New Hampshire feels like home for Pressley LOUDON, N.H. (May 4, 1998) Their Southern drawls will make most of the ST Motorsports team stand out this week during the Gumout Long Life Formula 200 at the New Hampshire...
New Hampshire feels like home for Pressley LOUDON, N.H. (May 4, 1998)
Their Southern drawls will make most of the ST Motorsports team stand out this week during the Gumout Long Life Formula 200 at the New Hampshire International Speedway, but the race team will feel right at home among some of the most ardent race fans in the world.
The NASCAR Busch Series Grand National makes its annual stop in the Northeast Saturday and driver Robert Pressley is hoping a change in scenery will help put the Kingsford/Match Light/360 Communications Chevrolet Monte Carlo in Victory Lane.
"The thing about New Hampshire is it has a great race track and some of the greatest fans in the world," Pressley said. "When you make a trip like this, you realize it goes against all the stereotypes you've heard about stock car racing. This sport isn't regional. The roots may be in the South, but it's popularity reaches out to every corner of the country -- and further."
The team doesn't have much to do to improve on last year's performance. With driver Jeff Fuller at the wheel, the ST Motorsports Chevrolet led 66 laps before being passed two laps short of the checkered flag. The car wound up third.
"We've spent a lot of time going over the cars and getting them ready for this race," crew chief Steve Plattenberger said. "We tested last week at Charlotte and we changed the way we normally do things by spending more time on qualifying setups. We think we're coming to a stretch of tracks where we should be contenders to win the race. Once we get the car in the starting lineup, we've shown all year we don't have any problems racing to the front."
The decision to increase the number of test sessions followed some disappointing efforts in time trials during the last month. Plattenberger decided not to take any more chances by getting the car more ready for one lap of qualifying than 200 miles or racing.
"Qualifying is nerve-racking," Plattenberger said. "Since our driver's in the top-35 in points in the Winston Cup Series, we're not eligible for a provisional (in the Busch Series). And since a lot of our qualifying is one day, one lap, it puts a lot of pressure on the team and the driver. We don't have any room for mistakes. There's no margin for error. We either do it right one time, or we go home. It's a tough way to have to survive in this business."
The race at New Hampshire also marks the homecoming for car boss Ray Stonkus. The veteran of 43 racing seasons started his career at the Norwood (Mass.) Arena, a local short track.
"It's always nice to go home," he said. "A lot has changed in the last 43 years, but some things remain the same - the same principles that make a car go fast are the same, and the love of racing in the Northeast is as strong today as it was when I was a young kid starting out in this sport."
Source: NASCAR Online