BUSCH: Xpress Motorsports News and Notes 1999-04-15

Xpress Motorsports News and Notes Career Best Tony Roper and the No. 61 IWX Motor Freight team are coming off their career-best NASCAR Busch Series finish, a 10th-place finish in Saturday's Moore's Snacks 250 race at the challenging Bristol ...

Xpress Motorsports News and Notes

Career Best

Tony Roper and the No. 61 IWX Motor Freight team are coming off their career-best NASCAR Busch Series finish, a 10th-place finish in Saturday's Moore's Snacks 250 race at the challenging Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.

"That finish has done a lot for our team," said Roper, who was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race. "The guys on this team work so hard. It's a lot easier to work hard when you get a strong finish. The race also gave us a chance to work and learn more about the cars. "Late in the race, we got pretty good," he continued. "We were up to seventh-place when the last caution came out. I think I abused the tires in that run because the car got terrible after that. It was so loose; I about wrecked a number of times. That allowed those three cars to get past me.

"We dodged a lot of wrecks and brushed a few others. It was a good day for us at an unbelievable place," he concluded.

The finish has Roper fourth in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standing after only four starts.

Calling All Roper Fans

The Tony Roper Fan Club is taking membership applications. Members will enjoy quarterly newsletters, souvenirs, driver and team profiles, and other items as the club builds.

Individual membership is available for $8.00 and a family membership (four people) for $10.00.

Membership applications and information is available by writing: Tony Roper Fan Club, 2719 Mountcrest Circle, Concord, NC 28027 or by e-mail at tonyroper@ctc.net. Michele Roper, Tony's wife, operates the fan club.

Tallageda Preview

When Tony Roper gets his first shot at restrictor-plate racing at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in the Touchstone Energy 300 on April 24, he knows that he will have a strong racecar.

The No. 61 IWX Motor Freight Pontiac qualified 12th-fastest for the season opening Daytona 500 before a post-race inspection discovered a non-performance-enhancing piece in one of the shock absorbers on the car.

"We know the car should be fast," said crew chief Dave Fuge. "There were a lot of cars that crashed in the Daytona race and we've got an unused car that was good. We think we've got a few more horsepower and we should be pretty good there."

"Qualifying at Talladega is a mechanics race," said Roper. "I think we'll be pretty good and I'm looking forward to getting qualified so I can spend as much time as possible drafting and learning about the draft with other cars.

"I think realistically we'd be happy with a top-15 finish," he continued. "I want to get as many laps as possible and see where that puts us late in the race. If we're in a position to get a better finish, we'll go for it."

New Crew Xpress Motorsports has added to following new people: J.L. Gally, Brian LaRonge, Ed Lesley and Shawn Pincola.

Gally, 47, joins the team from Doug Taylor Motorsports. He is a fabricator at the shop and general mechanic on the road.

LaRonge, 32, formerly worked for Spencer Motor Ventures. He is a general mechanic at the shop. On the road, LaRonge is the tire specialist and carries tires for the pitstops.

Lesley, 45, previously worked with Team Amick Motorsports. He is the engine specialist for the team.

Pincola, 31, joins the team after working with Motorsports Image. He oversees the team's body shop.

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Series NASCAR XFINITY