First 10 Entries in for Nashville; Let the Music Begin.....

First 10 Entries in for Nashville; Let the Music Begin.....
TOLEDO OH (3-11-06) – Entries are beginning to trickle in for the next event on the ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule – the April 15th PFG Lester 150 from Nashville Superspeedway. The race is LIVE on SPEED at 1:30 pm ET. 

Typical of the series’ diversity, the first 10 drivers come from seven states. From Lawrenceville, Georgia’s David Odell (above right) to Wilbraham, Massachusetts’ Erin Crocker, an ARCA RE/MAX Series entry list at Nashville is always full of flavor and fan favorites.  

Nashville Entry List & More

clementscandid.jpgAmong the entrants is Spartanburg, South Carolina driver Jeremy Clements. Clements, who drives for long-time series car owner Ken Appling, is one of the ‘comeback stories’ in the mix. Following serious injuries sustained in a dirt late model at the beginning of the 2005 season, Clements’ recovery has been slow and painful. But with a determined spirit that won’t derail, Clements came back strong in ’06 with a solid 13th place finish in the Daytona season-opener. In just 12 career RE/MAX Series starts, the 21-year-old driver has already been a podium finisher with a third place finish at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in 2003. In addition to a seventh place finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway in ’03, Clements earned an eighth place finish at Nashville in ’04.  

smithcandidyb04.jpgSteering north to Belleville, Michigan you’ll find perennial favorite Brad Smith, whose underdog status makes him a fan favorite for many. The likeable vehicle engineer for Ford Motor Company stays plenty busy in an attempt to keep up with a fulltime work schedule and a more-than-fulltime racing career. Not one to give up, Smith, in a career that spans three different decades, has logged 129 series starts over the years finishing a career-best 13th in driver points in 2001. Working with his all-volunteer crew consisting of a dad, a brother and a friend, the 37-year-old stock car statesman will give it all he’s got when the crew rolls his #26 Koolmat Ford Taurus to pit road at Nashville. Smith also graduated from Walsh College in Troy, Michigan with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.  

crockerhs051.8.jpgFrom Michigan we wiggle in a northeasterly direction…..to Wilbraham, Massachusetts, the hometown of 24-year-old Erin Crocker. Crocker is poised to take an honest shot at becoming the first female winner in ARCA RE/MAX Series history. And, she’s got the numbers to back it up. Buckled up in quality equipment from bumper to bumper, the Evernham Motorsports development driver has already made a serious splash in ARCAville. In just seven starts, Crocker has already nailed down four top-five finishes including a career-best second place run at Kentucky Speedway in ’05. Additionally, Crocker posted a pair of third place finishes at Pocono Raceway and none other than……Nashville. The Nashville concrete was also the site of her career-first Pork Pole Award, which came in her first series start. Crocker, who is also running the full NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in ’06 as well as a sprinkling of Busch Series events, has to be considered a favorite for the Nashville winner’s circle in April. Crocker is another from the educated ranks, graduating from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York with a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial & Management Engineering. Betty Crocker brand Hamburger Helper will be the title sponsor on her ’06 Dodge Charger at Nashville. 

odellhs1.805.jpgFrom the Northeast, let’s head back south with a stop in Lawrenceville, Georgia where we find third-generation racer David Odell. In just four series starts, the 19-year-old Georgian had his career best series finish at Nashville in ’05 where he finished fourth. Odell also showed off his short-track prowess last year with a solid sixth place run at Salem. Odell’s family history dates way back in stock car racing with his grandfather Don “Digger” Odell, who raced in the 1961 Daytona 500. Digger Odell also ran the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1958 and was instrumental in helping to develop the first Goodyear racing tire for NASCAR. David’s ARCA connection runs through his father who served as crew chief for Bob Dotter’s 1984 ARCA RE/MAX Series championship run. Odell currently drives for CE and Tammy Clower/TC Motorsports in RE/MAX Series competition. Although they didn’t make the starting grid at Daytona, Odell, based on what we know, should most assuredly be a factor at Nashville. Odell is entered in the #35 Flagship RV Chevrolet. 

