The best of the best find Victory Lane at Bristol Motor Speedway NEWS AND NOTES It's hardly news that Bristol Motor Speedway is one of NASCAR's most difficult tracks. So it comes as no surprise that its list of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series ...
The best of the best find Victory Lane at Bristol Motor Speedway
NEWS AND NOTES
It's hardly news that Bristol Motor Speedway is one of NASCAR's most difficult tracks. So it comes as no surprise that its list of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series winners is star-studded, to say the least. The track's six race winners boast a combined 101 victories. That's 35.7% of the series' 283 races -- eight of which have been run on the .533-mile concrete track.
Four NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champions have won five times at Bristol. Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 33 Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet) is the only multiple winner with back-to-back victories in 1997-98. Jack Sprague (No. 60 Con-way Freight Toyota), Travis Kvapil and Skinner also are Bristol winners.
The track definitely is a championship predictor. Three champions -- Hornaday in 1998, Sprague in 1999 and Kvapil in 2003 -- won the O'Reilly 200. Kvapil, in fact, would have been the championship runner-up had he not claimed the Bristol victory when Kevin Harvick suffered a tire failure on the next-to-final lap.
Four participate in Goodyear test at Las Vegas ... Goodyear Tire & Rubber wrapped up a two-day test at the reconfigured Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Aug. 16. Four series drivers -- Todd Bodine, No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota), Rick Crawford (No. 14 Circle Bar Truck Corral Ford), Brendan Gaughan (No. 77 Orleans Racing Dodge) and Dennis Setzer (No. 85 FlexFuel E85 Chevrolet) -- tested a variety of Wrangler combinations in preparation for the Sept. 23 Smith's Las Vegas 350. "This ought to be called Las Vegas Superspeedway now," said Crawford. "You're going to see a lot of drafting, a lot of speed (and) a lot of excitement for the fans." Gaughan, a former winner whose race shop is a few hundred yards from the track, said, "It all depends on what tire you put on ... so I think you'll definitely see at least a second faster." Banking in the turns has been raised from 12 to 20 degrees. The backstretch banking has been increased from three to nine degrees -- the same as the track's frontstretch. Mike Skinner's 2004 track record of 165.320 mph likely will be shattered by the entire qualifying field as unofficial lap speeds in excess of 170 mph were recorded during the test.
Chevrolet and Ford owned Bristol Motor Speedway, winning a combined seven times, until a year ago when Skinner's Toyota visited Victory Lane. Dodge has yet to record a victory at BMS. Chevrolet's track-leading five wins came in consecutive seasons -- 1996 through 2003. Jack Roush and Bill Davis are the only active owners with Bristol victories. Roush's Carl Edwards was the winner in 2004; Davis won with Skinner last year.
ETC. ... Mark Martin (No. 6 Scotts Ford) dominated the season's early stages with three victories but hasn't competed since finishing second on June 17 at Michigan. Martin will make his first series start at Bristol, joined by fellow NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series competitor Kyle Busch (No. 15 Billy Ballew Motorsports Chevrolet). Busch won in May at Lowe's Motor Speedway and finished fifth in last year's O'Reilly 200. ... Skinner is the only repeat short track winner in the past 14 races. He followed his Bristol victory with a win at Richmond International Raceway. ... Hornaday is the career short track winner with 16, the most recent in May at Mansfield Motorsports Speedway. He led all 200 laps of the O'Reilly 200 in 1997. ... Six of eight Bristol races have been won from a start of third or better including both of Hornaday's victories off the pole. Six former Bristol pole winners are expected to compete. ... Jay Sauter's third place in 1996 is the best Bristol finish by a Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate. ... Veteran teams K Automotive and Mittler Bros. Motorsports will join forces at Bristol to field the No. 63 Dave Porter Truck Sales Ford for Brad Keselowski. ... Kevin Harvick Inc. has announced a partnership with Pensacola, Fla.-based Allstates Employer Services (AES) as primary sponsor of the No. 33 Chevrolet Silverado driven by Ron Hornaday Jr. for the remainder of the 2006 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season, and returning for the 2007 season.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
Sprague solid in Thunder Valley ... Sprague has competed in seven of eight series races at Bristol, missing only the 2002 season during which he competed on the NASCAR Busch Series. He's the track's laps completed leader with 1,330 run of a possible 1,356. His four top-five and six top-10 finishes also are tops among all competitors. Sprague leads in Bristol winnings with $110,665. Championship contenders should be okay ... Here are the best Bristol finishes of the current top five: Bodine, 2nd, 2005; Johnny Benson (No. 23 Exide Toyota), 4th, 2005; David Reutimann (No. 17 Team Tundra Toyota, 11th, 2004; Ted Musgrave, No. 9 Team ASE Toyota, 6th, 2005 and Crawford, 3rd, 2003.
