More than 110 cars test at Martinsville

Martinsville, VA---More than 110 NASCAR Late Model Stock cars tested today at Martinsville Speedway in hopes of making the field for the Taco Bell 300. Cars lined the pit road, double parked in each stall and more on the backstretch,...

Martinsville, VA---More than 110 NASCAR Late Model Stock cars tested today at Martinsville Speedway in hopes of making the field for the Taco Bell 300. Cars lined the pit road, double parked in each stall and more on the backstretch, waiting their turn at practice in hopes of a setup that gives them just one more tenth of a second faster lap needed to make the Taco Bell 300 field. They were doing it because the Taco Bell 300 is the one race they would love to win. Chad Harris of Stuarts Draft, Va. is one of the drivers who has made the Taco Bell 300 field the past several years and loves racing at Martinsville. "This is the biggest race we run all year long. I've loved Martinsville ever since I came here as a kid and watched the Winston Cup guys, and I've always wanted to race here. I have been fortunate enough to be in the race the last four or five years," said the driver of the Eavers Amoco Chevrolet. Harris said his car was fast. "We have been running really good this morning. We feel pretty good about the car but as tough as this place is you never know when you come back," he added. Billy Hogan, who won the 1997 Taco Bell 300, likes his chances in this year 's race after practice. "This is only the second time we have ever run the car. We ran the race last Saturday night at Caraway Speedway and won with it so we are real confident about coming up here with it," said Hogan of Troy, NC. Rodney "Six Pack" Cundiff of Boones Mill, VA has a good history of making the Taco Bell 300 field, but he said you never know what to expect. "It's kind of like a crap shoot when you come here. You hope you have the right deal for a couple of laps. If you get in a qualifying race, you need to keep your fenders on, keep your head tied on straight, keep your cool and you will be alright," he said. Eddie Johnson, who is a past Martinsville Speedway Late Model Stock winner, agreed. "This is a strange place. With over 120 some cars, you come down here and run good and the next time you come here you struggle just to make the field and then even struggle in the qualifying races," Johnson said. "If you come here and run good it's a lot of fun and if you come here and don't run good its very aggravating." Competition should be great again, according to Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell. "With this many cars here for practice I expect this year's Taco Bell 300 to be one of our best," he said. Time trials for the Taco Bell 300 will be held on Saturday, September 23 with the pole winner receiving the $1,000 Chatlee Boats Award. Only the top 20 qualifiers will nail down starting positions. The remainder of the 42-car field will be decided in four 25-lap qualifying races at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, September 24 with only the first five finishers in each event advancing to the 200-lap feature race. Best appearing car in the startling lineup will earn the Doughton Racing Products trophy for its owner. Leader at halfway will receive the $5,000 BB&T award while the leaders will be inverted. The race also will be stopped at lap 190 with the cars lined up single file for a ten-lap, green flag shootout to the finish. Robert Powell of St. Matthews, SC is the defending champion for the race. Tickets for the Taco Bell 300 are unreserved and are $20 for adults with children ages 6-12 $5. The race kicks off a big week with Bud Pole qualifying, for the NAPA AutoCare 500 NASCAR Winston Cup Series race, set for Friday, September 29, the Goody's Body Pain 200 NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour race at 3 p.m. on Saturday, September 30 and the NAPA AutoCare 500 Winston Cup race on Sunday, October 1at 1 p.m. Excellent reserved seats still are available in the towers and concrete areas for the NAPA AutoCare 500 from $40-$65 and can be ordered by calling toll free 877-722-3849 or 540-956-3151. Tickets also may be ordered online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Clay Campbell