BUSCH: Kentucky: Chris Cook preview

On the heels of his NASCAR Busch Series oval-track debut at Nashville, veteran racer Chris Cook is back behind the wheel of the ...

On the heels of his NASCAR Busch Series oval-track debut at Nashville, veteran racer Chris Cook is back behind the wheel of the #43 ShiftIntoGear Dodge of the Curb Agajanian Performance Group for Saturday night's Meijer 300 on the Kentucky Speedway 1.5-mile tri-oval. It will be the sixth NBS start for the 34-year-old Cook, who owns the highly specialized ShiftIntoGear driver instruction program and over the years has tutored numerous NASCAR and other series regulars including Tony Stewart and Clint Bowyer. His four NBS starts prior to last Saturday at Nashville, and his lone Nextel Cup Series start in 2005, all came on road courses.

Last Saturday at Nashville, Cook qualified 29th and settled in for what appeared to be a solid shot at a top-20 finish before broken wheel spacer pieces in the left rear of the #43 CAPG Dodge necessitated a green-flag pit stop just short of the race's midpoint and dropped him well off the lead lap. He ended up 28th.

Last March, Cook drove the #56 l'Alsace a Paris Dodge, which was a collaborative effort between Mac Hill Motorsports, the Curb Agajanian Performance Group and Christine Marie Motorsports, to a top-20 finish at Mexico City. His Nextel Cup start came at Infineon Raceway in the #87 Joe Nemechek-owned car. He finished 28th.

Former NASCAR Busch North Series driver and crew chief Mark Durgin has taken over the #43 CAPG effort in the garage with the departure of Joe Shear, Jr., to Michael Waltrip's Nextel Cup team and had the CAPG team performing flawlessly in the garage and on pit road during last Saturday's run at Nashville. Shear will continue to serve as technical consultant to the #43 team.

A year ago this weekend, Aaron Fike turned in one of the best efforts of the season for the #43 team here at Kentucky, qualifying 19th and finishing 18th. Fike began the season with the #43 team but has moved on to drive the #33 Kevin Harvick-owned NBS entry.

On board as a sponsor of the black #43 CAPG Dodge this weekend is Cook's Mooresville-based driving school, ShiftIntoGear

CHRIS COOK QUOTES ON KENTUCKY -- "All things considered, Nashville gave us an excellent platform to build on. If it wasn't for the wheel problem, we could've come away with a top-20 finish, and that would've been huge for our first race together. In the grand scheme of things, Nashville confirmed the feeling I had before the race that this is a small, independent team with some really great people who build fast race cars and they have a lot of heart. That, and the Evernham engines which I'm a huge fan of, will take us a long way. We'll have a very good car this weekend, built specifically for Kentucky, so I'm looking forward to taking our next big step together. I'm so thankful for this chance."


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Drivers Michael Waltrip , Kevin Harvick , Aaron Fike , Clint Bowyer , Chris Cook