Dennis Setzer takes points lead, sets record with second victory in six days NEWS & NOTES Shake-up in the points standings -- again ... It's looking like another exciting year in the battle for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship.
Dennis Setzer takes points lead, sets record with second victory in six days
NEWS & NOTES
Shake-up in the points standings -- again ... It's looking like another exciting year in the battle for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship. Setzer led 152 of 200 laps to win the Toyota Tundra Milwaukee 200, his second victory in six days. Setzer trailed Bobby Hamilton (No. 04 Dodge) by five points entering the event and heads to Kansas with a lead of 35. Setzer's previous lead came after last year's 22nd race at Martinsville Speedway. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship has gone down to the final race in nine of its 10 seasons.
Points standings take two ... If this year's title war has a feeling of dejà vu, you're right. With Setzer, Hamilton and Ted Musgrave (No. 1 Mopar Dodge) ranked one-two-three, it's a rerun of 2004, when Hamilton prevailed over Setzer and Musgrave -- the latter driver finishing third for the third consecutive season. Two-time series champion Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 6 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet) is fourth, while Sprague, in search of title No. 3, continues his mid-year surge to seventh.
Orleans Racing back on track ... With Brendan Gaughan (No. 77 Jasper Engines & Transmissions Dodge) in the top five for the first time since his October 2003 win at Texas Motor Speedway, the Orleans duo of Gaughan and Steve Park (No. 62 Orleans Dodge) turned in the team's best combined performance at Milwaukee -- fifth and seventh. The finish was Park's best since mid-May when he was fifth and Gaughan eighth at Lowe's Motor Speedway. "Of course we're not happy with fifth place, but it was a good night in the points and we're headed in the right direction with runs like these," said Gaughan, The Milwaukee Mile's 2003 winner.
ETC. ... Setzer's victory erased Gaughan from The Milwaukee Mile record book as he averaged 109.907 mph for the 200-mile distance. Gaughan had set the track's speed mark at 109.689. The difference was a single lap of caution -- four on June 24 vs. five in 2003. The field completed the first 143 laps of the race without a slowdown, the longest opening stretch among four series races with a single caution period. ... With 14 victories, Setzer is No. 6 on the all-time series win list. ... There have been no fewer than 10 lead changes in four series races at Kansas Speedway. The record is 14 set in 2001 and matched one year ago. ... No Kansas Speedway race has been won from the Bud Pole although two of the four winners started from the outside front row. This week's Craftsman-sponsored win from the pole bonus is worth $14,000. ... Five of seven drivers who have started all four previous series races at Kansas are expected to compete this week. They are Setzer, Musgrave, Terry Cook (No. 10 Power Stroke Diesel by International Ford), Matt Crafton (No. 88 Menards Chevrolet) and Rick Crawford (No. 14 Circle Bar Truck Corral Ford). ... Crawford has led the most laps at Kansas Speedway -- 128. Crawford's best finish of third came in last year's race. ON THE RIGHT TRACK
Musgrave dominant but looking for some luck ... The only driver to lead all four series races at Kansas Speedway, Musgrave has been without good fortune -- especially in the past two seasons. He finished second in 2001 and fifth the following year but was 15th and 30th in 2003-04.
"I don't get many poles but I got one there a couple of years ago. It is just a fun place to race. It is wide and you can race side-by-side and it is just awesome." -- Dennis Setzer, winner of Kansas Speedway's first series Bud Pole in 2001. Setzer has three career poles.
"As much as it looks like Chicago, it drives very different. You can't drive the corners quite as hard so hitting your marks is crucial." -- Ron Hornaday Jr., who counts three top-10 finishes in four NASCAR Busch Series starts at Kansas Speedway.
"It is a fast track but the corners fool you a little. It takes a really good-handling truck as well as a good aero truck." -- Jack Sprague, last year's eighth-place finisher of the O'Reilly Auto Parts 250.
"You stay up on your same workout routine that you follow all year long. You start hydrating yourself the best that you can on Tuesday and Wednesday. If you wait until Friday or Saturday, then you've basically started way too late." -- Terry Cook on preparing for the O'Reilly Auto Parts 250, which usually is among the season's hottest races.
"The race fans are incredible there. It's so hot in Kansas but those race fans bear the heat and come out to cheer us on." -- David Starr, No. 75 Spears Manufacturing Chevrolet, on the enthusiasm for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series at Kansas Speedway.
10 YEARS TOUGH
The first of nine NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races held in Kansas took place on July 29, 1995 at the 1.8-mile Heartland Park Topeka road course. Ron Hornaday Jr. edged Joe Ruttman by .780-second with Terry Labonte, Todd Bodine and Mike Skinner completing the top-five finishers. Heartland Park was on the schedule through the 1999 season. The only year that a Kansas track wasn't a part of the schedule was 2000.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Age and experience haven't been the deciding factors in three of the first four NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races at Kansas Speedway. Ricky Hendrick won the 2001 inaugural race at age 21. Jon Wood's 2003 victory was the 22-year-old's first of three series wins and Carl Edwards was 24 when he won last year's O'Reilly Auto Parts 250.
Next Event: O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 (Race 12 of 25).
Where: Kansas Speedway.
When: 3:15 p.m. ET, Saturday, July 2.
Track layout: 1.5-mile paved oval.
Race length: 250.5 miles/167 Laps.
Posted awards: $578,540.
TV: SPEED Channel, 3:15 p.m. ET.
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.
2004 winner: Carl Edwards.
2004 polesitter: Not held.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Friday -- Practice 9:40 a.m. to 10:40 a.m. and 12 noon to 1:00 p.m. Qualifying 5:00 p.m. Trucks impounded after qualifying.
Top 10 drivers: 1. Dennis Setzer 1,614. 2. Bobby Hamilton 1,579. 3. Ted Musgrave 1,570. 4. Ron Hornaday Jr. 1,493. 5. Ricky Craven 1,473. 6. Jimmy Spencer 1,437. 7. Jack Sprague 1,428. 8. Terry Cook 1,416. 9. Matt Crafton 1,384. 10. David Starr 1,372.