Pistone Ready to Make Some Noise in Pro Cup Opener Successful Test and New Engine Program Keys to Success for Young Driver CONCORD, NC (February 23, 2005) -- The testing is finished, the cars are loaded and the engines are built. All of the...
Pistone Ready to Make Some Noise in Pro Cup Opener
Successful Test and New Engine Program Keys to Success for Young Driver
CONCORD, NC (February 23, 2005) -- The testing is finished, the cars are loaded and the engines are built. All of the pieces are in place for the kickoff to Chase Pistone's rookie season in the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Southern Division this weekend at USA International Speedway (FL).
And early returns suggest that the weekend could be a very good one for the 21-year-old driver and the FastTime Motorsports team. They just got back from two tests to prepare for the season and their expectations were exceeded.
"On Thursday, we went to Hickory and shook down the car. We made sure that I was comfortable in it," said Pistone. "We brought the car back to the shop and left Saturday morning to go to Lakeland (USA International Speedway). We got there and tested from 7am until 5pm. It went real well. We did a lot better than I thought we would. There were nine or ten cars there and we were one of the quickest. Mark McFarland (in a car owned by Dale Earnhardt, Jr.) was a little quicker than us, but we were more consistent over a long run."
A good test means a lot to a young driver such as Pistone.
"It was a big confidence booster to know that we were fast right off the bat," said Pistone. "I don't think that we'll set the world on fire in qualifying, but we should be very good in the race. I'd like to qualify in the top 15 and finish with a strong top ten."
The Lakeland track is one of the fastest short tracks in the country and it's a far cry form the tight Hickory Motor Speedway oval where Pistone has called home over the past few seasons.
"The tough thing at Lakeland was to find out how hard I could carry the car into the corners," said Pistone. "Once I got that figured out, we were pretty good. I can still pick up a little bit in practice. Once I can follow someone around there and see what they are doing, it will help me a little more."
FastTime is well prepared for Pistone's season. They have based themselves out of the spacious shop in Concord, North Carolina, that was previously home to Cale Yarborough's NASCAR Cup team and they also boost a rare fete among Pro Cup teams -- they have an in-house engine program.
And it's not just any in-house engine program; it's one where the guys building motors have experience doing so for the top divisions of NASCAR.
"Every one of the engine guys used to work for Amick Motorsports," said Pistone, referring to the engine shop that built Busch Series and CraftsmanTruck Series powerplants. "Robert Yates bought them out and these guys didn't have a job. Our shop already had a dyno and some lathes and our car owner brought a lot more equipment down from New York.
"We are right in the ballpark with the engines and it will definitely be an advantage. These guys know what they are doing. They built the FitzBradhaw Busch Series engines last year and already it's been surprising to see how good they have been on the dyno."
In fact, the team didn't even get to roll out one of their own engines for the test. They used a well broken-in test motor for that purpose. Having a good handling car and a potent engine could mean trouble for the rest of the field when Pistone and his Metrolina Expo team unload at Lakeland.