USAR: Lakeland: Southern Division round one preview, schedule

USA International Speedway to Host Lucas Oil 250 MYRTLE BEACH, SC (February 10, 2004) -- Once Shane Huffman was officially crowned the 2003 USAR Hooters ProCup Series National Champion last month at the awards banquet, all eyes ...

USA International Speedway to Host Lucas Oil 250

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (February 10, 2004) -- Once Shane Huffman was officially crowned the 2003 USAR Hooters ProCup Series National Champion last month at the awards banquet, all eyes quickly focused on the start of the 2004 Hooters ProCup Series' season. USA International Speedway, the "home track" of the USAR Hooters ProCup Series Southern Division, will once again host the season opener for the Southern Division on Saturday, February 28th with the running of the Lucas Oil 250.

Huffman will head into the Southern Division opener looking to repeat his dominating performances at the track during the 2003 season. Huffman, who captured two of his eight wins last year at USA International, won two out of the last three races at USA International Speedway, the only 0x00be-mile track on the '04 schedule. The Hickory, N.C., driver started from the pole position in two out of the four races held at USA Int'l last season.

After collecting his only win in the Hooters ProCup Series at USA Int'l last season, Joe Gaita is ready to return to action after a disappointing finish to 2003. Joining Gaita and the rest of the Hooters ProCup Series veterans will be a bumper crop of rookies competing for the Miller Lite Rookie of the Year Awards. One of those rookies will be Matt Carter.

Carter has teamed up with RBR Enterprises, who won the 2002 Hooters ProCup championship with driver Jason Sarvis, and looks to be a leading contender for the Southern Division ROTY and overall Miller Lite Rookie of the Year. Carter, son of famed NEXTEL Cup car owner Travis Carter, will pilot the No. 22 Ford at USA International Speedway for the first time.

Jay Fogleman returns to the Southern Division flying the familiar Lucas Oil decals after competing in the Northern Division in 2002 & 2003. Fogleman, who captured three wins last season, is excited about returning to the Southern Division and USA International Speedway.

"I met a lot of good people, but I've only raced in the North for two years and it's a new series," Fogleman said. "I miss the rivalries in the South, like racing Bobby Gill and door-slamming with him each week; it doesn't get any better than that. I feel like a kid on Christmas again, looking forward to getting back to tracks like Ace and Hickory, where I've raced all my life. I needed this change to light my fire as a racer again."

The Lucas Oil 250 weekend begins with a special practice session scheduled for Friday afternoon February 27th at 5 p.m. The extra practice session is scheduled to allow teams extra time to practice on the new BFGoodrich Traction T/A Radial Tire that will be used in competition this season for the first time in the Series. The Lucas Oil 250 will begin Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. For more information, please contact USA International Speedway at 800-964-7223.

2004 USAR Hooters ProCup Series quick Facts

WHAT:                         Lucas Oil 250

USAR Hooters ProCup Series Race #1 of 30 (Southern Division Race #1 of 12)

WHERE:                       USA International Speedway

.750-mile, semi-banked asphalt oval

WHEN: Saturday, February 28, 2004 -- 7:30 pm

DISTANCE: 250 Laps/187.50 Miles

STARTING FIELD: 36 car starting field. 38 cars possible. Fastest 32 cars through time trials. Two provisional positions for top-30 from 2003 Southern Division Driver Points Standings. One provisional for top-30 2003 Southern Division top-30 Car Owner. Two provisional starting positions available for a past Hooters ProCup Series champion or rookie of the year (only if necessary).

TELEVISION:                SPEED, Thursday March 11, 2004 (8:00 pm EST)

SPEED, Friday, March 12, 2004 (12:00 noon (EST)

WEEKEND SCHEDULE:

Friday, February 27, 2004:
5:00 pm -- 7:00 pm Practice

Saturday, February 28, 2004:
11:00 am Front Gate Grandstands Open
11:00 am -1:30 pm Hooters ProCup Series Practice
4:30 pm Hooters ProCup Series Qualifying
6:15 pm Autograph Session
7:00 pm Pre-Race Ceremonies
7:30 pm Lucas Oil 250

-usar-

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Series Stock car
Drivers Shane Huffman