Realted Profile = Eric Curran
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Eric's First NASCAR Race

26th to 6th in a 150 mph full-contact sport

LAKEVILLE, CT. - (Aug. 16, 2008)

View this wild race on the SPEED Channel replay, Wed., Sept. 3rd at 1pm ET

Eric Curran got one of the breaks almost every racer in America wishes for, and justified the faith in his talent with a sixth place in the NASCAR Camping World East series Mohegan Sun 200 race on the Lime Rock Park road course.

My car got a bit beat up, and I had some learning to do before I realized this racing is a full contact sport, but that sixth place is a memory I'll have forever - every broadside slam, every not-so-subtle tap in the back end, each and every surprise braking maneuver I saw out the windshield, he said, with a broad smile.

Eric's ride for the race was the #31 Coca Cola / Debt Cures Chevrolet Monte Carlo from Marsh Racing and Whelen Engineering.

Outside of the mainstream NASCAR races - the Sprint, Nationwide and Craftsman Trucks series - the Camping World East is the next rung on the ladder for many drivers. There were some very talented guys in those cars, some whose names we're going to hear a lot more one of these days, young Jeffrey Earnhardt, for example Curran said.

And because this race was on a road course, the kind of track I always race on and the kind they race on only twice a year, I had a slight advantage here - very slight.

Eric's lap times were second quickest in the first practice session on Friday - under the existing track record - and fifth quick in the second session. That's when some of the fun ceased.

A healthy rainstorm came through the Lime Rock area just when it was time to qualify, Eric lamented. Without being able to qualify, the starting grid was set on driver points and car owner points. Teddy Marsh had only run this car a few times, so I went from a top five driver to 26th on the grid. And passing places at Lime Rock are limited, mind you.

The Camping World East series drivers can get pretty enthusiastic, Eric quickly learned.

These guys play rough, and they play for keeps, Eric quickly observed. They will move you and they can't get by, and they won't back down and just hand you the right of way in a turn, either. This is just how they race? Would I have just as much of a disadvantage if I were racing with them this weekend on the half-mile oval track in Mansfield, Ohio? Probably so.
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