Crocker Keyed Up for First Kentucky Speedway Start
Evernham Motorsports development driver Erin Crocker rolls into Kentucky Speedway to make her third career ARCA RE/MAX Series start tonight in "The Channel 5 150."
The 24-year-old from Wilbraham, Mass., made a statement in her first series and stock car start at Nashville Superspeedway on March 26 when she started from the pole position and finished 12th. She followed that effort with her first career top-10 performance at Michigan International Speedway where she finished seventh on June 17.
The United States Auto Club (USAC) sprint car and World of Outlaws veteran is pleased with her progression up the stock car racing learning curve.
"I'm certainly not as nervous anymore," she said. "I can actually sleep the night before the race, so that's getting a little bit easier. I'm definitely getting more comfortable. You get more comfortable with everything: with how you're sitting, how you're shifting.
"The pit stops were definitely much better in the last race than they were in the first race from the driver's standpoint. I learned a lot about restarts in the last race. Hopefully, we'll be able to put the whole package together tonight. We've had a strong car in both races and now that I'm more experienced, we should really be strong."
Crocker's trip to Kentucky Speedway will be her second with Evernham Motorsports. She accompanied owner Ray Evernham and team director Chris Andrews to the track for her first practice in an ARCA RE/MAX Series car during the winter. Her No. 98 Auto Value/Bumper-to-Bumper Dodge will feature the same chassis she put on the pole in Nashville in tonight's race.
"This is the first place I tested with Evernham Motorsports and that's the only time I've tested here," Crocker said. "We had a really good first day. It's a nice, wide track and it's a good size. It's a little bit like Nashville even though it's pavement (versus concrete) and a little bit bigger. I felt comfortable at Nashville after having tested here."
She is scheduled to race several additional ARCA RE/MAX Series races and also plans to make her NASCAR Busch Series debut later this season. In addition, she will continue to compete in a USAC Silver Crown Series car fielded by Kasey Kahne Racing.
Crocker will join fellow development drivers David Guerity, 27, of Cunningham Motorsports; Kyle Krisiloff, 18, of Hendrick Motorsports; Danny O'Quinn, 19, of Roush Racing and David Ragan, 19, of Robert Yates Racing.
The youth movement will have to contend with four-time Kentucky Speedway winner, six-time series champion and current series leader Frank Kimmel along with Chad Blount, who owns a win and two second-place finishes at the speedway through three career starts. Kimmel holds a 180-point lead over series Rookie of the Year contender Joey Miller in the series standings. Miller finished third in his first series start at the speedway on May 14.
Tonight's race also features the return of veteran Billy Venturini to series competition. The 29-year-old, 11-year series veteran has recovered from the broken neck he sustained in the season opening race at Daytona International Speedway on February 12.
Tickets for "The Channel 5 150" are still available and can be reserved online and printed at home through www.kentuckyspeedway.com and tickets.com. Tickets also can be reserved by phone at 888-652-RACE, at Tickets.com outlets including Meijer stores and through the Kentucky Speedway ticket offices at 2216 Dixie Hwy., Ste. 200, in Ft. Mitchell or at the speedway Fan Center located outside Turn 3 at the track. Tickets also can be purchased at the main speedway entrance at Gates 15 and 16 up to race time.
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