NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series crew chief Myers celebrates McMurray, Starr wins. DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 18, 2002) - While Jamie McMurray was celebrating his first NASCAR Winston Cup Series win in Charlotte and David Starr (No. 75 Spears ...
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series crew chief Myers celebrates McMurray, Starr wins.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 18, 2002) - While Jamie McMurray was celebrating his first NASCAR Winston Cup Series win in Charlotte and David Starr (No. 75 Spears Manufacturing Chevrolet) his inaugural NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory in Las Vegas last week, crew chief Todd Myers was probably thinking,"What if?"
Myers has worked with McMurray and Starr as well as Brendan Gaughan (No. 62 NAPA Auto Parts Dodge), who also won his first race earlier this season in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Myers knew he had a lot of talent in McMurray and Starr, and it was only a matter of time before they both won.
"Jamie has a lot of good qualities and was fun to work with. I knew he was a capable driver, but I, like everyone else, was pleasantly surprised with his win," said Myers." David's a talented driver and I knew he would be able to win soon in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series."
McMurray, who won in only his second career NASCAR Winston Cup start for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, was the first of the two to forge a relationship with Myers. After 10 races with Mittler Brothers Racing, he moved to TKO Motorsports with Myers as his crew chief. In six races with the team, McMurray posted four top-10 finishes. In his first start with TKO, he won the pole and finished sixth at Michigan International Speedway.
McMurray wound up signing a NASCAR Busch Series deal with Brewco Motorsports for the following season and left Myers and the team without a driver. Enter Starr.
Starr, who was in his third year in the series and had already driven for 10 different owners, was tapped to replace McMurray. In his first start, Starr finished 12th at Texas Motor Speedway.
"I thought this was going to be my big break," Starr said."In my first race at Texas, we actually started on the outside front row. I knew Jamie had had success in the truck and I was looking forward to racing it."
Unfortunately, it turned into another part-time ride for Starr, a former NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Presented by Dodge champion who had also raced in the NASCAR Winston West Series. After the season-opening event at Daytona International Speedway last year, the team returned to Fort Worth, Texas, to find that its sponsorship had fallen through and the owner, Mike Farris, was forced to shut down the team.
However, his five starts - four with another team - in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 2001 were enough for owners Wayne and Connie Spears to secure Starr to drive their No. 75 Spears Manufacturing Chevrolet this season.
Starr's win last Sunday was also the first for his new owners as well. The Spears have fielded a truck in 187 of 189 NASCAR Craftsman Truck races, including the inaugural 1995 season.
"The Spears are tremendous people and this is a way to tell them,' thanks for the opportunity'," Starr said." They've had a lot of great drivers in the past - current Winston Cup drivers Ron Hornaday and Kevin Harvick. They've had a lot of talent in that truck and when I got the call last winter to drive, I was on Cloud Nine."
Myers is now working with a new driver, Clay Collier, who may contend for Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors next season in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series while quietly celebrating the accomplishments of his former drivers.
NEWS OF NOTE
Ø Championship update with three races to go... The top-10 drivers are still mathematically alive in the title chase. Mike Bliss (No. 16 IWX Motor Freight/Knights Inn Chevrolet) leads Rick Crawford (No. 14 Circle Bar Motel and RV Park) by 85 points. Ted Musgrave (No. 1 Mopar Performance Dodge) is third, 149 points back, and Starr trails by 169. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series returns to action Nov. 2 at California Speedway for the American Racing Wheels 200.
Ø Win was in the Starrs... Starr's win almost didn't happen. With only a handful of laps remaining, crew chief Dave McCarty told Starr if Bliss was faster, to let him go. At the time, the two were chasing Musgrave."I thought I had a good enough truck that I could win," Starr said."Thank God I didn't get off the gas and let him go."
Ø Another top five... Jason Leffler (No. 2 Team ASE/Carquest Dodge) recorded his ninth top-five effort of the season in the Las Vegas 350. Leffler, who has eight poles, is one of three drivers in the top 10 in points who have yet to see victory lane this year.
Ø New driver for the 15... Andy Houston will finish the season in the No. 15 Billy Ballew Motorsports Ford. Houston is the fourth different driver for the team this year.
Ø Start me up... The Las Vegas 350 was Crawford's 145th career start in the series, moving him behind former NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Jack Sprague (170), Joe Ruttman (168), current competitor Lance Norick (No. 90 Express Personnel Chevrolet), who has started 151 races, and Jimmy Hensley (146) on the all-time list.