*Cook Nearing Top 10 After 250th Race Start
Terry Cook (No. 59 Harris Trucking Dodge) celebrated his 250th start with a solid 11th-place finish in the Michigan 200. Cook and crew chief Danny Rollins have made the Martinsville, Va.-based squad a contending team with Cook's latest performance moving HT Motorsports to within 15 points of the top 10. "We came from 26th up to 11th there on that last stretch and I'm really proud of that," said the 38-year-old Cook, a native of nearby Toledo, Ohio.
The Michigan 200 was the 300th start for Spears Motorsports, the Wayne and Connie Spears-owned team that has competed in all but two NASCAR Craftsman Truck races. "Being able to compete against some of the greatest owners in NASCAR -- such as Jack Roush, Rick Hendrick, Richard Childress and Dale Earnhardt Sr. -- is something us west coast racers could only have dreamed about before this series was created," said Spears, a Los Angeles area businessman. "We remain a family-oriented team and I wouldn't have it any other way."
Standings leader Mike Skinner (No. 5 Toyota Tundra Toyota) stayed perfect by leading his 10th race of the 2007 season. The 1995 series champion has led 535 laps/536.076 miles in building a 113-point lead over Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 33 Camping World Chevrolet), the Michigan 200's 10th-place finisher. Skinner also posted his eighth top-five and 10th top-10 finish. "I guess it was an exciting day," he said after finishing fourth. "Not really my style of racing but that's okay because we had a good (points) day." The Milwaukee Mile, host of this Friday night's Toyota Tundra Milwaukee 200, is one of just four tracks to have scheduled the series in all 13 seasons of its existence. The others are Martinsville Speedway, O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis and Phoenix International Raceway. Two drivers have won at least once at each track: Skinner and Jack Sprague (No. 60 Con-way Freight Toyota).
Former NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series champion Scott Lynch enters this week's race with a new team owned by his father, James Lynch. Veteran west coast crew chief Larry Prior will oversee preparation of the No. 29 Jasper Engines & Transmission Dodge. Lynch has finished 12th twice in a dozen series starts.
Ford Joins Toyota, Chevrolet As Multiple Winners
Travis Kvapil's Michigan victory makes Ford the third different manufacturer to score multiple wins in 2007. Toyota, which opened the season with four consecutive wins, has been shut out since Mike Skinner's victory at Martinsville Speedway on March 31.
Since then, Chevrolet has collected three wins and Ford has won twice.
Toyota continues to lead the Manufacturers' Championship by 10 points over Chevrolet with Ford another four back.
Dodge's "mini streak" of three races with top-10 finishes ended at Michigan. Bobby Labonte (No. 4 Open Joist Dodge) ran as high as ninth but faded over the final 20 laps to finish 17th.
In The Loop: Hornaday Poised To Gain Ground At Milwaukee
At 113 points behind leader Mike Skinner, Ron Hornaday Jr. sits in striking distance.
Now, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series heads to The Milwaukee Mile, which is more good news for Hornaday. If he can continue his past success, he could gain some ground on the thus-far dominant Skinner.
In seven starts at Milwaukee, Hornaday has finished outside the top five only once -- and that was a seventh-place finish in 1999. He won there in 1997 and has finished fourth and third the past two years.
His Loop Data stats are likewise impressive. Over the past two years, Hornaday has the top Driver Rating at Milwaukee at 126.0, the second-best Average Running Position (3.243), 37 Fastest Laps Run (fourth-most) and 400 Laps in the Top 15, which makes him the only driver to run every lap in the Top 15 over the past two years.
Also look for Jack Sprague to run up front. Sprague finished second there in 2005 and fourth in 2006, and racked up impressive stats in the process. Sprague has the second-best Driver Rating (124.5), the top Average Running Position (2.675), the second-most Fastest Laps Run (53), and the second-most Laps in the top 15 (396).
Skinner, on the other hand, has struggled in recent years at Milwaukee. With finishes of 16th and 11th over the past two year, Skinner has just the 18th-ranked Driver Rating at 87.5.
Raybestos Rookie of the Year Standings
Leader Aaron Fike (No. 1 RFMS/Red Horse Racing Toyota), stands eighth in the series standings in addition to adding to his Raybestos Rookie lead. Fike entered last weekend's 10th race of the season ranked ninth overall and qualified 12th. "My pit crew did a great job. I think they picked up six spots on pit road and that is a testament to the training that they get at Pit Instruction and Training in Mooresville, N.C.," he said after finishing 17th at MIS.
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series makes its annual pilgrimage to Memphis Motorsports Park and the home of the blues -- Beale Street -- not to mention Graceland, the home of The King, Elvis Pressley.
Saturday night's O'Reilly 200 is the 10th series race to be hosted by the .75-mile oval and first of three NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events in the state of Tennessee in 2007.
Three-time series champion Jack Sprague won last year's O'Reilly 200 after qualifying on the Bud Pole. Sprague, who also won in 2000, is the only competitor to visit Victory Lane in the nine previous events at Memphis Motorsports Park.
Next Race: Toyota Tundra Milwaukee 200
The Place: The Milwaukee Mile
The Date: June 22
The Time: 9 p.m. (ET)
TV: SPEED, 8:30 p.m. (ET)
Track Layout: 1-mile oval
Race Purse: $539,930
2006 Winner: Johnny Benson 2006 Pole: Mike Skinner
Schedule: Friday -- Practice 11 a.m. -- 12:00 noon; 12:30 p.m. -- 1:00 p.m. (rookies) and 1:00 p.m. -- 2:00 p.m. Qualifying 5:30 p.m.