USAR: Bristol: Mark McFarland preview

McFarland Hopes To Ride Experience To Victory In Bristol USAR Pro Cup Race Mark McFarland knows having a good car will be a critical element if he's going to win the Food City 150 USAR Hooters Pro Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Then again,...

McFarland Hopes To Ride Experience To Victory In Bristol USAR Pro Cup Race

Mark McFarland knows having a good car will be a critical element if he's going to win the Food City 150 USAR Hooters Pro Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Then again, the driver of the No. 81 Knights Companies/Greased Lightning Chevrolet is also aware that staying out of trouble on the super-fast .533-mile Bristol oval will also be key to his success.

"Bristol tends to have a lot of cautions and you have to be able to avoid being in them," said McFarland. "Missing wrecks, missing the debris is really crucial. You have to have a spotter help you. He has to be out in front seeing what's happening or things that he thinks are going to happen. Having a good spotter is critical too."

For the most part, McFarland has been 'spot on' in previous races at Bristol finishing third in the 2005 USAR Pro Cup event. He's also had experiences of a different kind in two other divisions at the famed high-banked Mountain Empire oval.

"The first time I raced at Bristol was in a Late Model car which is a lot lighter than a Hooters Pro Cup car," said McFarland. "Getting around there with that was pretty simple compared to driving a Pro Cup car there. I was driving for Jr. Motorsports at the time and we were running third when we blew the engine, so we didn't get the finished we deserved.

"I've also ran a NASCAR Busch Series car there in spring of 2006 - the No. 88 Navy car," McFarland continued. "We were the fastest car in practice and then it snowed, so they set the field on points. That put us back in the pack and we got in a wreck. I've always run good there, but I just have that one good finish in the Pro Cup car."

[Car%20with%20Checkered%20350.jpg] McFarland has had a stellar 2007 USAR Hooters Pro Cup season winning a pair of Northern Division events. In Southern Division action, the 29-year-old ace is fourth in the season standings -- just 23 points out of second heading into the final regular season event at Bristol. McFarland's previous experience at Bristol tells him getting to the front -- much less winning - the Food City 150 will be a challenge.

"It's hard to pass at Bristol because these Pro Cup cars are so equal," said McFarland. "It's hard to get by someone, to get a good run on them and get by them. Depending on how the new track is, that might be harder than ever. Pit strategy will be critical because it will allow you to get up front without passing a lot of cars on the racetrack."

McFarland's mention of the 'new track' also has him aware that Bristol has an all-new concrete surface, the first such repaving of the track since it was changed from asphalt to concrete in 1992. According to McFarland, he's had plenty of experience on concrete tracks and has a pretty good idea as to what to expect when the green flag falls on the Food City 150 at Bristol.

"My experience on concrete tracks like Dover, Nashville and Bristol is that it is a lot less forgiving if you get in trouble, especially with radial tires," said McFarland. "An asphalt surface just seems like it has more grip and you may have a second chance if you get in trouble. If you get loose on the [Turn%201%20300.jpg] concrete, it just tends to be exaggerated. I've heard the new Bristol track is smoother now. It will be a challenge for everybody to figure out the new surface and see what kind of changes we'll have to make."

In the end, McFarland also knows a victory at Bristol would be big for him and his Pete Knight Racing organization.

"I have quite a bit of experience at Bristol and I am looking forward to going there," said McFarland. "It will be an opportunity to show that experience in the great equipment we have at Knights Racing. We'll definitely be prepared. Winning at Bristol would be awesome for me personally and for this team too. We have a great team and anytime you can get them recognized for their accomplishments in a setting like Bristol is great. There's not a better place for us to do that than in Bristol where you have different sponsors who might be looking to come on board with us. Pete funds this thing himself, so winning at Bristol might get someone else to partner and save Pete a little money."

The Food City 150 at Bristol Motor Speedway will take the green flag at 5:45 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, August 22. Highlights of the event can be seen on The SPEED Channel on Wednesday, August 29, at 4 p.m. Eastern Time.

-credit: pkr

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Series Stock car
Drivers Mark McFarland