Oglethorpe: Toyota Motorsports preview

Defending Goody's Dash Champion Hobgood joins Daytona winner Huffman and others in a new Toyota Celica. SAVANNAH, Ga. (April 3, 2003) Defending NASCAR Goody's Dash Series champion Jake Hobgood will make his debut in a Toyota Celica this...

Defending Goody's Dash Champion Hobgood joins Daytona winner Huffman and others in a new Toyota Celica.

SAVANNAH, Ga. (April 3, 2003) Defending NASCAR Goody's Dash Series champion Jake Hobgood will make his debut in a Toyota Celica this Saturday, April 5 at the Lucas Oil 150 race at the half-mile dirt track Oglethorpe Speedway near Savannah, Ga. Hobgood will join season-opening Daytona winner Robert Huffman, among others, in the Toyota contingent for the rest of the 2003 season.

"I'm excited to be racing the Toyota Celica this weekend and the rest of the season," said Hobgood, a native of Winnsboro, S.C. "We tested the car for the first time in March, and we probably had the fastest average laps in the group of 16 drivers. It will be fun to race the Celica for the first time on a dirt track. The outcome will all depend on how everyone adapts as the dirt track changes throughout the race."

Four-time Goody's Dash champion Huffman leads the driver's championship this season after winning at Daytona International Speedway in February. The Claremont, N.C., -driver finished second overall last season to Hobgood in the No. 37 White House Apple Juice Toyota Celica, and he was tied for the series lead with three victories. Hobgood is currently third overall after finishing third at Daytona.

The two will be joined by Brandon Ward in the No. 11 Ram Fabrication Toyota Celica. After a strong rookie season in 2002 with seven top-ten finishes, the Winston- Salem, N.C., resident finished fifth in the Daytona opener. While racing a limited 2001 schedule, Ward earned his first career Goody's Dash victory at the legendary Bristol Motor Speedway.

Nick Pistone will be making his second start this season in the No. 77 BI-LO Toyota Celica with Weaver Racing. The Charlotte, N.C., resident and grandson of early-NASCAR racer "Tiger" Tom Pistone had a strong rookie campaign last year with four top-10 finishes and a season-high eighth-place finish at Greenville, S.C., and Myrtle Beach, S.C. Pistone, who finished sixth overall in the rookie standings last year, was 26th at Daytona in February.

Wendy Hicks, from Huntsville, Ala., will be racing in her first Goody's Dash race at Oglethorpe Speedway. Prior to racing her No. 73 Clabber Girl Toyota Celica, Hicks was a regular in the Legends Series at Huntsville Speedway. Her racing career began at the Quarter Midget level at the age of five.

The 105-lap NASCAR Goody's Dash Lucas Oil 150 will run at 9:30 p.m. EST on Saturday, April 5. Practice and qualifying will run earlier in the day.

Toyota made its debut in the NASCAR Goody's Dash series at Daytona in 2000. The 28-year-old series is part of the NASCAR ladder system, designed to help promote and develop driver's skills at tracks as varied as Daytona, Charlotte and Bristol. Originally called "Baby Grands," Goody's Dash cars resemble a scaled-down version of a Winston Cup car, and each is equipped with a V6 powerplant. Series alumni include Michael Waltrip, Davey Allison, Robert Pressley, Hut Stricklin, Andy Houston and Shawna Robinson.

-toyota-

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Michael Waltrip , Shawna Robinson , Andy Houston , Hut Stricklin , Robert Pressley , Robert Huffman , Davey Allison