AARON FIKE - ...
AARON FIKE - #43 RFMS/Curb Agajanian Performance Group Dodge
* It's back to short-track racing under the lights for Aaron Fike and the #43 RFMS/Curb Agajanian Performance Group Dodge team as they come to the three-quarter-mile high-banked tri-oval at Richmond International Raceway for Friday night's NASCAR Busch Series Circuit City 250.
* Last weekend, on the high-banked superspeedway tri-oval at Talladega, the 23-year-old out of Galesburg, Ill., scored an impressive third-row qualifying effort -- backing up his season-opening front-row qualifying run at Daytona -- but couldn't find the drafting help he needed to take advantage of a superior Curb Records Dodge. He finished 23rd.
* Fike comes to Richmond with 47 career NBS starts, including three at Richmond in the #43 CAPG entry. His most recent effort here was a lead-lap 23rd-place finish last fall.
* Richmond is the place where Fike made USAC Silver Crown Series history in June of 2001. His victory that summer gave him the distinction of being the youngest driver -- at 18 years, seven months and six days -- ever to win a Silver Crown event, surpassing the previous record held by none other than Jeff Gordon. Fike went on to earn series Rookie of the Year honors that year.
* In this season's opening race at Daytona, Fike qualified second in the #43 CAPG Dodge, missing the pole by a mere 43-thousandths of a second. On race day, however, he was taken out early when a fellow competitor blew a tire on the front straight and sent him into the outside retaining wall.
* Other bright spots since Daytona for Fike and the #43 team came at Bristol with an 18th-place finish and at Nashville with a 15th-place run.
* Sponsoring the #43 CAPG Dodge for this weekend's 11th of 35 NBS races of 2006 is RFMS, Inc., the Galesburg, Ill.-based retirement lifestyles operation with retirement villages and assisted living facilities in northern Illinois and Iowa.
AARON FIKE QUOTES ON RICHMOND -- "Richmond is always going to be special track for me. Coming back to a track where you've won before gives you a little something extra to hang your hat on. We had a pretty decent test at Richmond in the 43 car, which should put us a little ahead of the game when we start practice on Friday morning. Once again, at Talladega, we had a better car than our finish leads you to believe. So we're still trying to fight our way back into the top-30 in the (owners) points so we can lock ourselves into the races each week. It's a little nerve-wracking for the team, the sponsors, everybody, to have to qualify our way in. So far, we've been up to the task!"