HOGAN SET TO RETURN TO NASCAR AUTOZONE ELITE DIVISION, SOUTHEAST SERIES COMPETITION AT GREENVILLE-PICKENS DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (August 9, 2005) -- It has been about three weeks since the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southeast Series was in...
HOGAN SET TO RETURN TO NASCAR AUTOZONE ELITE DIVISION, SOUTHEAST SERIES COMPETITION AT GREENVILLE-PICKENS
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (August 9, 2005) -- It has been about three weeks since the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southeast Series was in action, but that time period has been anything but a lull in the racing life of 22-year-old Cleveland, Ga. native and Southeast Series championship contender Jason Hogan.
Hogan will be one of the centers of attention as the Southeast Series returns to action Saturday night, Aug. 13 at the famed Greenville-Pickens (S.C.) Speedway short track as the Southeast Series pays its second and final visit of the 2005 campaign at the half-mile facility.
"So many drivers have come through Greenville-Pickens Speedway that makes it such an historic track," Hogan says. "Every time I walk thorough the gates at Greenville -- that means a lot -- you just understand and appreciate the history of a place like Greenville. It's truly an honor to be able to race there because there have been so many great drivers like Ralph Earnhardt who won the championship at Greenville-Pickens and has his name painted on the backstretch wall along with some of the greatest drivers in NASCAR history.
"It's a privilege to race here even though I haven't won a Southeast Series race here yet. It's not one of my most favorite tracks circuits just yet, but I do enjoy the challenges the track presents when I get here. I'm always looking forward to a challenge."
Over the course of Hogan's stint away from Southeast Series competition, he along with 24 other drivers from across the country took part in Roush Racing's 'Race for the Ride' program at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Hogan tested at the short track last week and did well enough to make the cut for the final Roush test session in a couple weeks at Darlington (S.C.) Speedway where one driver will earn a fully sponsored NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series ride for the 2006 season through a reality show that will be televised by the Discovery Channel.
"I've got a lot going on," Hogan says. "I have really enjoyed the opportunity that the Roush organization has given me and I've had a great time with it so far. Even with that on my plate, I'm 100-percent committed to my Southeast Series team and trying to win this championship. Having said that, I've also got to put a lot of focus on my racing career and Jack Roush has given me a great opportunity to advance my career. I'm having a lot of fun."
Hogan says that one of the neatest parts of Roush's so called 'Gong Show' that opened the doors for drivers like NEXTEL Cup Series stars like Kurt Busch and Carl Edwards is the exposure that the Southeast Series is getting.
"This show is definitely giving the Southeast Series a lot of publicity and exposure," Hogan says. "Anytime you race and run up front in a race with a lot of fans like there is in the Southeast Series, you are going to get a lot of attention and media following. Then you consider the caliber of drivers in the Southeast Series and you just know you're going to get noticed. You've got to get noticed when you race against somebody like (two-time champion) Jeff Fultz who is the best in the Southeast Series business.
"If you do something in the Southeast Series you've really done something when you're racing against the talent level like J.R. Norris, Kevin Prince and everybody in the series each and every week. People really do take notice of what goes on in the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southeast Series."
Heading into Greenville-Pickens, one of the biggest stories is the battle for the Southeast Series championship race as current leader Norris leads Dusty Williams by only one point. It gets even better than that as the top six drivers in the standings are separated by 64 points, with Hogan sitting in fifth and trying to make up for lost ground in pursuit of his first career Southeast Series title.
"This is one of the closest championship races that I've ever been a part of and we definitely have to stay on top of our game as a team," Hogan says. "We've really made a big jump in these last two races and made up almost 40 points and should have gained more than that. We lost some points on the superspeedways, but our short track program is as good as it can be right now."