Matt Hawkins 2005 SpeedFest preview

Hawkins Ready for Green Flag to Wave in 2005 CANTON, Ga. (January 25, 2005) -- Although it has only been a little more than a month since his last race, Matt Hawkins is anxious to start the 2005 racing season in the same state as his last race...

Hawkins Ready for Green Flag to Wave in 2005

CANTON, Ga. (January 25, 2005) -- Although it has only been a little more than a month since his last race, Matt Hawkins is anxious to start the 2005 racing season in the same state as his last race of 2004. Hawkins, who completed his 2004 tour at the 37th Annual Snowball Derby in Pensacola, Fla., will compete in this weekend's 2005 SpeedFest, held at the USA International Speedway located in Lakeland, Fla.

Matt Hawkins and the No. 122 CDS Drywall/H & H Electric/Southern Homes Ford will compete under the O'Reilly Southern All Star (SAS) Racing Series banner, the series in which he will contend for the championship in 2005. Hawkins and his team competed previously in the SAS in 2004, with a best finish of ninth place at his home track of Lanier (Ga.) Speedway.

"I'm looking forward to racing at Speedfest," said Hawkins, who recently turned 17 years old on January 12. b^0x001cI'm looking to gain more experience in these late model cars that will carry over and benefit our team racing in the Southern All Star Series this year. It's a great format in which a lot of good competitors from all over the country can race, and it doesn't hurt one bit that it's in Florida where it's warmer."

The 2005 Speedfest includes drivers and teams from five of the premier racing organizations in the United States. On Thursday evening, drivers from the Southern All Star Racing Series and the Sunbelt Super Late Model Series will compete in a battle of the South. Friday night's race includes drivers from the North's CRA Super Series and the PASS Pro-Stock Touring Series, as well as the USRA Series, based out of Texas.

This weekend won't be the first time Hawkins and the Matt Hawkins Racing team have traveled to USA International Speedway. Hawkins and his usual No. 22 Ford raced at the 0.75-mile oval in October, finishing in 10th place after cutting a tire while running in third position.

"At least I'm going to a track I am somewhat familiar with," Hawkins comments. "I'll have a little bit of an edge on at least those guys from other parts of the country. I like the track. It's smooth with fast straightaways. We had a good run going the last time, so hopefully we'll be able to do it again. I'd like to complete the race with a top-five finish."

Hawkins has only competed in 15 late model races in his young racing career, but during that time, accumulated two poles, seven top-five finishes and 10 top-10 finishes. His longest race was the Snowball Derby, in which he completed 295 of the 300 laps and finished in 18th position. That was quite an accomplishment after cutting down a tire and having to pit under green flag conditions.

Hawkins has competed in go-carts, Legends and most recently late models. He has numerous victories and championships in karting competition, including the 2003 World Karting Association National Championship, and looks to build his list of accomplishments in 2005. Hawkins and the Matt Hawkins Racing team have elected to compete in the O'Reilly Southern All Star Racing Series in 2005, as well as five USAR Hooters Pro Cup races, along with select late model events around the Southeast.

-mhr-

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