Martinsville, VA---Stacy Compton works as hard off the track as he does on it. Compton is currently building a house in his hometown of Hurt, Va. and on his infrequent days off he can be seen driving a truckload of dirt or pushing it on a ...
Martinsville, VA---Stacy Compton works as hard off the track as he does on it.
Compton is currently building a house in his hometown of Hurt, Va. and on his infrequent days off he can be seen driving a truckload of dirt or pushing it on a bulldozer. Compton is just as comfortable in the cockpit of a bulldozer as he is a race car.
"Hey, whatever it takes. You know how that goes," said the driver of the number 9 Kodiak Melling Ford Taurus on the NASCAR Winston Cup Circuit. Fortunately for Compton, that also pretty much is his attitude about racing. Compton, one of eight rookies in Winston Cup this season, has made it thought what should be the toughest part of his rookie season and now is looking forward to seeing some venues he has raced on before such at Martinsville Speedway in the Goody's Body Pain 500 on Sunday, April 9.
Compton also is one of only three rookies who have made all five Winston Cup events this season. In fact, he has qualified on the first day in three of the five races, despite the fact he has only raced on one of the tracks the circuit has visited so far in 2000.
"One of our goals is to make first day qualifying so we wouldn't have to worry about second round. So far it's gone pretty well all things considered," he said. "We know all this is new to us and it's new for me going to some of these places. All in all, we are pleased, but we are not satisfied. We know this team is better than what we have been finishing. That's why everyone is getting pumped about going to some places we've all been before."
The reason Compton is so excited about the next several weeks is that he has raced at upcoming tracks including Bristol, Texas and Martinsville.
The 33-year-old Hurt, Va. native raced competitively for years at Martinsville in the NASCAR Late Model Stock Division and for the past three years he competed in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, finishing fourth in 1998 and second to Jimmy Hensley in 1999.
Compton's most memorable performance at Martinsville came in 1996 when he and friends purchased some old cars from Ward Burton's 1995 team and qualified 9th for Martinsville's spring Winston Cup race. He backed it up by qualifying 23rd in Martinsville's fall Winston Cup race. The jump from Late Models to a 9th starting spot in Winston Cup caught the eyes of many teams and led to Compton's full time ride in the truck series.
"I think if it had not have been for Martinsville I wouldn't be where I am now," he said, adding he can't wait to get back. "We have an awful good shot at coming up there and running good. The Kodiak Melling Taurus has run well there. Traditionally, I've run pretty well in whatever I've been in at Martinsville. I have all of my fans coming. I'm probably as excited about Martinsville as I was Daytona."
Compton qualified 13th in first round of Daytona time trials and started the Daytona 500 in 33rd after finishing 22nd in the first qualifying race. He finished 26th in the Daytona 500. Compton was excited about Daytona as any driver would be their first time, but the challenge of making the field put his first trip in perspective.
"I was real surprised. I think because I've been in the Truck Series for a couple of years we got down there and got ready to qualify and it was just like another race. I thank the good Lord everyday that I am doing what I'm doing right now, but it was another day at the office. All in all, though I was pretty excited about it," he said.
The work ethic Compton has learned at home is paying off on the track. Compton has been self-employed, as his family owns a salvage yard, garage, a car lot and body shop. They also have rental property. Being self-employed has put a heavy workload on Compton over the years, but also helped him pursue his racing career. "It has been really good to me because it enabled me to go out and race without having a real 9 to 5 job where I couldn't take off and go racing," he said.
Compton has put a lot of time into his racing, which has paid off. He raced Late Model Stocks from the late 1980s until his move to Winston Cup in 1996 for a couple of races. He then drove in the Truck Series in 1997, 1998 and 1999. Coming into the Winston Cup Series in 2000, however, is not an easy chore.
"It's unusual to see this amount of rookies this well financed. What you are seeing is every one of the rookies have financing this year," he said. "This may be the first year that so many rookies are so well financed, and I think it's showing up. I foresee this being the next wave of Winston Cup drivers hopefully. You see that about every 10 years. You see a big group of rookies come in and stay. Hopefully that wave has come and we're here to stay," he said.
The Goody's Body Pain 500/NAPA 250 weekend kicks off on Friday, April 7 with Bud Pole qualifying for the NAPA 250 at 1:40 p.m. followed by Bud Pole time trials for the top 25 Winston Cup starting positions at 3 p.m. Tickets for Bud Pole day are $15 for adults and children under 12 get in free with a paying adult.
The NAPA 250 Craftsman Truck Series race starts at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 8. Adult tickets are $30 and children ages 6-12 can attend for $5.
The Goody's Body Pain 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race starts at 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 9. Great reserved seats still are available in the Clay Earles and Bill France towers for $60-$65 each and in all of the concrete bleacher sections for $40-$45. For tickets, call the speedway ticket office toll free at 1-877 RACE-TIX or call (540) 956-3151. For more information on Martinsville Speedway, go to www.martinsvillespeedway.com.