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by Stephen Cox
Wednesday, April 25, 2012

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Road racer Stephen Cox having a go at stock cars
Here we are, just days before the season opener for the Super Cup Stock Car Series in Columbus, Ohio on April 28. I've been writing about everyone else's events all year long, and finally it's time to write about mine.

Super Cup is a short track series that races throughout the mid-east from Ohio to Virginia. For many of these cars, their last full-time job was in the Nationwide series.

Since NASCAR's top series abandoned short track racing years ago, Super Cup is the biggest stock car show that the average guy can see at his local race track. The series has a very nice national television package and runs some wonderful tracks.

Many people forget that a few years back, you could go to your local bullring and watch NASCAR's best duke it out. Well, Super Cup is what NASCAR was.

There are plenty of short track series around the country, but when it comes to genuine, 3400-lb, steel-bodied, high horsepower racing, Super Cup is the show to see.

This season will be special to me because in a 20-year driving career, it is only my second opportunity to race for a points title. With dual careers in television and on the race track, it has always been difficult for me to run a full racing season because of conflicts. 2004 was the only other season in which I could contend for a championship (road racing) and our team took both the series and rookie titles in the same season. So I'm one for one.

2012 could be my second chance if Velocity executives decide to let me co-host the Mecum Auction in Chicago on September 20-21, then skip the final broadcast and drive overnight to VA to compete in the Super Cup championship race at Lonesome Pine Raceway on September 22.

Hey. Velocity. Are you listening?

The cars are used NASCAR Nationwide Series cars
Driving the Boschett Timepieces/McGunegill Engines Chevy for Packs Racing, I'll be competing for the Super Cup series title, the Super Cup Challenge title, and the Rookie of the Year title.

I've switched to a more cardio-based workout over the past two months. My routine goes like this: 10 push-ups, lifting hands off the floor on each repetition. 20 backward overhead dumbbell lifts (26 lbs). That's followed by 10 old-school squat thrusts, after which I run 250 yards. I then repeat the complete cycle two more times as quickly as possible with no rest.

The entire routine takes about 11 minutes, making me slightly quicker than 7 out of 10 arthritic grandmothers.

Next comes weight lifting, along with an assortment of isometric exercises designed for race drivers. My favorite isometric is a racer's version of the old-fashioned "wall sit." While performing the traditional exercise, I hold a circular, 20-lb barbell weight at arms length in the same fashion as I hold a steering wheel. Try that three times for sixty seconds. Let the good times roll.

By my own meager calculations, I should finish dead last in every race this season. Why? Because every track on the entire schedule is new to me, and as a road racer, I have less time in these cars than any of my competitors. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

In reality, I think both of the Packs Racing cars (mine, and team owner J. J. Pack's) will be among the favorites to win the title for a number of reasons. My team is one of the best in the series. I have an excellent car and a reliable engine builder. We're testing at Old Dominion Speedway near D.C. tomorrow. The car has been stripped to the frame and completely rebuilt for the new year.

And I don't like to lose.

On the phone a few weeks ago, my team owner told me the words that every race driver wants to hear. "Stephen, don't worry about crashing," J. J. said. "We can fix the car. I want you to win races." Now that's what I call a team owner.

Our year-long campaign for the cup begins on April 28.

Wish me luck.

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