BUSCH: Memphis: Hank Parker Jr preview

EVENT INFORMATION - Event: NASCAR Busch Series Sam's Town 250; Time and Date: 2 p.m. EDT, Saturday, Oct. 19; Site: Memphis Motorsports Park; Live Coverage: NBC Network (television) and MRN (radio) at 2 p.m. EDT; Qualifying: 2 p.m. EDT, Friday, Oct.

EVENT INFORMATION - Event: NASCAR Busch Series Sam's Town 250; Time and Date: 2 p.m. EDT, Saturday, Oct. 19; Site: Memphis Motorsports Park; Live Coverage: NBC Network (television) and MRN (radio) at 2 p.m. EDT; Qualifying: 2 p.m. EDT, Friday, Oct. 18; Happy Hour: Friday, Oct. 18, 5:30 p.m. EDT (approximately).

LAST RACE (Little Trees 300) - Hank Parker Jr. and the No. 36 GNC Live Well Racing team finished 40th in the Little Trees 300 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. On lap 99, Parker was involved in an accident when a competitor ahead of him slowed dramatically as the field was coming to the green flag on a restart. A number of cars were damaged in the incident. Parker was transported to the infield care centerand eventually to an area hospital, where he was diagnosed with a sprained left shoulder. X-Rays of the shoulder proved negative, and Parker was fitted with an arm sling and released.

STANDINGS - Parker is 14th in the NASCAR Busch Series Drivers' Points Standings and team owner Wayne Jesel holds the 18th spot in the owners' points standings.

PARKER'S HISTORY AT MEMPHIS MOTORSPORTS PARK - Memphis Motorsports Park hasn't been kind to Hank Parker Jr. In three starts at the .75-mile track, Parker has never finished in the top-30. On lap 91 of last year's event, Parker made contact with the No. 75 of Scott Hansen in turn three, sending both cars into the outside retaining wall. After repairs were made, Parker returned to the track and finished the race in 32nd place, 42 laps down to race winner Randy LaJoie.

THE CAR - The No. 36 GNC Live Well Racing team is bringing chassis No. 14 to Memphis Motorsports Park. The chassis has only been used in three races in 2002. Parker drove it to an eighth-place finish at New Hampshire International Speedway in May, and he finished 15th with this chassis in August at Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS). No. 14 also saw action in the March event at BMS, where an accident left the GNC Live Well team with a 33rd-place finish.

DETERMINED TO RACE - After suffering a sprained left shoulder in an accident at Lowe's Motor Speedway last Saturday, there was some question as to whether or not Hank Parker Jr. would be ready to race in this weekend's Sam's Town 250 at Memphis Motorsports Park. From the time he was released from the hospital last Saturday afternoon until now, Parker has been adamant that he will be behind the wheel of the No. 36 GNC Live Well Dodge when the green flag drops in Memphis. After an orthopedic doctor re-evaluated Parker's injury on Monday afternoon, the driver is more determined than ever to be back in a racecar for this weekend's event.

"The doctor told me that my injury will not be aggravated by me just racing. If he thought I was going to do any long-term damage to my shoulder, I would not get back in the car right now. The doctor said that as long as I feel comfortable and am able to perform in the car to my expectations, I'm fine to drive. I'll have it re-evaluated after the season, and if more needs to be done at that time to make the shoulder right, we'll deal with that then. For now, though, let's go racing."

IN THE MONEY - With his expected winnings from this weekend's event, Hank Parker Jr. will reach $2.5 million in career winnings in the NASCAR Busch Series (NBS). He currently has $2,498,968 in winnings in 125 career NBS starts.

THE CELEBRATION CONTINUES - GNC Live Well, the primary sponsor of Hank Parker Jr.'s No. 36 Dodge Intrepid, is celebrating the redesign and grand reopening of its 4,200 stores in the United States. To help raise awareness of the GNC stores' new look, which is designed to be a more informative and consumer-friendly environment, Parker's car will sport a special paint design at Busch Series events throughout the month of Oct..

Parker's GNC Live Well Dodge is painted blue with green trim, and it features a sunflower motif on the hood, bumper, and sides of the car, while the tag line on the hood states, "New look. New attitude. New GNC." Sunflowers have been a part of GNC's heritage for 40 years. In 1972, GNC developed a pitch for its customer-service representatives touting the benefits of "zesties," otherwise known as sunflower seeds, which are high in protein, low in carbohydrates, non-fattening, rich in natural vitamins and a great source of minerals.

The special color scheme, which introduces the same colors GNC is featuring in its new store design, debuted last weekend at Lowe's Motor Speedway, and will also be seen at the NBS race in Atlanta.

HANK PARKER JR. ON MEMPHIS MOTORSPORTS PARK (MMP)- "I love the track, even though it really hasn't been that good to me. I have special memories of this place, because it's the first track where my brother Billy and I got to race against each other in the Busch Series." (Parker's younger brother, Billy "Catfish" Parker, made his Busch Series debut at MMP in October 2000. "Catfish" qualified ahead of his older brother, but the elder Parker beat his sibling to the finish line. Parker finished 34th, while "Catfish" came home 35th in that event)

CREW CHIEF GARY COGSWELL ON MEMPHIS MOTORSPORTS PARK - "Memphis is one of the few short tracks we still visit, so it's always refreshing to race there. You definitely have to pack your rain gear, though. It seems like we get drenched every time we race there. The track that Memphis most reminds me of is Richmond, but Memphis is a lot rougher than Richmond, so your shock package is completely different.

"Memphis is also where you use the most brakes of any track we go to. You'd better have your brake package together, or it's going to be a very long day. We've been working all year on getting our brakes as good as we can, so we're pretty confident that we won't have a problem in that respect."

ON HANK'S INJURY - "Hank's very insistent that he'll drive the entire race in Memphis. If he gets out there and it's too uncomfortable for him, we'll figure out a back-up plan. It's not something we're really focused on right now, to be honest with you. Hank's very confident that driving won't be a problem for him."

-jm-

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Hank Parker Jr. , Scott Hansen