Championship battle goes down to final race for 10th time in 11 seasons
News & notes
Martin returns to series after nine-year absence ... Mark Martin (No. 33 Roush Racing Ford) hasn't turned a wheel in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series since winning the Sept. 28, 1996 event at the old North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway. He makes his return this week with NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series crew chief Pat Tryson calling the shots. "This is really where my heart's been throughout the summer. Through the musical chairs of the Cup Series, it sort of put me in the position of postponing a fulltime schedule until '07 but I'm still committed to running Homestead and six or seven races next year to get this team refined for '07," said Martin.
ETC. ... All three of NASCAR's national touring series will decide championships at Homestead-Miami Speedway, a first since the advent of the track's tripleheader weekend. ... Musgrave has been named to the All-America Racing Team (Touring Series) second team of drivers as voted by the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association. Setzer received honorable mention in the same category. NASCAR Busch Series points leader Martin Truex Jr. received the first team nod. ... Musgrave has led the most laps of any race winner at Homestead -- 86 of 167. His 10.588-second margin of victory over Kvapil is the fourth-widest in series history. ... The most lead changes at Homestead, 17, came in 1999. ... A Dodge has won three of the last four races at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Ford won consecutive events between 1996 and 1999 while Chevrolet counts two victories. ... Kluever will wrap up Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors at Homestead and become the fourth Roush Racing competitor to capture the freshman award. Clevite Engine Builder of the Year, Featherlite "Most Improved Driver" and Mobil1 "Command Performance" awards will be determined by the Ford 200. Mike Hillman Jr., Bodine's crew chief, clinched the International Truck Crew Chief award at Phoenix. Skinner is the season's Wix Filters "Lap Leader" Award winner. ON THE RIGHT TRACK
Sprague hasn't won at Homestead but is due ... Sprague has the most top five (six) and top 10 (seven) finishes in South Florida. He's also run the most laps/miles (1,251/1,876.5), led the most laps/miles (241/361.5) and led the most races (six). His best finish is second in 1996 and 1998.
"It's a great feeling to come out and get two wins in a row. I feel like with this team we can win every week." -- Todd Bodine, the fourth driver of 2005 to have a chance to match the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series record of three-consecutive wins.
"I am really proud of the Ultra Motorsports guys. Our teammate (Ted Musgrave) is leading the points and has a good shot at the championship and we've run really good ourselves this season. But I've had probably the worst luck of my career in 2005. It just seems every week it's something different that keeps us from getting that win or bringing home a good finish." -- Jimmy Spencer, among a half-dozen favorites to become the season's record, 15th winner.
"The mechanical failures have taken us out of contention. If it wasn't for that, we'd be in the top-five right now. We're going to Homestead to race into the top 10 in points and try to win the race." -- David Reutimann, No. 17 NTN Bearings Toyota, last year's Ford 200 Bud Pole winner and fourth-place finisher.
"I like the truck. It moves around a lot but I kind of like that being from a sprint car background. I felt pretty comfortable in it." Erin Crocker, No. 4 Betty Crocker/Cheerios Dodge Ram Dodge, following her NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut and 36th-place finish at Phoenix.
10 YEARS TOUGH
Homestead-Miami Speedway was the first track of over one mile in length to host a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race. The inaugural event was held on March 17, 1996 and saw Dave Rezendes beat Jack Sprague by .022-second as Sprague slid backwards across the stripe.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
There have been no repeat winners in nine NASCAR Craftsman Truck races at Homestead-Miami Speedway. A 10th different winner will match the series record established in September at New Hampshire International Speedway. Bobby Hamilton is the only driver to win both a Bud Pole and a race at Homestead. He won from the No. 1 starting spot in 2003.
Next Event: Ford 200. (Race No. 25 of 25).
Where: Homestead-Miami Speedway (Homestead, Fla.).
When: 8:15 p.m. ET Friday, Nov. 18.
Track layout: 1.5 -mile paved oval.
Race length: 201miles/134 laps.
Posted awards: $607,190.
TV: SPEED Channel, 8 p.m. ET.
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.
2004 winner: Kasey Kahne.
2004 polesitter: David Reutimann.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Friday -- Practice 9:00 a.m. -- 10:20 a.m. and 10:50 a.m. to 11:50 a.m. Qualifying 5:10 p.m. Trucks impounded after qualifying.
Top 10 drivers: 1. Ted Musgrave 3,429. 2. Dennis Setzer 3,371. 3. Todd Bodine 2,272. 4. Ron Hornaday Jr. 3,231. 5. Mike Skinner 3,141. 6. Bobby Hamilton 3,094. 7. David Starr 3,018. 8. Jack Sprague 2,962. 9. Matt Crafton 2,961. 10. Jimmy Spencer 2,929.