ASA Member Track National Champion Tests With Gibbs Team By Kevin Ramsell, ASA PR
Cary Stapp Hits The Track at South Boston
It’s Thursday morning and in the Greensboro, NC airport Cary Stapp is starting to feel the gravity return to his feet. For the past three days, Cary along with his wife Kelli realized a dream that many local drivers hope for, a chance to show his talents to a successful NASCAR team.
Stapp, the 2008 American Speed Association Joe Gibbs Driven Racing Oil Member Track National Champion, received his opportunity to tryout with Joe Gibbs Racing, one of his awards for being the National Champion.
“Oh man, it was more than what I expected,” Stapp stated while waiting to board his flight back to his hometown of San Marcos, TX. “Joe & JD Gibbs and their entire staff treated us so well. This is something I will never forget.”
The three-day adventure started on Monday morning as Dennis Huth, American Speed Association President, met the Stapps at the airport and was their personal host. The three went to Gibbs Nationwide Series shop where Stapp got fitted in the two cars that he would be testing in on Wednesday.
After that it was over to Gibbs Sprint Cup Series shop, and as soon as they walked in the door, Cary and Kelli met the new driver of the #20 Home Depot Toyota Joey Logano.
“We were pulling into the parking lot of the shop and I saw this real cool hot rod in the parking lot and I am big hot rod fan,” Stapp commented. “We walked in the door and there was Joey talking to the secretary. We had a good five to ten minute conversation with him. After he left, I heard this loud sound and looked out the window and it was Joey driving off in the hot rod.”
They then it was off to a tour of the shop, “It was about three times bigger than I thought it would be,” Stapp said in a surprised voice. “It was incredible to see what they did from the fabrication to everything else. What amazed me is they do everything there from building the car from the ground up. The place didn’t even smell like a shop, it had a nice scent and you could eat spaghetti off the floor. You wonder how many people they have employed to keep it looking that incredible.”
After the tour, they visited with JD Gibbs for about 45 minutes. While they were visiting, they got a surprise as Joe Gibbs also joined in on the conversation. “We talked about a lot of normal life stuff, our families and such,” Stapp recalled. “JD talked a lot about his drivers. Kelli asked him about Tony Stewart because he is her favorite.”
The second day was spent visiting Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Hendrick Motorsports and Roush Fenway Racing shops, just like any other visitor. Later that day, they traveled up to South Boston Speedway in preparation for the test on Wednesday.
Under sunny skies and cold temps, Stapp was able to run over 100 laps in testing two different Camping World Series cars. One was a former Denny Hamlin car and another was a former Tony Stewart car according to Stapp.
As for the test itself, Stapp showed his stuff on the track, “Marc Davis shook the cars down a day before and he was running lap times in the 16.0 to 16.4’s. I went out and found the groove right away and was running 16.0’s on fresh tires. As the tires went away, I was doing about 16.5 second laps.”
Cary Stapp and photos from the Joe Gibbs Racing test at South Boston.. (ASA Photo)
Stapp had the full support of the Joe Gibbs Racing staff and even Larry McReynolds of Fox Sports dropped by and talked to the champion.
At the end of the day, the dream was realized and a weekly competitor got its opportunity. What the future holds for Stapp, only time will tell. But, overall Cary and Kelli Stapp will have stories to share for a lifetime.
“Kelli took over 200 pictures,” Stapp stated with a smile in his voice. “Funny thing is that Thunderhill Raceway (his home ASA Member Track in Kyle, TX) has our drivers meeting on Saturday and I have a feeling that most of the time will be me talking about this experience.”
“I would like to truly thank Dennis Huth. He went more than out of his way for us and we just can’t thank him enough for what he did for us over the last few days,” Stapp stated as he was about to board the plane.
He also passes along a word of thanks to MaryAnn Nauman and the staff at Thunderhill Raceway for their participation in the ASA Member Track program.
You can read Kelli’s blog along with some of her personal photos at: http://ckstapp.blogspot.com.
Joe Gibbs Driven Racing Oil, sponsor of the American Speed Association National Short Track National Championship, is the same oil developed and used by Joe Gibbs Racing. The team sells the oil so racers across the country can have access to the latest technology in racing lubricants.
Joe Gibbs Racing is one of the premier organizations in NASCAR, currently fielding three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams, two NASCAR Nationwide Series teams and a driver development program. Its driver lineup consists of Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch in the Sprint Cup Series; Stewart, Hamlin, and Busch in the Nationwide Series; and Joey Logano and Marc Davis in the NASCAR Camping World Series East. Based in Huntersville, N.C., and owned by Joe Gibbs - a three-time Super Bowl winner as head coach of the Washington Redskins and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame - JGR has competed in NASCAR since 1992, winning three Cup Series championships and more than 80 NASCAR races, including three Brickyard 400s and the 1993 Daytona 500.
The American Speed Association Short Track National Championship is another step by the industry leader in creating new and innovative programs. This follows the recent announcement about extending the insurance coverage for ASA members traveling to, from, and during an ASA-sanctioned event. For updated ASA National Points, just click on the "Points" link at www.asa-racing.com.
The American Speed Association Member Track program is comprised of a network of short tracks around the United States, as well as a variety of regional and national touring series. For more information, call (386) 258-2221 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. For news and information from all the racetracks and tours involved in the ASA, visit www.ASA-Racing.com.