* Craftsman Truck Series, Showalter Celebrate 300 Races * Setzer, Spears Snap Lengthy Winless Streaks * Skinner, Hornaday, Musgrave Remember Career Milestones Showalter Marks 300th Consecutive Race At Dover Daytona Beach, Fla. (May 29, 2007)...
* Craftsman Truck Series, Showalter Celebrate 300 Races
* Setzer, Spears Snap Lengthy Winless Streaks
* Skinner, Hornaday, Musgrave Remember Career Milestones
Showalter Marks 300th Consecutive Race At Dover
Daytona Beach, Fla. (May 29, 2007) -- Chris Showalter didn't plan to make a career in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series when he went to the inaugural event in February 1995 as a 21-year-old general mechanic for Butch Miller and Liberty Racing.
Two hundred ninety eight races later Showalter is still here -- and the only competitor to have been in the garage at every event.
"I figured in five years I'd be in the NEXTEL Cup Series," said Showalter, a native of Ohio and currently truck chief for the Morgan-Dollar Motorsports' No. 47 Ginn Resorts Chevrolet and driver Kraig Kinser. "But I found out I love it here. People treat you good and I've had a lot of fun."
Showalter has worked for five different teams during the series' 12-plus seasons.
There have been many highs -- and of course, some lows -- along the way but the defining moment came in 2003 as crew chief for champion Travis Kvapil and IWX Motorsports.
"We went the whole season and completed all but one lap," said Kvapil, now 34. "We went the whole season and completed all but one lap," said Kvapil, now 34. "It was a testament to the strength of the team and special to me because I taught my team to field great race trucks."
Setzer, Spears Motorsports Return To Victory Lane In Ohio
It required more than seven hours from start to finish but when the checkered flag finally waved over Saturday's Ohio 250, Dennis Setzer and Spears Motorsports returned to Victory Lane.
Setzer's 17th series victory, at Mansfield Motorsports Park, snapped a personal winless streak of 41 races and ended a two-plus year, 57-race drought for Wayne and Connie Spears -- the only remaining team that competed in the series' inaugural race in 1995.
Setzer now has won in nine different seasons matching Jack Sprague's (No. 60 Con-way Freight Toyota) series record.
The victory was the first for crew chief Tom Ackerman, who joined the Spears operation five races ago at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
The pair won the 125-mile race without a pit stop -- a first since live sevice began in mid-1998.
Inclement weather contributed to a series record 103 laps of caution and produced the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series' longest day: More than seven hours from green flag to the drop of the checkered.
NCTS Notebook: First, 100th and 200th Race Winners Compete In AAA Insurance 200
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series becomes 300 races old this Friday with the running of the AAA Insurance 200 at Dover International Speedway.
The track also hosted the series' 250th race in 2005 won by Kyle Busch (No. 51 Billy Ballew Motorsport Chevrolet), who'll attempt to become Dover's first repeat winner.
Each winner of a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series "milestone" race is slated to participate in the eighth race of the 2007 schedule.
Mike Skinner (No. 5 Toyota Tundra Toyota) won the 1995 inaugural event at Phoenix International Raceway and is the current championship leader. Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 33 Camping World Chevrolet) picked up a cool 100 grand for his 100th race victory in 1999 at Evergreen (Wash.) Speedway. And Ted Musgrave (No. 9 Team/ASE Germain Toyota) captured race No. 200 at Memphis Motorsports Park in 2003.
Skinner and Hornaday made their reputations in the series; Musgrave won the 2005 championship after a lengthy and successful NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series career.
Like most in the inaugural field, Skinner -- who debuted in a Richard Childress Racing-owned Chevrolet -- wasn't sure what to expect and what winning might mean.
When the checkered flag fell any doubts he might have had about racing trucks vanished.
"It was a fact of who I beat to the wire in the race," said Skinner, whose victory margin over Terry Labonte was .09 second. "Back in those days, Terry owned the place.
"It definitely turned my career around."
Hornaday, a two-time champion, nearly didn't get to the 100th race. He and his wife, Lindy, took a short-cut that left their motorhome snowed in on a Cascade Mountains road.
"A fan drove 65 miles back to town and got us some chains," he said.
His first thought about Craftsman posting the huge bonus for eligible entrants?
"Were they actually going to pay $100,000?" he recalls, then agreed to share it with his Dale Earnhardt Inc. crew if they won.
Musgrave's 200th victory put series pioneer and owner Jimmy Smith -- appropriately -- in the record book.
"That's what we're all here to do; to put your name in the history books," said Musgrave. "It was great for Jimmy, especially since it gave him something he could always brag on."