Dobson 'On The Outside Looking In' PHOENIX, AZ-April 15, 1998 -- Dominic Dobson, driver of the MCI Mopar No. 78 Dodge in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, has quite a perplexing angle on this weekend's race at Phoenix International Raceway.
Dobson 'On The Outside Looking In'
PHOENIX, AZ-April 15, 1998 -- Dominic Dobson, driver of the MCI Mopar No. 78 Dodge in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, has quite a perplexing angle on this weekend's race at Phoenix International Raceway. The 40-year-old resident of Clyde Hill, Washington has fond memories of great performances here, but he knows success in one series doesn't always translate to success in another.
"It's been tough to learn much because we have yet to race. We feel like we're on the outside looking in, from a racing standpoint," said Dobson.
In practice prior to the January 18 Craftsman season opener at Walt Disney World Speedway, Dobson hit the wall hard-and replaced himself with Rich Bickle.
"We rolled out our spare truck, and because Rick had a guaranteed starting spot we felt it was important for MCI and for Dodge to have a truck in the first race of the season," Dobson says. Bickle finished 10th.
The Florida Dodge Dealers 400 at Homestead was a learning experience for the PacWest S/T Motorsports team. After an encouraging test in mid-March, they returned to the fast 1.5-mile oval track in search of their first NASCAR Craftsman Truck series start in the MCI/Mopar Dodge Ram. What they got was a disappointment that ran deep-the failure to qualify for the race.
But despite not finding the speed they needed to start two weeks ago, the veteran owner-driver with more than 60 IndyCar starts and numerous IMSA events maintains his optimism and commitment to racing.
"I have raced at PIR several times in both CART and IMSA competition," Dobson said. "I like the track at Phoenix because it was the site of my highest-ever qualification in 1989. It's the first track, and one of the few tracks, in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series on which I've competed."
Ask Dominic if he still feels he's in contention for the Cintas Rookie of the Year award and he displays a patience forged by dedication and years of development driving.
"I hope so. I had the pleasure to meet Greg Biffle at Homestead, and Scot Walters and Wayne Anderson, and some of the other rookie drivers. They're all great drivers and great champions. They're all going to pose a lot of competition for me, and we're off to a bit of a slow start so they've got the jump on me. But the rookie points are based on your best 14 finishes, and I think our best 14 finishes will come from the midpoint to the later part of the season. So I'm still optimistic about the rookie of the year possibilities."
Dobson will drive the red, white and blue MCI Mopar Dodge truck at practice day on Friday, April 17 before attempting to qualify on Saturday for Sunday's race.
His goal for the Chevy Trucks 150 is simple: "To qualify. That's our number one goal, to make the race, to run all day. Everyone at PacWest, Dodge and MCI has worked very hard to get to this point, and I would really like to be able to reward their efforts."
Dobson, the resident racing expert for ESPN SportsZone, hosts his own chat show, "On Pit Road," two Tuesdays each month at 3 p.m. ET.
MCI Racing spearheads all of MCI's motorsport initiatives, including series sponsorships with NASCAR, CART, Indy Lights, Atlantic and Historic Sportscar Racing. MCI Racing also has team sponsorships with Arciero Wells/MCI Racing Team in CART, the MCI Toyota Atlantic Team, the MCI Toyota Off-Road Truck Team, PacWest Racing Team in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, and Stewart Grand Prix in Formula One. Over the Miami race weekend, MCI announced its new sponsorship of the inaugural FedEx Championship Series Fantasy Racing Game.