BUSCH: Darlington II: Hank Parker Jr. preview

LAST RACE (Food City 250) - Hank Parker Jr. and the No. 36 GNC Live Well Racing team finished 15th at Bristol Motor Speedway. After starting 20th, Parker battled a loose handling car throughout the event, eventually falling two laps down to ...

LAST RACE (Food City 250) - Hank Parker Jr. and the No. 36 GNC Live Well Racing team finished 15th at Bristol Motor Speedway. After starting 20th, Parker battled a loose handling car throughout the event, eventually falling two laps down to race-winner Jimmy Spencer.

STANDINGS - Parker is 16th in the NASCAR Busch Series Drivers' Points Standings and team owner Wayne Jesel holds the 19th spot in the owners' points standings.

PARKER'S HISTORY AT DARLINGTON RACEWAY - In eight starts at Darlington, Hank Parker Jr. has one top-10 finish (6th, 3/18/00) and four top-20 finishes. In the spring event, Parker finished 13th after late-race contact with Todd Bodine affected the front-end alignment on Parker's No. 36 GNC Live Well Dodge Intrepid.

THE CAR - The No. 36 GNC Live Well Racing team is bringing chassis No. 21 to Darlington Raceway. Chassis No. 21 is new and was built to replace chassis No. 19, which was destroyed in a crash at Kentucky Speedway earlier this season.

"It's a Hopkins chassis, and the body was hung by Wesco, the same company that's hung all our bodies this season," crew chief Gary Cogswell said. "You always hate to lose a car like we did at Kentucky, but we have been able to incorporate some things we've learned this season into this new chassis and body. You're always tweaking and trying to get better, and I think this chassis will be very competitive on race day."

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY - The fall Darlington race marks the one-year anniversary of crew chief Gary Cogswell joining the GNC Live Well Racing team. Cogswell had been working with Buckshot Racing when he got the call from Wayne Jesel, who had recently partnered with Scott Welliver to form Welliver-Jesel Motorsports. In his first race with the GNC team, Cogswell coached Hank Parker Jr. to a 17th-place finish. The duo finished the season with five top-10 finishes in the final seven events of the year.

HANK PARKER JR. ON DARLINGTON RACEWAY - "It's one of my favorite places to race. The history alone makes it a special place, but it's also a track that requires patience and a lot of strategy. You can't go out there and drive the wheels off of your car for the first 20 laps and expect to do all right. Tire management is so important at this place. I'd like to think I've learned to take it easy on my tires to make them last. I've definitely learned how to put a 'Darlington stripe' on my car. That's for sure.

"You've got to make sure your car is really free to be successful here. I think it's probably a little more important to make your car turn well in turns one and two, just because you've got a lot more corner to deal with than you do at the more narrow end of the track."

CREW CHIEF GARY COGSWELL ON DARLINGTON RACEWAY- "Darlington is kind of like Rockingham (North Carolina Motor Speedway), in that they're both very abrasive. You have to set up the car to perform well on old, worn-out tires because your tires are going to be that way after about 10 laps. I mean, you want your car to perform well on long runs at any track, but it's much more extreme here. It's all about tire management. You slow down about a tenth of a second every lap for the first 20 laps or so, then it kind of levels off. You need a patient driver that understands the importance of not burning up his tires early on in a run."

-jm-

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Jimmy Spencer , Hank Parker Jr.