* Series competitors have busy Easter weekend slate -- including racing * Martin to step aside but Roush Racing's No. 6 remains title contender DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 10, 2006) -- Easter is a time for religious observances and family ...
* Series competitors have busy Easter weekend slate -- including racing
* Martin to step aside but Roush Racing's No. 6 remains title contender
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 10, 2006) -- Easter is a time for religious observances and family activities but not every NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competitor will be away from the track this week.
The NASCAR Busch Series' first visit of the season to Nashville Superspeedway will draw at least two crossover drivers -- David Reutimann (No. 17 Team Tundra Toyota) and Erin Crocker (No. 98 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge).
Reutimann hopes to become the second to win both the Pepsi 300 and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Toyota 200 at the 1.33-mile concrete-surfaced facility. Scott Riggs won the inaugural truck race in 2001 and captured back-to-back Pepsi 300 events in 2002-03.
Crocker will get a double-dose of Nashville as she competes in both Pepsi 300 and supporting ARCA RE/MAX PFG 150. Crocker won the pole and finished third in the ARCA event a year ago.
Greg Pollex, owner of Terry Cook's No. 10 Power Stroke Diesel by International Ford, will be in Nashville where his NASCAR Busch Series driver Kenny Wallace will compete in the Pepsi 300. But he'll go home for a big celebration.
"Easter Sunday will definitely see a diverse group of people getting together at our house. Most everyone in our family is involved in racing," said Pollex. "My one daughter, Jill, is office manager at ppc Racing. Sherry is the public relations representative with the No. 25 truck team. She is dating Martin Truex Jr., who we've invited to join in our traditional Easter Sunday activities.
"My son Jay and his wife will join us. My two younger daughters Claudia and Angela love it when we all get together as one big family. Easter morning we will attend church, and later enjoy a home-cooked meal prepared by my wife, Julia."
Relaxation is on Kerry Earnhardt's (No. 13 ThorSport Chevrolet) agenda.
"We may head down to Durhamtown Plantation Resort in Georgia with a big group of people to go four-wheelin," he said. "It's a really neat place with all kinds of stuff to do for the kids, too. It'll be nice to be with family and friends and just kind of relax a bit."
David Starr (No. 11 Red Horse Racing Toyota) is looking forward to spending some time with his new nephew, his sister Melissa's son Matthew, whose arrival on April 1 coincided with the team's victory at Martinsville Speedway.
"Matthew is my mom and dad's first grandchild and naturally everyone is just thrilled," said Starr. "We will start off the day going to church and then we will have Easter egg hunts for all the kids, lots of great food and good conversation with those we love. I don't know how many people will be there this year but our gatherings are huge and the most fun times of the entire year. I can't wait."
NEWS AND NOTES, PART II
David Ragan will take the controls of the No. 6 Scotts Ford when competition resumes April 29 at Gateway International Raceway, effectively ending Mark Martin's four-race reign as the championship leader.
Martin won't resume his 14-race schedule until May 19 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series veteran won't win this year's title -- he's planning a fulltime assault in 2007 -- but the Martin/Ragan combination could give owner Jack Roush a championship nonetheless.
Driver and owner points are scored separately and Roush's tabulation will continue regardless of which driver is in the seat of the No. 6 truck.
Should this occur, it would mark the third time in NASCAR national touring series history that different teams win the driver and owner championships. In 1963, Joe Weatherly captured the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup crown while the Wood Brothers scored the owner title.
More recently, in 2003, Richard Childress' No. 21 team won the NASCAR Busch Series owner championship as Brian Vickers became the driver champion.
The No. 6 truck, however, will have to outscore a number of rivals including its sister entry. Martin's teammate Erik Darnell (No. 99 Simply Wow Ford) is 68 points back in sixth position.
No green-white-checker for this one ... Todd Bodine (No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota), fourth overall and first in the pro category, wanted a green-white-checker finish to Saturday's Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race at the Long Beach (Calif.) Grand Prix which ended a lap early due to a blocked course. It didn't happen and pro skateboarder Bucky Lasek collected the hardware. Bodine, who started from the pro pole with a 30-second handicap, wasn't sure he could have caught and passed former shifter kart racer Lasek anyway. "He's as good as the pros," said Bodine. "I had a great time. It was really cool. I never thought I'd have to opportunity to come here." Reutimann finished fourth among the pro drivers after having a "meeting" with Boston Legal's William Shatner in Turn 1. "I wanted to get out of there without turning anybody -- especially William Shatner," he said. "It was a blast and a phenomenal deal. I'm hoping to get invited back." SPEED will air event highlights at 2:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 22.
ETC. ... Pit Instruction and Training (PIT) was featured on ABC's Good Morning America this past weekend. The enterprise is owned by Tom DeLoach, head of Red Horse Racing that fields the No. 11 Toyota for Starr. Its corporate clients include United Airlines, which uses PIT's methods to more effectively direct baggage handling operations. ""United Airlines is coming out of bankruptcy so they can't buy more airplanes," DeLoach said. "They need to have faster turns -- what we call faster pit stops in racing -- to have more planes in the sky during the day. Our classes help get their average turn-around time down." ... Former Boston Red Sox outfielder Mike Greenwell will make his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut at Mansfield Motorsports Speedway on May 27. The Florida native has competed in late model cars in Florida since 1999, scoring 37 victories. He'll drive for Gene Christensen's Green Light Racing. ... Kurt Busch's victory in Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series O'Reilly 300 made him the 16th driver to win in all three of NASCAR's national touring series. Kurt and Kyle Busch are the second set of brothers to complete the sweep. The Labontes -- Terry and Bobby -- finished the triple in 2005. ... Woodard & Sharp Racing, which fields the No. 25 Dodge for Raybestos Rookie Boston Reid, has reorganized with partner Eddie Sharp departing the team, which has been renamed Woodard Racing. Owner Rick Woodard said, "Eddie has been a big part of this team (and) although we hate to lose him, I think it's going to be better for both sides. We have good people here at the shop and a rookie driver that has the potential to take this team to the top."
IN THE LOOP
Raybestos Rookie of the Year leader Darnell is having a sensational freshman season -- both in the point standings and Driver Ratings, which are based upon eight different statistical categories. Darnell, with a pair of top-10 finishes and an average finish of 9.0 carries a rating of 90.3. That's 12th overall in the series and tops -- by more than 12 points -- among Raybestos rookie contenders. Darnell rates more than 24 points higher than his closest Raybestos rival Kyle Krisiloff (No. 15 ditech.com/Krud Kutter Chevrolet). A perfect score is 150. Martin is the series leader after four races at 138.1.
What: Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers Ram Tough 200 (Race 5 of 25).
Where: Gateway International Raceway.
When: 8:15 p.m. ET Saturday, April 29.
Track layout: 1.25-mile paved oval.
Race length: 200 miles/160 laps.
Posted awards: $596,350.
TV: SPEED Channel, 8:15 p.m. ET.
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.
2005 winner: Ted Musgrave.
2005 polesitter: Ted Musgrave
Top 10 drivers: 1. Mark Martin, 720. 2. Ted Musgrave, 665. 3. Todd Bodine, 662. 4. David Reutimann, 576. 5. David Starr, 556. 6. Erik Darnell, 552. 7. Jack Sprague, 544. 8. Mike Bliss, 544. 9. Dennis Setzer, 531. 10. Rick Crawford, 508.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Saturday -- Practice 9:05 a.m. -- 10:05 a.m.. Rookie Practice 10:30 a.m. -- 11 a.m. Final Practice 11 a.m. to 12 noon. Qualifying 4 p.m. Trucks impounded after qualifying.