Lowes: Event preview

Three race stretch bound to bring the cream to the top. DAYTONA BEACH, FL (May 20, 2002) - The first four races of the 2002 Goody's Dash Series, NASCAR Touring Season have taken the series from Daytona, to Hardeeville, to Orange County, and most...

Three race stretch bound to bring the cream to the top.

DAYTONA BEACH, FL (May 20, 2002) - The first four races of the 2002 Goody's Dash Series, NASCAR Touring Season have taken the series from Daytona, to Hardeeville, to Orange County, and most recently to Lonesome Pine Raceway in Coeburn, Virginia. The Series returns to North Carolina for the Tom Johnson Camper Center/Easy Care Vehicle Lease Service Contracts "100" at Lowes Motor Speedway, on Thursday, May 23, 2002.

With just a short break in between the series then moves to Kentucky Speedway, and then one week later to Memphis Motorsports Park. The Goody's Dash Series normally holds "one day shows." Each of these three events will be two to three days in duration. Not a big deal for NASCAR's top three divisions. But for NASCAR Touring teams, it is bound to take its toll on time in the shop. Most of the teams are made up of volunteer crewmembers. Most of the drivers have their own business or regular jobs to tend to during the week. So time is a factor. It will be very important to get through this stretch of races with their car in one piece, limiting repair time in the shop.

The race at Lowes Motor Speedway is a big deal. The Goody's Dash Series event is held immediately following Winston Cup Series Qualifying. This provides a great opportunity for a NASCAR Touring Driver to get noticed by the top professionals in the business. Not to mention, the Goody's Dash Series will enjoy the increase in attendance.

The race at Lowes Motor Speedway has always provided some very interesting situations. Last year, Robert Huffman was well on his way to victory when a broken steering arm sent his car careening into the wall. This happened just seven laps from the checkered flag. Cam Strader was there ready to claim the victory. Fortunately Strader was well ahead of the last lap melee that scattered cars all over the infield.

The winner of the last three LMS events has gone on to claim the Series' Champions. Strader in 2001 and Robert Huffman in 1999 and 2000. Twelve of the Sixteen races at LMS have been won by former Series' Champions. This event has produced only three first time winners. Larry Caudill in 1975, Jesse Samples, Jr. in 1986, and Christian Elder in 1997. Caudill went on to collect a total of 34 career victories and two Championship Titles. Christian Elder scored one more victory, and that was at Daytona International Speedway in 1999.

The statistics clearly favor the experienced drivers. Three times there have been repeat winners at Lowes Motor Speedway. Mike Swaim won both events in 1985. Caudill did the same in 1988. As stately previously, Robert Huffman collected wins in 1999 and 2000.

Cam Strader, defending Series' Champion, and defending race winner at LMS is ready to get his season turned around. Strader collected four wins in 2001 but has yet to make it to victory lane in 2002. He came close at Hardeeville, but ran out of gas on the final restart of the race. The car refired and he was able to finish third. The last two events have been anything but pleasant for Strader. He has had to watch the finish of the both races from his pit stall, having been caught up in accidents.

The Hobgood brothers, Jake and Justin, have made their presence known in 2002. Justin has one win (Orange County), while Jake has three second place and one third place finish. Had it not been for a twist of fate, Jake may have won beat at Daytona and Orange County. One consolation is that his consistency has him atop the Championship Points heading into Thursday's event at Lowes Motor Speedway.

Three races that will make a difference in the 2002 title chase. Will Huffman return to winning form? Will Strader shake the monkey off his back? Will a new victor emerge? One such driver could be Mag Klip Rookie of the Year Contender, Chuck Gafrarar. Gafrarar collected his best career finish at Lonesome Pine Raceway when he finished in third place. Gafrarar is a fabricating specialist. He sacrificed a position with Penske South to pursue his own career behind the wheel. "I have had some time since Daytona to prepare my speedway car for this race," said Gafrarar. "I am really looking forward to running Charlotte. We will be in front of my former colleagues. I want to do really well. This would be a great place to score that first win."

Other Notes of Interest:

* Top Ten Finishers in 2001:
1. Cam Strader, 2. Johnny Chapman, 3. Jimmy Britts, 4. Brandon Ward, 5. Joey Miller, 6. Larry Caudill, 7. Zach Brewer, 8. Wayne Edwards, 9. Ned Combs, 10. Jake Hobgood.

* Brandon Ward finished fourth in 2002. He has one victory to his credit (Bristol 2001).

* Zach Brewer finished seventh in 2002. He is the series most recent winner (Lonesome Pine Raceway). Brewer's first career victory came at Bristol in 1999.

ARCHIVES:
May 20, 1987 - A member of the Alabama Gang, Hut Stricklin scores the win at Lowes Motor Speedway. (Series Champion 1986). Stricklin won nine out of seventeen events in 1987. Stricklin also entered three Winston Cup events in 1987 for owner Skip Jaehne. He currently competes on the Winston Cup Series driving the #23 car owned Bill Davis. Hut Stricklin, just one of the many graduates of NASCAR Touring.

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Hut Stricklin , Cam Strader , Christian Elder , Wayne Edwards , Robert Huffman , Johnny Chapman , Joey Miller