Martinsville II: Round 21 preview

* Repeating Kroger 200 Victory Would Please Wood * Three-Time Champion Sprague To Start 400th Race * Rookie Leader Allen Nailed Top-10 Finish In Debut Jon Wood: Winning At Home Was A Wonderful Thing DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 15, 2007) -- Jon...

* Repeating Kroger 200 Victory Would Please Wood
* Three-Time Champion Sprague To Start 400th Race
* Rookie Leader Allen Nailed Top-10 Finish In Debut

Jon Wood: Winning At Home Was A Wonderful Thing

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 15, 2007) -- Jon Wood's (No. 21 Wood Brothers/JTG Racing Ford) 2003 Kroger 200 victory wasn't a career-defining moment.

But winning a few miles from his Stuart, Va., hometown in front of family and friends was sweet for Wood, to say the least.

"In terms of career advancement, the effect was minimal," said Wood. "But personally, you couldn't have picked a better race track or a more prestigious one. My grandpa raced there and Martinsville's got a lot of history."

The victory was the most recent of the then 21-year-old Wood's two series wins. Since rejoining the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series on a fulltime basis in July, Wood has rolled up five top-10 finishes -- the best a third place, near victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in September.

Returning to Martinsville -- and becoming the series' third double winner at the .526-mile short track -- would suit Wood just fine.

"The level of competition in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is just as high as in the other two national series so you don't go to any track with high expectations of winning," said Wood. "But I've won at Martinsville so I don't have anything to prove."

The 2007 season has been a difficult one for Wood, who sat out several months due to illness before joining the series at Kentucky Speedway where he overcame a spin-out to finish sixth. He's working on a string of three top-10s including a 10th at Talladega Superspeedway on Oct. 6.

Kroger 200 Defender Sprague Will Make 400th Start

Thirteen -- as in starts -- was Jack Sprague's (No. 60 Con-way Freight Toyota) lucky number when the three-time champion finally won at Martinsville Speedway in October 2006.

Sprague will reach another racing milestone when he starts this week's race. The Kroger 200 is the 400th NASCAR national series race for the 43-year-old veteran.

In 399 starts in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, Busch Series and Craftsman Trucks, Sprague has won 29 times with winnings of $9,451,208.

Todd Bodine (No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota) has the most national series starts by a current fulltime competitor: 633.

It All Started At Martinsville For Raybestos Rookie Of The Year Leader Allen

One visit to Martinsville Speedway -- a traditional starting point for drivers new to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series -- was enough to tab Nashville's Willie Allen (No. 13 ThorSport Chevrolet) as a star of the future.

Allen, driving a second Morgan-Dollar Motorsports Chevrolet, debuted with a sixth-place finish in the 2005 Kroger 200.

"Just being there and being able to run with the big stars of NASCAR was an honor," said Allen, who finished ahead of series champions Todd Bodine, Ron Hornaday Jr. and Mike Skinner.

Allen returns to Martinsville as the leader in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings, a spot he took for the first time earlier this month at Talladega Superspeedway.

"It's been a tough struggle all year. We had a lot of good runs that were ruined by mechanical failure," said Allen, who finished sixth at Talladega to match his career-best performance.

Allen credits teammate Matt Crafton (No. 88 Menards Chevrolet) for flattening the learning curve.

"Most of the tracks I had never run prior to this season and Matt has really helped me along the way," said Allen.

-credit: nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Todd Bodine , Mike Skinner , Jack Sprague , Jon Wood , Matt Crafton , Willie Allen