Kentucky: Round eleven preview

Roush, Ultra organizations battle for victory supremacy as well as title DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 8, 2003) -- Game on. And this heavyweight scrap between two teams that have consistently raised the competitive bar in the NASCAR Craftsman ...

Roush, Ultra organizations battle for victory supremacy as well as title

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 8, 2003) -- Game on.

And this heavyweight scrap between two teams that have consistently raised the competitive bar in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series figures to go all the way to the end of the 2003 season.

Roush Racing, which held the record of most victories by a series team since late 2000, saw its mark of 28 wins matched by Ultra Motorsports when Ted Musgrave (No. 1 Mopar Performance Dodge) triumphed at Memphis Motorsports Park on June 21.

The Roush organization, however, promptly returned the favor last weekend at Kansas Speedway when Jon Wood (No. 50 Graham For President Ford) scored the organization's 29th victory.

The fierce but respectful rivalry continues Saturday with The Built Ford Tough 225 at Kentucky Speedway where each team counts a victory -- Roush's Greg Biffle in 2000 and Ultra's Scott Riggs the following year.

Winning the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship is a priority for both teams. But bragging rights for which organization has won the most races also is a matter of pride.

And don't believe for a moment that Jack Roush and Jim Smith aren't counting wins -- as well as points.

"Right now, we have the upper hand in the most wins and championships but we only have one more than them in each category," said Roush. "I hope we can pad our lead in the win category since it's only a matter of time before Carl Edwards (No. 99 Roush Racing Ford) ends up in victory lane. And I think Jon will be a return visitor there this year."

The pair finished one-two at Kansas Speedway, a feat unmatched since September 2000 when Roush teammates Kurt Busch and Biffle were winner and runnerup at Dover International Speedway.

Wood's victory also broke a Roush winless drought that extended to Biffle's October 2001 win at Phoenix International Raceway.

Smith's Ultra Motorsports has closed quickly, on the strength of seven victories by Musgrave and Jason Leffler (No. 2 Team ASE Racing/Carquest Dodge) over a 33-race span.

"I think the rivalry between Ultra Motorsports and Roush Racing has been very healthy for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series," said Smith. "One of the reasons for Jack's success and our success here at Ultra Motorsports has been the respective organizations.

"Jack has built a solid group that helps oversee his operation and we have done the same with our group."

Ironically, both teams scored their first victories at the same track -- North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway. Mike Bliss won for Ultra in 1995 while Mark Martin was Roush's first winner the following season.

Driving talent on both sides of the garage has made the rivalry what it was and is, according to Ultra's General Manager Tim Kohuth, a nine-time winning crew chief with the Ultra organization.

"One of the things that has made the competition between the two teams so fierce is the drivers who have driven for those two owners," he said.

Roush's roster of winners has included Biffle, Busch, Martin, Wood and Joe Ruttman. The Ultra list of Bliss, Leffler, Musgrave, Riggs and Mike Wallace is equally rich in talent.

"Both Jim Smith and Jack Roush have made a major commitment to the series and that is reflected in their on-track performance," said Kohuth.

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Jason Leffler , Greg Biffle , Mike Wallace , Kurt Busch , Ted Musgrave , Jon Wood , Joe Ruttman , Mike Bliss , Carl Edwards , Jack Roush , Jim Smith , Mark Martin