USAR: Lonesome Pine: Joel Kauffman preview

Kauffman Heads to Lonesome Pine With Winning on His Mind LA West Team Tests Caraway Speedway This Week MOORESVILLE, NC (April 20, 2004) -- As Joel Kauffman heads into Saturday night's USAR Hooters Pro Cup Northern division race at Lonesome ...

Kauffman Heads to Lonesome Pine With Winning on His Mind
LA West Team Tests Caraway Speedway This Week

MOORESVILLE, NC (April 20, 2004) -- As Joel Kauffman heads into Saturday night's USAR Hooters Pro Cup Northern division race at Lonesome Pine Speedway (VA), he is ready to pick up his first series victory. The 18-year-old driver of the #44 LA West Luxury Vehicles Chevrolet finished eighth in last year's race at the track, but the finishing order does not tell the story of his race on that evening.

"We were running second in the race when I had a flat tire," said Kauffman, last year's Rookie of the Year in the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Northern Division. "We had to pit under green and lost a lap. Going back there, I feel really good about our chances. I really like that place, and having Timmy (Kohuth, crew chief) will give us a good advantage for the race."

For a young driver, any laps on a racetrack are important. Kauffman's good run at the track in 2003 is even more valuable since his Timmy Kohuth-led team did not get the chance to test at Lonesome Pine this season.

"We can test at any track as long as it is at least five days before the race, so we plan on testing everywhere we race this year," Kauffman said. "We didn't get to test at Lonesome Pine because of rain, so we're going to Caraway (Speedway, NC) and test this week. Tim has tested there with a NASCAR Craftsman Truck before to simulate Martinsville and knows the track well. That should help us for this weekend's event a lot."

Kohuth is making quite an impression on the young driver. His experience is helping Kauffman flatten out his learning curve in USAR racing.

"Tim and I are working perfectly together," Kauffman said. "He is able to give so many different options for every adjustment on the car. The cars feel really good with his help and I am learning a lot because of it. It is helping make me a better driver."

Kauffman has had a few weeks off from the racetrack after the April 17th season opener at South Boston. His team has been able to use this downtime to prepare themselves for the season ahead.

"We had some minor body damage from the first race and we fixed that," Kauffman said. "We also got to finish our second car. Having a few weeks off early in the season is nice, especially because we just put this whole team together in the past four weeks or so."

The off weekend was not all work and no play for Kauffman - or crew chief Kohuth.

"On Saturday, we took the day off," said Kauffman. "We went out onto Lake Norman and played with the boats and Jet-Skis. Tim lives on the lake and he's taken me in like family. It was about 85 degrees out, so it was a nice day to enjoy. You always need a little R&R in between all the hard work we are putting forth."

Kauffman and Team LA West Racing are competing for the Pro Cup Series championship in 2004.

-lawt-

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Series Stock car
Drivers Joel Kauffman