Showdown: Dion Ciccarelli preview

Dion Ciccarelli Comes To Toyota Showdown With NASCAR's Latest Technology Severn, Md. (Oct. 17, 2006) - When Dion Ciccarelli unloads Jamerson Motorsports' No. 84 Star Sales Ford Fusion to take part in the fourth annual NASCAR Toyota All-Star ...

Dion Ciccarelli Comes To Toyota Showdown With NASCAR's Latest Technology

Severn, Md. (Oct. 17, 2006) - When Dion Ciccarelli unloads Jamerson Motorsports' No. 84 Star Sales Ford Fusion to take part in the fourth annual NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown, he'll be unloading the only car to come from the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series to be equipped with both of the series' newest innovations introduced this year: the one-piece composite body that the team has run all year, and the spec engine which they will be using for the first time.

The Showdown is an invitation-only event open to the top fifteen in points from NASCAR's East Series as well as its Autozone West Series. Ciccarelli, who finished second in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings and twelfth overall, is making his first trip to the race, held at the half-mile Irwindale Speedway just outside of Los Angeles, California.

While the Jamerson Motorsports team has a year's experience using the composite body and remains a strong advocate of the new development, the spec engine was installed just before the team loaded up to leave for the west coast.

"The motor we had in the car was freshened at the beginning of the year, but we hadn't freshened it during the season so it was starting to get a little tired, and we could see that at places like Dover," Ciccarelli said. "We were looking at our options: either freshen the same engine over or get the spec engine."

Team owner Larry Jamerson flew out to Wegner Automotive Research to pick up the engine and drove it to the team's Severn, Maryland shop. Installation went smoothly, although the team had to get new motor mounts and oil lines to match up with the new engine.

"It's a nice, complete package," Ciccarelli said. "It came complete with headers and went in nice, and it fired right up and idled nice and smoothly the first time."

The spec engine isn't just for the Showdown, as Jamerson Motorsports is already looking down the road at the 2007 season.

"We're making an investment in the future," Ciccarelli explained. "We did that at the start of the season with the composite body, and that's worked out great both in dollars saved and time saved, and I think the new engine will work out just as well. The guys who had them at the end of the season ran really well with theirs, and that certainly played a role in our decision as well."

Ciccarelli is looking forward to trying out his new powerplant on the progressive banking of Irwindale Speedway.

"It's just going to be a whole exciting trip," he said. "We're excited to go out there and represent the series and try to get a good finish to cap off our year. I can't wait to get on that track and getting up to speed and hopefully run up front at the end of the day on Saturday."

The Showdown's qualifying races will be broadcast on SpeedTV at 11:00pm Eastern time on Friday night, with Saturday's broadcast of the feature events beginning at 10:00pm.

-credit: ajc

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