Kansas: Ricky Craven - NASCAR spotlight

Ricky Craven hopes to find reversal of recent fortunes at Kansas Speedway DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 27, 2005) -- This week's O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 definitely is up for grabs. None of the first four winners of Saturday's race at Kansas...

Ricky Craven hopes to find reversal of recent fortunes at Kansas Speedway

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 27, 2005) -- This week's O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 definitely is up for grabs.

None of the first four winners of Saturday's race at Kansas Speedway will be a part of the 36-truck starting lineup.

That said, there won't be any lack of experience at the 1.5-mile paved oval -- at least on the owner side of the field.

The No. 99 Superchips Ford driven from early accident to victory lane a year ago by Carl Edwards, will carry veteran Ricky Craven to the green flag.

Edwards' teammate, Raybestos Rookie of the Year points leader Todd Kluever, will drive the No. 50 Shell Rotella T Ford in which Jon Wood scored his first victory in 2003.

Jack Sprague's Xpress Motorsports No. 16 Chevy Trucks Chevrolet was the winner in 2002 in the hands of Mike Bliss.

Craven, for one, hopes history is on his team's side. After getting within 17 points of the championship lead in early June, the native of Newburgh, Maine has seen a reversal of fortune.

Finishes of 33rd and 21st in successive weeks have dropped Craven from second to fifth in the standings. He trails current leader Dennis Setzer (No. 46 Chevrolet Silverado Chevrolet) by 141 points entering the season's 12th of 25 scheduled races.

"We've hit a bit of a headwind the last three weeks that has hurt us in the points," said Craven, who put together three finishes among the top four in his first four appearances for Roush Racing. "We've got to get back on track this week."

A veteran of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series competition at Kansas Speedway, Craven believes that experience -- along with his team's success -- should be a plus.

"Kansas is a fine track and I enjoy racing there although my statistics don't reflect fond memories," he said looking back at finishes of 38th and 41st. "Roush has had a lot of success there, especially in the truck program and I expect we will run well this week."

Craven and Kluever will have a proven weapon in the Roush arsenal beginning this week. Max Jones, a key figure in Greg Biffle's 2000 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship run -- Roush's first in NASCAR -- returns as team manager.

Both are excited about the re-acquisition of Jones, who spent the last couple of seasons with Eddie Cheever's Indy Racing League team.

"I don't know Max Jones but I've heard good things about him and I'm sure he'll bring a lot to the program," said Craven.

Kluever, whose ninth-place finish in last week's home-state appearance at The Milwaukee Mile, looks forward to a mid-season resurgence for the No. 50 team. Kluever is 17th in current overall standings but holds a commanding 60-point lead among Raybestos Rookie contenders.

"From what I can tell, when Max ran the truck teams before they ran superbly," said Kluever. "I think if we have a guy back in that role where he can make sure both teams are even and getting the same things, it would just be a really good situation for all of us involved."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Greg Biffle , Eddie Cheever , Ricky Craven , Jack Sprague , Dennis Setzer , Jon Wood , Mike Bliss , Carl Edwards , Todd Kluever , Max Jones