SMT: Caraway II preview

NASCAR WHELEN SOUTHERN MODIFIED TOUR RETURNS TO CARAWAY SPEEDWAY APRIL 9 * Jay Hedgecock Optimistic Despite Slow Start in 2005 * With Break in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Weekend, Bobby Hutchens Ready to Race DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 6,...


* Jay Hedgecock Optimistic Despite Slow Start in 2005
* With Break in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Weekend, Bobby Hutchens Ready to Race

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 6, 2005) -- It's not everyday a driver gets a chance to become the inaugural race winner for a new NASCAR series. For High Point, N.C. driver Jay Hedgecock, his hopes of earning such a distinction were dashed, when his engine failed after leading 27 laps of the first NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour race on March 26.

This Saturday, April 9, the Whelen Southern Modified Tour returns to the site of that first race, Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, N.C., and Hedgecock is prepared to do better this time around.

"That was the first motor failure I've had in about six years," said Hedgecock. "We went completely through motor and put new pistons in it. We've changed carburetors and we've checked all the ignition wiring and distributors. We've gone through things from one end to the other to try and eliminate any possibilities."

Although Hedgecock and his team have worked overtime to correct the problem which caused his motor to fail at Caraway, a small sliver of doubt remains.

"Unfortunately, we haven't laid our hands on anything," said Hedgecock. "That's the bad part. Even though we've changed all these parts there wasn't anything obvious that jumped out to us as the real problem.

"Hopefully, we've changed enough stuff that we've eliminated the possibility of it happening again."

Hedgecock was credited with a 17th-place finish in the opening race and the Tour was rained out last weekend at Ace Speedway. Despite his slow start, Hedgecock remains optimistic and says the new Tour is off to a great start.

"We've gotten more publicity out of that one race at Caraway -- locally and nationally -- then we've had in the past five years altogether," said Hedgecock. "There's been a positive outlook from the fans, especially after the last race at Caraway. The longest caution flag we had was just two laps. It's the best it's ever been since I've been racing Modified cars."


* With Time Off at Martinsville, Hutchens Ready to Race ... As Vice President of Competition for Richard Childress Racing, Bobby Hutchens has plenty to keep him busy on a typical NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race weekend. Under NASCAR's revised schedule, however, this weekend at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway is another opportunity for Hutchens to get behind the wheel in the Whelen Southern Modified Tour.

NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams will qualify for Sunday's Advance Auto Parts 500 on Friday afternoon and participate in a single 45-minute practice session on Saturday morning. The schedule leaves plenty of time for Hutchens, a resident of Lexington, N.C. who oversees operations for each of RCR's three NEXTEL Cup Series teams, to travel 80 miles south to Caraway with his own No. 14 Modified team and compete in Saturday's race. Hutchens started 12th and finished eighth in the season opener at Caraway.

* "Northern Invaders" Back Home for Season Opener at Thompson ... The season-opener at Caraway was dominated by two northeastern-based drivers: winner Ted Christopher, of Plainville, Conn., and third-place finisher Jamie Tomaino, of Howell, N.J. Both Christopher and Tomaino were also scheduled to compete in last weekend's race at Ace Speedway before it rained out. This week, they are absent from the Whelen Southern Modified Tour in order to compete in their "home" series, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, in its season-opener at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway. Teams from both tours will be officially reunited for a special 250-lap combination race, Sept. 3 at Martinsville.

* Powell to Appear on WTQR Radio in Winston-Salem ... Kevin Powell, driver of the No. 04 WTQR/Foothill Ford Ford from Winston-Salem, N.C., will be a guest on the popular "Brother Bill and Aunt Eloise" morning show on WTQR 104 FM this Friday morning. Powell is scheduled to appear on the show at 8:30 a.m., offering fans a first-hand preview of Saturday's race.

Fast Facts

What: NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour 150

Where: Caraway Speedway, Asheboro, N.C.
When: Saturday, April 9 at 8:00 p.m. (approx.).

Posted awards: $18,883.

Race length: 150 laps, 68.25 miles
Track layout: .455-mile oval.

Pre-Race Schedule: Registration begins 1:00 p.m., Practice 3-5 p.m., Bud Pole qualifying 6:30 p.m.

Top 10 Drivers: 1. Ted Christopher 180, 2. Jay Foley 170, 3. Jamie Tomaino 165, 4. Junior Miller 160, 5. Frank Fleming 155, 6. Alex Hoag 150, 7. John Smith 146, 8. Bobby Hutchens 142, 9. Michael Clifton 138, 10. Rupert Sink 134.


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Drivers Jamie Tomaino , Junior Miller , Ted Christopher
Teams Richard Childress Racing