Allec to qualify for Craftsman Series

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Carson City's Jerry Allec Jr. is on the verge of reaching his next "stepping stone" on the way to an ultimate dream: Racing in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series.

Allec will qualify for this weekend's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Advance Auto Parts 250 in Martinsville, Va. Allec will qualify on Friday and if everything goes as expected in the two qualifying laps, Allec will be racing in Saturday's race, scheduled to be televised at 11 a.m. on ESPN2.

Allec, 26, said the race is another stepping stone in achieving his ultimate goal of racing in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. While it will be the first time that Alec races in a truck, he has 11 years of racing late model stock cars to prepare him for the event.

He is a past track champion at Champion Speedway and has raced in the NASCAR Featherlight Southwest Tour.

"It's a big, big race," Allec said. "This is my debut in racing a truck."

Allec will race as part of the Troxell Racing Team. "They were looking for a talented individual," Allec said. "Basically I was what they were looking for."

This weekend's race is scheduled to have many big names, including Darrell Waltrip, who plans to come out of retirement to race in the event.

Allec said he's been told by his team he should qualify and do well in the race.

"I have a really good chance of qualifying," he said. "We'll see when we get there."

Allec will be traveling in speeds up to 130 miles an hour when he races in his Chevy truck on the 1/2 mile Martinsville track.

He said he's not thinking yet about where he will finish in the race. "I want to basically think about qualifying," he said.

If he qualifies, Allec said his next goal is to just stay out of trouble in the race. He said a top 20 finish would be an outstanding accomplishment.

His plan is to race in three to five Craftsman events this year and to shoot for rookie of the year honors in the series in 2003.

"I'm just getting my feet wet, showing them who I am," he said. "I'm looking to go all out next year."

He said the next step could be the Grand National Busch Series on his way to Winston Cup racing. "The ultimate to make is the top and that is NASCAR," said Allec, referring to the Winston Cup.

"If things go right, maybe by the time I'm 30," Allec also said about his timetable for making it to Winston Cup.

But if he doesn't make it to the Winston Cup, a career in the Craftsman Series would also be great, Allec said.

"That series is bigger and better than anything that I've done in my life," he said.


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