USAR: Bristol: Southern Division round 12 preview

WHAT: FOOD CITY 150 USAR Hooters ProCup Series Race ...

WHAT:                         FOOD CITY 150

USAR Hooters ProCup Series Race #23 of 30 (Southern Division Race #12 of 13)

WHERE:                       Bristol Motor Speedway - Bristol, TN

.533-mile, high-banked asphalt oval

WHEN:                         Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 7:00 pm

DISTANCE: 150 Laps/80 Miles

FOOD CITY 150 Notes of Interest:

* This is the first-ever visit to Bristol Motor Speedway for the USAR Hooters ProCup Series.

* Food City also sponsored a Northern Division race at nearby Lonesome Pine Raceway in Coeburn, VA earlier this year.

* Bobby Gill is the all-time leader in Hooters ProCup Series wins with 38 and enters Bristol Motor Speedway trailing Clay Rogers by just 25 points for the Southern Division lead.

* The Food City 150 will be regular season race #11 of #12 for the Southern Division competitors.

* Current NCTS Driver Chad Chaffin is a former race winner in the USAR Hooters ProCup Series.

Bristol Motor Speedway has roughly 160,000 seats. But on Wednesday, August 25, none of them will be needed.

"The World's Fastest Half-Mile" will host the inaugural Hooters ProCup Series' Food City 150. And the race will have fans on their feet the entire night.

"In a relatively short time period, the Hooters ProCup Series has established itself as one of the finest motorsports touring series of its kind," said Bristol Motor Speedway president and general manager Jeff Byrd.

"We know that the fans will see two tremendously exciting events with the Wednesday doubleheader and we're looking forward to hosting the inaugural Hooters ProCup event."

Though the Food City 150 will be the first visit by the Hooters ProCup Series to the high-banked bullring, the event, part of a NASCAR Craftsman Truck/USAR Hooters ProCup Series doubleheader, will be somewhat of a homecoming for the premiere touring series.

On April 1, 1993, tragedy ripped through the racing community when the plane carrying defending Winston Cup champion Alan Kulwicki, Mark Brooks, son of Hooters of America CEO Robert Brooks, Dan Duncan and Charlie Campbell went down in icy conditions while en route to Bristol from an appearance at a Hooters restaurant in Knoxville, Tenn. The crash, which killed all four on board, inspired Robert Brooks to create a racing series in their memory.

Starting in 1994, United Speed Alliance Racing began operating an open-wheel touring series. The following year, USAR started the Hooters Cup Late Model Series, which eventually gave way to the Hooters ProCup Series in 1996.

Over the last seven years, the Series has not only given longtime veteran drivers a chance make a living racing on short tracks throughout the country, but it has also proven to be a great place for up-and-coming drivers to cut their teeth in 3,300-lb., steel-bodied stock cars with nearly 600 horsepower.

"From the time I left go-karts, the goal and intention was to go to [Nextel] Cup. When you keep that in mind, you try to follow those steps," said Brian Vickers, who won the Hooters ProCup Rookie of the Year title in 2000. "Our goals were to go to big cars with big horsepower, and that's what the Hooters ProCup Series offers. The Series gives you a chance to root and gouge without going 200 mph."

In addition to Vickers, Nextel Cup rookie Scott Wimmer, Craftsman Truck Series drivers Jon Wood and Chad Chaffin also spent time in the Series. They may be the most notable alumni, but they're not the only drivers to spend time in the Hooters ProCup Series. Nearly 400 drivers have competed in the Series since its inception in 1997, forcing USAR to split the Series into separate divisions in 2001.

The Food City 150 will not be a Championship Series event, but more than 50 drivers from the Southern and Northern Divisions will be on hand, vying for a chance to race-and win-at Bristol Motor Speedway.

For first-time fans, the Food City 150 will be a great chance to see tomorrow's stars today.

"From a series standpoint, it's going to give us an opportunity for 50,000 fans out there to see our series that haven't seen it before," said USAR president Gene Cox. "When they get through watching our race on that track they're going to say, 'Wow, I never knew that series put on that kind of a show.'"

And they'll say it on their feet.

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Series Stock car
Drivers Clay Rogers , Jon Wood , Scott Wimmer , Chad Chaffin , Brian Vickers , Alan Kulwicki