Mooresville, N.C. (Aug. 16, 2005) - With 22 races of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series' scheduled 36 events behind him, Travis Kvapil, driver of the No. 77 Kodak Dodge Charger and rookie of the year contender in the Cup series, is looking forward to ...
Mooresville, N.C. (Aug. 16, 2005) - With 22 races of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series' scheduled 36 events behind him, Travis Kvapil, driver of the No. 77 Kodak Dodge Charger and rookie of the year contender in the Cup series, is looking forward to returning to Michigan International Speedway and hopes to capitalize on the "playbook" he and crew chief, Shane Wilson, created back in June.
Kvapil, a 29-year old Janesville, Wis., native, understands that it takes seat time to become accustomed to the NEXTEL Cup cars he is piloting this year. He also acknowledges that having notes from a previous race on a particular track will help his crew make the right calls.
Kvapil's 26th place finish at the June race on the 2-mile oval was not what the driver had hoped for or expected.
"PRS-080 is one of our best cars; in fact it is my favorite," Kvapil said. "It responds well to adjustments and it just feels right. I have won at Michigan before in the trucks so I thought I would feel pretty comfortable out there racing. Unfortunately, for me and the team, it didn't turn out like we had hoped the last time.
"I missed it during qualifying. When I make a mistake, I own it. I know the car would have qualified better if I had pushed it harder. I also know that Shane feels the same way about making changes during the race."
Kvapil won the NASCAR Truck Series race at Michigan in August 2004, his last year in that series. The former Truck Series champion led only once in the Line-X Spray-On Truck Bedliners 200 but it proved to be at the right time.
During the Batman Begins 400, Kvapil's car handled better on the long runs. Kvapil lost a lap twice during the event while pitting under green flag conditions.
"As a driver, it is hard not to want a caution at times, especially when you need to pit," Kvapil noted. "You don't want anyone to wreck, you just want debris or something, anything, so you can come down pit road with the field and not loose a lap.
"My pit crew is great, but they aren't going to perform a five-second pit stop. No one's team is and that is about what it would take to keep your lap."
Kvapil rallied back to finish one-lap behind the winner, Greg Biffle.
"All-in-all, we learned something when visited Michigan last time around," Kvapil said. "I know I need to get up on the wheel during qualifying. I have to take everything I can from that car and put it on the edge. I hate getting out of the car and feeling disappointed because I know I didn't push the limits.
"I think Shane knows what will and won't work at Michigan. I feel pretty comfortable about it, especially taking this car."
NEWS OF NOTE
Equipment: The Kodak Racing team is taking PRS-080 to Michigan International Speedway. Earlier this year, Kvapil raced PRS-080 at Las Vegas (St 6th/Fin 26th), both Lowe's Motor Speedway events (NEXTEL Open (St. 4th/Fin. 3rd)) - Coca Cola 600 (St. 18th/Fin. 32nd) and most recently at Chicagoland Speedway (St. 16th/Fin. 43rd). Other than at Chicagoland where Kvapil had to park early with equipment failure, PRS-080 made a strong showing.
"I don't know what it is about [PRS-080], it just runs well," Kvapil said. "When Shane tells me we are taking it, I get excited. The car just responds well to changes and it has a great body on it."
Another ARCA Venture for Kodak Racing: Steven Wallace, son of Penske Racing South driver, Rusty Wallace who is retiring from driving duties at the end of the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season, will make his attempt to race in Friday night's ARCA event in the No. 27 Kodak Dodge Charger. It is a Rusty Wallace, Inc effort with technical support from PRS.