News & Media

Compton makes first Cup race since 2003

June 09, 2012, David Caraviello,

LONG POND, Pa. -- Stacy Compton stood at the fence near Pocono Raceway's pit road, signing autographs for fans on the other side. He wore a very broad smile on his face -- for a very good reason.

"Hopefully, we can show these guys, 'Hey, we can do this, we can make some shows, we can generate some sponsorship.' "


The veteran driver qualified for his first start in NASCAR's premier series in nine years Saturday, making the field for Sunday's event at Pocono in a Turn One Racing car that he owns as well as drives. The 45-year-old Virginia native last competed in a Cup race in the summer of 2003, when he drove the No. 4 of Morgan-McClure Motorsports -- which no longer competes in the series -- to a 33rd--place result at Daytona.

"Somebody said, 'Why didn't you pick an easier track?'" said Compton, who qualified on a Pocono layout that was resurfaced before this weekend and proved very slick during the early portion of qualifying Saturday. "We always ran good here, and I love this place. It's fun to be back in it. The guys did a great job, have all year long. For us to start this team and grow it gradually, that's what we're hoping to do. But it feels good to be back in."

Compton was a full-time driver on the Cup tour in the early 2000s, racing for Melling Racing and A.J. Foyt's team, and notching a best finish of 10th in the 2001 Daytona 500. He drove several years for Tad Geschickter in what is now the Nationwide Series, and then gravitated to the Camping World Truck Series for a team that he eventually bought. Cole Whitt, now in the Nationwide Series for JR Motorsports, piloted Compton's truck last season. Grant Enfinger, J.R. Fitzpatrick and Chad McCumbee have made Truck starts for Compton's team this year.

Compton attempted to make the Sprint Cup event at Texas earlier this season, but did not qualify. Ideally, he'd like to expand his Turn One Racing organization to include two Truck Series entries, a Nationwide car, and a Sprint Cup car.

"The only way you can do that is to align yourself with a big Cup team," said Compton, whose No. 74 car was outside the top 35 in owners' points and had to qualify Saturday on speed. "Hopefully, we can show these guys, 'Hey, we can do this, we can make some shows, we can generate some sponsorship.' If we could maybe run five or six races this year, and 20 next year, and try to align ourselves with somebody, honestly it would make our Truck program stronger by doing that. I want to continue to grow the team and grow the program. We've just got to do it slowly."

Making the show at Pocono was a nice step forward. "It feels pretty good," Compton said.