Fellows hopes to make most of opportunity Shawn A. Akers WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (June 27, 1998) Ron Fellows couldn't imagine a better chance to prove himself. A prolific road racer in other series throughout his career, Fellows has been ...
Fellows hopes to make most of opportunity Shawn A. Akers
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (June 27, 1998) Ron Fellows couldn't imagine a better chance to prove himself.
A prolific road racer in other series throughout his career, Fellows has been charged by Joe Nemechek with the task of taking Nemechek's No. 87 BellSouth Chevrolet to the front in Sunday's NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division Lysol 200 at Watkins Glen International.
Fellows was selected by Nemechek, who is running a road course race of his own this weekend at Sears Point Raceway in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series in Sonoma, Calif., for his road course racing abilities and, specifically, for his knowledge and ability to run up front at Watkins Glen. Fellows has won SCCA Trans-Am Series races at the 2.45-mile road course, and won last year's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race there.
"I've been given a great opportunity here to drive for Joe," Fellows said. "This is a really good team, and it's a great group of guys to work with. We tested here last week and it really went well. I've got to tell you, this is certainly the best NASCAR opportunity I've had."
When it came time for Nemechek to select a driver for his car for the Lysol 200, Fellows was a natural. In past years, the Lysol 200 has been run on an off-weekend for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Nemechek won the pole for last year's race and finished a respectable third.
"It's unfortunate for me, and good for Ron, that they moved the dates around," said Nemechek, who has two NASCAR Busch Series victories this season. "I feel that we should have won this race at least three times so far, and it seems like something's always happened to us. The car's really strong, and we made some changes to it to make it better and Ron's feeling it out, running fast."
Not only was Fellows fastest in both Saturday morning practice sessions, he literally blew away the competition. In the first session, Fellows turned a fast lap of 117.125 mph around the 11-turn road course, compared to second-place Boris Said's lap of 116.072 mph. In the second session, he bested Said by nearly four-tenths of a second.
"I've been fastest, but it certainly isn't all me," Fellows said. "This is the same car Joe had here last year, where he sat on the pole and broke a track record. I think we're in pretty good shape, but 82 laps is an awful long time. We want to win the race, that's the bottom line. But we're feeling pretty comfortable, and this team has given me a great deal of confidence."
Fellows then went out and secured himself a spot on the front row for Sunday race during Bud Pole Qualifying on Saturday with a fast lap of 117.484 mph, second only to Said (117.675 mph). The starting order of the race was determined by European-style qualifying, in which cars qualify in groups, with their best lap counting as their qualifying time. Cars run up to five laps each in groups of five to six cars.
With his potential for success at Watkins Glen almost a given, barring any mechanical problems, Fellows said he hopes that he can parlay it into a chance to run more NASCAR Busch Series races.
"I couldn't be happier with this opportunity, and I hope it goes beyond just one race," Fellows said. "For me to try and make a living in this business, I've got to be able to turn left, as opposed to turning left and right. The road courses, I don't think we've got a problem with.
"I'd love a full-time deal (in the NASCAR Busch Series). We're pretty much searching for something now. We're doing a limited truck schedule with Billy Hess and a long-time sponsor of mine, ER Manufacturing Company, but I'd really like a full-time deal in the Busch Series and get headed in that direction."
Source: NASCAR Online