BUSCH: Kansas City: Hank Parker Jr preview

Hank Parker Jr. GNC Live Well Racing LAST RACE (MBNA All American Heroes 200) - Hank Parker Jr. and the No. 36 GNC Live Well Racing team finished 38th at Dover International Speedway last Saturday. On lap 75, contact between Parker's No. 36 and...

Hank Parker Jr.
GNC Live Well Racing

LAST RACE (MBNA All American Heroes 200) - Hank Parker Jr. and the No. 36 GNC Live Well Racing team finished 38th at Dover International Speedway last Saturday. On lap 75, contact between Parker's No. 36 and the No. 12 of Kerry Earnhardt severely damaged the rear of Parker's machine, effectively ending his day.

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.

PARKER'S HISTORY AT KANSAS SPEEDWAY - Hank Parker Jr. scored a runner-up finish in the inaugural Mr. Goodcents 300 at Kansas Speedway last year.

THE CAR - The No. 36 GNC Live Well Racing team is bringing chassis No. 17, aka "The Blue Car," to Kansas Speedway. This is the same chassis Hank Parker Jr. drove to a second-place finish in the inaugural race here last year. Most recently, Parker drove No. 17 in his second career NBS win, which came at Pike's Peak International Raceway in July. "The Blue Car" got its nickname last year, when it carried a special blue paint scheme in several races to promote a new GNC Live Well product, the NASCAR Kids Multivitamin.

A FAMILY OUTING - Driver Hank Parker Jr. and his father, Bass Fishing legend Hank Parker, will take part in a rare autograph signing appearance together at the Cabela's Retail Showroom, located near the Kansas Speedway. On Thursday, Sept. 26, the Parkers will sign autographs and pose for photographs with racing and fishing enthusiasts alike from 6-8 p.m. CDT. Abu Garcia Rods and Reels and Berkley Fishing Line, two of the elder Parker's sponsors, are sponsoring the appearance.

Music fans will also get a chance to meet Hank Parker Jr. when he signs autographs at the "Rock 'n Race" weekend event at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater near the racetrack. Parker will greet fans from 6:15-7:15 p.m. CDT on Friday, Sept. 27, before heading in to watch one of his favorite music groups, Alabama, perform.

WORKING FOR "JR." EXECUTIVES - Team Jesel crewman Ira Joe Hussey must enjoy changing tires for drivers with the Jr. suffix attached to their name. Hussey, who serves as mechanic and rear tire changer on Hank Parker Jr.'s No. 36 GNC Live Well Dodge Intrepid, is also the rear tire changer on Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. When Dale Earnhardt Inc. decided to make a change recently on Earnhardt Jr.'s Bud Pit Crew, Hussey got the call.

"I know Walt Smith, the Pit Crew Coordinator for Dale Jr.'s team," Hussey said. "He and I have been talking, and he told me to come over and practice with the Bud team. I guess they liked what they saw in me, and I've been changing rear tires on the No. 8 for the past couple of weeks, since New Hampshire. It's always been my goal to be on a top Winston Cup pit crew, so I guess I've achieved that. I'm proud that I can still work with the GNC Live Well team while also pursuing this opportunity."

HANK PARKER JR. ON KANSAS SPEEDWAY- "I absolutely love the place. I think it's an incredible facility in every way. I especially like how they've set up their traffic patterns. It is the easiest track to get in and out of that I've ever been to. My hat's off to the guys who decided where to build the track, and to the way they designed every aspect of the place. It's incredible.

"As far as the layout, it reminds me of Las Vegas a little. We tested and ran near the front all day in Vegas, so I think we'll have enough information from our notebooks to go out and be very competitive."

ON INTERNET RUMORS THAT PARKER IS CLOSE TO SIGNING WITH A WINSTON CUP TEAM - "I'm not sure where I'll end up next year. There are still some options I'm looking at. I'm kind of in a holding pattern until GNC decides whether or not they're coming back. It's hard to sit back while other drivers are finalizing their 2003 plans, but GNC has done a lot for me, and I'd like to work with them if they stay in the sport. As far as going to Winston Cup, I've said a number of times that I want to wait on the right opportunity. Jimmie (Johnson) and Ryan Newman have really set the bar high. They are both with top-notch organizations, and they're both capable of winning on any given weekend. If I can, I'd like to hold out for a situation like either one of them are in."

ON TESTING FOR DODGE AT KENTUCKY SPEEDWAY SEVERAL WEEKS AGO - "I'm honored they even thought of me. Ray (Evernham) and the Dodge engineers wanted to try some different stuff, and they asked if I would go down and drive for them. It took me about a half-second to say yes. I have nothing but respect for Ray and the entire Dodge program, so it was a no-brainer. When Ray Evernham asks you to do something for him, you don't say no. I told them I'm there whenever they need me. I'd definitely like to be known as the 'go-to guy' when Dodge needs someone to test. I had a great time, and I'd do it again any day, anywhere, anytime."


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Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Hank Parker Jr. , Ryan Newman