BUSCH: Kansas: Kevin Conway preview

Z End of Z-Line for Conway, '07 Busch Tour at Kansas With an Eye on Solid Return Engagement in '08 HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (Sept. 25, 2007) -- The curtain falls on the 2007 NASCAR Busch Series season for Kevin Conway and the No. 18 ...

Z End of Z-Line for Conway, '07 Busch Tour at Kansas With an Eye on Solid Return Engagement in '08

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (Sept. 25, 2007) -- The curtain falls on the 2007 NASCAR Busch Series season for Kevin Conway and the No. 18 Z-Line Designs/Wal-Mart Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) at Saturday's Yellow Transportation 300 at Kansas Speedway. As a fitting end to their time together this season, and with their sights set on much bigger and better things to come, Conway and his No. 18 JGR teammates are hopeful it'll be one of the grandest of season finales for the 28-year-old driver from Lynchburg, Va.

Conway's seventh and final Busch Series appearance of the season will be just the 13th of a versatile career that's also seen him excel on dirt and paved race tracks in everything from AMA Motocross to the World Karting Association to Legends cars, from USAC Midgets to Late Model Stocks, the American Speed Association, ARCA and NASCAR's West Series. Certainly no stranger to victory lane most everywhere else he's raced, Conway this weekend is determined to put on the Busch Series performance of a lifetime -- one that he worked so long and hard for while orchestrating the deal that brought Z-Line Designs, the world's leading manufacturer of ready-to-assemble home office and entertainment furnishings, together with Joe Gibbs Racing this past off-season.

As the Z-Line Designs/Wal-Mart Chevrolet circles the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway tri-oval this weekend, it will again fly the colors of the national Make-A-Wish Foundation, which helps grant the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses. The organization also has become synonymous with Z-Line's sponsorship in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series. The No. 19 Z-Line Designs Lexus Riley campaigned by Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates featured drivers Rob Finlay and Michael Valiente, and had four finishes of eighth or better the season that recently concluded, including a runner-up at Iowa Speedway in July.

Practice and qualifying for Saturday's Yellow Transportation 300 begins Friday, while qualifying is set for 11 a.m. EDT Saturday with live coverage on SPEED-TV. Race time is 3:30 p.m. EDT with ESPN2's live coverage beginning with its pre-race show at 3 p.m.

Kevin Conway -- Driver, No. 18 Z-Line Designs/Wal-Mart NASCAR Busch Series Chevrolet at Kansas

You'll be making your seventh and final start of your inaugural season in the Z-Line Designs/Wal-Mart Chevrolet on Saturday. Any particular thoughts as you head to Kansas Speedway?

"This year's just flown by. It's been a complete blur. There has been a lot going on in the last month-and-a-half or so as we get things in order for next year. Heading into Kansas, we go to a race track that I'm really looking forward to running. It's the first time I've been able to run on an intermediate track with this program. We just need a solid weekend where we don't have any drama. So far, we've always seemed to have had issues, whether it's been getting together with Cup guys on the track or whatever the situation may be. At Nashville, I got together with David Stremme. Last race, I got run over on the straightaway at Richmond early in the event. It's a challenge when you only have seven races to make something happen, and to have people take you out at two or three of those races, it makes it tough to really show what you're capable of doing."

How would you sum up your first year with this Z-Line program that you, yourself, helped orchestrate?

"It's been an awesome opportunity, and it's been a great year for Z-Line both on and off the track. To be able to wrap it up with a solid top-10, top-five finish at Kansas is our goal and I think it's well within reach. I think everything that myself, my marketing company and Joe Gibbs Racing have come together to provide for Z-Line has been almost unrivaled in the sport. The successes we've had off the race track, working with various retailers that Z-Line sells its entertainment furniture and office furniture to, has been very, very successful. To be able to accomplish what we have within a limited schedule over the course of this year, we have far surpassed all of the goals and benchmarks that we have set for ourselves. Off the race track, leveraging this sponsorship and activating it to make it really, truly work and to somewhat harness the power of the NASCAR fan base has been awesome. Now, it's time to step up and have a solid race where we really don't have any issues."

If you had it all to do over again, is there anything you would have done differently this year?

"I probably wouldn't have picked Bristol and Dover as my first two races, and I probably wouldn't have picked all (Nextel Cup) companion events right out of the box. That definitely presents its challenges. Any time you can go to the non-companion races, where you're not going to have 15 to 25 Cup drivers there, it greatly improves your odds of coming out with a solid top-10 finish. This year we didn't have any tests, so it would be good to do that next year. The first time I ever drove a Joe Gibbs Racing Busch car was when I showed up for race weekend at Bristol. Everywhere we've gone this year, we've gone to race tracks I hadn't raced on before, had zero laps in testing. We'd go out and have an hour-and-a-half of practice to figure it out, and then we'd go race. So it's been very, very challenging. Looking back, I think if we could've gone to some of the race tracks where we had an opportunity to test, and run more of the non-companion races, I think we would have done better. Overall, it's been a great year. It's been a phenomenal opportunity and I'm very thankful to Z-Line and Joe Gibbs Racing for everything they've done for me this year. I'm looking forward to 2008."

Kansas is another first-time track for you, although you spent time there as an instructor with the Richard Petty Driving Experience. What are your expectations there this weekend?

"I've been running a lot of laps on a couple of different types of simulators, and I've spent as much time as I could talking to people who have raced there to try and gain whatever advantage we can. It's like the old Las Vegas configuration, which I've raced on and really liked a lot. It's pretty straightforward with fewer quirks than any track I've been to. I'm hoping for my first top-10. I know we're capable of that. It would be an awesome way to finish out the year for Z-Line and it would be great for the entire 18 team."

What does the future hold for you and the Z-Line program?

"We're looking forward to another great year in the Busch Series in 2008. More than likely it'll be a limited schedule again. But I'm hoping to come back and be in the car a little bit more frequently so we can show really what we're capable of."

-credit: jgr

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About this article
Drivers Richard Petty , David Stremme , Kevin Conway , Rob Finlay , Felix Sabates
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Joe Gibbs Racing