Mansfield: GM Racing preview

* Ron Hornaday, Jr., No. 33 Camping World Silverado, is the defending winner at Mansfield Motorsports Speedway * After dominating win at Lowe's Motor Speedway, two-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) champion going for two-in-a-row * ...

* Ron Hornaday, Jr., No. 33 Camping World Silverado, is the defending winner at Mansfield Motorsports Speedway

* After dominating win at Lowe's Motor Speedway, two-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) champion going for two-in-a-row

* Chevrolet Silverado has won six of the12 NCTS manufacturers championships

* Silverado drivers have won eight of the 12 possible Series' driver championships

* Silverado drivers have won more races than any other brand - 125 of 292 - 42.8% (1995-2006)

Mansfield, OH - Team Chevy Silverado has an excellent record at the.5-mile slightly compound banked Mansfield Motorsports Speedway (MMS). Chevy drivers have won two of the three previous NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) events held at the Ohio facility.

The Ohio 250 marks race number two of a seven-straight race swing for the Bowtie Brigade in NCTS competition.

Ron Hornaday, Jr.'s prediction that racing a blue and yellow Silverado was good luck for him came true Friday night at Lowe's Motor Speedway (LMS) when the veteran driver dominated the race and collected his 30th NCTS career victory in the No. 33 Kevin Harvick, Inc. (KHI) Camping World Silverado.

Now, with his winningest driver in NCTS history stat firmly punctuated, Hornaday heads to defend his 2006 win in the Ohio 250 at MMS.

"Mansfield is a town that likes their racing," said Hornaday. "The speedway has added more grandstands, and the fans are really loyal. It's tracks like Mansfield that have really supported the Truck Series. The track is similar to Martinsville, but just not quite as much beating and banging. But when you have a good truck you can run the bottom or the top of the track."

On his dominating win at LMS, Hornaday said," Wow, we have a really good truck. I actually held it wide open through one and two and barely breathed it in three and four. It was like, Wow, this thing is unbelievable. The faster I went, the better the truck felt. I think I ran the last 30 laps without lifting. Rick (Ren, crew chief) and all the guys at KHI did an awesome job."

KHI will field a second truck in the Ohio 250. Daniel Pope II, the recipient of Dollar General's Operation Big Chance program, will drive the No. 2 Dollar General Silverado.

"It means everything in the world to me," said Pope. "It is my opportunity. This gives me a chance to prove that I can do it -- it's a dream come true. In racing, opportunity is everything. I want to go out there and run well, have a solid finish and bring the truck home in one piece. But a top-10 would be great."

The MMS race is a homecoming of sorts for Kraig Kinser, No. 47 Ginn Resorts Silverado, fielded by Morgan-Dollar Motorsports, being a nearby Indiana native. However, for Kinser's truck chief, Chris Showalter, the Ohio trek means he is home. He grew up in Amherst. OH. A solid run to break a recent string of bad luck would be just the ticket for this "hometown" team.

"After a discouraging run at Charlotte," said Kinser. "I am hoping that the Morgan-Dollar Motorsports team can bounce back and have a great run at Mansfield. The guys work so hard on the trucks, and I know they have been disappointed with how things have been going. We just need a good, solid run to give everyone a boost of confidence. We have been consistent with our qualifying, and have had some good runs during the race; we are just struggling putting together the finishes that we need. Mansfield is a great track, and it will bring everyone back to some good, short track racing, and I always enjoy heading back to an area that is semi-close to home. I know some of my family will be attending the race, so I am pretty excited to head up there."

"Racing in Ohio is important to me because I grew up in Amherst, Ohio," said Showalter. "It is always great to get back there and see friends and family. I won the inaugural race at Mansfield with Jack Sprague in 2004, so that will always be something that will be special to me and stick out in my mind."

Having been in the NCTS since its inception, Showalter has these thoughts: "Well, I have never really had the desire to go Cup racing, and the Trucks have the best racing in my opinion. The Truck Series is more grass-roots, Saturday night racing compared to Busch and Cup, and it is just so much more down to earth. Fans have access to the drivers, and everything is more relaxed. I have met some really good friends in the Truck Series, and have sure seen a lot over the years. I also want to thank the teams along the way that I have been a part of, and I hope to have continued success in the Truck Series in the future."

Kelly Sutton will make her second NCTS start of the season behind the wheel of the No. 51 Team COPAXONE® (glatiramer acetate injection) Silverado fielded by Billy Ballew Motorsports.

"I really like going to Mansfield," Sutton said. "I like Mansfield because the fans there are great. The race sells out every year and they keep adding more seating. The people there are so supportive and the Craftsman Truck Series puts on a good show for the fans. The track itself is a lot like the track I started racing on in Manassas, Va. I'm excited to be running the No. 51 Team COPAXONE® (glatiramer acetate injection) Silverado at Mansfield and to have the opportunity to work with Billy Ballew Motorsports. Last year we finished 21st on the lead lap and I'm hoping to finish in the top-15 this year."

Chad McCumbee, No. 08 GPSstore.com / Garmin Silverado, is looking forward to the fun of racing at MMS.

"I am really looking forward to Mansfield," said McCumbee. "Our performance with theGPSstore.com / Garmin Chevrolet Silverado at Martinsville was great and I really think that we have picked up our short track program over where we were last year. I am feeling pretty confident into going to Mansfield.

"I think that we have a real chance to put our truck up front at Mansfield. We are going to be racing back to back for a few weeks now so we just have to make sure we get some solid finishes and bring home our Chevy in one piece."

Despite the short tracks not being a favorite of Brendan Gaughan, No. 77 South Point Hotel Silverado, the annual trip to Ohio is one he looks forward to making each season.

"There's not another NASCAR race in Ohio," said Gaughan. "So to me that has always been a neat thing about the trucks going to Mansfield. We are the only game in town when it comes to NASCAR racing. People come from all over to that race, and man, do they love NASCAR and the drivers and the teams. They are so in to the whole weekend. They are just really a lot of fun. It is great to spend time with the fans at Mansfield.

"The track itself is just a down-home, dirty, ugly, mean short track. And I don't mean that badly. It's just an old-fashioned tough as nails short track. It's probably the smallest track we run on right now. It's just a short track. We know that I claim to be a big track type of guy, but we just got done testing probably three or four times at the Las Vegas Bullring, which actually is very similar to Mansfield with the exception of newer pavement at the Bullring. I think those Bullring tests are really going to pay off. I said it for the Charlotte test and race, every time the South Point team and I get to test we always end up going to that track and running fantastic."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Kevin Harvick , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Jack Sprague , Daniel Pope , Kelly Sutton , Brendan Gaughan , Kraig Kinser , Chad McCumbee