Robert Huffman made his Atlanta Motor Speedway debut in 1992, turning 59 laps in the Busch Series race before pulling into the garage and settling with a 35th-place finish.
He hasn¿t been on the 1.54-mile high-banked track since. Huffman, a 35-year-old father of two, hasn¿t totally shied away from Atlanta Motor Speedway in the last 11 years, however.
He races in the Goody¿s Dash Series, a touring division of NASCAR. Once a year, they duke it out on the quarter-mile Thunder Ring situated on the frontstretch of Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Huffman¿s No. 37 White House Apple Juice team scored a sixth-place finish in the 2002 Goody¿s Dash Series race in Atlanta and should secure its fifth series championship at the track in Friday¿s Brawny 150 Presented by Pork The Other White Meat.
"I am very excited about winning the Championship with Toyota," Huffman said. "We can put one in the record books for those guys."
More than a decade after taking his last laps on the 1.54-track at Atlanta, the North Carolina native is also preparing to give the 1.54-mile oval another shot. He¿ll be part of the inaugural Craftsman Truck Series race at Atlanta in March 2004, driving a factory-backed truck for Toyota.
Huffman¿s career has brought 41 Dash Series victories and championships in 1994, 1998, 1999 and 2000.
Many think Huffman will excel in the Craftsman Truck Series as well, including those in charge of Toyota Racing Development. And they should know. They brought Huffman on board in 2001 to assist a struggling Goody¿s Dash Series program and he¿ll clinch Toyota¿s first NASCAR championship simply by starting the Oct. 24 race in Atlanta.
The 28-year-old Goody¿s Dash Series Series originated as a part of the NASCAR ladder system, designed to help promote and develop driver¿s skills. Originally called "Baby Grands," Goody¿s Dash cars resemble scaled-down Winston Cup cars, and each is equipped with a V6 engine.
Series alumni include Michael Waltrip, Davey Allison and Robert Pressley.
"The Goody¿s Dash Series is a great place to race, but, personally, I was ready for a new challenge," said Huffman. "They asked me if I wanted to go truck racing and I told them I was going if they were."
He hopes running the Goody¿s Dash Series race in conjunction with the Winston Cup and Busch Series events at Atlanta this fall will help him in when it¿s his turn on the big track.
"I¿m going to keep an eye on where the Winston Cup guys run at Atlanta so I know where the best line is in the spring," Huffman said. "I¿d like to be the guy who brings Toyota their first Craftsman Truck Series Championship, too."
The Goody¿s Dash Series Brawny 150 Presented by Pork The Other White Meat will be run under the lights this Friday as part of the NASCAR Winston Cup Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 weekend.
Always one of the most action-packed events of the weekend, the Goody¿s Dash Series race promises fans short-track racing at its best. Sparks will fly and brakes will flare as the cars duke it out on the quarter-mile track.
Tickets for Friday¿s Brawny 150 Presented by Pork The Other White Meat are just $20 and include admission to both Busch and Winston Cup Series qualifying sessions. Children under 16 are free. Tickets can be purchased for $20 by calling the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211.