NEWS OF NOTE * Continuing a perfect record... Terry Cook's June 29 victory in the GNC Live Well 200 marked the eighth consecutive time a there's been a new winner in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competition at The Milwaukee Mile. The historic...
NEWS OF NOTE
* Continuing a perfect record... Terry Cook's June 29 victory in the GNC Live Well 200 marked the eighth consecutive time a there's been a new winner in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competition at The Milwaukee Mile. The historic venue in State Fair Park joins Martinsville Speedway as No. 2 on no-repeat list. Texas Motor Speedway logged its ninth winner on June 5 and will look for a 10th on Sept. 13 when the series returns for the Silverado 350.
* First shootout of 2002 strands Leffler... Extending the distance to finish a race has been part of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series since its inception and, in most cases, the additional laps merely have delayed the inevitable - with a couple of notable exceptions. Ron Hornaday passed Jack Sprague to win the 1996 inaugural event at New Hampshire International Speedway after caution added six laps to a 200-lap distance. Mike Wallace, also, victimized Sprague, in 1999 at Pikes Peak International Raceway when a 186-lap race was extended to 189. Add Jason Leffler to the short list as, for the 30th time in series history - and first time in 2002 - a late caution provided a green-white-checkered flag finish. Leffler, still seeking his first NASCAR victory, was bypassed by Cook on the 202nd of 203 laps around The Milwaukee Mile. With three second-place finishes, Leffler joins Geoffrey Bodine as No. 2 among runnersup without a victory. Kevin Harvick has yet to win despite finishing second four times, most recently in 2001 at Richmond, Va. The last overtime race took place Oct. 26, 2001 when Biffle required an additional nine laps to hoist the trophy at Phoenix International Raceway.
* And just when we mentioned the Bud Pole jinx... Cook took care of that, winning from the No. 1 starting position for the first time in 17 races. K Automotive also collected a $10,000 bonus from Craftsman for accomplishing the feat. The Sylvania, Ohio veteran last won a Bud Pole at Nazareth Speedway, in 2001. Odd coincidence - Cook's three previous poles were recorded at tracks not on this year's series schedule: Nazareth and the now-closed Flemington (N.J.) and Louisville Motor speedways.
* Door-to-door for the championship lead... Ted Musgrave edged David Starr for fifth-place at The Milwaukee Mile, literally by one inch of his No. 1 Mopar Performance Dodge's front bumper. The timed margin - which enabled Musgrave to take the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series points lead from Starr by a 1,378 to 1,374 count - was 0.013-second. After nine races of 2002, the spread (vs. 2001) from first to second is four points (43), first to fifth 85 (160) and first to 10th 178 (369).
* BHR moves one crew chief, names another... Danny Rollins, through Milwaukee the crew chief for the No. 4 Perry Connection Dodge of Brian Rose, shifts to the similar post with the No. 18 Bobby Hamilton Racing Dodge driven by Robert Pressley. Taking the No. 4 spot will be the team's former truck chief, Randy Seals, a onetime NASCAR Busch Series crew chief for Brad Baker.
* Pressley has affinity for Kansas Speedway and so does Leffler... list Pressley and Leffler as two to watch in this week's O'Reilly 250, even though neither has run a lap of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competition at Kansas Speedway. Pressley finished a solid seventh in last year's NASCAR Winston Cup Protection One 400, completing all 267 laps. Leffler sat on the Bud Pole for the event, leading eight laps before finishing 28th.
* Rookie track, rookie racers and rookie finishers... Was mentioned above that experience might not play a role at Kansas Speedway, where every starter was a rookie at the 1.5-mile superspeedway in 2001. A year ago, there were an even dozen Raybestos Rookie contenders among the 36 starters - a third of the field - and five finished among the top 10, led by Hendrick (first), Wood (fourth) and Billy Bigley (fifth). The year's Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year Travis Kvapil wasn't far off the pace. He finished sixth and this time will drive the No. 60 CAT Rental Stores Chevrolet in which he finished first-second in his last two starts in Texas. This year's freshman to watch: Brendan Gaughan, who was among eight drivers to lead last year's O'Reilly 250.
* One way to beat the heat... A fuel vapor lock may have cost Musgrave a victory in 2001 at Kansas Speedway. Ultra Motorsports hopes to"beat the heat" by reversing the colors of Musgrave's Dodge - from black to white on the Dodge Ram's front end."They say sometimes a leopard changes his spots," says the driver."By swapping the paint scheme and making the hood white, that's going to keep the engine compartment 20 to 30 degrees cooler. When you're talking about temperature under the hood, that's a lot."
TRACKING SERIES ALUMNI
Milwaukee Mile winner Biffle was the first to capture both NASCAR Craftsman Truck and NASCAR Busch Series at the venue, having completed the sweep in 2001 with his victory in the latter division. Now, Biffle is the first to win twice in NASCAR Busch Series competition at State Fair Park. His second consecutive triumph ended an 11-race string of different winners dating to Sam Ard's inaugural victory in 1984.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Mike Bliss will be seeking a greater Kansas City sweep when he fires up the No. 16 IWX Motor Freight/Knights Inn Chevrolet for Saturday's O'Reilly 250. Bliss owns victories at two former NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series venues in the area - in 1996 at I-70 Speedway in Odessa and 1999 at Heartland Park Topeka. The sweep would pretty much cover all the bases: short track, road course and superspeedway.