HICKORY, N.C. - Yet another talented driver is making the step up to NASCAR's Busch Grand National Series after cutting his racing teeth at "America's Most Famous Short Track," the Hickory Motor Speedway. This time it's Shane Huffman, who is...
HICKORY, N.C. - Yet another talented driver is making the step up to NASCAR's Busch Grand National Series after cutting his racing teeth at "America's Most Famous Short Track," the Hickory Motor Speedway. This time it's Shane Huffman, who is looking to add his name to a list that includes such drivers as Earnhardt, Jarrett and Houston, all HMS graduates who have gone on to become success stories in NASCAR.
Huffman will be piloting the #77 Johnsonville Bratwurst/Jennie-O Turkey Ford Taurus in the Autolite/Fram 250, Sept. 7, at Richmond International Raceway, in what will be his first career Busch Series start.
To most, Huffman's task might seem daunting, but the 1999 NASCAR Weekly Racing Series National Runner-up is confident that he and his team have taken the necessary steps to prepare for this opportunity. For his part, Huffman has spent the last three years competing on the Hooters ProCup Series, currently driving under the banner of second year sponsor Johnsonville, as well as making appearances in the ARCA and Goody's Dash Series.
"Most of the guys on this team have been with me since our late model days," said Huffman, "and we've been running the ProCup Series full-time for two years now. The cars are similar, except for the radial tire they run here in Busch, but that doesn't even really concern us because of all the experience (crew chief Ronnie White) has with it. I've tested for some Busch and (Craftsman Truck Series) teams along the way, so I feel pretty comfortable with the situation."
The team that Huffman speaks of is Hickory based XTRA Motorsports, which will also be making it's first foray onto the Busch scene in a joint effort with series regulars MOY Racing. White, meanwhile, will be back on familiar ground in the garage area, having spent the last four years as a chassis specialist with MOY before joining XTRA for the 2001 season.
"I'm really excited about this team getting a chance to go Busch racing," said White. "This is a talented, hardworking group of guys who have a lot of confidence in their driver, and I think they're ready to move to the next level. Richmond will give us a chance to measure ourselves against some of the best in the business, and we have (car owners) Kevin and Joe Riley, along with (MOY team manager) Jimmy Means, to thank for that."
"We're just like anybody else, we just want to go racing," summed up Huffman. "But, at the same time, we've set some goals for ourselves and know what we want to get accomplished to make the most of the opportunity that we have, and show Johnsonville and Jennie-O how much we appreciate their support."