Atlanta II: Gm Racing preview

Martinsville, Va. - Ron Hornaday, Jr., No. 33 Camping World Silverado, and his Kevin Harvick, Inc. (KHI) team are continuing their methodical approach to the remaining four races of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) season as Team Chevy ...

Martinsville, Va. - Ron Hornaday, Jr., No. 33 Camping World Silverado, and his Kevin Harvick, Inc. (KHI) team are continuing their methodical approach to the remaining four races of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) season as Team Chevy Silverado heads for Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS).

The two-time NCTS champion and crew chief Rick Ren are entering the October 27, 2007 EasyCare Vehicles Service Contracts 200 with the mindset that has kept them in a seesaw battle for this season's championship all year long - lead laps, win races or secure the best finish possible.

Hornaday knows the way to victory lane at AMS, having captured the win in 2005. It will be business as usual coming off a third place finish at Martinsville: "I am looking forward to going to Atlanta. I have one win there already, and I will be going for another one. We did a good job at Martinsville last weekend. We did what we needed to do and that was to have a good finish and we ended up finishing third.

"Rick Ren and all the guys are doing a great job, just giving me awesome trucks. These guys are tough."

Ren is taking a proven Silverado for Hornaday, knowing that keeping his driver comfortable in the cockpit helps the team stay focused on the immediate task at hand.

"We are ready for Atlanta," said Ren. " We are taking a truck that has been driven a lot this year, and it has been driven at different types of tracks. It has already been to Atlanta once this year. It has been to California, Kansas, Dover, Charlotte and Las Vegas, which are the same type of track as Atlanta."

Matt Crafton, No. 88 Menards Silverado, finished third in the spring NCTS race at AMS. After qualifying second, his season high, at Martinsville, Crafton looked to be headed for a strong top-three finish until a multi-truck wreck in turn four on the last lap relegated him to the 18th finishing position.

"That was just one of those racing deals...unfortunately, we just got out of position," said Crafton. "But all in all, it was a real good day, best qualifying effort of the year, and best run of the year, and we just have to forget about the last half-lap of that race. You have to let it go, or it will affect what you're trying to do at the next race. We'll focus on all of the good that happened for us.

"I love Atlanta...it's my favorite track. We've had some success there, and we expect to run well there. The track is fast, and you can run anywhere from top to bottom. We've learned a lot the last couple of races, and we're better because of it. For the most part, we've been putting ourselves in the right position. Now, hopefully we can put an exclamation point on it at Atlanta."

Regan Smith will be behind the wheel of the No. 47 Ginn Resorts Silverado fielded by Morgan-Dollar Motorsports at AMS.

"It is really too bad that we got caught up in a wreck at Martinsville because Eric Phillips and the guys brought me an awesome truck," said Smith. "Every time I have crawled in that Silverado this season, we have been capable of a top-five finish, we just have had some bad racing luck. We are going to Atlanta looking for great things for this team. Every one at Morgan-Dollar deserves a good run and a good finish."

The Atlanta race will mark Kyle Busch's eighth start for Billy Ballew Motorsports this season. Uncharacteristically for Busch and this team, they have yet to visit victory lane in the No. 51 RedTop Auto Auction Silverado. Busch has a NCTS victory at AMS, coming in the fall race of the 2005 season.

"I'm excited to be back in the truck for Billy Ballew this weekend in Atlanta," said Busch. "Our first run in Atlanta for him we won. It was an action-packed race and at the end I saw the hole to make it to the finish line so I kept going for it. The last lap of that race in 2005 is one no one will forget. I would love to repeat the win for Georgia native Billy Ballew and the Georgia sponsor RedTop Auto Auction. We haven't had a win this year yet and I think we have a good possibility to do that here in Atlanta. Atlanta Motor Speedway is fast, and I like the way you can run on the bottom or the top, making it a fun track to drive. That's probably why you see so many exciting finishes at Atlanta." Brendan Gaughan, No. 77 South Point Hotel Silverado, had a great run in the spring 2007 AMS race and is looking to repeat that performance on Saturday.

"We're back to a track that I love," Gaughan said. "I was lucky to get out of Martinsville with an 11th-place finish, and I'm happy to be heading back to some tracks that suit my style of racing. It's a fast, big track, and you can race anywhere from the apron to the wall - of course, I'll be running the high line.

"We ran well there in the spring and came home with a sixth-place finish. We're going back there expecting better things this time around."

Willie Allen, No. 13 ThorSport Racing Silverado, is currently sitting in the lead for the 2007 Raybestos Rookie of the Year title despite encountering disaster in the big last-lap crash at Martinsville that sent him from a solid top-10 run to the 14th finishing position.

"I'm really excited about going back to Atlanta," said Allen. "Anytime I get to go to a track that I have been to before is a definite plus for me and the team. It's nice having a little extra experience and confidence. Atlanta is one of my favorite tracks on the circuit. It's really fast and has a lot of different grooves around the track and makes great racing. I feel like me and my team have learned a lot this year and I look forward to our return to Atlanta."

Shane Sieg, No. 15 Terry Reid Automotive Group Silverado, will field a second BBM entry. It will be his fourth NCTS start of the season and his third start for BBM. He scored a career high 10th place finish in the No. 15 Silverado at New Hampshire.

"Atlanta is an exciting track to race at," said Sieg. "You can run the high or low grooves on the pack making it easier to pass. Atlanta is a fast mile and a have race track and you need to make sure your truck is balanced. I know Doug George (crew chief) has the No. 15 Terry Reid Chevrolet Silverado ready to go. I always enjoy racing in my hometown and especially having a Georgia based owner and sponsor. I hope to avoid the crashes and have a solid finish for both Billy (Ballew) and our sponsor."

-credit: gm racing

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Kevin Harvick , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Matt Crafton , Brendan Gaughan , Regan Smith , Shane Sieg , Willie Allen , Kyle Busch