DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 27 2000) - If you ask Ricky Bryant how his racing year is going he will probably say just fine. But down deep Bryant is looking forward to returning to one of his favorite racecourses, Orange County (NC) Speedway.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 27 2000) - If you ask Ricky Bryant how his racing year is going he will probably say just fine. But down deep Bryant is looking forward to returning to one of his favorite racecourses, Orange County (NC) Speedway. Even though he is second in points behind leader Robert Huffman, Bryant's year has not been to his liking. He has not led enough laps (only 44) or visited victory lane in 2000. In fact his best finish this season was a second place at Caraway Speedway behind winner Scott Weaver. "We had our chance to win at Caraway," said Bryant. "Scott gave us an open door with five laps to run when he drifted high in turns one and two. I tried to get my car under his but he closed the door and we touched. I could have tapped his car and he would have probably spun but I didn't want to win that way. He would have raced me clean and I wanted to race him clean. He was strong and deserved the win." But Bryant knows he will have his work cut out for him at Orange County where he has recorded back-to-back wins in the last two series events at the .375-mile track. "Definitely the driver to beat is Robert (Huffman) this year," said Bryant. "He has had an incredible start this year winning four of the six races we have run. He leads in laps led, has two Bud Pole starts, is the only driver to complete 100% of the laps run, and he has finished in the top five in every race," continued the driver of the Washington Apple Pontiac. "He is one tough cookie, quipped Bryant, and he is hard to beat." Huffman leads all drivers with an average starting position of 3.0 and an average finishing position of 2.0 in six events. Bryant has an average start position of 6.0 with an average finishing position of 7.8 among drivers who have started all six events. That is second to Huffman's average. Bryant has recorded four top five and five top ten runs in his six starts. Bryant and David Hutto are the only two series drivers who have completed 100% of the series laps run at this track in the 90's and Bryant has his back-to-back wins here. Bryant will certainly have his rear view mirror on Huffman's White House Apple Juice Pontiac but he will need to watch some other competitors who will be looking for their first series victory and a win in 2000. One of those drivers is Cam Strader, who leads the NAPA Filter Rookie of the Year point standings. Strader didn't make the starting field at Daytona but in the last five events he has recorded four top five finishes. He is ranked ninth in series points and just picked up a new sponsor in Wesson Cooking Oil. Strader is guided by longtime crew chief Barry Owen. Strader has an average finishing position of 7.4 in his five events. Another strong contender has been one of the most consistent drivers this year. Roger Sawyer has moved into third place in series points with an average starting position of 10.7 and an average finishing position of 10.0. Sawyer has recorded four top ten runs. Edward Howell, Keith Roggen, B. J. Mackey, Ned Combs, and 1991 Goody's Dash Series National Champion Johnny Chapman will be other top ten drivers to keep an eye on. Racing action gets underway on June 3 at Orange County Speedway with Goody's Dash Series, NASCAR Touring practice starting at 12:30 p.m. Qualifying will take place at 5:00 p.m. and an Driver Autograph session will be held at 6:30 p.m.