Tony's situation. I will say, 95% of the reporters and cameramen are very professional and respectful of a driver's personal space. There have been situations, though, where I came close to losing my cool.

"I'll give you an example. We got wrecked in Daytona back in February. I'm sitting in my car while the crew is trying to fix the damage. A TV reporter came up to interview me and said, 'So, were you having fun out there?' What kind of question is that? I wanted to choke the guy. I'm sitting there, mad as heck, with a torn-up racecar after getting wrecked in the first race of the season. I wanted to say, 'Yeah, it was a blast. Especially the part where I got hit while running 200 miles an hour.' I mean, come on."

CREW CHIEF GARY COGSWELL ON MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY - "Michigan holds a special place in my heart, because it's the first track where I ever saw NASCAR racing. That was back in the days of Richard Petty, Benny Parsons and Cale Yarbrough. They were driving those 'boxy' Monte Carlos. That was where I first started saying to myself, 'You know, I ought to do this.' I only thought about it for about 18 years before I finally moved to Charlotte (N.C.) and made it happen."

-jm-

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Jason Keller , Hank Parker Jr. , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Richard Petty , Benny Parsons