Championship contenders put heat on leader Gaughan Edwards close to rookie record NEWS & NOTES * Championship battle one of closest ever ... With 10 races remaining in the season, the championship battle is the second-closest in series...
Championship contenders put heat on leader Gaughan
Edwards close to rookie record
NEWS & NOTES
* Championship battle one of closest ever ... With 10 races remaining in the season, the championship battle is the second-closest in series history among the top-two drivers. Only seven points separate Brendan Gaughan (No. 62 Orleans Dodge) and Travis Kvapil (No. 16 IWX Motor Freight Chevrolet). In 1996, Mike Skinner led Ron Hornaday Jr. by six points at this stage of the season. This title chase is also the second-closest among the top-three drivers. Only 21 points separate Gaughan, Kvapil and Ted Musgrave (No. 1 Mopar Dodge). In 2001, the spread was 11 points between Scott Riggs, Joe Ruttman and Jack Sprague. The leader with 10 races to go has won the title four of eight times, but not since 2000 (Greg Biffle).
* Lester presenting award ... Bill Lester (No. 8 Strauss Auto Parts/Club Dodge) will present an award from the National Black Sports and Entertainment Hall of Fame to the descendents of Wendell Scott, the first African American driver to participate in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. The awards ceremony honors African American trailblazers in sports and entertainment. Past recipients include Lena Horne, Johnny Pacheco and Tito Puente. Lester will present the award August 27 in New York City.
* Edwards closing in on rookie mark ... Carl Edwards has three wins in his rookie season, one victory shy of tying Kurt Busch's record for most wins as a rookie with four (2000). Edwards and Busch are the only two rookies to win two consecutive races in a season. At Bristol, Edwards looks to become only the fourth driver to win three straight races. The others -- Mike Skinner, Ron Hornaday Jr. and Biffle -- were all series champions. Two others have tried to win three consecutive races this season -- Dennis Setzer (No. 46 ACXIOM Chevrolet) at Mesa Marin and Martinsville and Gaughan ( St. Louis, Michigan) -- but have come up short.
* Fittipaldi entered in first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race ... Christian Fittipaldi (No. 9 Bugles/Wells Fargo Financial Ford) will compete at Bristol in a truck owned by Ballew Motorsports. Fittipaldi, who will also compete for a spot in Saturday night's NASCAR Winston Cup race, is in his first season as a NASCAR Winston Cup driver. Petty Enterprises CEO Kyle Petty suggested the idea. "Bristol is just an awesome place," said Fittipaldi. "Just to look up at the grandstands and know they will be full of fans for this race is exciting. And, any seat time is good seat time -- especially at a track like Bristol."
* There's a developing trend in the series -- drivers under the age of 30 have won nine of the past 10 races. The lone win for drivers over 30 was 47-year-old Musgrave's win at Memphis in June. ... No active owners have won a series race at Bristol. Brevak Racing, K Automotive, Spears Motorsports and Ultra Motorsports have competed in all five previous races. ... Morgan Shepard (No. 89 Racing with Jesus Ford) is scheduled to compete in Wednesday night's race, making him the oldest driver to
start a race in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series at 61 years, nine months, 29 days. A.J. Foyt held the previous record at 61 years, 9 months, 18 days when he competed at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Nov. 3, 1996.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
* Terry Cook (No. 29 Power Stroke Diesel Ford) and Rick Crawford (No. 14 Circle Bar RV & Motel Ford) have the most starts at Bristol -- three apiece. Setzer has the best finish -- fifth -- among scheduled drivers.
* "The racetrack is exciting, it's action-filled and it's fast. For years we've been watching the NASCAR Winston Cup cars and the NASCAR Busch Series race there and it's great that the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is coming back there. It's just like Saturday night short track racing where most of us have come from." -- David Starr (No. 75 Spears Manufacturing Chevrolet).
* "I have the feeling I'll be holding my breath a lot Wednesday night because it will probably be a pretty wild race." -- Jon Wood.
* "We are excited to see Bristol back on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series schedule. Bristol is a very demanding track and track position is essential there. Bristol is rigorous and it's a track where you never catch your breath." -- Terry Cook.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
* Bristol was one of the original tracks on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series when the series debuted in 1995 and the race didn't disappoint with Joe Ruttman defeating Geoffrey Bodine by only .13 second.