Hawkins Gains Confidence and Luck at Lakeland CANTON, Ga. (May 3, 2005) -- It seems Matt Hawkins' luck has finally turned around, and that's great news for the Matt Hawkins Racing team after a somewhat slow start to the 2005 season. The ...
Hawkins Gains Confidence and Luck at Lakeland
CANTON, Ga. (May 3, 2005) -- It seems Matt Hawkins' luck has finally turned around, and that's great news for the Matt Hawkins Racing team after a somewhat slow start to the 2005 season. The team traveled to Lakeland, Fla. to compete in the FASCAR Sunbelt Super Series race Saturday night and came away with a top-five finish after having led 87 of the 125 laps at USA International Speedway.
Hawkins qualified the No. 22 Premier Indoor Comfort Systems/Amana Ford in the eighth position, but to the invert, would start the feature event in second place. From the drop of the green flag, Hawkins moved around the first place starter and drove off, putting a great deal of distance between him and his closest competitors. Hawkins paced the field for the first 87 laps until a caution flew for an incident involving the second and third place competitors, Wayne Anderson and Jeff Choquette.
For the 17-year-old driver, being in the lead position is a little unfamiliar to him, as he competes in his first full season of late model stock car racing. When the 29 cars took the green flag for the restart, the second place competitor got the better of the No. 22 and took over the lead. Hawkins' inexperience allowed third and fourth place to pass as well, but Hawkins maintained speed and position and raced hard to the end. On the final lap, Hawkins got edged out for fourth and completed the race in the fifth position.
"This car ran like a Cadillac," said Hawkins. "It was awesome to lead so many laps and pull away from those guys. The No. 22 Premier Indoor Comfort Systems/Amana Ford didn't run as well when we were behind people, but it was a great run for us tonight. To have led as many laps as I did, it just shows we have a good piece of equipment. This was our brand new car, and I think it's one we'll be running from now on. Jody (Wilkerson, crew chief) did an excellent job with the car setting it up. It was fast right off the trailer. It was great to run so well and build some confidence to keep going and running strong."
Hawkins has competed in go-karts, Legends and most recently late models. He has numerous victories and championships in karting competition, including the 2003 World Karting Association National Championship, and looks to build his list of accomplishments in 2005. Hawkins and the Matt Hawkins Racing team have elected to compete in the O'Reilly Southern All Star Racing Series in 2005, as well as five USAR Hooters Pro Cup races, along with select late model events around the Southeast.