DAYTONA USA MOTORSPORTS ATTRACTION 200 NOTES
AN ALL-TEENAGE FRONT ROW will bring the 42-car starting field for Friday's DAYTONA USA Motorsports Attraction 200 down for the green flag. Mike Swaim Jr., 19, is the polesitter and Lyndon Amick, 18, who finished fourth in the 1995 event, is on the outside pole.
THE YOUTH MOVEMENT is evident throughout the top 10 qualifiers, as four of the top 10 are 20 years of age or less and three are Daytona rookies. Making their first Daytona starts in addition to Swaim Jr., are fifth place starter Jake Hobgood, 20; and 10th place starter Jimmy Foster, 18.
TWO FATHER-SON combinations are included in the top seven starting positions for Friday's DAYTONA USA Motorsports Attraction 200. They are Mike Swaim Jr. (first) and Mike Swaim (seventh) and Will Hobgood (third) and Jake Hobgood (fifth).
ALEX LEATHERWOOD (No. 77 Bryan Easler Toyota Chevrolet) -- Has withdrawn the car he qualified 40th on the starting grid due to engine failure, but will start at the tail of the field in a backup car. The backup car Leatherwood has acquired was entered in the DAYTONA USA Motorsports Attraction 200 by driver Dexter Canipe. The Ford, which Canipe drove to victory in the 1995 series finale at Homestead Motorsports Park in Miami, will carry Leatherwood's #77 and sponsorship from Griffin Electronic Consultants/Talton's Metal Products.
LYNDON AMICK (No. 33 Amick Farms Pontiac) -- Our last practice went real well. Will Hobgood and I were the fastest cars. I'm ready for the race; I wish we could start it right now. (ON THE TEMPO OF THE RACE.) I think there'll be more cautions (flags) than normal, with all the rookies in the field. The top six or seven cars should break away. With all the cautions, he (Andy Houston, second fast qualifier, starting 21st) should be up with us before long.
ANDY HOUSTON (No. 30 Ricker Trucking Pontiac) -- We put a little more spoiler on the car and it's going real good. The car's super- fast and we've got a strong motor. If we keep our nose clean, we should be in contention all day. We are going to try to be real patient. (ON HAVING TO START IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FIELD, DESPITE HAVING THE SECOND FASTEST SPEED.) It will be difficult at first, starting back there with cars which are not as fast as we are. I have to keep telling myself, 200 miles is a long ways. It's our first time here and I'd like to make the best of it. (ON BEING A DAYTONA ROOKIE DRIVER AND HAVING A ROOKIE PIT CREW.) Our gas man, Art Graham, gasses for my dad (Tommy Houston) on the (NASCAR) Busch (Series) car. That's the key with these cars, since we shouldn't have to change tires. This is new for me, and half the field. We have to try not to get into trouble with speed on pit road. You have to cut it (the limit) close, or you'll fall way behind. Like anything in racing, you have to be on the edge.
MIKE SWAIM JR. (No. 28 Spring Air Mattress Pontiac) -- We'll go for a good, clean start and hopefully be able to keep it in front. We've been really good in practice -- fast yet stable. The car feels comfortable. I've tried to work extra hard on drafting with the car set up to be race ready. I think the biggest challenge for me will be making adjustments for the car's handling throughout the race, because I've never run a race this long (200 miles). I know a lot of people are going to be watching me to see how I do because I'm a rookie and I'm on the pole. My best friend, Lyndon Amick, is starting next to me. We've talked a little about what we'd like to be able to do in the race. I just want to be smooth and conservative, stay near the front and finish the race.
WILL HOBGOOD (No. 65 Wynn's Oil Co. Pontiac) -- We're good and comfortable out there. They said they had us fast in the last practice, but it really doesn't matter until tomorrow. We ended up crashed on the frontstretch trioval last year, and I don't want that again. There are a lot of younger drivers starting near the front, but I think they'll be all right. One of them is my son, and those boys on the front row ran all year long with us last season.