BUSCH: Hunter Set Atlanta For Debut

Hutter set for Atlanta debut HAMPTON, Ga. (March 4, 1998) Matt Hutter has never driven in a NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, but he isn't totally unfamiliar with the place. Hutter, rookie driver...

Hutter set for Atlanta debut

HAMPTON, Ga. (March 4, 1998) Matt Hutter has never driven in a NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, but he isn't totally unfamiliar with the place.

Hutter, rookie driver of the No. 36 Stanley Tools Pontiac, has two ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series starts under his belt at the 1.54-mile superspeedway. Both were fairly successful runs, too, as he finished fifth during the season finale in 1996 and 10th in the ARCA race last spring at Atlanta.

"We should have won the race in 1996," said Hutter. "The race restarted with 10 laps to go after a caution. I was in third. When the race went green another car squeezed me against the wall causing me to lose positions. We still got a top five though."

Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series Stihl 300 will mark the first time, however, that Hutter has raced on the new surface and configuration at Atlanta, which has made practice and race speeds faster.

"The newly-renovated Atlanta track is fast," Hutter said. "I was supposed to race on the new track last fall, but bad weather conditions forced qualifying to be canceled. Since I was not running a full ARCA schedule I did not have enough points to make the show. I did get to practice on it however."

The No. 36 Stanley Pontiac that Hutter will drive at the Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend is the same car that he qualified third in Rockingham two weeks ago. The car also won the inaugural race at California Speedway and finished third at Las Vegas during the 1997 season.

"The car was good at Rockingham," Hutter said. "Unfortunately, I got lost in the shuffle early. We ended up 19th and remained on the lead lap. Most importantly I got the experience and ran the most laps possible."

Hutter currently leads the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings with 282 points.

Source: NASCAR Online

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Series NASCAR XFINITY