VI Mobile Scores and Betting OddsVI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds Be Social
Betting Tools

EGR crew members relish return to Kentucky

SPARTA, Ky. (AP) - Mark Jacobs and Lorin Rainer arrived to work the NASCAR race at Kentucky Speedway more energized than usual.

Being home for a change tends to have that effect for the Earnhardt Ganassi Racing crew members with Kentucky roots.

Rainer, a Prestonsburg native, is the spotter for Jamie McMurray's No. 1 Chevy. His father and grandfather owned cars in Sprint Cup and ARCA, driven by such NASCAR greats as Buddy Baker and Bobby and Davey Allison.

Jacobs, who flew in Saturday for jackman duties on Juan Pablo Montoya's No. 42, was a defensive tackle for the University of Kentucky, earning two degrees and four letters.

Having seen the track evolve from a concept to being on NASCAR's premier circuit, the EGR teammates are more determined to succeed being in familiar surroundings on its biggest weekend.

``It's really cool being here,'' the 48-year-old Rainer said before the race was postponed until Sunday because of rain. ``Growing up, my father used to say this tri-state area (Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky) would be a perfect place for a track. I was thinking about that today as I was driving in, and I wish dad could've seen this.''

Jacobs, 36, is a 14-year NASCAR veteran who has worked here with teams since the track's early years, mostly in the Nationwide Series. Though confident that Kentucky would eventually get a Cup date, preparing for his third race here on that level still catches him off guard.

Maybe that's because Jacobs sometimes can't believe that he's in the sport. Playing for Wildcats coaches Bill Curry and Hal Mumme from 1995-98, the Fort Walton Beach, Fla., native was focused more on football and studying for degrees in social work and education.

The sport remains dear to the hulking Jacobs, who shares a football background with several crew members. Each trip to Kentucky reminds him of how fortunate he is to have been a player in two sports in the state, and how important it is to win in both.

``Some markets we go to, people aren't into the racing as much,'' he said. ``But everybody here is fired up to be here and excited about it. Plus, I see a lot of people wearing UK stuff.

``I have five years of awesome memories (at UK), and having a win here, I'd be so proud to have that.''

Rainer's wish for similar fulfillment with McMurray, 21st in points, almost makes him forget about his homecoming. But when he came in at midweek to celebrate his and his mother's same-day birthdays, he recalled his roots that make him hungry to help his driver end a 93-race drought.

``I looked around on practice day and felt nostalgic being here,'' the Wildcats fan said. ``But when the race starts, it's business and I'm not as nostalgic.''

Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

Roberts: Coca-Cola 600 Preview
Danica eases into final race of career
Leclerc carries memories of his father
Kanaan paces 500 field in final practice
Women back on the grid at Monaco GP
Brother's memory keeps Wilson racing
Tony Kanaan heads to AJ Foyt Racing
Kyle Busch captures pole at Charlotte
Smith's push for AS package at 600 denied
MORE HEADLINES Gold Membership
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, SAVE 10% off a Live Odds Pro subscription, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership