Truck drivers seek Fellowship By Brett Borden WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (June 22, 2000) When road course aces like Ron Fellows are feeling it, many drivers feel they are running for second. The man who finished second to Fellows in last year's...
Truck drivers seek Fellowship
By Brett Borden
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (June 22, 2000) When road course aces like Ron Fellows are feeling it, many drivers feel they are running for second. The man who finished second to Fellows in last year's Bully Hill Vineyards 150 at Watkins Glen International, Mike Wallace, isn't necessarily one of those. "Anybody can be beat on any given day," Wallace said. "There are just certain people who aren't going to be beat when they are on top of their game plan. Ron has a good relationship with Joe Nemechek who supplies him with great vehicles and Ron is a total road racer. I think that he races one of the Cadillac cars in the World SportsCar division on a full time basis.
"We are going there thinking we can beat Ron Fellows. Ron is not the only guy we have to worry about out there though. Rob Morgan is an excellent road racer and will be one of probably 10 or so drivers that will really have a shot to win the race this weekend. I'm also going to run the Busch race this weekend in the 77 car and hopefully get some more laps time out on that track. We've got a great race team all around."
Morgan will be racing his father Charles on Saturday. Both Morgans are looking forward to the experience.
"I'm really looking forward to racing him this weekend," Rob said. "I think that it will be a lot of fun. There are definitely family bragging rights up for grabs this weekend. I certainly don't want to let him beat me. I'll have to hear about that for the rest of my life. He's always said that he wanted to run one NASCAR race and this will be it, so we are going to do everything in our power to be sure to beat him, and everybody else as well."
"It's great," Charles said. "We have actually raced against each other a few other times in Sports Cars. We have also raced with each other as co-drivers a few times. It really is just the thrill of racing. It gets in your blood and won't get out. I have really wanted to race in a NASCAR race. I went out and tested with Rob at one of the road race tests before Portland and did pretty well. I think that it will be a lot of fun to get out there and race again.
"I'm just going out and hope to qualify well and be able to race competitively. I can't say that it's really a rational decision on my part but it's just something that I wanted to do. One of the things that I'm trying to do right now is learn how to be a better team owner and sponsor. Rob always tells me that I don't know what it's like to drive a truck, so now at least I'll have a better idea what the series and trucks are all about."
The elder Morgan's presence means that Joe Ruttman will not be the elder statesman in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series for once. He will be a defending champion, though. Ruttman won at the Glen, albeit by a pentalty to Ron Hornaday, in 1998.
"That was a bad deal for Hornaday two years ago," Ruttman said. "But this Dana team sure could deal with some good luck like that again. We're coming off two of the worst races (26th at Texas and 25th at Kentucky) the team and I have ever had together. We desperately need a top finish to get back any hope of a strong finish in the points. Maybe a change to turning right for a week will change our luck and our finish.
"I think we'll be in good shape for The Glen. We are a solid team and we come to the track ready every week. Unfortunately we don't get the finishes we would like sometimes, but we never give up and start pointing fingers like some teams. We won in Phoenix as a team, and we lose as a team."
Jack Sprague has never won at Watkins Glen, but he has led more laps than Fellows (49-42). He also has never finished worse than fifth.
"We've done pretty well at The Glen the past few years," Sprague said. "And that's really a credit to (crew chief) Dennis Connor and the Team GMAC crew. Every year they give me a truck capable of winning; now I just have to do it.
"I like the track and I like the left-to-right hand turn feel of a road course in general. I want to be considered a driver who can win on any type of track, so this one would definitely be a 'feather in my cap' type of deal if we can pull it off this weekend. It's the last road course race this season, so it'll be awhile before I get another chance. The time for Team GMAC is right now."
No one is hotter than Sprague or Greg Biffle right now. The only driver close is Randy Tolsma, whose average finishing position the last six starts has been 6.6. Sprague and Biffle have each won three times in that span, so Tolsma figures he is due.
"We have been so close to winning so many times this year," Tolsma said. "This team is on the threshold; it's just a matter of time before the CITGO SuperGard Motor Oil Dodge is parked in the winners circle. We can't help but hope it will be sooner than later though."
Bud Pole Qualifying for the Bully Hill Vineyards 150 is set for Friday at 2 p.m. ET.