RICKY CRAVEN, STEVE GRISSOM SET FOR WATKINS GLEN LYSOL 200 WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- Not long ago, Ricky Craven and Steve Grissom were not only fighting for the NASCAR Busch Grand National championship, they had to battle with top Winston Cup...
RICKY CRAVEN, STEVE GRISSOM SET FOR WATKINS GLEN LYSOL 200
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- Not long ago, Ricky Craven and Steve Grissom were not only fighting for the NASCAR Busch Grand National championship, they had to battle with top Winston Cup drivers in many of their races.
Today, the tables have turned for both drivers. Up and coming stars of the Winston Cup Series, Craven and Grissom will "invade" Watkins Glen International this weekend to battle it out with the BGN regulars in Sunday's Lysol 200.
The Lysol 200 caps a six-race weekend at the Glen. Friday will be a full day of practice and qualifying. The three-hour Glen Continental for the IMSA Exxon World Sports Cars and GT cars highlights Saturday's schedule, joined by the inaugural Ferrari Challenge. The IMSA Street Stock three-hour race opens Sunday's schedule at 8:30 a.m., followed by the Barber Dodge Pro Series and U.S. Formula Ford 2000 Championship. The Lysol 200 takes the green flag at 1:42 p.m.
"When I ran in the Busch Series, there was always talk of the Winston Cup guys coming in and winning the big races," Grissom said. "But I viewed the Busch Series as a stepping stone for Winston Cup, and racing against those drivers definitely helped me out a lot. Your only as good as your competition, and when you can get out and run with the Winston Cup guys, you've done a good day's work. I'm sure it also helped Jeff Gordon, Bobby Labonte, Ward and Jeff Burton, Ricky Craven and Joe Nemechek, who've all gained an advantage in Winston Cup by coming through the Busch Grand National Series."
The Busch Grand National regulars have been holding their own against the Winston Cup invaders this year, with Grissom the only Winston Cup regular to win on the BGN tour. Chad Little scored the first of his four victories at Daytona, with Johnny Benson, Mike McLaughlin, David Green, Larry Pearson, Kenny Wallace, and Tim Fedewa also winning.
Both Grissom and Craven will be driving in their former Busch Grand National colors. Grissom, a 32-year-old native of Gadsden, Ala., will drive the #29 Channel Lock Chevrolet. Craven, a native of Newburgh, Maine, will be in the #2 Dupont Chevrolet.
While both Craven and Grissom will be looking to win the Lysol 200, they admit they're looking ahead to the August 13 Bud at the Glen NASCAR Winston Cup race.
"I'm looking to improve my skills on the road courses," Craven said. "I'd love to win on a road course, but I don't know if it's in the cards for this race. I know we have a chance. Last year we ran well, led a portion of the race and were running fourth near the end, then we made a mistake and finished seventh. It's a big, big benefit for me to come up seven weeks before the Winston Cup cars come to the Glen, to get acclimated to the track again."
Craven leads the Winston Cup rookie of the year standings, driving the Kodiak Chevrolet. Grissom, in his second Winston Cup season, opened the year with a sixth place finish in the Daytona 500.
Other Winston Cup "invaders" include defending Glen winner Terry Labonte, Jimmy Spencer and Jeff Purvis. Bobby Labonte, a two-time 1995 winner, will attend as the car owner for defending BGN champ David Green. Another "invader" will be 1995 Glen Busch North 125 winner Butch Leitzinger, driving the Caterpillar Chevrolet. Leitzinger will see double duty, also driving a Rob Dyson-owned R&S Mark III Ford in Saturday's Glen Continental.
Tickets will be available at the gates, which open at 6 a.m. on Friday. For additional ticket and camping information, call (607) 535-2481. J.J. O'Malley/Watkins Glen International