BUSCH NORTH SERIES HEADS SOUTH FOR VIRGINIA DEBUT IN STAR COUNTRY/DOMINIC'S SAUSAGE 150 AT MOTOR MILE SPEEDWAY, SAT., AUG. 20; LONG-HAUL SPECIALISTS FROM GRIZCO TO ENJOY HOME COOKING DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (August 15, 2005) -- The scene on...
BUSCH NORTH SERIES HEADS SOUTH FOR VIRGINIA DEBUT IN STAR COUNTRY/DOMINIC'S SAUSAGE 150 AT MOTOR MILE SPEEDWAY, SAT., AUG. 20; LONG-HAUL SPECIALISTS FROM GRIZCO TO ENJOY HOME COOKING
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (August 15, 2005) -- The scene on Interstate 81 will resemble the prelude to a Pocono, New Hampshire, or Watkins Glen weekend in reverse, and on a smaller scale, as caravans of NASCAR team haulers roll through the scenic Shenandoah Valley on Interstate 81. But this time instead of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup rigs headed from North Carolina to tracks in the northeast, the vast majority of the Busch North Series teams will be rolling south from their New England bases to Radford, Virginia, in the southwestern corner of the Old Dominion, for their first race south of the Mason-Dixon Line. That historic event, the Star Country/Dominic's Sausage 150 at Motor Mile Speedway, is set for Saturday, August 20.
There will be a few teams approaching from the other direction, however, as the powerful Grizco Racing organization has located its Busch North operation in Harrisburg, N.C. Accustomed to making the 12 hour hauls to New England, the Grizco road crews supporting Mike Stefanik and Andy Santerre will have time to stop for a good meal and still make the trip in three hours, as will the North Carolina based team of Sunoco Rookie contender Charles Lewandoski.
The proximity of the .416 mile track, which hosted the NASCAR Busch Series four times over a decade ago, has more than travel advantages for the Grizco drivers. Busch North Series point leader Mike Stefanik was able to test his Burnham Hydronics Chevrolet and form some opinions of the track, with team manger Santerre taking notes useful to both.
"There's no exact match, but its kind of like a mix of Jennerstown, and, once you get on it, like Riverside Park. In its general shape and size it looks like Jennerstown but the way you race on it is more like Riverside Park. It's not a carbon copy of anything that we've raced on," Stefanik volunteered. Other drivers scratched their heads at that comparison, since Jennerstown (Pa.) Speedway is sweeping half-mile, while Riverside Park in Agawam, Mass., which closed in 1999, was a high-banked quarter mile where Stefanik first learned his racing skills
"It's similar to Jennerstown where the whole infield is paved. The track is sunk in a dip with a hill behind it. You can park haulers in the infield without obscuring the view around the track for the fans," Stefanik continued, adding "Busch cars are bottom feeders so you'll probably hug the bottom. But I think somebody could come up on the outside and pinch you off if you're stuck on the bottom." The last part of his analysis explains this analogy to Riverside Park, where Stefanik and a select few others could run high on the banks with success when the rest of the field stayed in the low groove.
Of course the majority of the Busch North Series teams will have a day-long tow to reach the Radford area, and no opportunity to test there. Bryon Chew, whose Buzz Chew Auto Group Chevrolet is maintained at Inlet, N.Y., deep in the Adirondack Mountains, is one of many who will race on the track a few hours after seeing it for the first time. Not surprisingly, his team is doing its best to take advantage of the body of knowledge built up by the competitors in NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series and other touring series which have visited the track. "We're talking to all the people we can who've raced there before to see what kind of setup to put in the car," he related.
Perhaps Chew's final comment was the most interesting, and the most hopeful for teams without the opportunity to put laps on the Motor Mile oval before race day. "All of our setups are pretty close to the same, so we should be in fairly good shape to start with," he declared.
The Star Country/Dominic's 150 is scheduled as a one-day event on Saturday, August 20, with practice starting at 11:30 a.m., Busch Pole Qualifying at 4:30 p.m, and race time set for 7:00 p.m. SPEED Channel will record the action for broadcast on Friday, September 9, at 2:30 p.m. Motor Mile's regular NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series classes will also be in action.
NEWS OF NOTE
* Motor Mile Speedway opened in 1988 under the name Pulaski County Speedway on the site of a former dirt track. It became known as New River Valley Speedway in 1992 and adopted the name Motor Mile Speedway in 2004.
* The track location is about 35 miles southwest of Roanoke and 100 miles northeast of Bristol, both via Intestate 81.
* Under all three names, the track has been a NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series member. Graduates of Motor Mile who have gone on to success in NASCAR national series include Stacy Compton and Johnny Rumley. Ronnie Thomas, the 1978 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup rookie of the year, was a Motor Mile track champion after his Cup Series career was over.
* The NASCAR Busch Series raced at Motor Mile from 1989 to 1992. Winners were Rick Mast (1989), Steve Grissom (1990), Chuck Bown (1991) and Bobby Dotter (1992). It was Dotter's first and only Busch Series win.
* Mike Stefanik enters the Star Country/Dominic's Sausage 150 as the Busch North Series point leader by 10 points over teammate Andy Santerre. Matt Kobyluck is 54 points out of the lead and Ryan Moore is 88 points behind.
* Three drivers have won the first seven races of 2005. Kobyluck has three wins while Stefanik and Moore each have two.
* Kobyluck leads the Busch Pole Award standings with three poles compared to two for Moore and one each for Stefanik and Mike Johnson.
* Sean Caisse leads the Sunoco Rookie standings and has led the rookie class five times in seven races. James Civali and Jeff Anton have each been the top freshman once.
What: Star Country/Dominic's Sausage 150, eighth race of the 2005 NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series season
Where: Motor Mile Speedway, Radford, Va.
When: Saturday, August 20, 2005, 7:00 p.m.
Track layout: .416 mile paved oval
Race distance: 150 laps, 62.40 miles
Television: SPEED Channel, Friday, September 9, 2:30 p.m.
Schedule: Saturday, August 20 -- Practice 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Busch Pole Qualifying 4:30 p.m., Star Country/Dominic's Sausage 150 7:00 p.m.