USAR: Lakeland: Mark McFarland preview

McFarland, PKR Ready For USAR Hooters Pro Cup Opener At Lakeland JMOORESVILLE, NC (March 11, 2008) - A change in the 2008 USAR Hooters Pro Cup schedule has created a sense of urgency for driver Mark McFarland and his Pete Knight Racing team as...

McFarland, PKR Ready For USAR Hooters Pro Cup Opener At Lakeland

JMOORESVILLE, NC (March 11, 2008) - A change in the 2008 USAR Hooters Pro Cup schedule has created a sense of urgency for driver Mark McFarland and his Pete Knight Racing team as they head for the first event of the season this weekend at USA International Speedway in Lakeland, FL.

"We definitely want to have a good run at Lakeland," said McFarland (left). "We're going for the championship and there aren't that many races in the regular season now, so you have to make every one of them count. Our goal is to win or get out of there with a Top-3 finish. If we do that, we'll feel pretty good about it."

McFarland is already feeling 'pretty good' about the eight-race 2008 USAR Southern Division campaign after a whirlwind off season that saw his PKR team move to a new shop, hire a new crew chief and sign a major sponsor.

"Adding Wes Ward has been a big help to our team," said McFarland of his new crew chief. "He's got everybody going in the same direction. We've made a number of changes to our team this year with Wes, a new engine builder, new cars and mostly new people. Including me, there are only two people back from our team last year. Everyone is excited for the season to start.

"Plus we have a great new sponsor in Sears Auto Center," McFarland continued. "We looked for a sponsor all last year and we were finally able to partner with them. They are really excited to be a part of our effort this season. They are going to be bringing a lot of people to the races this year and we're looking forward to meeting every one of them. It's going great to be able to do all the different things they have planned for us. We're proud to be able to represent them this season."

McFarland represented himself well in 2007 USAR Pro Cup action winning twice en route to a third-place finish in the final season championship standings. The Winchester, VA driver and his No. 81 Sears Auto Center Chevrolet Monte Carlo will be looking for even better results this year especially after a pair of solid pre-season test sessions at Lakeland and South Georgia Motorsports Park in Valdosta, GA.

"The tests went pretty well," said McFarland. "We didn't feel like we were as good as we should be. We took a brand new car and the series has a new tire this season. By the end of the day, we were hitting on some things that really helped the car. After Lakeland, we tested at Valdosta and we learned a lot more there. We feel real good about going back to Lakeland. There will be a full day of practice Friday and I know by Saturday, we're going to be ready to win."

To do that, McFarland will have to master the ultra-fast .75-mile Lakeland oval.

"I love that Lakeland is bigger than most of the tracks we race at," said McFarland. "It's pretty fast and it's all about getting your car to handle there. You have to take really good [Mark%20Sign%20320.jpg] care of your tires to be fast on the longer runs. If you can do that, you're going to be in position to win or get a good finish at the end of the race."

In the end, McFarland hopes all the hard work and changes he and his Pete Knight Racing team made over the off season will result in a victory this weekend at Lakeland.

"I've never won at Lakeland," McFarland stated. "I've finished second and third there a bunch. I'd really like to win there. It's one of the premiere tracks on our tour and to win there would be awesome for our team."

-credit: pkr

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Series Stock car
Drivers Mark McFarland