NASCAR BGN: Gilchrist to debut in Busch Series Race at IRP
5 August 1999EAST FLAT ROCK, N.C. --- Derrick Gilchrist, of Raleigh, N.C., will attempt to qualify for the NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division race on Friday, August 6, 1999 at Indianapolis Raceway Park. Oakwood Homes will sponsor Gilchrist, 22, in the No. 15 Andy Petree Racing Chevrolet. If Gilchrist is successful in his qualifying attempt, it will mark his first start in the NASCAR Busch Series.
"It was a surprise to get the call from the people at Andy Petree Racing," said Gilchrist. "They had watched me run at IRP and at first we talked about just doing some testing, but the Busch Series race at IRP fit into my schedule, so we decided to run there. I have an ASA race Sunday in Lacrosse, Wis., but I will be able to run both. This is a big step for me to get an opportunity with APR. I just want to get a good qualifying run and to finish all 200 laps. I want to get as much experience as I can and make a good showing, so that maybe this will turn into more than a one-race deal."
Gilchrist is the leading rookie in the American Speed Association Series where he has already posted two wins this season. One of those wins came at Indianapolis Raceway Park on June 19, the other at New River Valley Speedway in Radford, Va.
"IRP is a good track, but it is tough to pass on," continued Gilchrist. "That is why it is so important to qualify well. It is pretty slick down at the bottom, and the fast groove is actually up top, running near the fence."
Gilchrist moved up to the American Speed Association from the All Pro Series and he finished second in the point standings in the All Pro Series in 1998. That season, he drove a Robert Hamke prepared Chevrolet to two victories, three poles and 11 top-five finishes. In two seasons in the All Pro Series, he accumulated a total of six wins.
"Kenny Schrader continues to help Derrick out with his ASA deal," said Chris Carrier, crew chief of the Oakwood Homes Chevrolet. "We have been watching him all year in ASA and thought about taking him for a practice run. We started looking at the Busch Series schedule and Andy (Petree) decided to run him at IRP."
The Oakwood Homes team tested with Gilchrist at Hickory Motor Speedway on Tuesday, August 3, 1999.
"We had wanted to test at Greenville Pickens, but the track was booked this week so we decided to go to Hickory," continued Carrier. "He really surprised me. His lap times were consistent and he was able to feel the changes we made to the car and tell us what it was doing anywhere on the racetrack. He is a hard worker too. He is the type of kid that is going to be a good race car driver."
The car the Oakwood Homes team is taking to IRP is the same car Ken Schrader finished 12th with at St. Louis this past weekend and sixth with at Richmond earlier this year.
Oakwood Homes Corporation, founded in 1946, is a fully integrated housing company that manufactures, retails, finances and insures factory-built homes in a 28-state region stretching from coast to coast. Headquartered in Greensboro, N.C., Oakwood Homes is the largest retailer and is the third-largest manufacturer in the industry. Oakwood Homes has nearly 400 sales centers, 32 plants and more than 12,500 employees nationwide. Oakwood Homes is listed under the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol OH.