BUSCH: Dover: Kevin Conway preview

Kevin Conway Back for Second Busch Series Start with JGR HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., (May 29, 2007) -- After a rough-and-tumble debut in the No. 18 Z-Line Designs Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) in the NASCAR Busch Series race at Bristol (Tenn.) ...

Kevin Conway Back for Second Busch Series Start with JGR

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., (May 29, 2007) -- After a rough-and-tumble debut in the No. 18 Z-Line Designs Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) in the NASCAR Busch Series race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in March, Kevin Conway has had loads of time to focus and prepare for his next outing -- Saturday's Dover 200 at the infamous "Monster Mile" at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.

Conway, a 28-year-old from Lynchburg, Va., was a virtual human pinball during his 300-lap run on the high-banked, half-mile concrete oval at Bristol. He was caught up in accordion-like fashion in an early race wreck that punched in the grill of his Chevrolet, which lead to overheating problems. And in another chain-reaction crash on lap 110, Conway was tagged in the rear bumper, resulting in significant damage that caused his Z-Line Designs machine to slip and slide through Bristol's 36-degree banking. Still, a determined Conway and the No. 18 team found themselves in hot pursuit of a top-20 finish in the final laps before a flat tire relegated them to 26th with just 15 laps to go.

With Saturday's Dover 200 finally here, Conway can safely call Bristol a distant memory as he and his Z-Line Designs team set their sights on a top-10 finish. Even though he hasn't raced since Bristol, Conway has remained a fixture at the race track, listening, learning and helping his fellow JGR Busch Series drivers, which include NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series regulars Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin, and young JGR development drivers Aric Almirola and Brad Coleman. Conway has made it a point to maintain an ongoing rapport at the track and away from the track with crew chief Jason Ratcliff and the rest of the team in preparation for his remaining seven appearances behind the wheel of the Z-Line Designs Chevrolet.

Having seen his fellow JGR Busch Series drivers achieve moments of greatness already this season -- a win with Hamlin at Darlington (S.C.) from the pole and three other poles, one each via Almirola and Coleman and another by Hamlin -- Conway would like nothing better than to make his own contribution to JGR's growing list of accolades with a strong run in Saturday's Dover 200.

Having left his mark in AMA Motocross, the World Karting Association, USAC Midgets, Late Model Stocks, the American Speed Association, ARCA and NASCAR's West Series since becoming the youngest driver to win a Legends national title at the age of 15, Conway feels more than ready to emerge to the forefront of the NASCAR Busch Series stage.

A marketing graduate out of the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, Conway personally orchestrated the deal that brought Z-Line Designs to JGR. Behind the scenes, he's also been hard at work helping Z-Line Designs -- the market leader in ready-to-assemble office and home furnishings -- achieve its marketing initiatives through racing.

Kevin Conway -- Driver, No. 18 Z-Line Designs NASCAR Busch Series Chevrolet at Dover International Speedway

Dover is a lot like Bristol, where you began your season in the Z-Line Designs Chevrolet. Both are hi-banked, concrete ovals. Does racing at Bristol help you going into Dover?

"I'm sure that our experience at Bristol will carry over to Dover. It's definitely a race track that has a reputation much like Bristol of being very, very tough and very fast. It's something that I'm looking forward to, even though I've only seen the place once. It should be an interesting weekend, but I'm really looking forward to it. I know that we'll have a great car there. Based on (JGR's) past success there and what we learned at Bristol, I think we have a legitimate shot to run in the top-10 and that's definitely our goal."

What have you done during the layoff since Bristol? Have you tested?

"We have. We've done a little bit of testing. We've bounced around here and there just trying to stay in the car as much as we can. I've spent several hours on the computer on the simulator running Dover over and over and over. Actually, I got up there last week to participate in a driving school, just to get to the race track at least once before I actually have to go out and race."

Does seeing a fellow JGR Busch Series driver win give you more confidence going into Dover, or does it add more pressure?

"It's both. It's kind of a double-edged sword. I think it takes some of the pressure off knowing that the equipment and the team are not as big of a variable. You know that you have the best team and the best equipment in the garage. But at the same time, it does add a little bit of pressure because you know that the equipment is capable of winning. As long as the crew and I can communicate well and I can adapt to the track quickly, then I think the results will be equal to the equipment."

How do you balance developing and working with Z-Line on the business front with racing and working to perform on the race track for Z-Line?

"Fortunately for me and for Z-Line, running a limited schedule has afforded me extra time to be able to focus on their marketing initiatives. I've been able to make sure the program is successful off the race track as well as on the race track so that we can have a long-term relationship. We've been very successful in doing that, so if our on-track success can match our off-track success, then the sky's the limit as to where we can go with this entire program. I think that next year will be a little bit different. As we add more races to our schedule and things move forward, I'll slowly phase out of the marketing role and be more focused on the driving side. At that point, my schedule won't allow me to have more free time to focus on the marketing aspect as much."

-credit: jgr

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Tony Stewart , Brad Coleman , Kevin Conway , Denny Hamlin , Aric Almirola
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing