BUSCH: Colorado Springs: Hank Parker Jr preview

EVENT INFORMATION - Event: NASCAR Busch Series NetZero 250; Time and Date: 3:30 p.m. EDT, Saturday, July 27; Site: Pikes Peak International Raceway; Live Coverage: NBC Network (television) at 3:30 p.m. and MRN (radio) at 3 p.m. EDT; Qualifying: 5...

EVENT INFORMATION - Event: NASCAR Busch Series NetZero 250; Time and Date: 3:30 p.m. EDT, Saturday, July 27; Site: Pikes Peak International Raceway; Live Coverage: NBC Network (television) at 3:30 p.m. and MRN (radio) at 3 p.m. EDT; Qualifying: 5 p.m. EDT, Friday, July 26; Happy Hour: Friday, July 26, 7 p.m. EDT.

LAST RACE (Charter Pipeline 250) - Hank Parker Jr. and the No. 36 GNC Live Well Racing team finished 16th at Gateway International Raceway, one-lap down to race-winner Greg Biffle. The race was not without controversy for Parker, who tried to get back on the lead lap when Scott Wimmer wrecked on lap 91. Parker did not see a caution flag displayed, passing race-leader Johnny Sauter on the backstretch and expecting the move to return his No. 36 Dodge Intrepid to the lead lap. NASCAR officials said Parker did not get his lap back, arguing that the caution period begins as soon as the flagman touches the yellow flag - even if the flag was not being displayed as Parker went under the flag stand.

STANDINGS - Parker is 16th in the NASCAR Busch Series Drivers' Points Standings and team owner Wayne Jesel holds the 20th spot in the owners' points standings.

PARKER'S HISTORY AT PIKES PEAK INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY (PPIR)- Hank Parker Jr.'s best finish at PPIR came in 2000, when he drove his No. 53 Hank Parker Racing Chevy to a fourth-place result. Parker finished 22nd at PPIR last year. A vibration caused by a broken spring in the rear end of the car created an extremely loose handling condition that Parker battled throughout the 2001 event.

THE CAR - The No. 36 GNC Live Well Racing team is bringing chassis No. 17 to PPIR. This chassis was used by Hank Parker Jr. at Darlington Speedway in March, where he finished 13th, and at Nashville Superspeedway in April, where he finished 34th. Most recently, Parker drove the No. 17 chassis at Chicagoland Speedway earlier this month, where a blown engine left him with a 40th-place finish.

HANK PARKER JR. ON PIKES PEAK INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY- "Pike's Peak is one of my favorite tracks on the circuit. It's wide and flat, which is my favorite type of track, just because I've had more success on that type. You can really do some side-by-side racing here, which makes it a lot of fun for me as a driver. The area's beautiful, which is another plus.

"As far as the altitude, I don't think it affects the quality of racing at all. It definitely cuts down on the amount of horsepower you can make, but it's the same for everyone. As far as the altitude affecting me as a driver, fortunately we get a couple of days to get acclimated to it before we race. That, coupled with all the cardio training I do makes it pretty easy to adapt to the thin air up here."

ON THE CONTROVERSY OF NOT GETTING HIS LAP BACK AT GATEWAY - "All I'm looking for is consistency in NASCAR's rulings. We heard two different things this weekend about when they consider a car has taken the caution. First, our spotter was told that it's when the caution flag comes above the railing that goes around the flagstand. Then my crew chief was told that it's when the flagman's hand first touches the caution flag, even before he raises the flag. To me, it only makes sense that it should be when the flag is clearly displayed and waving. If I can't see the flag, how am I supposed to know I've taken the caution? Just come up with a hard and fast rule, write it out in black and white and stick to it. That's all we're asking. I wanted a top-5 finish this past weekend, and I feel like NASCAR's inconsistency cost me one."

CREW CHIEF GARY COGSWELL ON PIKES PEAK INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY - "I love to go to any track that's a 'stand alone' event for the Busch Series. It's nice to be the main attraction instead of the support act. As far as the track itself, it's probably most like the Milwaukee Mile in terms of how you set up your car. We're taking one of our favorite chassis, No. 17, which we had a lot of success with last year. With Hank's driving style and with this chassis underneath him, we feel very confident about our chances."

ON GOODYEAR REMOVING THE DATE OF MANUFACTURE CODES FROM ITS TIRES - "Tire management and getting sets of tires that match up as closely as possible is one of the biggest challenges we deal with on our race teams. Tires are such an important element on race day. We've all seen how a mismatched or 'bad' set of tires can affect your performance. For that reason, we really focus on making sure our sets of tires are as close as we can get them. By removing the date of manufacture, Goodyear is taking away one of the main tools we use to match up our tires. Because a few people have complained, Goodyear is making it more difficult on everyone."

ON TRACK SURFACES COMING APART UNDER RACE CONDITIONS - "It seems like the tracks that have been repaved within the last year are the ones we're having problems with. You wouldn't think that asphalt has a 'curing' period it has to go through, but that seems to the case. They should know by now that you can't repave a track in June and expect it to be race-ready in July.

"I've seen the asphalt come apart in the past at tracks like Gateway and Myrtle Beach. One year, the Myrtle Beach track was coming apart really badly during happy hour. NASCAR stopped practice after about 25 minutes and got the local fire department out there with hoses to spray the track down to cool it off. Since we raced at night, the track didn't have a chance to get heat back in it, and everything was fine after that. That's the reason I advocate having more races at night during the summertime. The cooler night air makes it easier on the fans, the drivers, the crews and the track surface.

"I don't think the problem of track surfaces coming apart is going to get any better. As we keep learning more about the cars and keep advancing, we get better grip and faster speeds. That puts more and more of a lateral load on the tires, and the asphalt comes up as a result. The only thing I can suggest is to schedule more races at night when the surface is cooler. Also, if a track is going to do some repaving, they need to do it within a week or so after we race there. That way, they've got a year to let the surface cure before we come back."

-jm-

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Greg Biffle , Hank Parker Jr. , Johnny Sauter , Scott Wimmer