Daytona: GM Racing preview

New Silverado Set for Daytona Debut in Chevy Silverado HD 250 at Daytona Daytona International Speedway - New names and faces, same faces different teams and a new Silverado set the stage for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) ...

New Silverado Set for Daytona Debut in Chevy Silverado HD 250 at Daytona

Daytona International Speedway - New names and faces, same faces different teams and a new Silverado set the stage for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) season-opening racing, Chevy Silverado HD 250. The 100-lap, 250-mile race kicks off the 25-race 2007 season for Team Chevy Silverado. Bragging rights are on the line for the strong Bowtie NCTS Silverado line-up.

The branding of the Daytona race coincides with the launch of the all-new Silverado HD production lineup. No one matches GM's depth and breadth of its HD portfolio to fit the need of every customer.

Not only was it named the Motor Trend Truck of the Year, but also captured the North American Car and Truck of the Year honors at the 2007 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS).

There are three cab styles: regular, extended and crew cab, three box configurations: standard (6-foot 6-inches) and long (8-foot); and Dually long (8-foot). Additional features are a choice of gas and diesel engines with fuel-saving six-speed automatic transmissions on all models, two unique interiors and two suspension packages making the all-new Silverado HD the most technically advanced truck on the road.

"The new 2007 Chevy Silverado Heavy Duty comes with either a six liter Vortec V-8 or 6.6 liter Duramax diesel," said Ed Peper, Chevrolet General Manager and Grand Marshall of the Chevy Silverado HD 250. "Not only do you get a huge amount of power and torque, but new technologies enable these powertrains to simultaneously increase efficiency and lower emissions.

"The all-new Silverado HD offers the most comfortable ride with an intuitive cargo management system.

"Chevy is proud to sponsor the Silverado HD 250. It is an exciting way for us to kick off the 2007 racing season. "

Silverado on the track has new features as well in 2007. With a new nose that includes a different grill and splitter configurations, teams believe they have the aero package they need. Coupled with the tremendous handling characteristics and Chevy horsepower, teams are looking forward to taking to the Daytona high banks.

"It's always exciting to go to Daytona in February," said Dayne Pieratoni, Chevrolet Program Manager, NCTS. "We are really looking forward to another great season for Chevrolet in the Craftsman Truck Series. We have added a new team this year with Brendan Gaughan and South Point Racing and we've had a few changes within our lineup.

"Most notably is Dennis Setzer moving to the Spears truck, Bill Lester going to Billy Ballew Motorsports, Tim Sauter at Greenlight Racing. Our rookie class shows promise with Willie Allen, Blake Bjorkland, and Casey Kingsland all running for the Raybestos Rookie of the year.

"And finally, we have Ron Hornaday, Matt Crafton, Chad McCumbee and Kraig Kinser all back for this season with Mike Bliss in for the first few races. All in all I believe that we have a great group of teams and drivers this year. We have an all-new look for the Silverado for 2007. I am certainly looking forward to getting back to the racetrack."

Ron Hornaday, Jr., No. 33 AES HR Solutions Silverado fielded by Kevin Harvick, Inc. (KHI), will lead the Chevrolet Silverado contingent. The two-time NCTS champion is poised to make a strong run this season. With new crew chief Rick Ren on board, Hornaday is easily considered one of the favorites to not only win Daytona, but also capture his third title.

Dennis Setzer, No. 75 Spears Manufacturing Silverado, remains a strong contender in the Chevy camp but is now behind the wheel of the legendary truck owned by Wayne and Connie Spears. Setzer's NCTS record is impressive with 16 career victories and three runner-up spots in season ending standings three consecutive seasons. Setzer and the longest-running Chevrolet team in the NCTS are positioned to be a leader from the drop of the first green flag.

A new bullet in the arsenal of Chevrolet ammunition is Brendan Gaughan, No. 77 South Point Racing Silverado. Gaughan has eight NCTS victories to his credit. Led by Bryan Berry, the Las Vegas, Nev. native is looking at the upcoming season with a rejuvenated attitude and a strong team.

Matt Crafton, No. 88 Menard's Silverado, has finished in the top-10 in the standings every season since his full-time NCTS entry in 2003. While still gunning for his first win, his consistency has demonstrated that it is just a matter of time.

The line-up is strong and diverse. Bill Lester will be behind the wheel of the No. 15 Billy Ballew Motorsports Silverado. Kraig Kinser is back in the No. 47 Ginn Resorts Silverado fielded by the strength of the Morgan-Dollar Motorsports organization. Tim Sauter and Chad McCumbee will form the powerful Green Light Racing duo.

Willie Allen, No. 13 ThorSports Silverado, Blake Bjorkland, No. 08 MRD Motorsports Silverado and Casey Kingsland, No. 7 Pennington Motorsports Silverado, will all make a run for the Raybestos Rookie of the Year title.

Former NCTS champion Mike Bliss will be behind the wheel of the Key Motorsports Silverado for a few races and Cale Gale will compete selected events in a second KHI entry.

Practice for the Chevy Silverado HD 250 will begin on Wednesday with a second and final practice on Thursday. Qualifying is scheduled for Thursday evening beginning at 6:00 p.m. EST.

The race is set to start Friday, February 16 at 8:00 p.m. EST.

-credit: gm racing

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Ron Hornaday Jr. , Dennis Setzer , Matt Crafton , Tim Sauter , Bill Lester , Brendan Gaughan , Mike Bliss , Kraig Kinser , Willie Allen , Cale Gale , Chad McCumbee , Casey Kingsland