Truck: Toledo preview

ARCA Truck Veterans' Christman, Gullatta Tied for Lead in ALWTS Points Headed to Toledo Speedway for Saturday's Champion Credit Union 50 TOLEDO OH (5-16-08) -- Sunday's Hantz Group 200 by Federated Car Care at Toledo Speedway is, without ...

ARCA Truck Veterans' Christman, Gullatta Tied for Lead in ALWTS Points Headed to Toledo Speedway for Saturday's Champion Credit Union 50

TOLEDO OH (5-16-08) -- Sunday's Hantz Group 200 by Federated Car Care at Toledo Speedway is, without question, the main act at Toledo Speedway this weekend.

And while the excitement continues to build for Sunday's grand finale, Saturday's opening act is also creating quite a stir. And for good reason.

ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series veterans' Steve Christman and Nick Gullatta are tied for the lead headed into Saturday's Champion Credit Union 50 starring the ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series.

At present, 27 top-notch teams have filed entries for the race, which will be featured at arcaracing.com through Live Timing & Scoring.

Christman, at 60 years young, is still very much on top of his game.

"I certainly feel I'm as good as I ever was; in fact I think I'm probably better," said Christman.

"I think more when I'm behind the wheel now, rather than just charge into every situation. As you get yourself in the same scenarios on the track over and over, you begin to understand things better. You learn to see things before they happen.

"But what I've learned over the years does not affect my driving style. I still drive every lap like it's my last."

Christman's assertive driving style is very much apparent as is his ability in the driver's seat.

Christman, who hails from Fort Wayne, Indiana, opened the season with an impressive win on the tough, grueling Anderson Speedway quarter-mile. Christman not only won the race, he led all 100 laps.

"That was really gratifying to win at Anderson; especially because it was a victory for my new car owner -- Dan Eakins, and the new Bagman Racing Chassis."

Eakins is also the builder/manufacturer of the Bagman Racing Chassis, which debuted with Christman's victory at Anderson.

Christman also has the support of longtime friend Delphas Woods, who's been assisting Christman with his racing pursuits for the last 33 years.

"Delphas sets the truck up, and he does a great job. He's been such a great friend; he dates back to my Winston Cup days."

Unknown to many, Christman raced in 28 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events in 1987 finishing third in Rookie of the Year points behind top rookie Davey Allison and runner-up rookie Dale Jarrett.

As his racing career meanders along, Christman seems to have found a home in the ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series where the ageless veteran is pumping out impressive results.

From Anderson, the series traveled to Winchester Speedway in early May where Christman stepped up with a fourth place finish. It was even better at Kentucky where he finished third last Saturday.

"We had a great truck at Kentucky; wish we would have gone with a different gear, but overall, the race went very well. I thought all the drivers did a great job and raced each other very clean."

So from here, it's off to Toledo Speedway for this Saturday's ARCA double-header show-opener.

"I really, really like Toledo. It's good and fast and you can pass. You need to handle, but you can pass if you're set up for it. We ran second there last year, so we're hoping to improve on that.

"This Bagman Racing Chassis we're running works so well, it practically turns itself. You just guide it a little here and there, but the thing nearly drives itself.

"My philosophy on racing is pretty much the same everywhere. Get the most out of the truck at all times, yet save the tires for the end. If you can figure out how to do that, and learn to plan ahead, you're gunna be in contention for the win."

Christman also understands how competitive the ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series, in its 10th consecutive season, has become.

"There's no laying back in this series. You've got to go and go hard right from the start. You conserve what you can, but you've got to be mindful of the competition, which gets tougher all the time.

"But I sure enjoying the variety in tracks we get to go to; it's a lot of fun. I've never been one to stay home and race at the weekly tracks. I like to travel around and see what's out there.

"The biggest thing I love about this series is the people. It's full of really good, quality people. We're all competing against one another, yet we're helping each other. I've never really experienced anything like it in racing."

Christman finished a career-best seventh in ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series driver points in 2007. In 38 career starts since 2001, he has 17 top-5 finishes and 22 top-10s. Outside of the victory at Anderson, he has runner-up finishes at Flat Rock Speedway '07, Toledo Speedway '07, Salem Speedway '06 and Lake Erie Speedway '03.

The action starts this Saturday, May 17th with ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series practice from 11:15 am to 12:15 pm. 2BKool Pole Qualifying for the ALWTS is at 2:15 followed by SIM Factory Pole Qualifying for the ARCA RE/MAX Series at 3:30. The Champion Credit Union 50 is slated to start at 5:00 pm Saturday afternoon.

Sunday's ARCA RE/MAX Series Hantz Group 200 by Federated Car Care is scheduled to roll off at 2:00 pm ET.

In addition, the 4th Annual Fan Fest will accompany the ARCA double-header weekend Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm with interactive attractions, race car haulers and much more.

-credit: arca

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Series ARCA
Drivers Dale Jarrett , Nick Gullatta