"Maybe I should move here." -- Jack Sprague, a former Bristol winner whose 2006 record in the state of Tennessee shows a victory at Memphis Motorsports Park and a second-place finish in the Aug. 12 Toyota Tundra 200 at Nashville Superspeedway.
"All it takes is just a little bump or a little touch and your truck's out of control and you wreck. It's one of the pivotal points in the points race. Between Bristol and Talladega, those are the two that can really shake up the battle throughout the top 10." -- Ted Musgrave.
"Any place where you've had success becomes one of your favorites. Bristol is, well, take the roller coaster you hate the most and times it by two. That's a lap at Bristol. It's rough, it's just about out of control but you always go back and ride it again." -- Todd Bodine, who previously scored two NASCAR Busch Series victories and a second-place finish in a three-race span at Bristol Motor Speedway.
"The closest I ever came to Bristol was definitely racing at Winchester. Early on in my racing career, you felt like you were at a superspeedway. For a short-track racer that has never raced at a superspeedway, when you go to a track like Winchester or a Bristol, that's as close as you'll get to superspeedway racing." -- Terry Cook, No. 10 Ford Power Stroke Diesel by International, who competed at the more-than-century-old Indiana track in his first season of racing.
IN THE LOOP
How do you dominate a race like Mike Skinner did in winning last year's O'Reilly 200? Simple -- just consult the Scoring Loop Statistics. Skinner, who led all but 10 laps and racked up a perfect, 150.0 Driver Rating, was first in a number key statistics. Here they are:
Skinner turned 38 of the race's fastest laps (19 percent), was fastest on restarts by nearly 1.5 mph over his closest competitors, was fastest early in a run at 119.873 mph and logged the fastest green flag speed. Toyota wasn't the fastest truck at any point on the track but Skinner was solid all the way around the .533-mile concrete layout. Skinner was second fastest in Turns 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and stood fourth quickest on both front and back stretches.
Skinner ranked No. 1 in another key stat: His average running position was 1.125.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Rick Carelli, a former NASCAR AutoZone West Series, Grand National Division and AutoZone Elite Division Southwest Series champion, won his first of four NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races at Bristol Motor Speedway in 1996. Carelli is retired from competition but will return to Bristol this week as the general manager of Ron Hornaday Jr.'s Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet team.
What: O'Reilly 200 (Race 17 of 25).
Where: Bristol Motor Speedway.
When: 9:15 p.m. ET, Aug. 23.
Track layout: .533 -mile banked concrete oval.
Race length: 200 laps/106.6 miles.
Posted awards: $481,962
TV: SPEED Channel, 8:30 p.m. ET.
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.
2005 winner: Mike Skinner.
2005 polesitter: David Reutimann.
Top 10 drivers: 1.Todd Bodine 2,454. 2. Johnny Benson 2,310. 3. David Reutimann 2,260. 4. Ted Musgrave 2,215. 5. Rick Crawford 2,199. 6. Jack Sprague 2,152. 7. Terry Cook 2,148. 8. David Starr 2,140. 9. Ron Hornaday Jr. 2,139.10. Dennis Setzer 2,063.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Wednesday --Practice 11 a. m. -- noon. Rookie Practice 12:30 p.m. -- 1 p.m. Final Practice 1 p.m. --2 p.m. Qualifying 5:30 p.m. Trucks impounded after qualifying.