BUSCH: Atlanta: Mark McFarland race notes



The Navy # 88 Chevrolet NASCAR Busch Series racecar, owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr., powered to a strong 15th place finish in the Nicorette 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday. The field which consisted of 17 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup regulars forced Navy Driver, Mark McFarland to fight his way to the top 15 after securing the 43rd starting position.

McFarland commented, "You have to mentally block out the fact that you're traveling over 200 MPH as you launch into Turn One at Atlanta. You have to relax and have fun with this place. If you don't, you'll over drive the turns and lose positions or worse."

After surviving a disappointing qualifying session the Navy team focused on the objective Crew Chief, Rich Hubbs, identified prior to the main event. "Points", stressed Hubbs, "This is race number five. This is the event we looked at in February at Daytona and outlined in our strategy as a key event in the development of the team."

The NASCAR Busch Series utilizes last season's owners' points during the first five events to assign 30 guaranteed starting positions regardless of where a team qualifies. The sixth race is the first event that will base those spots on the current season's points. With the strong finish at Atlanta the Navy Racing team secured the 19th position in owners' points, up three positions from last week.

Director of Engineering for the team, Derek Jones, commented on the event, "We stuck with a conservative game plan for most of the race which consisted of making standard adjustments to the race package to give Mark a fairly stable platform to make strategic passes. Our goal is to put the car in an advantageous position late in the event and then make more aggressive changes to the car and leave it in the drivers' hands. That played out well today, we had excellent tire management that left us with a fresh set for our last run and Mark raced clean and smart."

Questioned on the Navy's satisfaction with the 2006 race program thus far, Program Manager, NCCS Jeff Priest replied, "Mark's performance today showed the true Navy spirit, a young man, a rookie in the series relied on strategy and teamwork to battle his way through the pack to finish among the sports best drivers. The Navy is about accelerating young people's lives, its what we do, and to watch this team develop with the support provided by the Navy is directly on target with the marketing objectives of Navy Racing."

McFarland is 17th in Drivers points up one position as the team moves on to Bristol, TN next week.


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Drivers Mark McFarland , Derek Jones