Dodge Motorsports Mesa Marin Preview

April 6, 1999 DODGE RETURNS TO BAKERSFIELD TO DEFEND RACE WIN DODGE CALIFORNIA TRUCK STOP 300 Mesa Marin Raceway Bakersfield, California April 10, 1999 When you look at the quintet of drivers in the Dodge Motorsports stable in 1999,...

April 6, 1999

DODGE RETURNS TO BAKERSFIELD TO DEFEND RACE WIN

DODGE CALIFORNIA TRUCK STOP 300 Mesa Marin Raceway Bakersfield, California April 10, 1999

When you look at the quintet of drivers in the Dodge Motorsports stable in 1999, there emerges a pattern among the them - they're all winners, having earned trips to the winner's circle in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS).

Mesa Marin Raceway in Bakersfield, Calif., is one of those tracks where many of the Dodge drivers have performed well. In the past two years, two drivers in the Dodge team have won races -- in 1997, Randy Tolsma edged out Stacy Compton (now his Impact Motorsports teammate) for the win, while in '98, Dennis Setzer led the final 10 laps of the race in his Mopar Dodge and won the race by almost a second.

Even though the last Dodge California Truck Stop 300 was contested in mid-October, and this year's is a full six months earlier, the Dodge drivers relish the thought of returning to the 1/2-mile Mesa Marin track.

"I really enjoy racing at tracks like Bakersfield. The short tracks are where I started, and they're where I can really work my way to the front," said Setzer. "Winning the Dodge California Truck Stop 300 last year was one of those moments in my racing career that I'll never forget. It my first win in the series, and winning a Dodge-sponsored race was really an awesome feeling."

RAM REVIEW Following the NAPACARD 200 at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash., April 3, 1999.

Technically, ol' Mother Nature could have been declared the winner at the NAPACARD 200 at Evergreen Speedway.

After "dodging" rain through three restarts, Stacy Compton was the highest-finishing Dodge driver, coming in fourth. Dennis Setzer had one of the fastest trucks on the .646-mile track and, despite being blocked on pit lane by another truck, finished seventh. Randy Tolsma finished 11th.

Butch Miller, eligible for a $100,000 NASCAR bonus if he won the race, came up short, finishing 16th. And Jimmy Hensley finished 21st after hitting the wall.

RAMMIN' AHEAD... 4/10 DODGE CALIFORNIA TRUCK STOP 300 Mesa Marin Speedway Bakersfield, Calif. TV: April 10 on ESPN at 7:30 p.m. (EDT) CATCH 'EM IF YOU CAN Thurs., April 8 -- Autographs and pre-race festivities at the Downtown Bakersfield Street Festival - 5 to 8 p.m. (PDT)

Fri., April 9 -- A tentative autograph session is scheduled for 9 to 10 a.m. (PDT) at Haddad Dodge, 3000 Harris Road in Bakersfield (805) 398-0264.

Sat., April 10 - Dennis Setzer will sign autographs at the Dodge Motorsports souvenir trailer at Mesa Marin Raceway from 1:15 to 1:45 p.m. (PDT)

DODGE RAM FAST STATS Following NAPACARD 200 at Evergreen Speedway on April 3, 1999 (race 3 of 25)

Dennis Setzer -- #1Mopar Dodge Ram 0 wins, 1 top-five finish, 2 top-ten finishes $23,575 total winnings 14th in championship points Started 19th at Evergreen, finished 7th

Butch Miller -- #18 Dana Dodge 0 wins, 0 top-five finishes, 1 top-ten finish $24,040 total winnings 17th in championship points Started 13th at Evergreen, finished 16th

Randy Tolsma -- #25 Supergard Dodge 0 wins, 0 top-five finishes, 0 top-ten finishes 1 pole position $25,640 total winnings 11th in championship points Started 12th at Evergreen, finished 11th

Jimmy Hensley -- #43 Dodge By Petty 0 wins, 0 top-five finishes, 1 top-ten finish $21,975 total winnings 20th in championship points Started 4th at Evergreen, finished 21st

Stacy Compton -- #86 RC Dodge 0 wins, 3 top-five finishes, 3 top-ten finishes $46,550 total winnings 2nd in championship points Started 5th at Evergreen, finished 4th

DID YOU KNOW ... In the 1998 season, Randy Tolsma became one of only two drivers in NCTS history to drive a truck from all three manufacturers in one season.

Jimmy Hensley led 145.878 miles during the 1998 NCTS season.

Stacy Compton, driver of the #86 RC Dodge, won the prestigious "Most Popular Driver" award for the 1998 Craftsman Truck Series season.

RAM REWIND A recap of the Dodge California Truck Stop 300, Mesa Marin Raceway, Bakersfield, Calif., Oct. 18, 1998

Every sponsor loves it when a team driver wins an event, and the Dodge dealers of Southern California are no different. Dennis Setzer, driver of Bob Keselowski's #29 Dodge Ram last season, started 12th on the grid and bested 33 competitors over 300 circuits of Mesa Marin Raceway in Bakersfield to win the Dodge California Truck Stop 300.

Setzer's win earned him a $35,555 purse, the Featherlite Trailer Long Haul Award, the Raybestos Top Stopper Award and the Ventvisor Super Deflector Award; his engine builder and crew chief also won race awards.

Performances for other drivers on this year's Dodge Ram team include: * Stacy Compton started second, led a total of 24 laps and finished third * Butch Miller started 29th and finished seventh. * Jimmy Hensley started in 16th and finished 21st. He left Bakersfield in seventh place in NCTS driver points. * Randy Tolsma qualified 21st, but finished 34th with engine problems.

DRIVER "QUOTES" on racing in Bakersfield Dennis Setzer, driver, #1 Mopar Dodge "I'm really excited about going back to Bakersfield to defend last year's win. The team is working so well together this year, and it will mean a lot to the guys to get back to a track where they did so well last season.

"The Dodge teams should be competitive on this track, so I wouldn't be surprised to see all of us up front at the end of the day. Winning the Dodge race was such a thrill last year ... I just hope I can make the California Dodge dealers proud two years in a row."

Butch Miller, driver, #18 Dana Dodge "It'll be good to get back to another short track ... I love to race on these little tracks. We should have an advantage at Bakersfield, because Bobby Hamilton and the team and I have years of experience on tracks like this. So to say we feel confident about how we will run is an understatement. It would be nice to get a good finish in a Dodge-sponsored race."

Randy Tolsma, driver, #25 Supergard Dodge "The team and I like racing on short tracks We've run strong at all of the tracks this season ... there are just a few things that we as a team are trying to work out in order to improve our finishes.

"I've had great success at Mesa Marin, and I look forward to returning in the Dodge truck. The Dodge seems to be the best short-track truck out there, and I hope that we can get a good finish in this Dodge-sponsored race."

Jimmy Hensley, driver, #43 Dodge By Petty "I haven't always had the best of luck on this track, but I enjoy driving it. Short tracks are a favorite of most of the NCTS drivers, but Bakersfield requires patience to get through 300 laps with your truck in one piece."

Stacy Compton, driver #86 RC Dodge "We've always run well there. The track reminds me a lot of the New River Valley Speedway where I grew up racing - it's a tough track to get around, and you have to pace yourself because it's 300 laps. The track can get really slick, but we're taking my favorite truck.

"Last year we were leading the race when we cut down a tire and finished third. The track was a lot faster with the new surface, and I'm sure it will be the same this year. Randy (Tolsma) and Dennis (Setzer) have both won here, so I know that the Dodges will be tough at Mesa Marin."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Stacy Compton , Dennis Setzer , Randy Tolsma , Jimmy Hensley , Butch Miller