NASCAR Star Helps Rookie Walt Brannen Prepare For Nashville ...
NASCAR Star Helps Rookie Walt Brannen Prepare For Nashville
#65 Team Ready for Big Weekend with New Sponsor, FastWax
ELKO, GA (March 23, 2005) -- Many of today's up-and-coming drivers strive to be the best. One day, many of them dream of racing with the likes of Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and others in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. ARCA rookie Walt Brannen is no different than the rest of them; he would love to one day be a NASCAR Nextel Cup star.
In last week's ARCA open test at Nashville Superspeedway, Brannen got the chance to run with one of the Cup Series' biggest stars in Kasey Kahne. And Kahne taught him a lot.
"I'll tell you what, I've got a lot more respect for those Cup drivers now," said Brannen after the Nashville test. "They are pretty good."
Kahne was in Nashville working with Evernhman Motorsports test driver Erin Crocker. Kahne spent some of his time getting Crocker's car comfortable. When Kahne was out there, Brannen was always close, and followed him on several occasions.
"The biggest thing for me the whole weekend was having Kasey Kahne there. Just getting to watch him was huge. I got to ride behind him for a bunch of laps and that was a big help.
"Watching his line and learning his breaking points and how much speed he carried into the corner and through the corner taught me a lot about how to drive these cars and this track. Just by doing that, I learned I was using a little too much break and was slowing the car down too much going into the corner. Those guys (Nextel Cup drivers) are where they are for a reason."
The Nashville test was a rousing success for Brannen and now he looks forward to this weekend's PFG Lester 150.
"The test went really well. We learned a lot of stuff. We made some changes in the front-end suspension that is really going to help us out. We have a fast car. We didn't do any qualifying runs while we were there when other teams did. So I'm confident we'll be a top-five car when we get there for qualifying."
Brannen and the rest of the ARCA drivers will be gunning for one thing when they get to the track-- the famous Nashville trophy-- a custom-made Gibson Guitar.
"I'd love to have a guitar. That is a great trophy. I think maybe I should go ahead and buy my lesson book."
The #65 team will also have more incentive to win at the 1.5-mile concrete track, as they will carry backing from new sponsor FastWax.
"It's a cool place. When I first went on the track, I couldn't believe how flat it was. Then again, the past four times I've been in an ARCA car (including testing) has been at Daytona and Talladega. But the place is fun and it is really fast. You wouldn't think it would be that fast, but you get rolling off into those corners, it is fast. It is one of my favorite tracks I've been to so far.
"With the new RPM rule in ARCA (limiting the number of rpms an engine can turn), it is hurting your power up off of the corner. Now you have to drive the car like a two-barrel late model. You have to keep the momentum up. Now you are driving it off into the corner and not using a lot of brake and just letting the car roll. It is a lot of fun."
The PFG Lester 150 is set to go green at 1:30 and will air LIVE on SPEED Channel.