USAR: Bristol: Southern Division preview

Pro Cup driver's ready for Bristol's high banks Longs, SC--Some liken it to flying jet fighters in a gymnasium. Others say it's like spinning in a dryer for hours, and when you come out, someone will have lost a few socks. Darrell Waltrip...

Pro Cup driver's ready for Bristol's high banks

Longs, SC--Some liken it to flying jet fighters in a gymnasium. Others say it's like spinning in a dryer for hours, and when you come out, someone will have lost a few socks. Darrell Waltrip believes it's like the Final Four, with all the teams on the floor at once.

The analogies used to describe racing at Bristol Motor Speedway could go on forever, etching there way into a driver's psyche. But the best ones learn to love the beast.

"I've run at Michigan and run over 200 miles per hour, but no where do you get the sensation of speed like you do right in the middle of the corners at Bristol," said Clay Rogers, who finished second at BMS last year. "You've just got to come in here with the mindset to get over that."

Sounds easy enough. But diving off into corner at upwards of 130 mph tends to tense even the most competent wheel men.

"It really doesn't compare to other tracks that we race at," said Jeff Angew, driver of the No. 73n NGA Hooters Golf Tour Chevy. "You feel so much speed, and that's such a big difference from most of the tracks we race at. I guess Winchester (Ind.) and Salem (Ind.) up north can compare a little bit, but you go off into these holes down in the corners and it feels like you're going forever. For whatever reason, I haven't been able to get a hold on the track. I don't know if it's my car, or me."

Shane Huffman, driver of the No. 81 Knight's Companies Ford, was able to master the concrete behemoth in his first attempt.

Huffman, who won the Advance Auto Parts Pole Award for the inaugural event, started shotgun on the field after making repairs to his car after qualifying, but the 2003 Hooters Pro Cup champion completed the run from the back to the front on Lap 103, bypassing Gentry, driver of the No. 19 HarrisonsWorkwear.com Chevrolet, for the lead.

>From there, Huffman still had to sweat out pressure from Clay Rogers in the waning stages. Rogers made several attempts to make his way around Huffman, but he came up .253 seconds short.

"I've won a lot of races in my career, but winning at Bristol was the biggest win of my life," said Huffman, who has a series-high seven wins coming into the Food City 150. "I wouldn't trade that win for anything."

Rogers hopes he will.

"Last year, Shane said his win at Bristol meant more than his championship," said Rogers. "I told him I would trade the Southern Division championship this year if I can win Bristol."

The Food City 150 at BMS will start at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, August 24 as part of a doubleheader with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, and there will be plenty of representation from the NASCAR stars in the Food City 150 field. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Michael Waltrip and Rusty Wallace will all have Pro Cup teams competing in the event. Busch Series rookies Joel Kauffman and Kertus Davis are also entered in the Food City 150.

Spectator gates will open at 8:30 a.m. Food City 150 qualifying will start at 3 p.m. For ticket information, visit www.bristoltix.com.

-usar-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Stock car
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Darrell Waltrip , Rusty Wallace , Michael Waltrip , Clay Rogers , Kertus Davis , Joel Kauffman , Shane Huffman