NEWS & NOTES Truck drivers slinging some pre-race mud ... Seven NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competitors including Reutimann and defending O'Reilly 200 winner Bobby Hamilton (No. 04 Bailey's Dodge) will run a Friday night match race in late...
NEWS & NOTES
Truck drivers slinging some pre-race mud ... Seven NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competitors including Reutimann and defending O'Reilly 200 winner Bobby Hamilton (No. 04 Bailey's Dodge) will run a Friday night match race in late model cars on Memphis Motorsports Park's .25-mile clay oval. The 10-lapper is scheduled for 8:45 p.m. CT.
Memphis race third of seven on short tracks in '05 ... The O'Reilly 200 will mark the third time in 2005 a race will be held on a track measuring less than a mile. Labonte won at Martinsville and Hamilton at Mansfield Motorsports Speedway. Four of the next five events take place on short tracks -- at Memphis, Indianapolis Raceway Park, Bristol Motor Speedway and Richmond International Raceway.
ETC. ... Rick Crawford (No. 14 Circle Bar Truck Corral Ford) starts from zero this week after a qualifying accident at Kentucky Speedway ended his record string of consecutive race appearances at 210. The top current streak is 185 races by Terry Cook (No. 10 Ford Power Stroke Diesel by International Ford). Crawford and Jack Sprague (No. 16 Chevy Trucks Chevrolet) share the all-time series start record at 210. ... Last year's Memphis race saw 26 drivers complete all 200 laps. That remains the series short track record. ... Memphis is among three tracks on the current schedule without a green-white-checker finish. The others are California and Michigan International speedways. ... The average margin of victory at Memphis is .458 of a second. Setzer's 1.608-second victory over Scott Riggs is the only margin of a second or more.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
Five Memphis winners in O'Reilly 200 field ... With five (of seven) former winners in the field, it's open to question whether Memphis will get its eighth new winner. The winners, in order, are Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 6, GM Goodwrench Chevrolet, 1998), Sprague (2000), Setzer (2001), Ted Musgrave (No. 1 Mopar Dodge, 2003) and Hamilton (2004). The five count 93 combined victories -- 36 percent of the 255 races run in 10-plus seasons. No repeat owner winners in Memphis race ... Six active teams have won NASCAR Craftsman Truck or NASCAR Busch races in Memphis. David Dollar (Setzer), Bobby Hamilton (Hamilton), Jack Roush (Todd Kluever and Ricky Craven) and Jim Smith (Musgrave) have truck victories. Greg Pollex (Cook) and Bill Davis (Johnny Benson, Bill Lester and Mike Skinner) are NASCAR Busch-winning owners.
"I toured Graceland for the first time last week and was really impressed with the whole place. It was by far one of the best things I've ever done in my life. I even rank it up there with my granddaughter being born. It was sacred and made me realize a lot of what it was like to be a fan. I never understood why people wanted my autograph for anything, but if Elvis were at that house I would have had to get an autograph and a picture with him." -- Bobby Hamilton.
"There's not a lot of room to pass, but if you've got a good truck you can get it done. Especially going into the turns, like most any short track, if you can under-brake the truck in front of you and get up alongside them, you should be able to complete the pass down in the next turn." -- Brandon Whitt, No. 38 Cure Autism Now/McMillin Homes Toyota, who finished 14th in last year's O'Reilly 200.
"The track has some bumps but both corners really make it difficult. Turns one and two are really fast like Richmond and turns three and four are slower and much sharper. It's difficult to get the truck to handle the same at both ends of the race track. Memphis creates a pretty good challenge for the crew chief and then it's up to the driver to try to make up the difference." -- Todd Bodine, No. 30 Germain-Arnold Racing Toyota.
10 YEARS TOUGH
This week marks the sixth anniversary of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series' first "live" pit stop race, held July 25, 1998 at Pikes Peak International Raceway. The series' first 109 races employed some form of mid-race break -- first 10 and later five minutes -- allowing crews to change tires, make adjustments and add fuel. Ron Hornaday Jr. won the Tempus Resorts 300K, a race that featured 10 lead changes.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
With Craftsman's Win from the Pole bonus reaching $18,000 this week, it should be pointed out that only one Memphis winner has started from the No. 1 position in seven NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races. Greg Biffle, the track's only two-time pole winner, drove from first to Victory Lane in 1999. The win was Biffle's first en route to a record, nine-victory season.
Next Event: O'Reilly 200 presented by Valvoline.
Where: Memphis Motorsports Park.
When: 7:15 p.m. ET, Saturday, July 23.
Track layout: .75-mile paved oval.
Race length: 200 laps/150 miles.
Posted awards: $525,550.
TV: SPEED Channel, 8:15 p.m. ET.
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.
2004 winner: Bobby Hamilton.
2004 polesitter: Jack Sprague.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Saturday -- Practice 9:00 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Qualifying 3:30 p.m. Trucks impounded after qualifying.
Top 10 drivers: 1. Dennis Setzer 1,929. 2. Ted Musgrave 1,846. 3. Bobby Hamilton 1,776. 4. Ron Hornaday Jr. 1,731. 5. Ricky Craven 1,721. 6. Jimmy Spencer 1,717. 7. Terry Cook 1,660. 8. Mike Skinner 1,644. 9. David Reutimann 1,624. 10. Matt Crafton 1,466.