Charlotte: Stacy Compton preview

Fast Facts: Stacy Compton * "You Say It's Your Birthday?"  --   Team Conseco wheelman Stacy Compton will place his 35th candle on the cake Saturday at Lowe's Motor Speedway.  The Hurt, VA native will look to kick off his birthday weekend ...

Fast Facts: Stacy Compton

* "You Say It's Your Birthday?"  --   Team Conseco wheelman Stacy Compton will place his 35th candle on the cake Saturday at Lowe's Motor Speedway.  The Hurt, VA native will look to kick off his birthday weekend looking for a solid run in the ST Motorsports Busch Series entry, then follow up with a post-birthday celebration on Sunday in A.J. Foyt's Conseco Pontiac.

* We Can Rebuild It?  --   The Team Conseco crew spent late hours at the shop getting Stacy Compton's Charlotte ride ready for the Winston / Coca-Cola 600 race week.  After Compton lost grip and backed A.J. Foyt's Pontiac into the wall during the open test session, Mike Hillman's charges put in the OT necessary to get the car back on track in time for the Winston Open.  Team Conseco has high hopes for the speedway car, noted by Compton as the best downforce car in the Foyt stable.  A pit sequence shuffle in Texas and an electrical problem in California halted Compton's pursuit of a pair of top-10s.  Hillman is looking forward to applying the lessons learned in the Open and No Bull Sprint to the 600-mile trek into Sunday evening at LMS. 

* Have a Coke and  --   Over the past two seasons, the Coca-Cola 600 hasn't given Stacy Compton or Mike Hillman anything to smile about.  Separately, the duo logged just one top-25 start, Compton's 22nd in 2001, and one top-20 finish, 17th for Hillman in the same event.  Hillman and Compton are confident they've come together at the right time to set new marks with Team Conseco in the 2002 edition.

ACCORDING TO COMPTON: Gotta be there early to have a chance late.

The 600  --   "When you're running those 600 miles, sometimes it seems about 200 miles too far for a place like Charlotte.  This track changes so much that the first 300 miles is a whole lot different from the second 300 miles, and the teams you see running well in the beginning might not be there at the end.  We've got to be good the whole time -- we can't afford to start slow and lose a lap early, before the track comes to us.  If we can run strong in the first half, we'll have a chance down the stretch.  During the Winston Open, we were able to run the high groove in Turns 3 & 4.  If we can get there again, we'll pick up a lot of time while some other teams might struggle.

ACCORDING TO HILLMAN: True test for the one-engine rule.

That 600-Mile Mindset --   "For a crew chief, the key is to get out of the 500-mile frame of mind.  When you add another 100 miles to a race, especially one that starts at 5:30 and ends around 10:30, you've got to give careful consideration to gearing and make the right adjustments to your pit strategy.  You'll see cars pick up almost a second a lap over the course of the race.  The track is so susceptible to weather changes -- you've got to set the car up loose over the first part of the race, and have enough spring rubbers and wedge so that the car is highly adjustable during the second half.  ~  This will be the big test for the one-engine rule, and I don't think you'll see teams doing a lot of practicing.  NASCAR's getting a little fussier about who they let get away with changing motors and dropping to the rear of the field. 

-ajfr/tc-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Stacy Compton , A.J. Foyt