Atlanta, GA -- Driver Dennis Setzer and Morgan-Dollar Motorsports saw their outstanding top-ten streak slip through their hands on Saturday as they fought furiously to get a handle on their #46 Chevrolet Silverado.
Dennis and the #46 crew had not finished outside the top-ten since May of 2003, a streak of 21 straight races. The last race where the #46 team hadn't finished tenth or better was the Hardee's 200 at Lowe's Motor Speedway last spring, where engine problems dropped them to 23rd.
This weekend the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series tackled the ultra-fast Atlanta Motor Speedway for the first time in its tenth season. Dennis and the team were pretty satisfied with the truck after happy hour on Friday where they posted the fourth-fastest speed during the session.
They were even happy with an eighth-place starting position since their team had been much better in the past at racing than qualifying.
However, not long after the green flag dropped for the inaugural Easy Care Vehicle Service 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Setzer radioed in that his Chevrolet Silverado was experiencing a very loose condition. Dennis had fallen back to thirteenth position and was in need of a caution to make some adjustments to his truck.
That caution came out on lap 46, but it was a little too close for comfort. A truck spun to the bottom of the track and came back up the track just ahead of Dennis. He barely squeezed by to the high side and avoided it, but the wreck collected the two trucks just behind him in a vicious crash.
Dennis brought his #46 Silverado in for service on lap 49 after the red flag, that halted the race, had been lifted. Crew chief, Danny Gill, called for some aggressive changes to the truck in an effort to tighten it up. Several trucks had already pitted when the caution came out, so after the stop, Dennis would restart in sixth position.
Setzer's Sivlerado was better from the start, but the loose condition crept back in as the run went along. "We worked on the handling a lot during the race," said Setzer. "It seemed like we were going back and forth with it. Our crew changed tires and this Chevrolet Silverado changed drastically each time with a little bit of adjustment. These were the same tires we had used here in an earlier test. I guess we should have stuck with what Goodyear brought today. Our team was not in the class that we needed to be in today."
Dennis would go on to finish in 11th place. The finish, however disappointing, did move Setzer up from sixth to fifth in the overall point standings for the 2004 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Championship.
Setzer and his Chevrolet Silverado race team will have to wait four weeks until their next chance to get to victory lane. It could be familiar territory as the next race is the Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway, where Dennis and Morgan-Dollar have taken home two wins in the last three races there with an average finish of 1.67.
For more information on Dennis Setzer, Morgan-Dollar Motorsports and the #46 Chevrolet Silverado racing team, go to www.dennissetzer.com, www.gm.com, or contact Sam Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org or 910-724-1148.