Michigan: GM Racing preview

* Chevrolet Silverado has won six of the12 NCTS manufacturers championships Brooklyn, MI - Although each of the 25 races on NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) schedule is important, there is a special significance for the Silverado race teams...

* Chevrolet Silverado has won six of the12 NCTS manufacturers championships

Brooklyn, MI - Although each of the 25 races on NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) schedule is important, there is a special significance for the Silverado race teams when the series heads to Michigan International Speedway (MIS). The 2.0-mile track is in the back yard of General Motors and the Chevrolet brand.

"With its proximity to Detroit, Michigan is the place where everyone wants to win," said Dayne Pierantoni, Chevrolet Program Manager, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series for GM Racing.

"It is a great track which requires the entire package of engine, aero, and handling. The drivers usually like it because the track lets you run multiple lines and race really hard. I'm sure Ron Hornaday would like to make up for a lost opportunity in Texas and Matt Crafton has been strong each week as well. With the Nextel Cup cars in town, we've got Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch in addition to our regular Silverado lineup. Hopefully, at the end of the day, we'll have another win for Chevrolet."

Ron Hornaday, Jr., No. 33 Camping World Silverado, and his Rick Ren-led Kevin Harvick, Inc. (KHI) team have tremendous momentum on their side. Heading in to the Michigan 200, they are second in the point standings, just 82 points out of the lead. So far in 2007, Hornaday's record includes two victories, four top-five and eight top-10 finishes in the nine NCTS races so far. The two-time NCTS champion and NCTS race wins record holder with 31 victories, is looking forward to the annual visit to the Irish Hills of Michigan.

"I like racing at Michigan, it's a really fast track," said Hornaday. "There are different grooves, and you can pass and race. I am taking a truck that can race high or low. You could see four-wide racing this weekend. Rick Ren and the guys will get everything worked out in practice, and then we should be pretty fast for the race."

Behind the wheel of the KHI No. 2 Camping World Silverado teaming with Hornaday is the boss, Kevin Harvick, making his fourth NCTS appearance of the season.

"I think everybody loves Michigan," said Harvick. "You can race from the bottom of the race track to the top of the race track. Tires wear out and everything changes as you go through a fuel run. So it's a lot of fun for the drivers to go there and race and move your truck around, and make adjustments as things change."

Billy Ballew Motorsports (BBM) will field two Silverados at Michigan as well. Full-time BBM driver Bill Lester, No. 15 Christian Debt Consolidation Silverado, will team with Kyle Busch behind the wheel of the No. 51 Flanders Beef Patties Silverado.

"We didn't have a good truck last year," said Lester. "We were too loose on entry into the center and thus slow off if I remember right. I'm looking forward to heading to the track in the No. 15 Christian Debt Consolidation Billy Ballew Motorsports Chevy Silverado. The truck we are bringing is conducive to a racetrack like Michigan where it is full of speed with lots of room to pass. The draft comes back into play here too so I enjoy that aspect of it. I made my second Cup start here last year so I have fond memories of the place."

"I'm looking forward to going back to Michigan with Billy Ballew," said Busch. "Michigan is a racy track with room for three and four wide racing. I hadn't raced in the truck there since 2005 where we had a pole and a second place finish. We are bringing my favorite truck, we drove it in Dover a few weeks ago and it was strong. Chassis 11 has already brought us three wins before hopefully it will again this weekend."

For two Morgan-Dollar Motorsports (MDM) team members, the Michigan race represents an opportunity to visit home. Kurt Binkley, rear tire changer for the No. 47 Ginn Resorts Silverado, is from nearby Ann Arbor. Sara Dykehouse, team public relations manager is from nearby Spring Lake, Michigan.

Travis Kittleson will pilot the No. 46 Bob Steele Silverado out of the MDM stable for the second time this season.

"I am pumped up and ready to go racing again," said Kittleson. "After an unfortunately short race in Kansas when I wrecked the truck early, I know Morgan-Dollar Motorsports is putting together a great piece for me, and I am really excited. I have never been to Michigan before, so it will take some time to get acclimated to the track, and then get in the routine of running steady, consistent laps.

"I am just really looking forward to getting the laps under my belt and getting the experience. Michigan is such a fast race track, and Kansas was pretty much the same way. I was able to learn quite a few things from my track time in Kansas, like getting better control of using the brake pedal to carry speed through the corner and just turning laps and acquiring as much experience as possible. I am running the NASCAR Busch Series race at St. Louis next month for Joe Gibbs Racing so getting the opportunity with Morgan-Dollar Motorsports will only help me prepare for that race that much more."

Rookie contender Willie Allen, No. 13 ThorSport Silverado, is looking forward to the Michigan race as well.

"I'm excited about going to Michigan International Speedway," said Allen. "It's a fast multi-grooved racetrack and should be a lot of fun. We had some bad luck last week at Texas with our engine so we're looking to bounce back this week. The GM and Chevy Headquarters are nearby, so it would be nice to get a great finish for all the people there that support us."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Kevin Harvick , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Matt Crafton , Bill Lester , Willie Allen , Travis Kittleson , Kyle Busch
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing