BUSCH: Joliet: Hank Parker Jr preview

EVENT INFORMATION - Event: NASCAR Busch Series Tropicana Twister 300 presented by Sam's Club; Time and Date: 2:30 p.m. EDT, Saturday, July 13; Site: Chicagoland Speedway Live Coverage: NBC (television) 3:30 p.m. EDT and MRN (radio) at 3 p.m. EDT;...

EVENT INFORMATION - Event: NASCAR Busch Series Tropicana Twister 300 presented by Sam's Club; Time and Date: 2:30 p.m. EDT, Saturday, July 13; Site: Chicagoland Speedway Live Coverage: NBC (television) 3:30 p.m. EDT and MRN (radio) at 3 p.m. EDT; Qualifying: 1:30 p.m. EDT, Friday, July 12; Happy Hour: Friday, July 12, 3:05 p.m. EDT.

LAST RACE (Stacker 2/GNC Live Well 250) - Hank Parker Jr. and the No. 36 GNC Live Well Racing team finished 18th in the first-ever Busch Series race staged under the lights at Daytona International Speedway. After avoiding an earlier incident, Parker was involved in a multi-car accident near the close of the event that damaged the right front fender on his Dodge Intrepid.

STANDINGS - Parker is 14th in the NASCAR Busch Series Drivers' Points Standings, and team owner Wayne Jesel holds the 18th spot in the owners' points standings.

OUCH! - In last year's inaugural Busch Series race at Chicagoland Speedway, a cut tire sent Parker's No. 36 GNC Live Well entry into the outside retaining wall on lap 96. With his car too damaged to continue, Parker was credited with a 35th-place finish.

Parker's impact was severe enough that the driver chose to switch from a five-point to a six-point safety belt system after the incident.

"I hit the wall going about 130," Parker said. "That five-point harness caught me just right and nearly turned this rooster into a hen. First thing Monday morning, I installed new seatbelts in all my cars. That's a pain I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. I was walking like John Wayne for about a week."

THE CAR - The No. 36 GNC Live Well Racing team is bringing chassis No. 17 to Chicagoland Speedway. 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.

CLOSE CALL - After narrowly avoiding one accident and suffering slight damage to his No. 36 Dodge Intrepid in another in Friday night's Stacker 2/GNC Live Well 250 at Daytona International Speedway, driver Hank Parker Jr. thought his drive back to the airport on Saturday would be quiet in comparison. Parker stayed in Daytona to make a personal appearance for one of his associate sponsors on Saturday morning, and then planned to drive to Orlando International Airport for an afternoon flight back to Charlotte, N.C.

Parker's quiet ride was not to be, though. As he sat at a red light on the way to the airport, his rental car was rear-ended by another motorist. The impact sent Parker's car slamming into the car ahead of him at the intersection. Fortunately, no one was injured in the incident, although Parker's Dodge Stratus rental car was a lot worse for wear.

"The guy that hit me had a couple of small kids in the car with him, and I think they had distracted him before it happened," Parker said of the incident. "He hit me a pretty good lick, but luckily, I had my seatbelt on and I wasn't hurt at all. I'm just glad the kids were all right, too. I can't say the same for my rental car, though. It's in pretty bad shape.

"By the time the police finished filling out the accident report and everything, I had missed my flight home. When I explained my situation to the guy at the ticket counter, he got me on the next flight and even upgraded me to First Class. All things considered, the whole deal could have been a lot worse. I'm fine, and everyone else that was involved is fine. We were all really lucky."

CREW CHIEF GARY COGSWELL ON CHICAGOLAND SPEEDWAY - "Chicagoland looks like one of the 'cookie-cutter' tracks to the naked eye, but it doesn't perform like one when you get cars on it. It's banked more, it's faster and has more grip than places like Vegas, Kansas and Kentucky. You have to use an entirely different spring package here, or you'll bottom out hard. When you change your spring package, you get into some different balance issues and other things, so it really changes your setup from what you have at other 1.5-mile tracks.

"Hank cut a tire down here last year, as did some of the guys on the Winston Cup side, but I don't think tire wear is going to be a problem for us this year."

ON NASCAR ELECTING NOT TO RED-FLAG THE PEPSI 400 AND THE FANS THROWING DEBRIS ON THE TRACK - "You can't please people. I've never liked red flags, regardless of where my team is running at the time they come out. But I don't think NASCAR had much of a choice in that situation. I don't think they had enough laps left to red flag it and get it back under green. It takes these cars so long to get up to speed at the restrictor plate tracks. Guys would have been blocking each other and getting crazy, and there's no telling what kind of wreck that would have caused. I think NASCAR did the right thing. Someone could have really gotten hurt if they had tried to restart the race. The same people who were screaming at NASCAR to red flag the event would have been the first ones to complain if someone had gotten injured on the restart.

"As far as the fans throwing things, I guess they felt like they had paid good money to be there, and they wanted to see an exciting finish. I don't see where throwing things on the track did much good, but I guess they wanted to show their frustration and that's how they chose to show it. I will say this: I doubt that seat cushions will be given out again."

-jm-

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Hank Parker Jr.