'Plenty of bumping and banging at Memphis' Brandon Whitt and the ...
'Plenty of bumping and banging at Memphis'
Brandon Whitt and the #38 McMillin Homes/Cure Autism Now Toyota Tundra team head to the .750-mile Memphis (Tenn.) Motorsports Park, for Saturday's O'Reilly 200; the 14th race in the 2005 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season.
Whitt, 22, is a native of El Cajon, Calif., driving his second full season in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Known for his penchant of being fast and loving speed, Whitt is considered one of the top up-and-coming young drivers in stock car racing. His truck his owned by Red Horse Racing, which consists of general manager Marty Gaunt, a winning veteran leader of motorsports teams; Jeff Hammond, a NASCAR Nextel Cup championship crew chief now serving as an analyst for FOX Sports; and Tom DeLoach, a former Mobil Corp. executive who, with Hammond, owns and operates PIT Instruction and Training LLC, the number one pit crew training center in the world.
The Cure Autism Now Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and funding autism research and accelerating the pace of scientific progress toward effective treatments and a cure. The organization is the largest private funder of biological research in autism, providing more than $20 million in grants since its inception in 1995.
The thoughts of McMillin Homes/Cure Autism Now Toyota Tundra driver Brandon Whitt heading into Memphis:
"Two places last season that come to mind where we felt robbed of a top-10 finish: one being Mansfield, which still owes us one, and the other was Memphis. There must be something about those short tracks. Last season, we came to Memphis feeling pretty good about our chances and worked our way up through the field. We're running in the top 10 late in the race then someone ran into us. I managed to keep it off the fence and we salvaged a top 15, but, man, we were really fast and there's no reason we can't do the same this week.
"Memphis is a great place to race. It's one of the few truck stand alone races, and they pack the place every time. It's just a short drive north of Memphis and is a great venue for short-track racing. There's not a lot of room to pass, but if you've got a good truck you can get it done. Especially going into the turns, like most any short track, if you can under-brake the truck in front of you and get up alongside them, you should be able to complete the pass down in the next turn. There's going to be plenty of bumping and banging at Memphis, but you can get away with some of that as long as people use their heads.
"Lately we've been able to turn our luck around a bit. Last time out, at Kentucky, we were finally able to close the deal and get that top-10 finish that had been hiding from us. So many times before we've been right there and something would happen, but hopefully we rid our demons with that finish in Kentucky.
"We've made a ton of improvements on our mile-and-a-half program from last season to this one, but our short track program has always been our security blanket. No matter how we were running at other tracks, you could always count on us being competitive at the short tracks. We're definitely primed for a big run up through the points standings and Memphis is a great place for us to continue the momentum we picked up in Kentucky.
"Memphis marks the first race of the second half of the season. Needless to say, we would like to be higher in the points than what we are, but our overall performance has been a lot better than our finishes. We've endured some rotten luck over the first half of the season. Now, if you believe that it all has a way of evening out, then this McMillin Homes/Cure Autism Now Toyota team should be in for one heck of a second half of the year."