NASHVILLE, Tenn. (April 16, 2004) -- In preparation for Saturday's AutoZone Spring Classic 150, NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southeast Series teams arrived at Nashville's Music City Motorplex on Friday to get a head start on their...
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (April 16, 2004) -- In preparation for Saturday's AutoZone Spring Classic 150, NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southeast Series teams arrived at Nashville's Music City Motorplex on Friday to get a head start on their season-opening event. On-track action begins at 12:00 p.m. (Central Time) Saturday, yet the pit area at the historic Tennessee State Fairgrounds track was abuzz with activity on Friday.
A quick rundown of Friday's notable news....
* Midwest Series Moves In ... The NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division is designed to provide opportunities for drivers in four different series -- the Midwest Series, Northwest Series, Southeast Series and Southwest Series - and that philosophy is certainly ringing true this weekend in Nashville. Several Midwest Series teams have taken advantage of an off-week in their schedule to run the AutoZone Spring Classic 150. Midwest Series regulars Nathan Haseleu, of Arlington, Wis., Jon Lemke, of Greenfield, Minn., Eddie Hoffman, of Wheaton, Ill., Erik Darnell, of Beach Park, Ill. and Brian Hoppe, of Madison, Wis. have entered the event and will challenge the Southeast Series stars on their home turf. Hoffman and Hoppe emerge as favorites among this pack -- they've each scored victories in previous events at Music City Motorplex. Darnell, meanwhile, is expected to run several events in both series throughout the 2004 season.
* 2003 Championship Crew Chief Shelton Makes a Move... Michael Shelton called the shots for 2003 Southeast Series champion Charlie Bradberry's team, leading the young Alabama driver to his first title. Bradberry has planned a 12-race NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series schedule for 2004 and will not be back to defend his championship full-time. Shelton, meanwhile, was named crew chief for the No. 33 Richardson Racing team and rookie driver Robert Richardson.
* Playing the Numbers Game ... Haseleu arrived sporting a new No. 87 on the sides of his team's G&M Auto Service/Affordable Plants Ford. The Wisconsin-based team and car owner Gary Schultz had always used No. 96, while Haseleu's own Late Model teams ran No. 87. Starting this season, Schultz has adopted Haseleu's number.
* Bowen Breaks Down... Wayne Bowen and his No. 23 Hi-Tach Oil Stabilizer team experienced mechanical troubles with their race car hauler en route from North Carolina. While they missed out on Friday's tech inspections, the team expects to arrive in time for Saturday's race.
* Bonus Bucks from Featherlite Trailers ... NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division teams (in each of the four participating series) will be racing for a new special award this season -- the Featherlite "Most Improved Driver" award. The $300 award is presented to the driver who improves the most positions compared to the series' previous event. At the season-opening AutoZone Spring Classic 150, the award will be based on the results from the 2003 Southeast Series finale at Greenville-Pickens Speedway.
* Hockey Fever in Music City ... In honor of the Nashville Predator's recent National Hockey League playoff run, fans can get a deal on tickets for Saturday night's race. By showing a ticket stub from any Nashville Predators home game from the 2003-04 season, fans will be able to buy one adult ticket and get one free for Saturday's AutoZone Spring Classic 150 at Music City Motorplex.
* Music City Motorplex Welcomes Fort Campbell Troops ... At a recent promotion held at Fort Campbell, Ky. -- home of the U.S. Army 101st Airborne Division -- Music City Motorplex officials distributed 1,000 free tickets to soldiers for the AutoZone Spring Classic 150. These members of the "Screaming Eagles" are sure to be welcome guests on race day.