Joe Ruttman has a New Lease on Life

Lebanon, Tenn. (February 7th, 2000) When the green flag falls at Daytona International Speedway to begin the 2000 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season later this month, it will mark a new beginning for the series and veteran...

Lebanon, Tenn. (February 7th, 2000) When the green flag falls at Daytona International Speedway to begin the 2000 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season later this month, it will mark a new beginning for the series and veteran driver Joe Ruttman. Ruttman will return to action in the familiar blue and white No. 18 Dana Dodge, only now it is for the full year, and hopes of a championship are in the air. "This is a great opportunity for Dana and myself," said Ruttman. "I feel that this is my best chance to get back to victory lane. Dana has been a big supporter of the Truck Series for a number of years, and they are very deserving of a victory." Winston Cup driver, Bobby Hamilton returns for his second season as an owner in the Truck Series. With this return, he now has one of a few Craftsman Truck teams that are owned by an active driver on the Winston Cup series. Dale Earnhardt's team has left the series and Kenny Schrader's team will run only a select few events. "We can't be more excited about the potential this team has for the upcoming season," said Armedee Nadeau, Manager of Dana Motorsports. "There are two very impressive things about this team. One is how well every member works with the other and what great representatives they have become for Dana Corporation over the last year. The other is Ruttman. He has a way with the fans that is hard to explain. He just never meets a stranger. I like to say that Winston Cup has the King but the Truck Series has the Ambassador." Ruttman, the Ambassador, and his Bobby Hamilton Racing teammates have some very lofty goals for their first full year together. They hope to run in the top five in points and win two or three races. At present, the team has a fleet of Dodge trucks for Ruttman to pilot. If hours in the shop are any indication of what the 2000 season holds, then the No. 18 Dana team should be up front at several races this year. The Dana Racing team also plans to field a separate No. 4 Dana truck in five races as they did last year for Hamilton. The first is Daytona. "There are a couple of things you notice right off when you see the Dana team working," said Ruttman. "If you didn't know that this was a young team, then you would swear they had been together for years. The other thing that has everyone excited is the preseason testing results from this team. We've been awesome. The thing that has me the most excited about the whole deal is that over the winter, we had little to no turnover, and that says something in this sport." The team has been exceptionally fast at every test session over the winter, which has everyone on the Dana team walking around the shop with their heads held high. It is not hard to see why Ruttman has a spring in his step and an excited tone in his voice when asked about the 2000 season. "I just can't wait to get to Daytona and start this year," said Ruttman. "I feel confident in the team and I know we can run good every week."

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Bobby Hamilton , Joe Ruttman