SES: J.R. Norris 2005 preview

JR Norris Makes Move to North Carolina to Advance Career J.R.'s Been Busy Working Full-Time on His Cars and Helping Truck Series Team HUEYTOWN, AL (March 14, 2005) -- There comes a time in every professional athlete's career when they arrive at...

JR Norris Makes Move to North Carolina to Advance Career
J.R.'s Been Busy Working Full-Time on His Cars and Helping Truck Series Team

HUEYTOWN, AL (March 14, 2005) -- There comes a time in every professional athlete's career when they arrive at a crossroads. It's where they need to take the step from being a promising prospect to an actual rising star. J.R. Norris turned plenty of heads in 2004 by finishing second in the NASCAR Southeast Series point standings as a rookie. Now it's time for the next path in his career.

To advance even more this coming season, and to lay the path to continue his ascent in professional motorsports, Norris has made the move during the off-season from his native Alabama to the Mecca of stock car racing -- the Charlotte, North Carolina, area. Norris can now work full-time on the cars that he drives -- the bright orange #5 Fords of team owner Richie Wauters. Plus, he'll learn a little bit about the race machines in what he hopes might be the next stop in his career -- the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

"I'm getting used to a completely different atmosphere," said Norris of his move. "I came out here to learn more about how a racecar works and felt that if I could understand that more, I would perform better as a driver."

Since Norris is now around many young drivers away from home, you could think it would be easy for him to get caught up in the social aspect of the motorsports scene. But instead, he is focused solely on the job he came to North Carolina to do.

"A typical day for me is to get up, go to work and go home," said Norris. "There are hundreds of people around me with the same goal, but I try not to worry about that. It would be too nerve-racking and I don't want to lose sight of what I'm here for."

But that doesn't mean that Norris spends all of his time working on the cars that he drives. He also has lent a helping hand to the #15 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series team of Billy Ballew Motorsports. Wauters is the crew chief on that effort and that has given Norris an opportunity to learn even more.

"Right now, I normally work in the shop on the Southeast Series cars and Richie's Outlaw Super Late Model," said Norris. "The Truck team has a full crew, but if they are pressed for time on something, I will go over and help them out. I've been going to the track with them for races and tests as well. I don't have a specific job with the team, but I'll do anything they need for me to and I've learned a lot already."

There is a downside of going to the racetrack without wearing a driver's suit, though, for Norris.

"It's kind of tough going to the track and not racing," said Norris. "That takes some getting used to. I can't wait for our season to start up. I wish that it didn't get started so late [the SES season begins at Houston Motorsports Park (TX) on May 7th] because I'm tired of sitting around and not racing."

Last season, Norris concentrated on the Southeast Series schedule in the #5 car, but also did a little bit of moonlighting once in awhile with his family-owned #1 team. That's now a thing of the past.

"The #1 team has been retired since I have moved," said Norris. "We are trying to sell our equipment -- we have two straight-rail Super Late Models and a Southeast Series car sitting down in Alabama for sale."

Norris will return to the NASCAR Southeast Series in 2005 to run for the championship with car owner Richie Wauters.

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Series NASCAR
Drivers J.R. Norris