USAR: Gabi DiCarlo mid-season report

DICARLO AND GREAT CLIPS MAKING PROGRESS IN HOOTERS PRO CUP SERIES DESPITE A FEW SETBACKS MOORESVILLE, NC (July 24, 2006)--Practice makes perfect, and that's the goal for Hooters Pro Cup driver Gabi DiCarlo. DiCarlo, who is competing in...


MOORESVILLE, NC (July 24, 2006)--Practice makes perfect, and that's the goal for Hooters Pro Cup driver Gabi DiCarlo. DiCarlo, who is competing in a limited schedule in the Hooters Pro Cup Series for Stringer Motorsports and sponsor Great Clips, is steadily making progress in her rookie season; however there have been a few bumps along the way.

"I definitely think that Gabi is showing progress," said team owner Doug Stringer. "We are really focusing on qualifying for the remainder of the season. She is a rookie in the series, so she is still trying to get a handle on things. We're 26th in Hooters Pro Cup Northern Division points, and I think that's extremely impressive for someone who isn't even running a full season. I am happy with the progress that she has made so far, and we know that she will get even better with the more seat time that she has."

In DiCarlo's season debut at Kil-Kare Speedway on May 12, she started the event in 29th position after qualifying was cancelled due to rain and the starting lineup was based on the point standings. She worked her way from the back of the pack and brought the Great Clips Ford home in 17th place.

"It was disappointing that qualifying was rained out because our car was fast and we were working to qualify high in the field, but I was very happy with how the first race went," said DiCarlo. "The team was well-prepared and gave me a very good car. It was great to get back racing with my crew chief, David "Buggy" Pletcher who I had worked with before."

Her next two events took place at Jennerstown Speedway (May 27) and Mansfield Motorsports Park (June 10) where she finished 19th and 21st respectively.

"I had not been to Jennerstown before but it was an exciting and challenging track," said DiCarlo. "Contact with another car moved me to the back halfway through the race, but aggressive driving and a great pit stop from my crew got us back up to a 19th-place finish."

DiCarlo hit a patch of misfortune at Indianapolis Raceway Park on June 27 when she was unable to qualify for the event after being involved in an accident during the practice session leading up to qualifying. The damage to her Great Clips Ford was not repairable the team was forced home before the green flag fell.

"I was really disappointed in not being able to race at IRP because we were good in practice," said DiCarlo. "I also felt terrible for my team because they had worked so hard to give me a great car for the weekend."

The Great Clips team rebounded at Lake Erie Speedway on June 30 with a 22nd-place finish. Unfortunately, adversity hit again at Hickory Motor Speedway (July 8) when the team failed to qualify for the event.

"The Lake Erie race went well until 10 laps from the end when there was crash involving two cars right in front of me. My radiator was damaged, and we had to retire for the night," said DiCarlo.

"At Hickory I got the car sideways during qualifying and had to back out of the gas to get control back. In a field covered by three-tenths of a second, you just can't make a mistake like that. It was really tough for the whole team because we were fast in practice."

DiCarlo entered the Kroger 250 at the Motor Mile Speedway with as much drive as frustration following the missed event at Hickory Motor Speedway. Although she had to start the race from 32nd position because her car needed work after qualifying, she fought her way back to an 18th- place finish.

"This race was challenge but I knew it would be since I was starting from the back," said DiCarlo. "I fought hard throughout the race and advanced to 18th place. We wanted more, but passing was tough on this track. Buggy (crew chief) had good pit strategy and the crew gave me a great pit stop which really helped.

"At the beginning of the season, one of the most important goals we had was to finish races. So far, with the exception of missing the last ten laps at Lake Erie, we have finished all of the races we've competed in. That seat time has really helped me get comfortable in the car and be able to push it harder. My Stringer Motorsports team continues to do a great job in preparing the cars which makes a big difference.

"The short tracks have been great for helping me improve my close racing with other cars, and this series is so competitive that you have to race hard and aggressive and stay sharp for all 250 laps. It is great experience, and I'm learning a lot every time I'm on the track.

"Our main goal through the rest of the season is to improve on qualifying. We want to be higher on the starting grid. I want to thank Great Clips and Stringer Motorsports for this great opportunity that they've given me, and I am excited about the rest of the season."

DiCarlo will compete this Saturday evening at Salem Speedway. She will round out her season at South Boston Speedway (August 5), Madison International Speedway (August 19) and USA International Speedway (September 2).

-Great Clips Racing/Stringer Motorsports

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Series Stock car
Drivers Gabi DiCarlo