USAR: Lakeland: Matt Hakins preview

Matt Hawkins Hopes to Shine in Pro Cup Debut 19-Year-Old Rookie Ready to Prove Himself at Lakeland CANTON, GA (March 2, 2007) -- After already proving himself in the Super Late Model ranks, 19-year-old Matt Hawkins is ready for the next step up.

Matt Hawkins Hopes to Shine in Pro Cup Debut
19-Year-Old Rookie Ready to Prove Himself at Lakeland

CANTON, GA (March 2, 2007) -- After already proving himself in the Super Late Model ranks, 19-year-old Matt Hawkins is ready for the next step up. And that first big step for him will come next week when the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series opens up their season at USA International Speedway on Saturday, March 10th.

"I am just really excited to go to Lakeland," said Hawkins. "The plan is to be ready, try and qualify up front and to be able to run in the top 10 throughout the race. I am just going to do the best that I can. We aren't really going there with the expectations of winning the race; just making the show, getting experience and running consistently are our goals for the weekend."

While it will be Hawkins' first time behind the wheel of a Pro Cup car at an actual race, it won't be the first time that he has been around the track in a Super Late Model or a Pro Cup car.

"I have been to Lakeland before, and we have run well there. We were down there with the Super Late Model a few years back. We ran one of the FASCAR races that they held down there. We were fast. I led most of the race, but I ended up fifth when all was said and done.

"It is one of my favorite tracks, and I am really looking forward to going back down there in a Pro Cup car. I know that it won't be exactly the same as the Super Late Model, since they are a little bit different. The Pro Cup car is a little bit heavier, but it should be just as fun."

In preparation for the event, the team, with Driving Coach Mike Garvey and new crew chief Rich Lushes, headed down to Lakeland to get a little time behind the wheel before the big opener.

"We are trying to do everything that we can to get ready for this race," added Hawkins. "We went down there and tested last week. It's actually not a whole lot different than it is with a Super Late Model; the Pro Cup cars are just a little bit heavier. All three of our cars were really fast down there, and I hope that it stays that way next weekend."

One of those fast cars was Mike Garvey. In addition to coaching Matt, he will also be running the race, and he had some pointers for the young Hawkins.

"Mike (Garvey) was a lot of help down there. He is good wherever we go, and if you do anything wrong, he will let you know and it really helps you out. He helps you out wherever you go, and every track that I have been to he has been able to give me something that helped me out as well. With everything that we have going for us, I feel pretty good about this first Pro Cup race. I am ready to go give it a try."

-credit: dsg

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Series Stock car
Drivers Mike Garvey