Story by: Andy Marquis ~ [email protected]

Pomfret, MD(November 12, 2012) – Michael Hardin is more confident than ever heading to “The Beach” after a solid 2012 racing season that resulted in a victory at Old Dominion Speedway in September.  Hardin has a great car and a great shot at winning a race he’s had solid performances at.

“Any time you can pick up a victory, it gives you that confidence that you need to run well,” Hardin said.  “In my case, I haven’t won a race since 2009, so my confidence that I’ve lacked the past couple seasons has returned, and I feel like I have a shot to win any time I strap in to that car.  Bob Unczur has put together a great car, Billy Banks has put a great power plant together, and I just hope that Bob selecting me to drive for him turns out to be a great success.”

After winning at Manassas, Hardin skipped Martinsville after his car wasn’t where he wanted it to be in testing, and decided to prepare for the Myrtle Beach 400 and Thanksgiving Classic at Southern National Motorsports Park instead.

“We didn’t run Martinsville because we felt like we weren’t as competitive as we wanted to be,” he said.  “The car started out great, and for my first time at the track, we were right there with everybody else.  The handling got worse and worse as the day went on, and by the end of it, we were a mid-pack car at best.  At that point, we decided to regroup and take the time to get the car better prepared for Myrtle Beach, a track that we’ve had good fortune at before.  There was no sense in running mid pack at Martinsville with a chance to tear up the car and have to thrash to get it together in time for the Beach.  Come to find out, a shock had failed on the car at Martinsville in practice, and that’s why we lost the handling.”

Hardin says the extra preparation, however, does not give him a leg-up entering Myrtle Beach.

“We don’t feel like we have any more of a leg-up entering Myrtle Beach as anybody else, because Late Models have become so competitive that it only takes 1/10 of a second to go from running up front to mid pack,” Hardin said.  “All we can do is throw a setup in the car that we think will work and spend the next few days practicing to make it perfect.

“Myrtle is a completely different animal than any track I’ve run on.  The closest comparison is the worn out pavement from Old Dominion.  I’ve never had to run a race where if you run too hard for 5 or 6 laps, you lose half a second off your lap times.  It turns the Myrtle Beach 400 into the most expensive chess match anybody can come to watch.  The speed we carry, the fact that we can run 3 wide for laps on end, and the amount of smarts it takes to run this race is unmatched by anywhere I’ve ever run.”

Despite the differences, Hardin is confident in his chances of winning.  He says he expects to finish in the top-ten and challenge for the win.

“I’ve always run decent at ‘The Beach’,” he said.  “The past couple times I have been locked in by Qualifying and got to skip a heat race.  To me, anything short of a top ten is less than desirable.  I know what it takes to run up front, and as a team we’re going to have to put everything we have into it to run that well.  Hopefully, we have the shot at the end of the race to put this car in Victory Lane, because that’s what we set out to do every time we show up at the track.”

The 20th Annual Myrtle Beach 400 runs Sunday, November 18, 2012 with practice beginning Wednesday, November 14, 2012. will have live coverage all week from “The Beach”.