Hoping For a Better Start: Last year, Joe Ruttman was forced to start the Oregon 225K from the 31st position, after he over shot the festival turn during qualifying and had to take a provisional to get in the field. Ruttman did manage to lead the...
Hoping For a Better Start: Last year, Joe Ruttman was forced to start the Oregon 225K from the 31st position, after he over shot the festival turn during qualifying and had to take a provisional to get in the field. Ruttman did manage to lead the event and bring home a 10th place finish. But this year he hopes to start a little closer to the front. "I was trying really hard last year to get a pole run in and just missed the turn," said Ruttman. "I felt pretty bad when I got back to the pit area because I had a good truck and I knew it would be just about impossible to get back to the front. We did manage a top 10 out of it, but it should have been better. This year, I'm going to try and not let that happen again." Ruttman who has won on every road course the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series has competed on (Watkins Glen International in 1998, Sears Point Raceway in 1997, and Heartland Park Topeka in 1997), would like to add Portland International to the list. He is also in a tie with Jack Sprague with 14 career starts on road courses.
Joe Ruttman will be trying to reach another milestone when and if he records a top five finish on Saturday in the Oregon 225K. It would be his 50th such finish in his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series career. Laps/Miles led: Through the first five races of the 2000 season, the Dana Racing Team has two wins and has combined to lead 325 of 917 laps or 35.4% of the laps run. This is why Bobby Hamilton and Joe Ruttman sit first and third in laps lead thus far this year. Hamilton, first in laps led at 185, has done so despite having run only two events.
Ruttman can surpass his personal record of miles led in a single season (171.734 miles), set back in 1997, if he can lead 14 of the 73 laps in this weekend's event.
Moving to Second: When Joe Ruttman takes the green flag for the Oregon 225K, he will tie Ron Hornaday for second in all time starts (122) in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
"Road racing is probably the most fun for the driver. It's a deal where if a guy gets you in one corner, you know you may be able to pass him in the next because every one of the turns are traditionally a little different. It just makes for a lot of fun to drive."
"Everybody asks me if I'm a road racing specialist because I've had good runs on the road courses. I'm not, but the very first thing I ever drove was a go-kart on a road course so I think that's were I get my knowledge of the courses."
"We've been talking about what we need to do to beat Ron Fellow on the road courses because he seems to be one of the best when we go to this type of track. He is always up front, so if we can get our truck to handle like his, I think we'll be real good."