Richmond: Stacy Compton preview

Stacy Compton Pontiac Excitement 400 * "Did You Say -- GREMLINS?" -- Mike Hillman is anxious to return to a short track with the Team Conseco entry that ran in Bristol and Martinsville.  It's the bad luck that follows this particular A.J. Foyt...

Stacy Compton
Pontiac Excitement 400

* "Did You Say -- GREMLINS?" -- Mike Hillman is anxious to return to a short track with the Team Conseco entry that ran in Bristol and Martinsville.  It's the bad luck that follows this particular A.J. Foyt Pontiac that he hopes to shake at Richmond.  In two previous appearances, Stacy Compton qualified the car 14th at Bristol and was taken out of the race early by Ryan Newman -- then qualified the car 16th in Martinsville, only to succumb to food poisoning and a disconnected helmet blower over the last 200 laps to finish 18th.  Hillman is hoping his driver can avoid a visit from the wrecker AND the EMT's when Team Conseco rolls into RIR for the Pontiac Excitement 400.

* Why Is This Man Smiling? -- Team Conseco was hampered by the rain in their pursuit of set-up for qualifying at California Speedway, starting a disappointing 35th -- then sidelined just 104 laps into the NAPA Auto Parts 500 by an electrical problem that manifested itself into engine failure and a 41st-place finish.  So, the question of the day was, "When Stacy Compton climbed out of A.J. Foyt's Pontiac -- why was this man smiling?"  A disappointed Compton exited his car and greeted crew chief Mike Hillman with a consoling grin after charging from 40th to 19th over 50 laps (25 to 75).  "We're getting there, Mike," Compton said.  "We were moving before the trouble!" 

* Bonus Round -- For the second time in three weeks, Mike Hillman turned misfortune into extra points in California -- ordering Stacy Compton to stay out, lead a lap and pick up 5 bonus points when the field pitted following Shawna Robinson's early spin in Turn 4.  Compton had dropped to the rear of the field to switch ignition boxes and evaluate an electrical problem during the first 20 laps of the race. (Race Note:  Special thanks to the MRN broadcast team, who credited this strategic move to television personality Vanna White.  White joined Team Conseco as Honorary Crew Chief for the race with her 7-year old son, Nikko.  Hillman was advised to buy a vowel on his next green-flag stop.)

ACCORDING TO COMPTON:
Straighten Up -- You'll Fly Right

On Richmond: "They re-seal the track here every year and that single groove through the corners can be treacherous at times.  The key to Richmond is to get the car pointed out of the corner as early as you can, so you can get back on the throttle.  There's not a car racing that goes faster sideways than it does straight -- you've got to roll through the corner and carry speed early into the straightaways.  When you're fast off, you can get up inside of a car before you get to the next corner, and the pass is made."

ACCORDING TO HILLMAN:
"Paging Harry Houdini"

Easy In -- Fast Out: "The crew chief and the driver better be on the same page in Richmond.  The car has got to handle well at this place, because turning in the corners and getting good forward bite is the key to running fast.  From a driver standpoint, they need to guard against running into the corner too hard.  These guys have a tendency to get aggressive and carry all that speed from the frontstretch down into Turn 1 and drive it in too deep -- by the time they get to the center, Houdini couldn't turn the car."

-ajfr/tc-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Shawna Robinson , Ryan Newman , Stacy Compton , A.J. Foyt