NASCAR Autozone Elite Division, Southeast Series Heads to Lanier National Speedway July 1 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June, 23, 2004) -- As the old saying goes, there's no place like home. That's exactly the sentiment NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, ...
NASCAR Autozone Elite Division, Southeast Series Heads to Lanier National Speedway July 1
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June, 23, 2004) -- As the old saying goes, there's no place like home. That's exactly the sentiment NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southeast Series driver Jason Hogan is feeling heading into the July 1 Firecracker 150 presented by Great Clips at Lanier National Speedway in Braselton, Ga.
Hogan enters next Thursday night's 150-lap affair as both a heavy pre-race and local favorite to go to victory lane at the Lanier track, where he is a former track champion.
At the season's halfway point, Hogan has been one of the best stories of the year by picking up his first two Southeast Series victories in back-to-back fashion at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway and Houston (Tex.) Motor Speedway. Hogan also knows a thing or two about getting around the 3/8-mile Lanier track that is about 30 minutes south of his hometown of Cleveland, Ga. He estimates that he has won almost 100 races at the facility he's been turning laps at for the last 10 years.
"I'm definitely excited to be heading to Lanier because I've got so many laps at that track and I've got so many fans there since I grew up in that area," said Hogan. "It's pretty important to head to a track where you know there are going to be a lot of people out there to support you."
In only his third full season in the Southeast Series, Hogan has established himself as a driver to watch with two victories, two poles and over $90,000 in winnings to his credit.
"That means a lot and it has given me a lot of momentum from the start of the season to build on for the rest of the year," said Hogan. "Once you get to victory lane two races in a row, that gives you the feeling that you can win each and every race. It lets everybody know that you're going to be a factor. It has been a big mental advantage to know that I've got the talent and the equipment to win every race I enter."
Hogan sees a solid effort and a possible win at Lanier as another step up the racing ladder, even though many drivers consider the track as one of the most difficult to figure out on the circuit.
"Lanier is a track that a lot of people don't like to race at because it's so tough to get around," said Hogan. "Everybody has a hard time figuring out the right racing line so they don't like it for one reason or another. I've turned so many laps at Lanier that I know the line and where my car needs to be. Having raced at Lanier so many times before is a big benefit for me because I've got a lot of knowledge of the track that a lot of the other drivers don't have. I feel like I've got a little advantage because I know how the track acts and how it changes."
Another fact that adds to Hogan's high hopes heading into Lanier is that he is taking the same car he drove to his victories at Hickory and Houston.
"I feel like we're going to have a pretty good set-up as soon as we unload the car," Hogan said.
Hogan heads to Lanier as somewhat of a man on a mission after two less than stellar efforts at Nashville Superspeedway and Kentucky Speedway in the last two Southeast Series races, with respective finishes of 11th and 12th.
"We've had an excellent year so far with the exception of the last two races on big speedways," said Hogan. "We're still working very hard to get our big speedway package to where it needs to be."
Hogan grabbed the Southeast Series point lead following his victory at Hickory and held the top spot until Kentucky. Jeff Fultz took advantage of his second win of the 2004 Southeast Series season at Kentucky to grab the lead in the point standings by a mere four markers over Hogan heading into Lanier.
While he says that losing the lead was disappointing, Hogan admits it wasn't that surprising because his team wasn't as prepared for the higher speed tracks as they are for the smaller facilities like Lanier.
"I told everybody heading into the last two races that if we could get through the speedway races with the point lead or be less that 10 points from the lead, the other drivers and teams had better watch out when we get back to the short tracks," said Hogan. "Our short track program is very strong and I think we're going to be pretty good from here on out. As far as being where we are halfway through the season, I have to say that it has been mission accomplished. We have won a couple of races and we're sitting right where we want to be as far as the points are concerned."
What: Firecracker 150 presented by Great Clips (Race No. 7 of 12 in the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southeast Series.
Where: Lanier National Speedway, Braselton, Ga.
When: 8:30 p.m. (approx.), Thursday, July 1, 2004.
Track layout: 3/8-mile oval.
Race length: 150 laps (56.25 miles).
Top 10 in points: 1. Jeff Fultz 941, 2. Jason Hogan 937, 3. J.R. Norris 924, 4. Erik Darnell 916, 5. Kevin Prince 827, 6. Chris Davidson 826, 7. Greg Pope 779, 8. John Wilkinson, III 777, 9. Wayne Bowen 775, 10. Michael Faulk 721.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): 10:00 a.m. Garage opens and inspections begin, 1-3 p.m. Practice, 6:00 p.m. Time trials (2 laps).