USAR: Bristol: Matt Hawkins preview

Hawkins Ready For 'Wide Open" Bristol USAR Hooters Pro Cup Battle Matt Hawkins has seen his share new raceways during his USAR Hooters Pro Cup rookie season, but none of them compare to Bristol Motor Speedway, the next stop on the 2007 USAR ...

Hawkins Ready For 'Wide Open" Bristol USAR Hooters Pro Cup Battle

Matt Hawkins has seen his share new raceways during his USAR Hooters Pro Cup rookie season, but none of them compare to Bristol Motor Speedway, the next stop on the 2007 USAR Southern Division tour.

"Bristol just looks like such an awesome place," said Hawkins. "I can't wait to race there. To be fast [Hawkins%20VL%202%201320.jpg] there, you pretty much have to hold it wide open all the way around. That's going to take a little getting used to."

Hawkins, a 19-year-old Canton, GA native, wasted little time getting used to the USAR Pro Cup ranks earning a win in the first event of the season at USA International Speedway in Lakeland, FL. Since then, the driver of the No. 2 H&H Electric Ford Fusion has had his ups and downs scoring two additional Top-5 finishes and three finishes of 23rd or worse.

In the most recent Southern Division event at Hickory Motor Speedway, Hawkins was right where he wanted to be -- leading the race -- when he was penalized for jumping the restart. A tangle later in the event further sunk Hawkins in the final rundown as he was credited with a 25th-place finish.

"I just plain screwed up," said Hawkins. ""We deserved better than that. Unfortunately, I just messed up on the restart and then we got in that wreck. We should have never been in that position to begin with. It was my fault. I'll know better next time."

Despite never having toured the ultra-tough .533-mile Bristol concrete oval, Hawkins is confident he'll have the 'right stuff' when the green flag falls on the Food City 150 at Bristol.

"My teammate, Mike Garvey, has raced at Bristol before and he'll be able to give me plenty of solid advice as that what I need to be doing," Hawkins stated. "Mike has been great to work with and he helps me get up to speed everywhere we go to race. Even when we do a test where Mike does the driving and I don't, I learn a lot just watching and talking to him. I'm sure it will be the same when we get to Bristol. I'll be watching and talking to Mike a lot."

Currently sixth in the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Southern Division standings with 763 points, Hawkins is just 23 markers out of third in the regular season title chase. A solid run a Bristol, the final 2007 regular season event, would not only boost Hawkins in the standings and give him a lot of momentum heading into the USAR Championship Series, but could also serve as a means to impress the right people in the sport.

"I'm really hoping to do well at Bristol because there will a lot of important people in racing there watching our race," Hawkins stated, noting the Food City 150 will be part of a doubleheader that features the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in the second race of the evening. "If you want to shine in front of people who can help your career, Bristol is the place to do it."

The Food City 150 USAR Hooters Pro Cup event is set for Wednesday, August 22 at 5:45 p.m. Eastern Time. Highlights of the event will be telecast on The SPEED Channel on Wednesday, August 29 at 4 p.m. Eastern Time.

-credit: www.matthawkins.net

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Series Stock car
Drivers Mike Garvey