TURNER MOTORSPORTS SET TO FIELD FOUR TEAMS IN THREE DIVISIONS FOR 2007
Two Pro Cup Teams, One ASA Late Model and One Super Late Model Keep Texans Busy
When it comes to a level of professionalism in racing, names like Roush, Hendrick, Gibbs and Ganassi ring true in the minds of race fans. You can think of those teams and instantly picture some of the biggest, best run and most diverse racing teams in the country. While those operations thrive in the upper echelons of the NASCAR community, Turner Motorsports is poised to set the bar at the same height in the short track racing community.
James Buescher won the ASA Late Model South Series title in 2006. Now the young driver is ready to take the step to Pro Cup.
Turner Motorsports, along with team owners Steve and Sandra Turner, will debut a fleet of four race teams in 2007 that will participate all over the Eastern half of the United States. The team will include two USAR Hooters Pro Cup teams, one ASA Late Model South Series team and an independent Super Late Model team.
The biggest jump for Turner Motorsports will be into the USAR Hooters Pro Cup realm. After spending the last several years in the ASA and Super Late Model worlds, the move to the Pro Cup Series will be a major stepping stone for the team. Turner Motorsports will field not one, but two cars that will compete in the entire Southern Division and “Four Champions” Championship Series.
The cars will be fielded by defending ASA Late Model South Series Champion James Buescher and Super Late Model veteran Gary Helton.
“Moving up to the ASA Late Models from Legends cars last year was a big jump for me, so to now move up to the Pro Cup cars is even a bigger step,” said Buescher. “We are all going to have to learn a lot together as a team and as drivers. I got some experience being in the full-sized ASA car last year which helped, so I’m hoping this won’t quite be the jump that it was from the Legends car to the ASA car.”
The tandem of Buescher and Helton will be a very unusual pairing. Helton, a veteran of Super Late Models, the Southern All Star Series and the NASCAR Southeast Series, is 46 years old. Buescher, is 16 and will turn 17 in late March.
“It will be a big help having Gary around,” said Buescher. “He knows so much more than I do about racing. He is going to be able to help us out a lot, and hopefully, I’ll be able to help him too.”
Helton has a little bit of experience in a Pro Cup car. In 2006, he practiced in his friend Jeff Fultz’s car during an open practice session at Myrtle Beach Speedway.
“We drove the car and tested there at Myrtle Beach and we were pretty fast then,” said Helton, a former Southern All Star Series Champion. “The cars are a lot different than what I’m used to, so it’s going to take some time to adjust over the straight rail style of car I’m used to. I think slowing down to go faster will be the biggest challenge for me to get used to.
“(Director of Competition) Danny Gill is going to be helping us. We’ve got a good motor program. I think we
can just go out there and be competitive. That is what I really want. I just want to be a competitive car and fight for wins, top-fives and top-10s every week.”
Turner Motorsports’ ASA Late Model team will look to defend its 2006 South Series title with a different driver. 14-year-old DJ Vanderlay will pilot the team’s ride in 2007.
“I’m just really glad to be driving for Steve,” said Venderlay, a native of Mobile, AL. “If it weren’t for Steve, I don’t know where I would be at right now. I’m just really excited about this next season. Hopefully, this is just the start.”
Vanderlay started two ASA Late Model events near the end of the 2006 season before wrapping things up at the Snowflake 100, where he finished eighth.
The team’s Super Late Model car will once again be piloted by Chris Davidson. Davidson and his Turner Motorsports #41 Super Late Model team won the USRA Super Late Model Series crown in 2006. However, they will not be back to defend, as the series folded during the off-season. Instead, the team is currently discussing its full plans.
“We are really looking forward to 2007 after the year we had in 2006. We are going to run as many Super Late Model races that we can all around the Southeast. We just want to run as much as possible and not be tied down to any particular series. We are just going to go for wins and not worry about points. In general, we just want to race as much as we can and have a good time doing it.”
The USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series schedule kicks off at USA International Speedway in Lakeland, Florida, on March 10th. The ASA Late Model South Series will kick off March 16th-17th at Bronson Motor Speedway in Bronson, FL.
Chris Davidson kept his Turner Motorsports #41 in front of the competition in the USRA series during the 2006 season.