USAR: Lakeland: Jimmy Lang preview

Jimmy Lang Ready To Get Back On Track Longs, SC--When you're 15-years-old, time moves slowly. But for Pro Cup rookie Jimmy Lang, time seemed to stand still last year. Since trading in his training wheels for a go-kart when he was four, Lang...

Jimmy Lang Ready To Get Back On Track

Longs, SC--When you're 15-years-old, time moves slowly. But for Pro Cup rookie Jimmy Lang, time seemed to stand still last year.

Since trading in his training wheels for a go-kart when he was four, Lang was inseparable from racing, and victory lane, racking up wins in WKA and Legends at an alarming rate.

After moving to Late Models, Lang picked up his first in just his second start at Cordele (GA) Motor Speedway.

In '04, Lang stayed on the fast track, jumping to the Hooters Pro Cup Series. In his first start, the Bluffton, S.C., driver cracked off the 16th-quickest time in qualifying and raced into the top 10. On Lap 135, however, Lang's stellar start went awry when a tap from another car sent the 15-year-old into the wall ending his night. With only one car and a limited budget, the crash nearly derailed Lang's season before it started.

Two months and a new clip later, Lang returned to the Hooters Pro Cup Series at Concord Motorsports Park. Again, Lang qualified impressively, nailing down the 21st spot out of 40 qualifiers. However, his second started ended much like his first, albeit 116 laps shorter.

On Lap 19 of the BFGoodrich Tires 250, Lang found himself on the wrong side of a three-wide situation and finished the night hooked to a wrecker. Without sponsorship, Lang was unable to repair his racer, and his racing career stood still for the first time in his life.

"It hurt," Lang said of being a spectator for the remainder of the season. "I felt like we had a top-10 car at Lakeland, and we got taken out. Then, a lapped car took us out at Concord. We've only got one car, so, without a sponsor, we couldn't keep going. It really hurt me to know our season was over."

What did Lang do during his year away from the driver's seat?

Well, he answered questions about why he wasn't racing.

"I have a lot of fans that followed me since I was in Legends, so a lot of people asked what I was doing," said Lang. "I think I matured a little bit last season, even though I wasn't driving."

Last week, Lang tested at USA Int'l Speedway in preparation for Saturday's Naturally Fresh 250, hoping he hadn't lost the feel for his car during the downtime.

"At first, [being in the car] felt a little weird," said Lang, who is now 16-years-old. "I hadn't been in the car for 10 months. We were a little off, but we got better as the test went on. I think I'll fall right back in to where I was this weekend. I'm really looking forward to getting back on the track."

And hopefully put an end to the longest year of his life.

Jimmy Lang is currently planning on running for Miller Lite Rookie of the Year honors in the Southern Division, pending sponsorship.

-usar-

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Series Stock car