LEBANON, TN. (July 9 2002) - With the debut of the new Nashville Superspeedway, in 2001, drivers on the Hills Bros. All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring have found a new home in Music City USA. The .625-mile track at the Nashville Fairgrounds has...
LEBANON, TN. (July 9 2002) - With the debut of the new Nashville Superspeedway, in 2001, drivers on the Hills Bros. All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring have found a new home in Music City USA.
The .625-mile track at the Nashville Fairgrounds has always been a favorite of this series since 1981 but in 2001 the focus shifted to the beautiful new and very modern 1.333-mile superspeedway, part of the Dover Downs Entertainment Group.
Two events have been run on the fast oval and two different non-series regulars have been to victory lane, Eddie Hoffman from Wheaton, IL. last November and Ryan Hemphill of Apollo, Pa. earlier this year. . Now the question remains who will stop in victory lane on July 19. Will there be a third winner in three events? Possibly!!!
Parity is the word on the series this year as five different drivers have stopped in victory lane in the first six races. Only Toby Porter of Greenville, S. C. has managed to win twice this year. Other winners have been Billy Bigley Jrl, Hemphill, Eddie Mercer and David Reutimann.
The weekend will be very special for many old and new drivers since the weekend will be in conjunction with the IRL Series for only the second time in series history. Many series teams have never seen the IRL cars in action.
"We had our chance in June," said Charlie Bradberry, driver of the Bradberry Motorsports Chevrolet and current series points leader.
"We have been so close on three different occasions," said Bradberry who is still looking for his first NASCAR Touring Series stop in victory lane. "We had the point on the white flag in June and let Ryan (Hemphill) get under us in turn two. Our car just pushed up coming off two and I let it drift but that will not happen should we be in the same position."
Bradberry, the 2001 series rookie of the year, took over the series points lead after the fourth race of the season and has steadily increased the margin between he and second place driver Jeff Fultz.
He has led 100% of the laps through the first six races, has the most top five finishes with five and has finished in the top ten all six events. Fultz on the other hand is also winless this season. He has not taken the C & C Boiler/Cleaver Brooks Chevrolet to victory lane since August of 2001. Fultz, without a doubt, has more speedway experience than anyone on the series and he finished second here in June and was fourth last November. He had back to back wins at the new Kentucky Speedway last season, has attempted a NASCAR Winston Cup Series event at Lowe's Motor Speedway and has had several NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division starts.
Benny Gordon is another driver that has taken a liking to the Nashville track. Gordon finished third in the inaugural race last November and then came back strong, after starting 15th, for a fourth place finish in June.
"I really like this facility," said Gordon. "The track gives you lots of room to run and not get in trouble. Our Johnny's Haulmark Trailer's Pontiac has been stout this year. And being in the top five in points we have a little extra incentive to get that first win."
Another top contender will be Reutimann who garnered his first career win at Big Daddy's South Boston Speedway back in March. Reutimann's, Pennzoil Chevrolet, led the series points through the first three races before losing the top spot to Bradberry by a mere point after the June event here. Then he dropped further in points after his car lost an engine in the Kentucky event one week later. Reutimann has been strong all year except for that one event. He had led over a third of the laps run through the first six races and is more than double his closest competitor in laps led. He also had started from the Bud Pole three times in six races to lead in that category.
Another driver who has found restrictor plate racing to his liking is rookie-of-the-year candidate Joe Aramendia from San Antonio, Texas. Aramendia, with little superspeeday experience in his Aramendia Plumbing Chevrolet, has two top ten finishes with a sixth here in June and a sixth at Kentucky Speedway.
Action gets underway at the track on Thursday, July 18 when the Hills Bros. All Pro Series teams take to the track for practice at 11:45 am for two hours. Qualifying to determine the 40 car-starting field will take place at 4:00 pm. The Hills Bros. 133 will fire off at 7:15 pm on Friday, July 19.