SES: JR Norris Hickory test notes

JR Norris Is Fastest In Southeast Series Test at Hickory Rookie Happy With First Run in Richie Wauters' Slick ...

JR Norris Is Fastest In Southeast Series Test at Hickory
Rookie Happy With First Run in Richie Wauters' Slick #5 Machine

Hueytown, AL (April 7, 2004) -- It's been two years since 24-year-old JR Norris has been in the seat of a NASCAR Southeast Series Late Model (formerly All Pro Series). It's also been a couple of years since Norris turned any laps at the famed Hickory Motor Speedway (NC). All that is history now as Norris participated in a NASCAR-sanctioned test session at Hickory Saturday behind the wheel of Richie Wauters' #5. Norris will pilot that car in his attempt at capturing Rookie of the Year honors in the Southeast Series this year.

The test went well for Norris, so well that the team decided to load up and pack it in for the day after just an hour of practice during the afternoon. That's right; the team skipped the two evening practice sessions because they were fast. How fast? Try two-to three-tenths faster than the other cars in attendance.

"I'm really satisfied with how things went. I think it was better than even any of us expected it to be so I am pumped up about it," said Norris, who has competed in a couple Super Late Model shows already this year. "I knew the car would be good because Richie's stuff is always really slick. I just figured we would have to work on our communication a little bit and to get to where we understood each other really well, but that came just as easy as anything. We just worked well together. Anything I told them, they understood and fixed it right away.

"We wanted to use the practice to shake the winter rust off the both of us. Richie wanted to make sure everything was good on the car because he had it completely apart during the off season. I wanted to get used to being behind the wheel of a Southeast Series car again and get used to the tires and everything. And we wanted to all work together a little bit. We also used it as a good little test session for the Hickory race later this month."

Norris' best time was clocked at 15.04 seconds. The next best driver at the session turned a lap of 15.28 seconds.

"Every time we went out for a run, we made an adjustment on the car and it just got better and better. By the end of that first hour, we decided that it wasn't going to get much better than that. Richie was very happy with the car so we thought it would be best to just load it up and go home and not risk tearing anything up.

"I'm a little surprised we were as fast as we were compared to everyone else, but I know you can't count a lot of those guys out. Jeff Fultz (2002 champion) is going to be tough and we all know that. He's a great driver and will be plenty fast when we go back there for the race."

JR also had some help from NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series racer Shane Hmiel on Saturday. He was at the test to check things out, but took time to give Norris a couple of helpful pointers.

"I have to thank Shane for taking the time to give me some advice," added Norris. "He was just hanging around, but he gave me a couple of pointers about my line at the track and a few other things. He was pretty helpful, as was Richie. He helped me out a lot too in getting the car set up and giving me a couple of helpful hints to making the thing go even faster."

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


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Drivers Jeff Fultz