TOOELE — It didn't take much for Shane Hubbard to get bit by the racing bug. Growing up around a father who raced cars for 37 years, Hubbard knew he wanted to navigate the same path eventually.

This weekend, Hubbard will reach a pinnacle that his father and other relatives who went before him could only dream of when he makes his NASCAR debut in the NASCAR Camping World Series 125 race at Miller Motorsports Park.

For the Spanish Fork resident, this is a moment he has been working to make happen for the past two years. He has participated in the driving school at the track to familiarize himself with these types of races.

There is some pressure with all the build-up to his debut. Hubbard expects it but, at the same time, thinks it will be a nonfactor once the flag drops on the track.

"You feel it, but as soon as you get in that car, it all goes away," Hubbard said. "You're nervous until you sit down and strap in."

Getting behind the wheel of a stock car has been quite a learning experience. A typical NASCAR stock car is significantly heavier and uses much more horsepower than the late models Hubbard once raced on the amateur level in Utah, California, Arizona and Nevada.

Another adjustment has come with getting used to a mostly flat track that presents many twists and turns but does not include many reference points, such as trees and shrubs.

"You got to be thinking," Hubbard said. "(If) you stop thinking for a second, you've overshot the turn and overshoot the next one. And everything you gain by jumping in it that quick — you lose it."

One thing that Hubbard is hoping to gain — like many of his fellow racers — is a ticket to one of the major NASCAR circuits.

For all of the drivers in Tooele, earning a spot in the Nextel Cup Series, the Nationwide Series or the Craftsman Truck Series is the dream that drives their efforts in what is essentially the sanctioning body's minor league circuit. A win or a good showing in races like this one can add up and quickly get a driver noticed by season's end.

"I'm on the border of making it," said Eric Holmes, the current points leader in the NASCAR Camping World Series west division. "I'm still trying. I love racing and I love winning. I'm competitive, so that's why I keep doing it."

The competitive juices also flow strongly through Hubbard. His goal is to leave Tooele, having completed every lap and earned a top-10 — or even top-five — finish.

It's a safe bet the local crowd will be firmly behind him. Hubbard expects nearly 200 family and friends to make the trek out to Miller Motorsports Park so they can support him on Saturday afternoon.


E-mail: jcoon@desnews.com