A.J. Frank More Than Ready For USAR Season Opener
NEW SMYRNA, March 16, 2011: A.J. Frank has spent the last month or so calling the shots for Bluffton, South Carolina native Gus Dean in Late Models and the Pro All Star Series (PASS), but this weekend he’ll trade his headset for a helmet as the USARacing Pro Cup Series kicks off their 2011 campaign Saturday night from New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway.
Armed with Speedco and Lucas Oil back as marketing partners on his Odle Motorsports No. 56 Chevrolet Impala, Frank enters the Sunshine State in pursuit of his first career USAR victory.
“I’m ready to get back after it,” said Frank, who ended the 2010 season with a notable sixth place finish in the championship standings. “I’m pumped to have Speedco back on board our Chevrolet for a third consecutive year. The entire Odle Motorsports team has worked hard during the off-season to better prepare our equipment. I think the steps we took were in the right direction and should unfold on the race track this weekend. I also want to thank Darin (Odle), Mark Clark, Mike Barrett and all of the other executives and their supporters for their belief in me and confidence in our all-volunteer crew.”
Ironically, none of A.J. Frank’s previous 78 starts in the USARacing Pro Cup Series have come at New Smyrna. However, Frank doesn’t look at that stat is a fault, but instead as an opportunity.
“I’ve been to New Smyrna as a spectator, just never behind the wheel,” he explained. “It’s a tricky little place but I’m up for the challenge. I really think we’re going to have a good Chevrolet and boy would I like to kick off the year with a trip in victory lane.”
After an impressive 2010 season which consisted of 11 events filled with eight top-fives and eight top-10s, the third-generation racer would like nothing more than a similar repeat of last year. Of course with a few tallies in a couple different columns.
“I’m a competitor, so I want to win,” Frank sounded. “We have a great team with a great sponsor. We were so close on many occasions last year; unfortunately, we just couldn’t seal the deal. This though is a new year which brings new goals and bigger opportunities.”
He also added, “I want to thank Chip Lofton (USAR Racing Pro Cup Series owner) and Jack McNeilly (USARacing Pro Cup Series director) for their renewed commitment to this awesome series. It is clear that their hard work is paying off and we’re all looking forward to a great race Saturday night.”
The USARacing Pro Cup 250 presented by Kangaroo Express is the first of 14 races on the 2011 USARacing Pro Cup Series schedule. Practice is set to begin on Friday, March 18th from 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. A second USAR practice is set for Saturday, March 19th from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. A final “happy hour” practice has been etched in from 1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. Qualifying is set to begin at 5:15 p.m. with an on-track autograph session immediately following and tentatively planned to begin at 6:00 p.m. The green flag will waive shortly after 7:30 p.m. All times are local.