Terry Cook to become second series driver to log 200 consecutive starts NEWS AND NOTES Cook reaches milestone in Atlanta ... Friday's race marks the 200th consecutive start for Terry Cook (No. 10 Ford Power Stroke Diesel by International...
Terry Cook to become second series driver to log 200 consecutive starts
NEWS AND NOTES
Cook reaches milestone in Atlanta ... Friday's race marks the 200th consecutive start for Terry Cook (No. 10 Ford Power Stroke Diesel by International Ford). He's the second competitor to reach that milestone and is on track to break Rick Crawford's (No. 14 Circle Bar Truck Corral Ford) 209-race record on July 8 at Kentucky Speedway. Ironically, last year's Kentucky race ended Crawford's streak due to injuries he incurred in a qualifying accident.
Martin looking for win No. 3 ... Only four drivers in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series history -- Mike Skinner (No. 5 Toyota Tundra Toyota), Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 33 Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet), Todd Bodine (No. 30 Germain Motor Company Toyota) and Greg Biffle -- have won three consecutive races. A victory in Friday's John Deere 200 will add Mark Martin (No. 6 Scotts Ford) to membership in the exclusive club.
Count on last-lap theatrics in Atlanta ... The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series' three Atlanta races twice have seen official lead changes on the final lap and once on the next-to-last trip around the 1.54-mile superspeedway. Hornaday's .008-second John Deere 200 win over Bobby Labonte last March remains the series' third-closest finish and closest on a track of one mile or longer.
ETC. ... Morgan-Dollar Motorsports has signed Shell Rotella T motor oil for seven events with the sponsor appearing for the first time on Dennis Setzer's No. 85 Chevrolet this week. ... R3 Motorsports, which fields the No. 1 winyourmortgage.com Dodge driven by Raybestos rookie contender Robert Richardson, has named Wayne Setterington crew chief. Setterington, who formerly worked for Evernham Motorsports, replaces Carl Barnes. ... Steve May has been named interim crew chief for Kerry Earnhardt's No. 13 ThorSport Chevrolet succeeding Shane Tesch. ... H-T Motorsports for the first time this week will field a Ford F-150 and will alternate between Ford and Dodge as the season progresses depending upon track length and configuration. Steve Park will be behind the wheel of the No. 59 Harris Trucking entry at Atlanta. ... Roush Racing has entered a third truck in the John Deere 200 for David Ragan (No. 50 Roush Racing Ford), who's due to take over Martin's seat April 1 at Martinsville Speedway. "Fielding a third truck in Atlanta will enable David to run in front of his hometown crowd, friends and family," said team owner Jack Roush of the Unadilla, Ga. driver. "It will also gain him some additional seat time in preparation for his stint driving the No. 6 Scotts Ford F-150. We're looking forward to getting David a jump-start on his 2006 schedule." ... Bobby East (No. 21 State Fair Corn Dogs Ford), begins his Raybestos rookie quest this week in the Wood Brothers-JTG Racing truck driven at Daytona and California by Stacy Compton. East is the 2004 U.S. Auto Club national midget champion and Cook's brother-in-law. ... Friday's qualifying session will be broadcast live by SPEED beginning at 5:10 p.m. ET. Crawford is the defending Bud Pole winner turning in a record lap of 182.735 mph a year ago.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
Atlanta track absolutely suits Hamilton ... With an average finish of 3.7 based upon runs of first, third and seventh, Bobby Hamilton (No. 18 Fastenal Dodge) is the best performing driver to have competed in all three series events at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Skinner has led but hasn't won ... Skinner is the only driver to have led all three Atlanta races and is the track's lap leader by an almost two to one margin over Hamilton. Skinner has paced 119 laps (180.18 miles) to Hamilton's 62 (94.28). He finished runnerup to Hamilton in March 2004 but was unable to finish higher than 12th a year ago. He was October's Bud Pole winner.
Hometown winner Billy Ballew taps Atlanta third driver ... October race winner Kyle Busch won't be aboard Billy Ballew's No. 15 ditech.com/National Land Liquidators/Krud Kutter Chevrolet this week but don't count out the chances of Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender Kyle Krisiloff. The Atlanta-owned team has entered two different drivers -- Busch and Shane Hmiel - in three previous Atlanta events with finishes of first and sixth off a pair of top-five qualifying performances.
"The asphalt has aged just the right amount where it promotes good grip from the bottom of the track all the way up to the fence. What you like about the facility is you can race all over the track." -- Terry Cook on competition at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
"It's a driver's track; you have to drive it hard to do well there. It's not a track where you can afford to just ride around." -- Kerry Earnhardt, winner of Atlanta's 2001 ARCA RE/MAX Series event and first-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series starter at the 1.54-mile facility.
"I have always heard you are only as good as your last race. I sure am glad California is behind us." -- Scott Lagasse Jr. (No. 04 Dodge Hemi Dodge), following a series debut in which the Raybestos rookie of the year contender finished 30th in his series debut.
"I was really impressed with Scott at California. We missed the setup by a mile and he was able to hang on to the truck and get the best finish he could. I would really have expected him to wreck with how bad it was handling." -- Randy Seals, Lagasse's crew chief.
IN THE LOOP
Toyota drivers Bodine and Johnny Benson (No. 23 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Toyota) headed a number of categories based on NASCAR scoring Loop Data from last year's pair of races at Atlanta Motor Speedway. ... Bodine was the leading competitor among closers with eight passes followed by Benson's six. ... Bodine logged 80 quality passes while Benson, with a driver rating of 110.3, headed all entered drivers who competed in both races. ... Hamilton posted the most consecutive laps without being passed -- 21. ... Bill Lester (No. 22 Bill Davis Racing Toyota) topped speed charts of drivers expected to participate in the John Deere 200 with a fast lap of 182.667 mph on Oct. 29, 2005.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Raybestos rookies David Reutimann (No. 17 Team Tundra Toyota) and Robert Huffman made history in March 2004 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Reutimann won the Bud Pole and Huffman grabbed the second starting spot, securing the first all-Raybestos rookie front row in the history of the Craftsman Truck Series.
What: John Deere 200 (Race 3 of 25).
Where: Atlanta Motor Speedway
When: 9:15 p.m. ET, Friday, March 17.
Track layout: 1.54-mile paved oval.
Race length: 200 miles/130 laps.
Posted awards: $514,269.
TV: SPEED Channel, 9:15 p.m. ET.
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.
2005 winner: Ron Hornaday Jr.
2005 polesitter: Rick Crawford.
Top 10 drivers: 1. Mark Martin 380. 2. Todd Bodine 350. 3. Ted Musgrave 335. 4. Jack Sprague 320. 5. David Reutimann 303. 6. Rick Crawford 289. 7. Mike Skinner 282. 8. Erik Darnell 280. 9. Johnny Benson 268. 10. Jon Wood 258.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Friday -- Practice 8:45-9:50 a.m. Rookie practice 10:15-10:45 a.m. Final practice 11 a.m. to 12:05 p.m. Qualifying 5:10 p.m. Trucks impounded after qualifying.