McFarland, Jr. Motorsports Readying for 2005

Longs, SC-On his website, Mark McFarland lists Dale Earnhardt as his hero. In 2005, McFarland will get to race for his hero's son.

Recently, Jr. Motorsports, owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr., announced that McFarland would pilot its No. 32 Chevrolet in the Southern Division of the Hooters ProCup Series in 2005.

"I know Dale Jr., Jefferson [Hodges] and me are extremely excited about next year," said McFarland. "There are a lot of things we need to get done [before Lakeland], but we hope to have everything done so we can start testing before the season."

Although USA Int'l Speedway may be a track that McFarland has limited seat time, the Hooters ProCup Series competes at several tracks that he's familiar with from his eight-year stint as a top shoe in Late Model Stock racing around the southeast.

"I've raced at South Boston, Motor Mile and Myrtle Beach Speedway in Late Models," said McFarland, who won the 2003 NASCAR Weekly Racing Series National Championship as a competitor at Old Dominion (Va.) Speedway. "I think some of the things we've learned in Late Models will translate into the ProCup cars."

Jefferson Hodges will serve as McFarland's crew chief during the 2005 season. And, if they can duplicate their year-end successes in the Late Models next year, it may prove to be a potent paring. After taking over for T.J. Majors in the No. 17 Jr. Motorsports Late Model, McFarland nabbed victories at Music City (Tenn.) Motorplex and Motor Mile (Va.) Speedway.

"I think it will help that I've worked with Jefferson in Late Models," said McFarland. "Even though we're associated with Jr. Motorsports, there's not a lot of pressure because we've already been racing for them. We want to try to win every race, but we've got an open outlook for next year. We'd like to compete in the top five each week and be in the hunt for the championship at the end of the year."

By the time the Championship Series finale rolls around, McFarland and Hodges will have plenty in their notebook to draw from.

The team is planning to compete in 23 races next season, running full-time in the Southern Division and moonlighting in five Northern Division events.

But if the notebook fails, help isn't far off.

"We've got a lot of resources at Jr. Motorsports, but I don't think we're going to out-spend everyone," said Hodges. "Our biggest resource is going to be being able pick up the phone and call someone if we're having problems making the car do what we want."