bowshercandidyb05.jpgFrom Georgia peach country we zigzag back north to Springfield, Ohio, home of Jack Bowsher & Associates. The renowned racing family has entered 31-year-old Todd Bowsher in the family-owned #21 Safe Auto Insurance Ford Taurus. Todd is the son of three-time ARCA RE/MAX Series champion Jack Bowsher and brother of two-time series champion Bobby Bowsher. In 130 career series starts, Todd comes off Daytona with a respectable 20th place finish on the lead lap. And, the second-generation racer counts Nashville among his favorite tracks. The 1.33-mile intermediate concrete oval lends itself to chassis set-up as much as it does horsepower and money. And if Bowsher is looking to make ground on his fellow series competitors, now’s the time, as the series, beyond Nashville, takes off for short-track country at Salem, Winchester and Toledo Speedways where Todd has been a top-five finisher. Sandwiched in between the short-trackers is Kentucky Speedway where, interestingly enough, was the site of Todd’s career-best finish of fourth in 2001, the same year he finished a career-best sixth in points in his first full season. Todd also comes to Nashville with seasoned crew chief Andy Shaver turning the wrenched with a little help from Jack. 

gosselin1.8hs03.jpgNext-up….Lake Wales, Florida resident Mario Gosselin. Gosselin, born and raised part-time in St. Marie, Quebec, has to be considered a favorite for Nashville. Coming off a very solid eighth place finish at Daytona, Gosselin, no matter the venue, has always proved to be a threat. Gosselin first got the full attention of the troops at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in 1999 where the virtually unknown racer won the pole and led every lap to score the huge victory in his first start. More importantly, Gosselin knows how to get around Nashville having won there in 2003, holding off Richard Childress Racing development driver Clint Bowyer to claim the electric guitar trophy. The 35-year-old driver also finished third at Nashville last year and fourth there in 2004. In 18 career starts, Gosselin already has six top-five finishes including an additional pair of third place finishes at Lowe’s and Pocono. Gosselin, who is also a two-time USAR Pro-Cup champion, is entered in his own UnderwireOTR.com-James Carter Atty-SBR Chevrolet. If Gosselin, currently ninth in series points, comes away from Nashville in the hunt for the championship, it could necessitate an entry at the Salem short-track in late April. 

knuppcandidsalem05.jpgWe’ll steer north one more time up to Sidney, Ohio where 20-year-old driver Brandon Knupp cut his teeth. Knupp is entered in the family-owned #96 Mark Knupp Muffler & Tire Ford. In 45 career starts, Knupp has nine top-ten finishes including one of his better runs of fifth, which came at Nashville in 2005. Knupp, unfortunately, did not get off to a good start in 2006 having been involved in an early-race accident in the Daytona opener. Nonetheless, on the strength of a respectable sixth place points finish in his first full season last year, Knupp likes the Nashville track and could most assuredly be a factor. Knupp recently moved his racing operation to Mooresville, North Carolina where the fulltime sponsorship hunt presses on…..hopefully in time to secure more solid footing for the ’06 campaign. 

Series newcomer Tom Gray, from Martinsville, Indiana, has also filed an entry in the #64 Dave Allison Motorsports Dodge. The team’s fulltime driver Josh Allison will not turn 18 years old until April 17th, two days after the Nashville race. ARCA mandates that all drivers competing on superspeedways – that is, tracks over a mile in length – must be 18 to compete. Consequently, Gray gets the nod for Nashville.  

In addition, longtime ARCA RE/MAX Series car owner Wayne Hixson has entered two machines from his shop in Tennessee with drivers' TBA listed.

Well, there you have it…..the first ten entries for the PFG Lester 150 at Nashville. Drivers already representing seven states, plus a couple of mystery guests will help keep the ARCA RE/MAX Series flavor at full throttle as the event nears. Stay tuned, as the entry list will continue to grow in anticipation for arguably the series’ most competitive season since it blasted off in 1953. Upward and onward my fellow crime fighters…….
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