Win-Tron Racing; Matt Merrell Ready To Seal The Deal In Jennerstown "Team Ready To Turn Strong Qualifying Runs Into Strong Finishes" JENNERSTOWN, Pennsylvania (July 24, 2008) - - 2008 United Speed Alliance Racing (USAR) Rookie-of-the-Year ...
Win-Tron Racing; Matt Merrell Ready To Seal The Deal In Jennerstown
"Team Ready To Turn Strong Qualifying Runs Into Strong Finishes"
JENNERSTOWN, Pennsylvania (July 24, 2008) - - 2008 United Speed Alliance Racing (USAR) Rookie-of-the-Year candidate Matt Merrell has impressed many with his strong qualifying runs this season. Unfortunately, the team hasn't been able to back-up the efforts after suffering a lot of bad racing luck. Still, the team has high hopes that Saturday night's Hooter's 250 presented by Eaton Electrical from Jennerstown Speedway will be the night where the team seals the deal and walks away with their first top-10 finish of the season.
"We've had a bad monkey on our back this year," said Merrell. "That's the best way of putting it. We've been fast but for whatever reason, whether mechanical or being caught up in someone else's mess, we haven't scored the finishes we know we deserve. We want to change that Saturday night."
After running strong in the most recent USAR Hooter's Pro Cup event at The Motor Mile, Merrell is feeling strong about his recent qualifying trend and hopes that entering another new track this weekend will put the team's No. 32 entry at the top.
"Qualifying has been our strongest point this season and that's real important but many people don't pay a whole lot of attention on where you qualify but where you finish. We know we're capable of finishing in the top-10 and even the top-five but we just need a little luck to make it happen."
Entering Jennerstown Speedway this weekend, Merrell sees the event as another night of tough, tight short track action.
"There hasn't been a race this year where the competition hasn't been tough. I don't expect anything different this weekend. As a team we've never competed at Jennerstown Speedway and that may be an advantage to some, but I think we've excelled at tracks where we have little or no experience."
Merrell added, "We'll pay a lot of attention to our qualifying runs but I think we'll pay extra attention to our race runs. We need to finish in the top-10 Saturday night for a lot of reasons. There isn't that much racing left before we head into the championship playoff and I want our Win-Tron Racing team to be in the spotlight when we get there."
Instead of relaxing during the recent USAR break last weekend, Merrell joined his Win-Tron Racing team on the ARCA side, participating in the Kentucky ARCA RE/MAX 150. After practicing solidly in the top-20, Merrell suffered a hiccup in qualifying where his No. 32 got loose and slapped the wall forcing a run from the back. During his march, a tire exploded underneath the No. 32 Tejas Exotics Dodge Charger forcing causing a 40th place finish.
"I was looking forward to Kentucky but we all walked out of there disappointed," recalled Merrell. "The guys gave me a strong car we just had some really bad luck. The track was real slick in qualifying and we paid the price. I thought we were going to be okay in the race but a blown tire not even 15 laps into the race ruined our night. It just sucks. However, I won't take back the experience at competing at Kentucky Speedway for anything. While I'm sorry to the team for the bent sheet metal, I'm really thankful for the experience and hope to be back in an ARCA car soon."
Looking ahead, Win-Tron's Nate Thiesse commented on the outlook of Saturday night's race. "We know Matt is ready to run up front and we know we're plenty capable of doing it. Hopefully we've paid our dues and for once this season luck can be on our side and we can take the checkered flag with a finish we're all proud of. Matt continues to be impressive in the qualifying department, so I would not be surprised if we walked away with an Awesome Awnings pole qualifying award before season's end, maybe even this weekend."
Holding a steady 16th in the USAR Hooter's Pro Cup championship standings, Merrell is just a mere 10 markers from inching into the top-15 with a reach into the top-10 (92 points) easily on the horizon. "Points are tight and every position counts, so we have to point's race a little this weekend. Finishing in the top-10 in points is not out of the picture and that's what we are aiming for," sounded Merrell.
Tejas Exotics, Merrell Lease Service and Win-Tron Driver Development will hold the sponsorship roles on the No. 32 entry this weekend.
"Again, we can't say enough about our sponsors. They have been with us through the highs and lows this season. They deserve something to boast about and we hope to deliver that in a big way Saturday night." The Hooter's 250 presented by Eaton Electrical (250 laps/130.5 miles) is set for Saturday, July 26, 2008. The event is a one-day show. A two hour practice session begins from 11:30-1:30 p.m. Awesome Awnings Pole Qualifying is slated to begin at 4:30 p.m. An on-track autograph session has been etched in for 5:45 p.m. The sixth event of the season will take the green flag on Saturday shortly after 7:00 p.m. All times are local.