BUSCH: Homestead Test 98-11-03

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Nov. 3, 1998) - Three members of NASCAR's next generation of superstars tested at the Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex, in preparation for the Nov. 13-15 Jiffy Lube Miami 300, the final event of the NASCAR Busch...

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Nov. 3, 1998) - Three members of NASCAR's next generation of superstars tested at the Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex, in preparation for the Nov. 13-15 Jiffy Lube Miami 300, the final event of the NASCAR Busch Series season.

Hank Parker Jr., Adam Petty and Barry Bodine each tested at the 1.5-mile oval on Tuesday, joined by sprint car veteran Gus Wasson.

While Petty and Bodine were born into racing families, Parker's father is a champion in a different sport. He is the son of two-time BassMasters Classic Champion Hank Parker, the host of the popular "Hank Parker's Outdoor Magazine," which is televised weekly on The Nashville Network.

Parker Jr. also has the distinction of winning a race at Homestead, capturing the 1997 NASCAR Slim Jim All-Pro Series race, and holds the track record in that division.

"The Busch Series cars are so much different than the All-Pro cars, and I need to get adapted to the heavier cars," Parker explained. "Also, this will only be my second race with our own team, vs. driving for someone else. I've got enough laps around here, so the hardest part will be qualifying for the Jiffy Lube Miami 300."

Parker was pleased with the test in his Bass Anglers Sportsman Society Chevrolet.

"We came here with a target time, and we quickly got to one-half second faster than where we wanted to be," Parker said. "We know what we need to work on, and we're looking forward to coming back here to race."

Also no stranger to Homestead, Bodine posted his best finish of the current NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season - an 11th - earlier this year.

"Running a stock car requires a little different setup, a little different driving style, than the Craftsman Truck," said Bodine, whose Chevrolet will be sponsored by the Miccosukee Indian Tribe in the finale. "The stock car has better aerodynamics, but less horsepower than the truck, so you've got to set it up differently. It's vital to keep your momentum up entering and leaving the corners."

The son of 1986 Daytona 500 winner Geoff Bodine, Barry was helped at the test by his uncle, Busch Series regular Todd Bodine. "My father had a commitment, so Uncle Todd volunteered to help. He's raced here in the Busch Series, so his feedback has been a big plus for us." Fourth-generation driver Adam Petty is the great-grandson of three-time NASCAR champion Lee Petty, the grandson of seven-time champ Richard Petty, and son of Winston Cup regular Kyle Petty. "We've learned a lot here, even though we broke the motor early in our test," Petty admitted. "We learned a lot about the track layout, and also about the logistics of the track and the area. We've had great qualifying runs this year, but we lost the motors in both of our Busch Series races." While this will be Petty's third Busch Series race, the 18-year-old is enjoying a successful rookie campaign. He won in his 10th American Speed Association race, at I-70 Speedway in Odessa, Mo., and won in his ARCA debut at Charlotte. "The transition to the Busch Series is not that bad," Petty commented. "We're just looking to gain the respect of the series veterans, and then get into the situation where we can learn something from them. That's the important thing, to learn something every day." Wasson is looking to make his Busch Series debut in this weekend's race at Atlanta, before returning to Homestead in a Chevrolet partly owned by Baltimore Orioles catcher Chris Hoiles. He won the 1993 All Star Circuit of Champions Rookie of the Year award, raced full-time with the World of Outlaws in 1995, and won the 1996 USAC sprint car Rookie of the Year award. He's run two ARCA races this year, finishing fifth at both Charlotte and Texas. "These are much bigger cars (than sprint cars), with not as much horsepower," he explained. "If you make a mistake, it's much more difficult to correct it. You've got to be real smooth out there." The four drivers testing at Homestead are only a few of NASCAR's next generation of stars who will be competing in the Jiffy Lube Miami 300. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Matt Kenseth - both running only their first full season in the division -- will be looking to decide the Busch Series championship in the final. Other "young guns" entered in the race include Indy Racing League star Tony Stewart, Bobby Hamilton Jr., Philip Morris, Casey Atwood, Andy Santerre and brothers Kevin and Wayne Grubb. Practice for the Jiffy Lube Miami 300 begins at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 13, followed by Bud Pole Qualifying to determine the top 24 starting positions at 2:30 p.m. Saturday's schedule includes second round qualifying at noon, followed by the Greased Lightning 150 NASCAR Slim Jim All-Pro Series race. The fourth annual Jiffy Lube Miami 300 takes the green flag at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 14, followed by the Pennzoil 50 NASCAR Goody's Dash Series event. A limited number of grandstand seats are still available for the race weekend. Advance ticket buyers are also eligible to reserve tickets for Homestead's inaugural Winston Cup race, the 1999 Jiffy Lube Miami 400. For additional information or to place credit card orders, call (305) 230-RACE (7223).

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Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Adam Petty , Todd Bodine , Kyle Petty , Hank Parker Jr. , Bobby Hamilton Jr. , Casey Atwood , Richard Petty , Gus Wasson , Philip Morris , Lee Petty