Dearborn, MI (September 19, 2000)- With a strong 1-2-3 sweep in the Kroger 200 at Richmond International Raceway, the teams and drivers of the Ford F-150's in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series solidified what everyone knew was a dominant 2000 ...
Dearborn, MI (September 19, 2000)- With a strong 1-2-3 sweep in the Kroger 200 at Richmond International Raceway, the teams and drivers of the Ford F-150's in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series solidified what everyone knew was a dominant 2000 season. The win at Richmond was the fiftieth win for Ford in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, and clinched the 2000 Manufacturers Championship for the world's largest manufacturer of trucks.
Rick Carelli, coming off a strong fifth place run in Chicago, completed his yearlong comeback with a win in Richmond. After a season-ending crash and injury at Memphis last year, Rick fought hard through some huge personal and professional struggles to get back to the level of racing to which he is accustomed. Rick also contributed the clinching points in the Manufacturers Championship for Ford. This is the first time in the six years of the series that the Manufacturers Championship has been clinched by a non-Winston Cup affiliated team.
Greg Biffle extended his record lead to an astonishing 250 points in the race for the championship by finishing second to Carelli at Richmond. This is far and away the largest points lead ever in series history, but Biffle knows that it's not over until it's over. After last year, Greg and the #50 Grainger team are not counting any chickens yet. But with only three races to go and two of them coming on tracks where Biffle has been strong in the past, cataclysmic disaster seems to be the only potential barrier between Greg and his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck championship in 2000.
Roush teammate and fellow "Killer B" Kurt Busch is also making a run for the top. With his third place finish at Richmond, he moved back into the third spot in the points race, only 80 points behind Mike Wallace. Don't count out a 1-2 Roush finish in points, as Kurt was clearly the dominant truck at Texas in the spring and will surely be the one to beat there in October. Kurt has also all but clinched the race for Rookie of the Year, leading that race by 122 points over second place Carlos Contreras. Not being one to sit back and watch, Kurt is sure to be running in the front for the remainder of the 2000 NCTS campaign. Kurt will also be making his Winston Cup debut this weekend in the Jack Roush owned #97 Ford Taurus, where he will spend the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup season as the driver.
Not one to be left out, Mike Wallace remains second in the points race, and still has a mathematical chance at catching Biffle for the championship. Mike had a rough race at Richmond, finishing a disappointing fifteenth, but is sure to be strong at Dover, having a win and several starts there in the Busch Series. The experience could bode well for the #2 Team ASE/Ultra Motorsports gang, as most of the drivers in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series come to Dover having never run a single lap there.
After getting caught up in an incident with lapped traffic in Chicago that relegated him to a very disappointing twenty-eighth place finish, the monkeys on the backs of Rick Crawford and the #14 Milwaukee Electric Tools/Circle Bar Motel & RV Park Ford F-150 seemed to still be hanging on. The team struggled at Richmond, qualifying in number nineteen and finishing sixteenth. Needing to make a change, the team announced late last week that crewchief Mike Cheek had been released and that they would have a new crewchief starting at the Dover race. Rick is still eleventh in the points race, and will look for some strong runs for the last three races to solidify a top-ten finish for 2000.
The NASCAR Craftsman Trucks will run race #22 of 24 in the 2000 campaign on Friday, September 22, 2000 at the Dover Downs International Raceway. The race will be run at 4pm and televised at 8pm* on ESPN2 and broadcast live on MRN Racing Radio worldwide.
* Tape Delayed