Bristol: Ryan Hemphill preview

Hemphill hopes for best at Bristol debut Vokal Dodge driver looking to be there at the finish MOORESVILLE, NC (August 18, 2003) -Ryan Hemphill has an optimistic view about his inaugural NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Bristol...

Hemphill hopes for best at Bristol debut
Vokal Dodge driver looking to be there at the finish

MOORESVILLE, NC (August 18, 2003) -Ryan Hemphill has an optimistic view about his inaugural NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. The 21 year-old Apollo, PA native knows the dangers that lurk at every turn of the .533 mile oval and he has seen the destruction that results from Bristol's famed multi-vehicle crashes. Yet he remains undaunted by his task at hand -- surviving at one of NASCAR's most demanding venues.

"As a racer you just put all that out of your mind," Hemphill said. "I have seen a lot of races from Bristol on television, and you know that when trouble breaks out there is often no place to go. But, as a driver, you just can't focus on that, you have to ignore it and go racing. That is not a mindset that you have, you just hope for luck."

With just one NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series start this season, Hemphill is growing more comfortable as the pilot of the No. 15 VOKAL Clothing Dodge. He and his Billy Ballew Motorsports teammates are getting accustomed to each other and to the Dodge chassis. A recent Dodge test at Bristol helped forge team chemistry as well as acclimate Hemphill to the tricky Tennessee short track.

"New crew chief Cal Boprey and I are getting comfortable working together," Hemphill said. "The whole VOKAL Clothing team is starting to work together really well. I'm glad that I got to test there. I couldn't imagine going there for the first time never seeing the place and having to race the same day. It allowed me to get better acquainted with the team and it enabled me to get more seat time. It also allowed us to make the truck better and learn more about what the truck needs set-up wise to go faster. I was very pleased with how everything went and how the team is working together."

Bristol can be a formidable challenge for even the most seasoned NASCAR veteran. For a rookie it represents a monumental task, one that Hemphill has not seen the likes of before.

"I have never seen anything like Bristol." Hemphill proclaimed. "I have never even seen anything close to it. The only track even remotely like it that I have seen is I-70 Speedway. Having tested at I-70 really helped me adapt to the banking at Bristol. I am looking forward to racing at Bristol and hopefully we will be there at the end. We just want to run our own race and stay on the lead lap. If we can do that we can get a good finish."

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway is slated for Wednesday August 20th at 8:30 pm ET. The event will be broadcast live nationally by the Speed Channel and MRN Radio.

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Ryan Hemphill