SASRS: Matt Hawkins BIR preview

Hawkins Prepared for the Early Bird CANTON, Ga. (February 25, 2005) -- The first race of the O'Reilly Southern All Star Racing Series schedule is this weekend at Birmingham (Ala.) International Raceway (BIR). Matt Hawkins and the Matt ...

Hawkins Prepared for the Early Bird

CANTON, Ga. (February 25, 2005) -- The first race of the O'Reilly Southern All Star Racing Series schedule is this weekend at Birmingham (Ala.) International Raceway (BIR). Matt Hawkins and the Matt Hawkins Racing team are anxious to head to BIR for the Early Bird 200 in their chase for the rookie of the year title, as well as hopes for the year-end championship. Seventeen-year-old Hawkins is also eager to get the year started off well, as his first scheduled race this year, SpeedFest at USA International Speedway in Lakeland, Fla., was cut short after an accident in qualifying.

With a fresh new car prepared by crew chief Wayne Hansard, Hawkins and the team are geared up for a good run. Although he has never competed at BIR, Hawkins has tested at the facility and looks forward to competing in the Early Bird.

"I like the track," said Hawkins. "It's nice and smooth. I just want to start the Southern All Star schedule off on a positive note. We had such a disappointment at SpeedFest, breaking something in qualifying, that we really need to rebound with a good run here."

Hawkins' father, Fred, contacted a driver that has numerous laps at BIR and is also a former track champion for a little insight on how to get around BIR and what setup they should run on the No. 22 Ford. JR Norris, a current competitor in the NASCAR Southeast Series, let Hawkins in on a few tricks. "I really appreciate JR talking to me," stated the elder Hawkins. "He's definitely knows his way around Birmingham. He gave me some information that was very helpful for me to give to Wayne and Matt. He helped us tremendously."

The Early Bird draws a lot of great competitors from around the Southeast, and this year should be no exception. Hawkins anticipates a competitive race with a lot of racing action. "This will be a great race with some big names like Charlie Bradberry. I know Wayne (Hansard) has the car prepared, and I'm ready to get to action. A top-five finish on Sunday would start the year off right."

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.

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Series Stock car
Drivers Charlie Bradberry