Flying Under the Radar Longs, SC-When Miller Lite Rookie of the Year candidates are mentioned, Randy Gentry's name is not the first one to come to mind. But if the Easley, S.C., driver keeps racking up solid runs in the last four races, he...
Flying Under the Radar
Longs, SC-When Miller Lite Rookie of the Year candidates are mentioned, Randy Gentry's name is not the first one to come to mind.
But if the Easley, S.C., driver keeps racking up solid runs in the last four races, he may go from a blip to a blob on rookie radar.
Gentry, driver of the No. 19 Harrison's Workwear.com Chevrolet, finished 11th in the Championship Series opener at Jennerstown Speedway last Saturday and moved from 45th in overall points to 25th.
"It's almost impossible to win the overall title, but the rookie of the year is not out of the question," said Gentry. "Our goal is to finish in the top five or top 10 at every race. I can't worry about what the other rookies are doing; I've just got to do the best I can."
And Gentry's best has been pretty good.
In his first ProCup start of the season, Gentry won Miller Lite Rookie of the Race honors at New Smyrna Speedway after finishing fourth. The former All-Pro competitor finished ninth at Peach State in the next Southern Division race. More importantly, Gentry showed plenty of bullring bravado by leading 24 laps in just his second start of 2004.
"The competition in the series, top to bottom, is the toughest in the country," said Gentry, who finished second to Wayne Anderson in the 1998 All-Pro point standings. "The competition makes you strive to be better. I'm competing against Bobby Gill and Benny Gordon, and that makes you work harder."
Unfortunately for Gentry, he's had to work overtime to keep up after his track time was restricted during the regular season.
"Originally, we were going to run the entire season, but we lost some sponsorship and had to run a limited schedule," said Gentry. "We just decided to focus on the races we were going to run and do our best."
With the limited seat time, Gentry faced an uphill battle much of the season.
"It's been tough running a limited schedule," said Gentry. "When we unload, we're about a tenth [of a second] off of where we need to be. By the end of practice, we get the car were it needs to be, but we need to have it that good at the beginning of practice."
Gentry and the Harrison's Workwear Team will face another battle at an unfamiliar track as the Championship Series heads to Mansfield Motorsports Speedway on Oct. 9.
Although Gentry, who cut his teeth at Greenville-Pickens (S.C.) Speedway, trails Gary St. Amant by 87 points in the overall Miller Lite Rookie of the Year race and is currently sixth in ROTY points, he's not intimidated by the task at hand.
"I believe we can be the best out there," said Gentry. "I'm satisfied with the way we've run at times, but I want to be the guy everyone has the stopwatch on when I get on the track."
And that's one way to move up on the rookie radar.