USAR: Valdosta: Chase Pistone preview

Chase Pistone Heads to Track Where Everyone is a Rookie Lakeland Pole Still Fresh on 21-Year-Old's Mind CONCORD, NC (March 8, 2005) -- When Chase Pistone visits the tracks of the USAR Pro Cup Series this season, he'll be a rookie all year ...

Chase Pistone Heads to Track Where Everyone is a Rookie
Lakeland Pole Still Fresh on 21-Year-Old's Mind

CONCORD, NC (March 8, 2005) -- When Chase Pistone visits the tracks of the USAR Pro Cup Series this season, he'll be a rookie all year long. But when the series visits South Georgia Motorsports Park in Valdosta this weekend, he won't be alone. This marks the first race at the new facility and all of the drivers will be rookies when they race there.

The half-mile track is taking a big step this weekend when it opens its gates for the first major stock car touring race that South Georgia has seen in the past 30 years and Pistone is ready for it.

"I haven't raced much in Georgia before, so I'm really looking forward to going down there," said Pistone. "I've heard that we are going to a really nice facility with new pavement and a lot of grip. I'm looking forward to just seeing the place. Friday night when we get there will be the first time that I will lay eyes on the track."

Some of the USAR teams tested at the track last week, but Pistone did not make it. Instead, his team repaired some body damage resulting from the season opener at USA International Speedway in Lakeland, Florida.

"I think that we got set back a little bit for this race," said Pistone. "We put a new side on the car and it's just getting painted now. We missed our test date and quite a few other teams made it down there. But I feel that we have a really good baseline with our car and if I can get behind someone fast in practice and learn a few things, we will be fine for the race. We probably won't be lightning fast when we unload like we were at Lakeland. We were in the top three or four for each practice there, but I think that we can qualify in the top 15."

Ironically, Pistone's goal for his first start in Lakeland was also to qualify in the top-15. He underestimated himself, though, and walked away with a pole position in his first start. That opened a few eyes around him.

"We definitely surprised some people at Lakeland," said Pistone. "If you walked into the pits at the beginning of the weekend and asked everyone who would win the pole, nobody would have picked us. But we were fast right away and everybody now knows we are for real. We showed that we could do it."

Pistone was headed towards a probable top-five finish, but got tangled together with another competitor late in the event. He still ended up finishing a respectable 14th. But 14th didn't please the racer in Pistone. Since then he's been replaying the incident through his mind.

"We had a fourth-place finish in the bag and it slipped away," said Pistone. "I've been kicking myself since then for letting that happen."

The Hooters Pro Cup 250 at South Georgia Motorsports Park will take place Saturday, March 12th. The race can be seen on SPEED Channel the following Saturday, March 26th, at 10pm.

-ChasePistone.com.

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Series Stock car