June 18, 2006 on FOX
WEASE TAKES FIRST LAPS AT MIS IN PREPARATION
FOR ARCA RE/MAX SERIES DEBUT ON JUNE 16
CREDIT: MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
Wease and Buddy Baker testing at MIS
Michigan International Speedway
Mich. –For a normal 19-year-old, the opportunity
to race around the 2-mile Michigan International Speedway oval might
seem daunting. To do it in a Penske race car under the tutelage
of former NASCAR great Buddy Baker is another thing entirely. For
Billy Wease, it’s just another day on the job.
Wease, from Noblesville, Indiana, was at MIS on May 17 preparing
for his June 16 ARCA RE/MAX Series debut in the Hantz Group 200.
A two-time Grand National Quarter Midget champion and a veteran
of several seasons in USAC, the Penske Racing developmental driver’s
test session was anything but typical. After each run on the Michigan
oval, he was met in the garage by the 1980 Daytona 500 champion,
Baker, named in 1998 as one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers
of All Time, was on hand to provide advice for Wease on the ins
and outs of MIS. He should know a thing or two about MIS after winning
an IROC race at the 2-mile oval in 1976 and a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup
Series race in 1979. Since the mid-1990s, Baker has worked with
young Penske drivers, like Wease and Ryan Newman, refining raw talent
and teaching new techniques.
“Having someone here to take me around the track and point
out what to watch out for has been very helpful,” said Wease.
“I’m grateful to have someone like Buddy Baker take
me around this place. It is such a large track with a lot of room
to race. I’ve been fortunate to have people like Buddy around
me to help me through this process.”
Baker added, “This is a tremendous opportunity for Billy.
Not many young men even get to walk around a Penske race car, let
alone drive one.”
The laps around MIS were the first for Wease, who voiced his eager
anticipation over the surroundings. With a humble yet determined
tone, he promised that he would simply do what needed to be done
to compete with top ARCA talent like Frank Kimmel, Steve Wallace
and Erin Crocker.
“This is actually my first time at a 2-mile superspeedway
and I’m very excited about it,” he said. “I will
be making my ARCA RE/MAX Series debut here at MIS in June and can’t
wait to get here and compete with many great drivers. My guys and
I are just going to come here and do what we need to do to compete.”
Though Wease displayed
raw talent during his Michigan run, Baker isn’t quite ready
to release his developmental prodigy out into the wild just yet,
though he added that Billy is in the middle of a solid transition
in his racing career.
“The biggest issue I’ve had with him so far is that
he won’t take his foot off the accelerator. These young guns
just want to see how fast they can go. At Michigan, it’s not
just about speed, but about handling as well. You can’t just
speed around this track.”
“There is just
a natural transition for open wheel drivers to race in stock cars.
Take Tony Stewart and some others for instance. Billy is another
one of those drivers in a long line of successful open wheel competitors
who make the transition to stock cars look easy.”
Tickets for the Hantz
Group 200, along with seats to both NEXTEL Cup Series races at MIS,
the June 18 3M Performance 400 presented by Post-it® Picture
Paper and the August 20 GFS Marketplace 400, are currently on sale
at MIS’ official website, www.MISpeedway.com,
or by calling the MIS ticket hotline at 1-800-354-1010. Tickets
to all other events, which include the IRL IndyCar Series, NASCAR
Busch Series, and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series are also now
For tickets and information
regarding events at MIS, log on to www.MISpeedway.com,
or call the MIS ticket hotline at 1-800-354-1010.
to our 3M
Performance 400 Index.
for all your Nascar
Tickets. We have premium Nascar
Nextel Cup Series Tickets for all Nascar
the MIS Ticket Hotline
354-1010 or (517) 592-6672
online 24/7 at www.MISpeedway.com
TO OUR AUTO