Bristol: GM Racing preview

* Chevrolet Silverado drivers have scored five wins in nine previous NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races at Bristol Motor Speedway, more than any other manufacturer - Ron Hornaday, Jr. has two victories - 1997 and 1998 Bristol, TN - The newly...

* Chevrolet Silverado drivers have scored five wins in nine previous NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races at Bristol Motor Speedway, more than any other manufacturer - Ron Hornaday, Jr. has two victories - 1997 and 1998

Bristol, TN - The newly resurfaced Bristol Motor Speedway is next up on the schedule for Team Chevy Silverado and the rest of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competitors. Although no major changes were made to the track when the new concrete was poured earlier this summer, variable banking was added to the turns to help smooth the transition to the straightaways.

The track is also three feet wider now, which, after being the first to test on the "New" Bristol in July, leads some to believe a third - or "high" - groove will come into play during the race. An additional four-hour open practice on Tuesday afternoon, the day before the race, will give teams and drivers precious additional time to fine-tune their Silverado race trucks.

But "New" Bristol or "Old" Bristol, Ron Hornaday, Jr., No. 33 Camping World Silverado, and his Rick Ren team are ready to take on the "High Banks" of Thunder Valley one more time. Both Hornaday and Ren know the way to victory lane at the historic Tennessee half-mile. This week, the trick is to get back to the winner's circle together.

Hornaday heads to Bristol second in the NCTS point standings, just 82 points out of the lead. Balancing the desire to win with the need for a good points race as he pursues his third NCTS championship is key for the Kevin Harvick, Inc. driver . "It has been a while since I have visited victory lane at Bristol," said the two-time NCTS champions. "But I know that Rick Ren and the guys have a great truck ready to go. I already have one win so far this year in that truck. It would be great to grab another one.

"Even with the new surface, I am confident that we are taking the right setup. We also have a good amount of time the day before the race to test it out and make any adjustments that we need to."

Teaming with Hornaday at Bristol will be Cale Gale, No. 2 Camping World Silverado. Gale will be making his fourth career NCTS start and his first at Bristol.

"It's good that we will have the test session the day before," said Gale. "I think that will help us, we'll have more time to make adjustments and get the setup just right for the race.

"I think a good day for us at Bristol is to finish the race without any damage to the No. 2 Camping World Chevrolet, but I'd like to finish in the top 10. It's close to the end of the season and all the teams are bringing their "A" game right now. It's going to be tough, but hopefully we will go out there, have a good race and keep the fenders on the truck."

Billy Ballew Motorsports (BBS) joins the two-trucks-at-Bristol group with Kyle Busch in the No. 51 Flanders Beef Patties Silverado and Bristol, TN native Nate Monteith will take the wheel of the No. 15 Billy Ballew Motorsports Silverado. In two previous NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series starts at the Bristol Motor Speedway, Busch has a best start of seventh in 2006 and a best finish of fifth in 2005. He has 13 total starts at the .533-mile short track with one win, four top-five and five top-10 finishes and one pole in the NASCAR Busch Series (NBS) and one win, two top-five and three top-10 finishes in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series (NNCS).

"Bristol is one of my favorite tracks," said Busch. "I am excited to be back in the No. 51 Billy Ballew Motorsports Silverado. We all work very well together. Richie (Wauters, crew chief) and I have great communication and I am looking forward to having an opportunity to having a great run in the BBM Chevrolet Wednesday night."

If rain delays the Michigan NNCS race to Tuesday, Kenny Wallace will practice the No. 51 Silverado for Busch during the open practice session.

Monteith, 26, has made two previous starts in the NBS (Nazareth and IRP), both coming in 2001. Monteith has one previous qualifying attempt at Bristol Motor Speedway in the NBS, also in 2001.

Morgan Dollar Motorsports (MDM) will field two trucks in the O'Reilly 200 as well. Back in the No. 47 Ginn Resorts Silverado for the second time this season will be Regan Smith. Timothy Peters will pilot the No. 46 Tahoe Smokeless Silverado.

"I am looking forward to getting back in the Truck Series after having such a great run in the Morgan-Dollar Motorsports Silverado at O'Reilly Raceway Park," said Smith. "The team has proven equipment and has made their mark in the NCTS. I don't have a ton of experience in the NCTS, but I can't wait to get back in the truck. The series is so competitive and has some of, if not, the best racing and I am sure we will see plenty of that on Wednesday night.

"I am ready to work with Timothy and all of the guys at Morgan-Dollar. Timothy and I have spoken in the past and he is a great guy. I am sure that Eric (Phillips, No. 47 crew chief), Rodney (McGehee, No. 46 crew chief), Timothy and I will be exchanging notes and thoughts when we get some laps under our belts and will be helping each other improve." Peters is also making his second start for MDM, his first at Martinsville where he notched a solid top-10 finish.

"I am so ready to get back in the trucks," said Peters. "Bristol couldn't be a better place to get back on track either. I am positive about this Wednesday's race, and am glad that Morgan-Dollar Motorsports and Bailey's have given me another opportunity to drive their equipment.

"From what I have seen, it looks awesome. In my opinion, the smoother the better. The smooth surface will give the trucks better handling, and it should be a great race for the drivers and the fans. I have always viewed Bristol as a bigger Orange County Speedway on steroids.

"I have talked with Regan quite a bit, and get along well with him," Peters continued. "I think it will be good to work with him and all of the guys at Morgan-Dollar Motorsports. They have a great group of people over there, and I am excited to get a good run for all the folks at Bailey's and MDM."

Brendan Gaughan, No. 77 South Point Hotel Silverado, is in for a "New" Bristol event - both on and off the race track. On the track, Gaughan heads to the Tennessee mountain track confident of a good run as a result of the July test. Off the track, the Las Vegas native will make his first appearance as a newlywed. Gaughan and Tatum Hayes were recently married in Vail, CO.

"Because of the test - I've stopped looking at last year," said Gaughan. "I'm really happy with the performance of this race team at the test. We're going to take that same truck and we're going to take all the data that we learned, ship it off to the people at Chevrolet, have them crunch some numbers. If we can come back just that little bit better - we stayed just a little bit too tight right through the center - if we can fix that little bity piece, we think that we can go back there and be better than we were. That's what testing is for. I've got confidence in the guys who make those decisions. We'll be good."

On his change in marital status, Gaughan had this to say: "I'm happy. We had a beautiful wedding and reception in Vail, CO, near my family's house. It was an absolutely gorgeous day - couldn't have asked for anything better. I'm happy to have her and excited to put my name on the list of married drivers now. I've been very fortunate in my life - I have a very small group of very good friends that I am fortunate to have. I know they say that you judge the soul of a man by the number of friends he has - I'm fortunate that I have quite a few great ones and I have added another best friend to that group and that's my new wife, Tatum."

-credit: gm racing

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