Loudon: Travis Kvapil preview

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (July 12, 2005) - With one previous victory at "The Magic Mile", Travis Kvapil, driver of the No. 77 Kodak Racing Dodge Charger, looks forward to making his return to the New England-based track. Kvapil has raced at NHIS four...

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (July 12, 2005) - With one previous victory at "The Magic Mile", Travis Kvapil, driver of the No. 77 Kodak Racing Dodge Charger, looks forward to making his return to the New England-based track.

Kvapil has raced at NHIS four times in his NASCAR career, all while competing in the NASCAR Truck Series. In addition to his victory, he has posted two-seventh place finishes and one second-place finish at the 1.058-mile facility.

Kvapil will make his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series start this weekend at the Northern most track on the Cup Series schedule and hopes to continue his New Hampshire trend of top 10s.

"I don't know what it is about New Hampshire but I love that track," Kvapil said. "It is definitely tough. Darlington is my favorite track but New Hampshire ranks right up there. I think my worst finish up there was seventh and right now that would be like a win to [the Kodak Racing team]."

To prepare for Sunday's New England 300, the Shane Wilson led Penske-Jasper Racing team made a visit to The Milwaukee Mile, not far from Kvapil's hometown, Janesville, Wis.

"Shane wanted to work on a couple of different things on a flat track, so Milwaukee just made sense," Kvapil said. "We put in a lot of laps and we left the test pretty happy, even though they cut into my vacation!"

Kvapil took a few days off for rest and relaxation with his wife, Jen, and his daughter and son, Kelsey and Carson. Wilson scheduled the test later, with Kvapil's approval.

"I like picking on Shane, telling him he cut my vacation time short," Kvapil said. "He asked first, but what am I, a lowly driver, going to say? No? Are you kidding me?"

Wilson said the test gave him an idea of what Kvapil needs for the upcoming 300-lap, 317.4-mile, race.

"Getting Travis to Milwaukee was a plus," Wilson said. "Anytime I can get him into a racecar and on a track similar to what we will be running in the upcoming weeks is a positive. Travis and I are starting to communicate better. I am starting to understand what he is telling me, and he is starting to understand what information will best help me in giving him the right car to race."

"Testing isn't just about the cars and set-ups anymore. It is also about another opportunity to improve one of the most important things to increase our productivity; communication."

Coming off a weekend where jubilation quickly turned to disappointment, Wilson, a Royalton, VT., native, is looking forward to tackling what he would consider to be his hometown track.

"Last weekend we had a good car, no, a great car and it just didn't work out for us," Wilson recalled. "We knew we had a good race-piece and just 13 laps in something went wrong. I hated that it happened but for it to happen when Travis was at home, that just made it 10-times worse. This weekend is on my turf. My family will be there and I want a good finish. I don't want them to think I am some cracker-jack crew chief."

"If there was a positive last week, it was that our day ended because of mechanical failure. We can't always control things and for a crew chief that is hard to admit. We are control freaks. We have to be aware of everything that goes on with our cars in the shop and at the track. Mechanical failure is kind of like a wardrobe mal-function, you never know when you will be exposed."

NEWS OF NOTE

Late News But Welcome to the Crew: The Kodak Racing team would like to extend warm wishes to the newest "little" member of the team. Clay, front tire changer for the No. 77 Penske-Jasper Racing pit crew, and Jenna Robinson welcomed Joseph "Joey" Andrew Robinson on June 23 at 3:08 am, EDT. Joey was 21.5" long at birth and weighed 8 lbs. 3 oz. Joey has two older sisters, Paige (5 yrs) and Antonia (2 yrs), who are "eager" to help mom out while dad is away.

More Baby News:

Cindy and Bill Lewis, hauler drivers for the Penske-Jasper team, are on "grand-baby watch". Cindy's daughter, Stephanie, is expecting her first child, "Baby-Girl McKinney", any day now. Stephanie is the wife of Ryan McKinney, car chief for the No. 60 NASCAR Busch Series entry.

Matt, team Engineer for the No. 77 team, and Jessie Lucas are expecting their first.

Upcoming Kodak Racing Birthday Celebrations:
* July 16 - Jeremy Adams, Mechanic.
* July 26 - Brenda Rose, Scorer.
* July 31 -Tim Boatwright, Jackman.

-penskeracing

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Travis Kvapil