Lavender to make Craftsman Truck debut. Richmond, VA (Sept. 4, 2002) When the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series rolls into the Richmond International Speedway this week for the running of the Virginia is for Lovers 200, there will be a few new faces...
Lavender to make Craftsman Truck debut.
Richmond, VA (Sept. 4, 2002) When the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series rolls into the Richmond International Speedway this week for the running of the Virginia is for Lovers 200, there will be a few new faces added to the mix. All-Pro Series regular, Jody Lavender from Hartsville, South Carolina will be one those drivers making his series debut.
Like most drivers in NASCAR's big three divisions, Lavender has worked his way up through the ranks and is poised to make his mark in the sport of stock car racing.
"It's just a natural progression," said the 23-year old driver. "The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is just like the rest of the stepping stones it took to get us to this level. I've set my goal to make it to the Winston Cup Series, and to do that you have to work your way up through the ranks and learn as you go."
Lavender and his crew have worked in the Hills Brothers Coffee All-Pro, NASCAR Touring division for the past three years. They participated in a limited schedule of five races in 2000, then ran the full All-Pro schedule in 2001. Lavender was a consistent candidate for the rookie-of-the-year title, and was the top finishing rookie in four events. He finished second in the rookie chase to Charlie Bradberry.
"I'm looking at this race as a great opportunity to get some seat time in these trucks," Lavender stated. "We're thinking seriously about running in the truck series next year, and this will give me a chance to drive something heavier, faster, and on radial tires. The Busch and Cup Series drivers I have talked to say that the radial tires have a very different feel to them than the bias-ply compound we run in the All-Pro Series. We want to run a few more races in the trucks this season to get the valuable experience we need before running for the rookie-of-the-year title in 2003."
Lavender will be piloting an entry owned by truck series regulars, McDonalds Motorsports. "Make no mistake about it. This will be a tough race to qualify for with five Winston Cup drivers and 55 to 60 other drivers trying to make the show," he explained. "There are only 42 spots, and that includes the drivers that have provisionals. When you're racing against guys like Tony Stewart, Bobby Hamilton, Kevin Harvick, and Ken Shrader you have to be on your "A" game from the minute you unload the car. I've never been intimidated by other drivers, but you know at this level you're competing against the best in the business. They come to run these races for the fun of it, but those guys are serious when they climb through the window. I just want to be competitive and show these guys that I can race with them and not do anything crazy."