SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY Tony Stewart Racing, McMahan Ready for Runs in Texas, Mississippi INDIANAPOLIS (March 13, 2007) -- In a region of the country where racing is a staple of professional sports, one thing is for certain: Southerners know how...
Tony Stewart Racing, McMahan Ready for Runs in Texas, Mississippi
INDIANAPOLIS (March 13, 2007) -- In a region of the country where racing is a staple of professional sports, one thing is for certain: Southerners know how to turn a race into a party.
It may have been almost two years since Paul McMahan and the No. 20 Tony Stewart Racing/Bass Pro Shops/Eagle team has competed at Houston Raceway Park (HRP) and Pike County Speedway (PCS), but some things never change. And as they head below the Mason-Dixon Line this weekend for a double-dip in World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Series competition, they're looking forward to some genuine southern hospitality.
"We love heading down south to race, plain and simple," said McMahan. "The people are just great; they really take care of us in that part of the country. We don't get to race many times a year in the southern states, and we know that NASCAR is extremely popular in this area. We hope that by putting on a great show we might be able to convert some of those fans to winged sprint car fans as well. I think it's great exposure for the series as well as our sponsors, Bass Pro Shops, and Chevrolet."
McMahan will hit the newly reconfigured "Big" quarter-mile track at Houston Raceway Park on Friday night looking to better his results from the series' last outing at the Baytown, Texas, facility. Having earned an eighth-place finish at HRP in March of 2005, this Friday's event will also mark McMahan's first shot at the facility behind the wheel of the No. 20 Tony Stewart Racing/Bass Pro Shops/Eagle.
With a new track configuration facing him, McMahan is ready to return to the racy quarter-mile oval.
"Houston Raceway Park is just an awesome facility," McMahan said. "The track was fantastic to race on, even before they reconfigured it. It's going to be interesting going back there, to go from almost a half-mile to a bigger quarter-mile will definitely be a change. I think it will make for a great show for the fans; the traffic and dicey action that a quarter-mile provides really turn up the energy of a race."
Driving East to Magnolia, Miss., for Saturday night's WoO Sprint Series event, McMahan and the No. 20 Tony Stewart Racing/Bass Pro Shops/Eagle team are looking forward to making their only stop of the year in Mississippi a productive one. The team has moved into the Top-10 in the WoO Sprint Series Championship standings and McMahan this weekend will be looking to better the 14th-place finish he earned at the three-eighths-mile facility in March of 2005.
"Pike County Speedway is a pretty neat racetrack," McMahan said. "I've only raced there three or four times in the past but what I remember the most about the track is the fans' enthusiasm. They make a day of it; they're there in the morning tailgating and having fun all day long. The atmosphere is great; the fans really seem to love the whole event and the track itself is racy and allows us to put on a great show."
As McMahan has learned, not only do southerners know how to make you feel welcome but they're none too shy about asking for parts of a racecar to add to their collections.
"At Pike County in the past, I've been asked several times by fans if they can have the side panels off of my car," McMahan said. "That's not a request we get everyday; it seems to be more of a trend in the south. Unfortunately, we can't always accommodate that one. If we could, I would imagine there would be a lot of Bass Pro Shops decals hanging in garages around the country."