Norris Fastest Again & Scores Hickory Podium Finish Rookie of the Year Contender Captures Second-Straight Bud Pole Award Hueytown, AL (April 27, 2004) -- For the second-straight week, NASCAR Southeast Series Rookie of the Year contender JR...
Norris Fastest Again & Scores Hickory Podium Finish
Rookie of the Year Contender Captures Second-Straight Bud Pole Award
Hueytown, AL (April 27, 2004) -- For the second-straight week, NASCAR Southeast Series Rookie of the Year contender JR Norris captured the Bud Pole Award and had the fastest car on the track. And this week, the 24-year-old got a podium finish to back up his on-track performance.
"Last week, I won the pole and in the race I didn't use my head," said Norris, referring back to last week's SES opener at Nashville (TN) where he finished 13th. "This week, we won the pole and I used my head and we got a decent finish out of it. Some other people didn't use their head out there, but that is the way racing goes."
Norris again set fast time, but again had to start further back due to the SES inversion rule. Coming from the sixth starting spot, Norris made it up to the lead by lap 19. That run was quickly stopped by a pair of lapped cars who got into Norris, sending him to the back of the field. Norris quickly charged to the front again, but was sent to the back after he got turned around by John Wilkinson III. For a third time, Norris made a charge to the front, but the rookie ran out of time and settled for a third-place finish.
"It was a frustrating night, because we had such a great car. After the first spin, the car was still fine. We flat spotted the tires a little bit, but the car was still the same. After the second spin, it just killed the tires. I was doing all I could do to keep it straight coming off the corners. I really wore the tires out spinning twice because I had to light 'em up to keep the car off the wall. All in all, we had a good car and did a ton of door-to-door racing.
"I was able to keep calm out there tonight and a lot of that was thanks to my spotter (his Dad) and my crew chief (Richie Wauters) talking to me the whole race. Without those guys talking to me, I probably would have lost my cool. They kept me calmed down and got me back up through the field. I owe a lot of it to those two.
"I know last week people were thinking 'what was JR thinking when he did that?' This week, that is what I was thinking (referring to the bump by Wilkinson). He knew I was on the outside of him and his spotter told him the leader is coming. It's just one of those deals. It's frustrating that I didn't win, but to go through what we went through and finish third and be a crowd pleaser tonight, I'm pretty happy."
And being a crowd pleaser is exactly what Norris was. His charge from back-to-front on three occasions had the fans standing and cheering in his favor much of the night.
"It's always a good thing when the fans are behind you. It's pretty funny because when they did driver introductions before the race, I think I heard one little 'woo hoo' when my name was announced. After the race was over, they were all cheering for me; that made me feel real good. I know I put on a show, but I sure don't want to do that every race.
Norris and the Richie Wauters-owned Victory Ford #5 team will head to Greenville-Pickens Speedway (SC) on May 1 for the third of four-straight weeks of racing that opens the 2004 Southeast Series season.
The Rookie of the Year title in the NASCAR Southeast Series is one of the prizes JR Norris has his eye on in 2004, although he is also aiming for the championship in a combined effort with car owner Richie Wauters. If you would like more information on JR Norris and his 2004 efforts, check out jrnorris.com.