Buster Graham; Mark Gibson Racing Well Prepared For Kansas Debut
Topics: Buster Graham, Kansas Lottery 98.9
KANSAS CITY, Kansas (October 5, 2011) - The last time Buster Graham competed in an ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards event his race at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway was over before it started. After being involved in a spectacular crash in the opening laps of the Pennsylvania ARCA 125, Graham and Mark Gibson Racing (MGR) now return to competition Friday evening for the running of the Kansas Lottery 98.9 at Kansas Speedway for their final event of the 2011 season.
While Graham received plenty of attention for the frontstretch melee in August, he returns to the track this week looking to earn a place in the spotlight on his own in his No. 59 Batter’s Dream Ford Fusion in his fourth career start and inaugural debut in the “Land of Oz” under the lights Friday night.
To better prepare the Winder, Georgia-based Mark Gibson Racing team towards the 18th race of the season, the team led by veteran car owner and former ARCA winner Mark Gibson participated in the open ARCA test at the 1.5-mile oval on Tuesday, September 20.
The day was to be considered paramount for the MGR organization as the team debuted a Ford Fusion at the racetrack after years of running a Dodge Charger or Chevrolet Impala. During the eight-hour session, Graham and the MGR team spent a majority of the day with the setup on their blue oval hoping to give the Lafayette, Louisiana native a comfortable setup for his first mile-and-a-half track.
Overall, the team was pleased with the end result and has since poured tireless efforts into their No. 59 Batter’s Dream Ford Fusion hoping to give the former hydroplane boat racer turned stock car pilot an opportunity at a gratifying finish.
“I’m looking forward to going back to Kansas this week,” said Graham, who has starts at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway and Iowa Speedway respectively in ARCA this year. “To me, the track is incredibly fast and smooth and should be a blast to race on. I feel like going out and testing will help us tremendously this week. I’m also looking forward to competing with a Ford. RoushYates Engines are stout and I think our chassis is one of the best on the track, I’m anxious to see what we can put together.”
Even though the weather scenarios are expected to be much different this week compared to last month, Graham still has an open-mind with a well-planned goal settling into the next-to-last race of the year.
“We tested during the day and will be ending the race at night, that’s a big difference,” added Graham. “We know that we’re going to have to start the day conservative and adjust on the car as the track changes in correspondence with the weather. I expect the speeds to increase and the action to be more intense. Nonetheless, it will be a good show for the fans for sure.”
With two top-20 finishes including a respectable 15th place finish at Iowa Speedway earlier this summer, Graham knows that his Mark Gibson Racing team is capable of dishing out another top-20 run but he also doesn’t rule out the fact that with strategy and a little luck, a top-10 may not be out of the picture.
“We’ve all seen a lot of interesting things happen in the ARCA Racing Series this year, Pocono was a perfect example of one of them,” offered Graham. “It’s going to be a strong and competitive field. That much is evident. If we can keep the fenders on the car and our focus on the race, we have the ability to be a welcomed surprise when the checkered flag falls. It also would be a good way for us to close the curtain on this season and begin to prepare for next year.”
Looking to increase his schedule in 2012, Graham initiated his thoughts on competing in the ARCA Racing Series. “This series is so cool,” he offered. “Everyone is real nice and willing to help out. The competition is strong and you really have to fight every lap for every spot on the racetrack. I’m looking forward to being a round a little bit more in 2012 and I think with some more testing, confidence and luck; we can raise some eyebrows and be considered a threat when the green flag drops.”
Gibson, a four-time winner in the ARCA Racing Series offered his thoughts on Friday’s event. “I really feel that Kansas is going to go smooth,” he said. “Buster seemed very relaxed and well in-control when the test ended last month. We know what we need to work on in practice and we feel like if we can get a solid starting spot and we can avoid any headaches, Busters should be able to complete all the laps and bring the No. 59 Batter’s Dream Ford Fusion home somewhere in the top-15.”
Following Kansas, the team is hoping to begin to prepare for the much anticipated three-day open ARCA Racing Series test at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway setting the stage for the 2012 season opener in February. Should everything materialize, Graham will make his restrictor plate debut in his fifth career ARCA start.
The Kansas Lottery 98.9 (99 laps / 148.5 miles) is the 18th of 19 events on the 2011 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. The 11th ARCA event held at Kansas Speedway is a one-day show. Practice begins Friday, October 7 with a two hour and 15 minute practice session planned from 9:00 a.m. -11:15 a.m. Menards Pole by Ansell qualifying is slated to begin later in the day at 5:35 p.m. The field will take the green flag approximately two hours later at 7:30 p.m. The event will be televised live on SPEED with additional race coverage including live timing and scoring throughout the 1,330th race for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards since it was formed in 1953 will be available through the ARCA Racing Network (ARN) online at arcaracing.com presented by ARCANation.com. All times are local.
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Batter's Dream is an automated ball feeding system (pitching machine) that allows baseball hitters and softball hitters to maximize time in the batting cage by getting more quality cuts without fixing a tee. One of the key benefits of the Batter's Dream batting machines is that it allows batters the freedom to focus on rhythm, stance, timing and swing speed without the need for a second person. Simply put, Batter's Dream is the most effective, simple and easy-to-use soft toss system ever invented to help improve a hitter's mechanics and increase their batting average.
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