The ASA-TVT 24-7, Speed Truck Challenge Series, ASA-STC, will be presenting round two of their 2008 season March 22nd at the always challenging Tucson Raceway Park,TRP. When the green flag falls on the 100 lap event expect to see the three teams from United Nissan Racing charging to the front of the pack from the very beginning. The Las Vegas based race team will be sending a trio of well prepared race trucks this weekend for drivers Darren Young, Billy Wease and Karl Forman that will be capable of handling the challenge that comes with racing on this particular track.
The challenge from Tucson Raceway Park stems from it's multi tiered banking. Over the years it has often been referred to as a "baby Daytona." The progressive banking there allows a driver to go up high almost all the way to the wall. The preferred line is the middle groove and you'll see a lot of traffic there Saturday night. If the drivers feel that their tire wear is really good then they can even run the extreme bottom of the oval. You'll often see a driver use that line towards the end of the race while trying to advance a position.
Darren Young is especially happy about returning to the Tucson Raceway Park, The Gilbert-Arizona native, and two time series champion, is the defending race winner from last year and he knows the fast way around the three eighths of a mile paved oval. When asked about returning to TRP, Young smiled broadly and said "Tucson, three grooves and I love it. It's really close to home. My parents live there so I really love going to that track. It's a very challenging track so I'm looking forward to heading down to Tucson and giving it another shot. We came away from there with a win last time so we're hoping to read our notes and go back there with a good set up to start out with."
Young finished fifth in the March 8th season opener at the Havasu 95 Speedway, in Lake Havasu City-Arizona, He started strong on the front row only to find himself involved in a very early race incident with Andy Allen on the front stretch. Young's truck scraped the wall while Allen spun and crashed hard in turn one. Despite this incident, and the ill handling truck that came with it, Young got up on the wheel, as he always does, and turned a tough situation into a top five. After that seemingly long 100 lap event Young was his always upbeat self and said "I've got to give thanks to the United Nissan crew. They basically allowed me to have a truck tonight that could compete with these guys. I'm very thankful to come out of here with a top five finish considering everything that happened here tonight."
Young will be spending the 2008 ASA-STC season with two brand new team mates. Billy Wease will be flying in from Charlotte-North Carolina to drive United Nissan Racing's #3 truck this season and will also be driving in selected events in NASCAR's Camping World West Series. Wease is in the driver development program with Roger Penske Racing. He spent a major portion of last year test driving for Penske which often had him behind the wheel of NASCAR Sprint Cup rides normally occupied by Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch. Originally from Noblesville-Indiana, the 21 year old driving talent has a strong racing resume in the USAC open wheel ranks.
He'll be the first to tell you that what he needs the most right now is seat time in race vehicles that are much larger, heavier and lower on engine horsepower. During his March 8th ASA-STC debut at the Havasu 95 Speedway Wease qualified 12th and worked his way up to an extremely credible 6th place finish. After the race he said "it was a lot of fun. The United Nissan team gave me a good truck. We were running a little tight tonight and I got into the wall there while trying to pass a couple of guys on the outside so we ended up sixth."
When asked the inevitable question about comparing a ASA Speed Truck to a Penske stock car Wease said "these truck don't have anywhere near the horsepower, they don't turn that well and they're totally different to drive. I'm used to driving cars with a lot of horsepower that weigh virtually nothing so to jump in one of these trucks is totally different from what I'm used to.It's going to take quite a bit of adjustment because there's not much room for error with these trucks and you have to keep your own momentum up very high. It's just a totally different kind of racing."
United Nissan Racing team manager Lee Keach noted that Wease has a very bright future in racing. He also noted that this was going to be a very busy year for his new truck driver with the five races in the Camping World West Series along with USAC commitments and the possibility of some ARCA and Nationwide Series races in a Penske car. When asked about United Nissan Racing's involvement with the new Penske development driver Keach said "what we're doing is helping the Penske group bring Billy through the racing adjustment period by giving him some seat time that he really needs. We had planned on running a full season, (in the Camping World West Series), and then at the last minute decided to just to run five races to get our feet wet this year and hopefully next year we'll bring him back to run the full season. "
The third member of the United Nissan Racing team is 17 year old Karl Forman who officially made his ASA-STC debut last October during the series' season finale which was also held at the Havasu 95 Speedway. Forman qualified 13th and finished 10th during the March 8th season opener in Lake Havasu City. Commenting after the race the young driver from Las Vegas said "we started towards the back but started working our way up and unfortunately I got into the back of (Donny) St Ours and it threw off the set up of my truck a little and it wasn't the same the rest of the night. But I had a blast and I'm just thankful to have United Nissan Racing under me for the rest of the season."
Just like his team mate, Wease, Forman will be the first to tell you that seat time is the key to his racing progress. "There was definitely a lot of seat time tonight and I learned so much, I'm definitely going to carry what I've learned throughout this season and hopefully I'll be even better next time in Tucson." The young driver has already earned kudos from United Nissan team manager Lee Keach who said "he's progressing really well. He listens well and always seems to do exactly what we ask from him. We're going to have him run the full season this year in our speed truck and then, during the off weeks, he'll be driving our legend car at Las Vegas."
At the core of this group is a small army of dedicated personnel. The highly skilled United Nissan Racing crew members have played a major role in the operation's success over the past few years and that unfaltering level of dedication is already showing at the beginning of a new racing season. Behind them is a primary sponsor that race teams dream about. United Nissan, one of the largest and successful automotive dealerships in the western states, is one hundred percent behind their race team both on and off the track.
When you combine this level of talent, dedication and resources then you can easily expect United Nissan Racing to make another charge towards another ASA-STC championship. You can also expect them to be extremely strong this Saturday night at the Tucson Raceway Park. Simply put: that's how they roll.