USAR: Josh Hamner preps for debut race

Josh Hamner Preps for Hooters Pro Cup Debut at Bristol Young Driver Ready to Knock Another Accomplishment Off the Checklist on August 20th CONCORD, NC (August 8, 2008) -- For a 21-year-old, Josh Hamner has done quite well for himself in the...

Josh Hamner Preps for Hooters Pro Cup Debut at Bristol

Young Driver Ready to Knock Another Accomplishment Off the Checklist on August 20th

CONCORD, NC (August 8, 2008) -- For a 21-year-old, Josh Hamner has done quite well for himself in the short track racing world. He's set track records at historic racetracks, won track championships and beaten the toughest talent that the Southeast has to offer at places like Birmingham International Raceway (AL) and Five Flags Speedway (FL). He's now one of the top Super Late Model talents in the Southeast at the same time as helping young upstart Johanna Long as a mentor in the 16-year-old's blossoming racing career.

But there's still plenty more on Josh Hamner's checklist of things he wants to do in his career. Come August 20th, Hamner will be able to check one of those achievements off his list, as he makes his first-career USAR Hooters Pro Cup debut at Bristol Motor Speedway.

"We got looking at the schedule as far as the time we have, and we realized that Bristol was the only one we could go to before they start the Championship Series," said Hamner, who works alongside team owner Donald Long, maintaining a fleet of Super and Pro Late Models at the Panhandle Motorsports shop in Pensacola, Florida, in addition to the Pro Cup equipment. "I went to Lakeland (USA International Speedway in Florida) for my first Super Late Model race, so why not go to Bristol to make my first Pro Cup race? I think that's pretty cool."

Hamner will make his debut at one of the most historic and notoriously tough racetracks in the country, Bristol Motor Speedway. But for the young driver that has already succeeded at other tough tracks in the Southeast, Bristol is just another place to hopefully make history.

"Bristol's just another high-banked short track that you have to turn left on. We've got enough testing time to get the hang of the place, but a racecar's still a racecar at the end of the day. The similarities are they both have steering wheels and four tires. My objective is to get it around Bristol as fast as I possibly can and as consistently as I can. The differences are in the weight and the motor, but the only big difference I see is the open area that I have in a Pro Cup car versus a Super Late Model."

But, if there is any learning curve for Hamner, the education process will be sped up with the help of legendary short track racer Freddie Query, who will serve as Hamner's Crew Chief in Bristol.

"I've got a picture at the house of me and Freddie from when he won the All American 400 a few years back. He's always been a great guy that I can really relate to. He used to be a school teacher, so he can do a good job of explaining things to me that I can understand. All I have to worry about is driving the racecar, because I've got a good guy helping me that I can trust and understand."

Hamner's first foray into Hooters Pro Cup racing will come just a week after the fourth Blizzard Series event of the 2008 season at Five Flags Speedway, where Hamner currently sits atop the point standings in the highly competitive Super Late Model division. Hamner's Super Late Model racing, as well as preparing the cars for the father-daughter combination of Donald and Johanna Long, keeps Hamner busy during the week, but come Bristol, all focus will be on that #78N racecar.

"Since we bought the Pro Cup equipment a while back, we've been wanting to get out and race them, but we stay so busy with our Super Late Model and Pro Late Model stuff, we just didn't have the chance to get out there just yet. We moved into a new shop over the winter and didn't really get into it until about mid-season, but everything's happened so fast. We've got everything just about ready, and we'll get out and test a couple times before the race so that we can go out there and have a good, solid first race."

-credit: JoshHamner.com.

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Series Stock car
Drivers Johanna Long