DASH: Randy Humphrey 2004 season preview

Anyone who thinks Randy Humphrey is in the stock car racing business just for fun, obviously hasn't had the opportunity to rub fenders with the 43-year-old Kansas native. "We are not here to do anything but race and to win races," Humphrey said...

Anyone who thinks Randy Humphrey is in the stock car racing business just for fun, obviously hasn't had the opportunity to rub fenders with the 43-year-old Kansas native.

"We are not here to do anything but race and to win races," Humphrey said between recent test runs at the Talladega Superspeedway. "This isn't a gimmee thing, this is a serious deal."

When Humphrey unloads his Pontiac Sunfires at Daytona International Speedway in early February, he will begin his march toward capturing the IPOWERacing DASH Series championship.

"We do feel like we have a shot at the championship," Humphrey said. This is a tough little series. To get up there and win and run top 5 it all comes down to chemistry.

"We've just gotten to that point where the mix has been really good for us. When you run against the Hobgoods (Justin and Jake) and Robert (Huffman) it's tough, they've had the same people for 10 years."

Humphrey, who operates Randy Humphrey Racing in Cornelius, N.C., has two full-time employees and a handful of guys who work with him on a part-time basis. One of those is crew chief Wes Page, who is in his second year with Humphrey.

"His family has been in the DASH Series for 25 years," Humphrey said. "He has two second-place finishes as a crew chief and we finished fourth together last year."

Humphrey admitted that the changes in the DASH Series -- most notably the change of ownership of the series from NASCAR to IPOWERacing -- had him a little concerned at first.

"We have been a little nervous," said Humphrey, a real estate developer by trade. "We have a lot of equipment and want to protect our investment."

Randy Humphrey Racing currently owns seven of the six-cylinder DASH Series cars and three Hooters Cup cars.

But he also said he was pleased with the leadership of IPOWERacing President Buck Parker and Executive Vice President Randy Claypoole, who bought the series once NASCAR decided to get out of the DASH Series.

"I know that Randy and Buck have been working real hard to try and make the series go and protect everbody's investment and build a series," Humphrey said. "We are real excited about having the opportunity to move our stuff on into a different realm."

So far, five race dates have been confirmed for the DASH Series, beginning with the IPOWERacing DASH 150 at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 8. The event will be televised live on the SPEED channel. The race will start following Nextel Cup qualifying for the Daytona 500, with the estimated time to drop the green flag being at 3:30 p.m. EST. The Series will soon announce additions to the schedule as they continue to work toward the planned 16-18 events for 2004.

The DASH Series defending champion, Robert Huffman, is making the full-time move to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series this year.

Humphrey says he likes the DASH series because of the variety of drivers that make it up. And he looks for that mixture to continue to improve.

"I think you will see a ton of new blood. A couple of the veterans, namely Kelly Sutton and Robert Huffman moved to another level. The Hobgoods and the top seven or eight teams are trying to go to another level. At the same time we will get new people out of the Bandeleros, Legends, Legacy -- all of those guys are all coming to the DASH Series."

Humphrey recently spent a couple of days working out the kinks of his superspeedway cars at Talladega Superspeedway.

"These days are very important," the Cornelius, N.C., driver said. "We are trying to see how the car feels and that is really critical."

While Talladega is not exactly the same as the Daytona International Speedway, Humphrey said the two mega-tracks were similar enough to make the testing at the 2.5-mile Alabama facility important.

"Talladega is a little bit easier to drive, while Daytona is more of a handling track," said Humphrey who turned laps at greater than 170 miles per hour during his practice runs.

"We unloaded good," Humphrey said. "We were within four-tenths of where we were (last year). Based on that, we are in the game."

Spending time at Talladega is costly, but Humphrey said a win on Feb. 8 would make it worthwhile.

"Our goal is to win Daytona," he said. "We are spending money, spending time and spending effort to hopefully do just that."

While Humphrey is focused on running for the DASH points title, he will also be competing in the USAR Hooters Cup series this season and also hopes to get some seat time in a NASCAR Craftsman truck before the racing year is concluded.

"Our goals are to get into the trucks and Busch," Humphrey said. "(We want) to move in that direction, but at the same time support IPOWER and DASH like we have been for the past five years."

After two part-time seasons in the DASH Series, Humphrey finished 11th in 2001 and eighth in 2002, before finishing fourth last year. He has never won a DASH Series race, but won the pole at Lowe's Motor Speedway last year and led five laps before being overtaken by Huffman, the eventual winner.

--IPOWERacing DASH Series/austinbiship-

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Series Stock car
Drivers Kelly Sutton , Robert Huffman