MWS: Gateway preview

Eddie Hoffman and Erik Darnell prepare for double dip of Hills Bros All-Pro and Re/Max Challenge Series, Nascar Touring action. DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. (July 16, 2002) - Kevin Harvick did it last year and Stacey Compton and Todd Bodine have done it...

Eddie Hoffman and Erik Darnell prepare for double dip of Hills Bros All-Pro and Re/Max Challenge Series, Nascar Touring action.

DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. (July 16, 2002) - Kevin Harvick did it last year and Stacey Compton and Todd Bodine have done it this year. The "it" is compete in two NASCAR sanctioned series, in two different cities on the same weekend. In fact, Harvick did "it" so well, he captured the 2001 Busch Grand National title while earning Winston Cup Rookie of the Year honors.

But this weekend, Eddie Hoffman and Erik Darnell will do "it" in NASCAR's regional late model touring series. Both will attempt to compete in Friday's Hills Bros All-Pro Nashville 133 at the 1.33-mile Nashville Superspeedway and Saturday's RE/MAX Challenge 125 at Gateway International Raceway, outside of St. Louis, for the RE/MAX Challenge Series cars.

"We leave our shop on Wednesday and drive the hauler down to Nashville while someone else takes our other car to Gateway," said Darnell, a RE/MAX Challenge Series rookie. "We practice and qualify on Thursday at Nashville and then drive to Gateway. We practice and qualify there on Friday, hop in a plane and get over to Nashville to run the All-Pro race on Friday night. Then we drive back to Gateway on Friday night, take all the pit equipment, so we can run the RE/MAX race on Saturday. Piece of cake."

Qualifying for the RE/MAX Challenge Series half of the twin-bill will take place, Friday, July 19 at 3:30 p.m. (CT). The green flag will fly over the 36 starters at 4:00 p.m., Saturday afternoon, July 20.

"The only thing that won't work out is we'll have to start at the back of the All-Pro race because we're going to miss the driver's meeting," said Darnell

Hoffman has also made arrangements to get his second Redken/Lisa Thomas Salon entry to Gateway and he and Darnell will share the plane ride. The team is still unsure how the crew will be able to service two cars at two venues.

"That's the one thing we haven't figured out yet," said Hoffman. "If we have to, I'm sure we can get a Busch team to help us on pit stops at Gateway, but I know we'll need all the guys at Nashville because the track is hard on tires."

If everything goes well, Hoffman and Darnell, with hauler, plane and race car mileage combined, will log just over 2,000 miles for the weekend.

"I didn't even add it up, because I don't get paid by the mile," quipped Hoffman.

Hoffman currently sits third in the RE/MAX Challenge Series points while Darnell still has a chance at capturing season-long rookie honors. So why are they splitting their crew, time, efforts and team on this ambitious venture? They both think they can win both events. Hoffman was the winner last fall in an All-Pro event at Nashville while Darnell finished second. And Hoffman has three Bud Pole fast qualifier awards and three top-10 runs at the Gateway oval. A clean sweep this weekend would net the victor over $20,000.

The RE/MAX Challenge Series is one of eight NASCAR Touring Series that blanket the United States. NASCAR Touring Series are extremely popular with fans and competitors. They can provide a competitor with an entire career, or they can provide valuable experience to competitors moving through the NASCAR ranks. Corporate sponsors make significant contributions to NASCAR Touring Series point funds. These sponsors include Anheuser-Busch, Featherlite, Goody's Headache Powders, Hills Bros Coffee, Raybestos Brakes, RE/MAX International, Inc., and RJ Reynolds brand, Winston.

-nascar-

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About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Todd Bodine , Kevin Harvick , Erik Darnell