Atlanta Mark Osborne Pro Stock Truck Preview

OSBORNE LOOKING FOR MORE DRAG RACING SUCCESS AT ATLANTA COMMERCE, Ga. -- For some drag racers, there are race tracks that bring out the best in their abilities. Mark Osborne has formed such a union with Atlanta Dragway over ...

OSBORNE LOOKING FOR MORE DRAG RACING SUCCESS AT ATLANTA COMMERCE, Ga. -- For some drag racers, there are race tracks that bring out the best in their abilities. Mark Osborne has formed such a union with Atlanta Dragway over the years. Cool and comfortable, with a laid-back style, Osborne, from Abingdon, Va., simply loves that NHRA quarter-mile facility. For some reason, he says he has always felt at home there. "Atlanta has always been a great track for me, I've had a lot of success there in the past," said Osborne, who will lead Pro Stock Truck drivers into competition there at the 19th annual Advance Auto Parts NHRA Southern Nationals, May 13-16. "That's still my home track until Bristol (Dragway, Tenn.) opens. Hopefully we can go there and get another victory. We're going to give it our best shot." The $1.6 million race is the fifth of 14 events for Pro Stock Trucks in the $40 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series. If Osborne can win the race it will be his third victory this season behind the wheel of his RCL Components Chevrolet S-10. It will be his third overall at Atlanta Dragway. Osborne earned victories there in Pro Stock last season and in 1995. He fielded Competition Eliminator entries that posted two runner-up finishes there during his sportsman racing days. "It's not so much my driving style there," Osborne admitted. "I'm just real comfortable racing there. I don't feel so much like an alien there because it's so close to home. Because I've won a few races there I've sort of developed a little bit of a fan following there. That always makes it nice." Osborne, a five-year veteran driver in NHRA Pro Stock competition, is one of two drivers for Kessinger Motorsports, which features a second truck driven by Tim Freeman. The team's crew chief, Kevin Horst, is a former team member for Warren Johnson's Pro Stock operation. With Bill 'Grumpy' Jenkins horsepower under the hood of their pickups, the team is a formidable truck superpower. "We've got a strong team that has about 20 years of Pro Stock experience," Osborne said. "Most of the competition is former sportsman drivers, still trying to make the transition from driving automatics, using torque converters and learning how to shift. I guess we have a little bit of an advantage going for us. But the competition is extremely tough. It's not like we're just going through the motions to win races. We're having to work very hard." Osborne, who holds an 38 point lead over Brad Jeter in the Winston point standings, finished fifth overall in the Pro Stock championship race last year. He's no stranger to a tight points battle. "The next five events will make a big difference," Osborne said. "After we get through those races we can look at the point standings and the schedule and see where we are and make a run for it. Our goal is to make it to a lot of final rounds, win some races and possibly set some national records. If we can do that, we'll be in good shape. Hopefully we'll be the one on top at the end of the season." But first he wants to be the one on top at Atlanta Dragway's NHRA Advance Auto Parts Southern Nationals. He says weather conditions there always come into play. "If it's a little cool and overcast there then the track is awesome," Osborne said. "If the track stays good and you're fast and can stay in the right hand lane you stand a real good chance of winning."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Brad Jeter , Warren Johnson , Tim Freeman