South Boston: Toyota Motorsports preview

SOUTH BOSTON, Va. (June 13, 2003) Four-time NASCAR Goody's Dash Series Champion Robert Huffman will take the green flag this Saturday, June 14, at the Big Daddy's South Boston Speedway Goody's Dash 150 on top of the drivers' championship standings...

SOUTH BOSTON, Va. (June 13, 2003) Four-time NASCAR Goody's Dash Series Champion Robert Huffman will take the green flag this Saturday, June 14, at the Big Daddy's South Boston Speedway Goody's Dash 150 on top of the drivers' championship standings after three races in the 2003 season. Huffman won the last round at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C., on May 17.

"It's been great to have a such a good start to the season, but the hard work has only begun," said Huffman, from the Charlotte-area town Claremont, N.C. "South Boston is always a fun but tough race. The White House Apple Juice Celica ran great there last year and I don't expect anything less this Saturday. We ran a faster time than last year's pole in a test at South Boston a few weeks ago."

Huffman also won the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway, and he finished fourth at the second event in Savannah, Ga. His three top-five finishes in the No. 37 White House Apple Juice Toyota Celica put him on top of the standings by 58 points. The victory in Charlotte was the 40th of his Goody's Dash career, which is second all-time in the series.

Among Huffman's main competitors for victory, and the series' lead, will be fellow Toyota Celica racers Jake Hobgood and Brandon Ward.

Hobgood, the defending NASCAR Goody's Dash Series champion, will make his third start in the No. 64 Germain Toyota Celica. In his first race behind the wheel of the Celica at the season's second event, Hobgood earned the pole position on the Savannah half-mile dirt oval. With Huffman qualifying second, it gave Toyota its first front-row qualifying sweep in the program's four-year history. Hobgood overcame a rough 21st-place qualifying session in Charlotte with a masterful race to finish eighth overall. He is currently fourth in the championship, 104 points behind Huffman.

"I'm really optimistic this weekend after having a good set up on my car in last year's South Boston race," said Hobgood, a native of Winnsboro, S.C., who ran third with two laps to go in 2002 before a suspension problem dropped him to 11th. "The Toyota motor makes great power, but since we're still relatively new to the Celica, we'll have to find the best gearing for the four-tenths-mile track."

Brandon Ward, who is currently right behind Hobgood at fifth overall in the drivers' championship standings, will battle the two champions in his No. 11 Rayco Safety/Ram Fabrication Toyota Celica. The 2002 rookie-of-the-year runner up started the season with two top-10 finishes at Daytona (fifth) and Savannah (seventh). Ward also earned four top-five finishes in five races going back to the end of last season. A difficult 26th-place finish at Charlotte dropped him from third to fifth overall.

Jeff Tillman will be making his second start this season in the No. 77 Travel Club Toyota Celica with Weaver Racing. Tillman, from nearby Kaiser, Md., finished in 32nd place at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte.

2003 rookie-of-the-year hopeful Reece Milton will also be making his third start of the season in the No. 75 Food Country/Refrigeration Systems Toyota Celica. The Blountville, Tenn., native ran a partial season in 2002 with a season-best finish of seventh at his home track of Bristol.

The Big Daddy's South Boston Speedway Goody's Dash 150 will run at 7:30 p.m. EST on Saturday, June 14. Qualifying will be at 5 p.m. EST.

Toyota made its debut in the NASCAR Goody's Dash series at Daytona in 2000. The 28-year-old series is part of the NASCAR ladder system, designed to help promote and develop driver's skills at tracks as varied as Daytona, Charlotte and Bristol. Originally called "Baby Grands," Goody's Dash cars resemble a scaled-down version of a Winston Cup car, and each is equipped with a V6 powerplant. Series alumni include Michael Waltrip, Davey Allison, Robert Pressley, Hut Stricklin, Andy Houston and Shawna Robinson.

-toyota-

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Michael Waltrip , Shawna Robinson , Andy Houston , Hut Stricklin , Robert Pressley , Jeff Tillman , Robert Huffman , Davey Allison