SWS/SES: Norris set to debut at Phoenix

NASCAR Southeast Series RoY Norris Set For Southwest Debut JR Will Get a Head Start on Sizing Up His All Star Showdown Opponents HUEYTOWN, AL (November 2, 2004) -- In less than two weeks, the top teams of NASCAR's four Elite Division Touring ...

NASCAR Southeast Series RoY Norris Set For Southwest Debut
JR Will Get a Head Start on Sizing Up His All Star Showdown Opponents

HUEYTOWN, AL (November 2, 2004) -- In less than two weeks, the top teams of NASCAR's four Elite Division Touring Series will gather in Irwindale (CA) for the biggest race of the year, the NASCAR Toyota All Star Showdown. But before NASCAR Southeast Series Rookie of the Year J.R. Norris sets his sights on that prize, he wants to size up some of his competition.

So Norris and his Concord, NC, based team have decided to head west early to compete against the NASCAR Southwest Series drivers in their season finale at Phoenix International Raceway. It will be Norris' debut in the Southwest Series, but he's not going to Phoenix just to ride around and relax.

"We are out here to win," said Norris, who headed out to Arizona early this week. "I think that we can do that. I haven't had much trouble adapting to any of the new tracks that I've gone to this year so we'll be fine."

The decision to make a side trip to Phoenix was not a hard choice for the team to make.

"We were already coming out this way," said Norris. "So it made sense to come out to Phoenix and do some racing on the way. Their finale was just a week before the All Star Showdown so we thought we'd get the most bang for our buck.

"It will give me a chance to look at some of the guys that we are going to be racing against for the big money at Irwindale the week after as well. Any advantage I can get I'll take because we want to win both races. This is our time to shine out here."

Norris' car will not have its familiar #5 on the side of it for the Phoenix race. Instead, it will carry the #52 for the event.

Richie Wauters owns and maintains the cars Norris drives and is the crew chief for Shane Hmiel's #15 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series entry. His experience at Phoenix will no doubt be helpful and Norris hasn't been shy about asking for pointers.

"Since I've never been there before, I've asked a lot of people a lot of questions for this week," said Norris. "Now, I'm ready to race."

Norris has a plan when it comes to carving a path to victory lane at Phoenix. By using his head and his right foot, the 24-year-old hopes that he has a winning plan.

"It's a 125-lap race," said Norris. "We plan to use the first half of the race to sit back and watch what everyone else does. After the halfway point, we're going to try and get to the front."

Norris finished second in the NASCAR Southeast Series point standings in 2004 as a rookie. He scored one win, at Nashville Superspeedway, a track larger than the usual short tracks the series runs. Phoenix measures just over one mile in length.

With the Rookie of the Year title in the NASCAR Southeast Series wrapped up, JR Norris is focused on winning the second Toyota NASCAR All Star Showdown at Irwindale Speedway (CA) in November with car owner Richie Wauters.

-51ss-

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Shane Hmiel