DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 14, 2004) -- Bigger. Faster. Longer. All of those terms can describe the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southeast Series' next event, the Kentucky 150 presented by Insight Communications at Kentucky Speedway on Friday,...
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 14, 2004) -- Bigger. Faster. Longer. All of those terms can describe the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southeast Series' next event, the Kentucky 150 presented by Insight Communications at Kentucky Speedway on Friday, June 18.
One of two Southeast Series races on Kentucky Speedway's 1.5-mile oval, which is the series' biggest venue, the Kentucky 150 is the series' longest race at 150 miles and the series' fastest race with a Bud Pole qualifying record of over 157 mph.
One driver expected to handle these daunting statistics with ease is 2002 series champion Jeff Fultz (No. 54 C&C Boiler Chevrolet), a two-time winner at the track.
"These cars are really fun," said Fultz, a native of Cincinnati, Ohio. "They're stable at these types of tracks. The fields are getting tighter and tighter every year. We used to have six or seven cars that would pull away and the rest of them would be running in a pack. Now, people are working a lot harder since we have three superspeedway races, so we have a lot tighter field. Once you get three or four wide, it's going to really open up."
Fultz said the bigger, faster track means more emphasis on aerodynamics is needed.
"To prepare for Kentucky, you start trying to knock the drag out of the car," said Fultz. "It's got a restrictor plate and you never lift [out of the throttle]. You try to take down force out of the car at Kentucky, to make the car better when you're driving it wide open."
For the second consecutive week, the Southeast Series will be a companion event to the NASCAR Busch Series, which runs the Meijer 300 presented by Oreo on June 19. The Southeast Series will set the starting field for the Kentucky 150 with time trials at 3:00 p.m. Friday. Fultz said qualifying matters on any track, but anything can happen once the green flag falls.
"We put emphasis on qualifying, but I'm not the best qualifier," said Fultz." As long as you're in the top five or 10, you'll do fine and you've got to make a pit stop anyway. We try to get the pole, but I'm not the best at qualifying anyway and we come to race."
Friday's Kentucky 150 marks the Southeast Series' seventh event at Kentucky Speedway, which has hosted the series annually since it opened in 2000. Billy Bigley Jr. won the inaugural event in June 2000. When the series returned for two events in 2001, Fultz won both. Pensacola, Fla. drivers have dominated the series' visits to Kentucky ever since, with Eddie Mercer (No. 27 Everwood Treatment Co. / Phoenix Construction Chevrolet) winning in June 2002 and Scott Carlson (No. 38 Fast Eddies Fun Center Pontiac) winning two consecutive events in August 2002 and June 2003. Carlson also holds the series' Kentucky qualifying record of 34.335 seconds (157.274 mph), set in 2002. The Southeast Series returns to Kentucky Speedway for another 100-lap race on Sept. 18.
What: Kentucky 150 presented by Insight Communications (Race No. 6 of 12 in the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southeast Series.
Where: Kentucky Speedway, Sparta, Ky.
When: 9:00 p.m. (approx.), Friday, June 18, 2004.
Track layout: 1.5-mile oval.
Race length: 100 laps (150 miles).
Posted awards: $107,592.
2003 winner: Scott Carlson.
2003 polesitter: Scott Carlson.
Top 10 in points: 1. Jason Hogan 810, 2. Erik Darnell 774, 3. Jeff Fultz 761, 4. J.R. Norris 759, 5. John Wilkinson, III 683, 6. Kevin Prince 672, 7. Chris Davidson 656, 8. Wayne Bowen 637, 9. Greg Pope 629, 10. Dusty Williams 615.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): 7:00 a.m. registration opens, 10-11:30 a.m. practice, 3:00 p.m. time trials (2 laps).