(Fairfield, Calif.) - Don't be surprised to see Jim Inglebright break his career best finish this weekend at the Gateway International Raceway. Since finishing 15th in Bakersfield, Calif., Inglebright has tested twice; once in a truck and the...
(Fairfield, Calif.) - Don't be surprised to see Jim Inglebright break his career best finish this weekend at the Gateway International Raceway. Since finishing 15th in Bakersfield, Calif., Inglebright has tested twice; once in a truck and the other in a Southwest tour car.
The Fairfield, Calif. native spent two days testing at the Irwindale Speedway gaining critical seat time in his #02 Jelly Belly Chevrolet. Inglebright, along with the entire Roadrunner Motorsports Inc crew have devoted countless hours toward preparing for this race.
"It was the first time I've ever tested in a truck," said Inglebright. "I needed the seat time real bad. I have to admit I was at a great advantage. Rick Carelli flew in to help me out!"
Carelli, a former driver for Phelon Motorsports on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series brings many years of experience and knowledge racing trucks. He was recently released from his driving duties when Phelon Motorsports closed its doors due to lack of sponsorship.
"I can't tell you how big of a help Carelli was to me," said Inglebright. "He really advanced my learning curve by leaps and bounds. I do feel after testing with Rick I will be able to drive the truck better with consistency."
Rodney Haygood, crew chief for the #02 Jelly Belly Chevrolet is no stranger to Carelli's presence. Both Carelli and Haygood have worked together in the past, producing two truck series wins in 1999. Between the two, Inglebright has learned a lot about the truck.
"During the test I was able to concentrate on driving the truck, feeling what it would do after changes were made," said Inglebright, who will race for the third time at Gateway.
Inglebright has raced at the Madison, Ill. facility in NASCAR's Slim Jim All Pro and Re/Max Challenge Series events during the 1990s. He admits, however, the experience does not give him an edge over his competitors. The trucks handle and drive differently than the cars.
Inglebright is not the only one preparing for this weekend's race. The pit crew has been practicing pit stops and developing strategies the past few weeks. They put forth a great effort at the Mesa Marin Raceway earlier in March as pit strategy and quick pit stops placed Inglebright as high as second before a cut tire forced him to pit.
"The guys have come a long way with pit stops," said Inglebright. "They have been practicing quite a bit so I know we will do great when that time comes."
The 39-year-old Southwest Tour veteran is excited to get back to racing. Inglebright, in particular, is looking forward to the Pikes Peak race in Fountain, Colo., where the Jelly Belly Candy Co. will sponsor the truck race.
"Jelly Belly has been a great sponsor," said Inglebright. "Sponsoring the Pikes Peak event just proves how devoted they are to the sport. I am very excited about that weekend! It will be a great race for the fans."