* Phoenix International Raceway Is Bedrock Of Series * Bowyer Becomes 12th Different Winner Of 2006 Season * Skinner's Third-Place Finish Gives Toyota Manufacturer Crown Casino Arizona 150 News & Notes Several streaks on...
* Phoenix International Raceway Is Bedrock Of Series
* Bowyer Becomes 12th Different Winner Of 2006 Season
* Skinner's Third-Place Finish Gives Toyota Manufacturer Crown
Casino Arizona 150 News & Notes
Several streaks on the line as the 2006 season winds down ... Competitors Dennis Setzer (No. 85 E85 FlexFuel Chevrolet) and Ted Musgrave (No. 9 Team ASE Toyota) have just two races to preserve several streaks. Setzer has won at least one race in eight consecutive seasons but none in 2006 and needs to gain two positions to add to a top-10 championship streak that began in 1999. Musgrave, meanwhile, hasn't finished lower than third in the standings or failed to win a race since joining the series fulltime in 2001. He currently ranks fourth.
Crafton, Gaughan edging toward winnings milestones ... Matt Crafton (No. 88 Menards/Energizer Chevrolet) and Brendan Gaughan (No. 77 South Point Dodge) could become the 14th and 15th competitors to reach $2 million in career winnings. Entering the Casino Arizona 150, Crafton has won $1,975,295 while Gaughan's total is $1,961,360. Last year's race paid a winner's purse of $50,850.
Owner championship remains in play ... Just 140 points cover first through third in the battle for the series owner championship. Bodine's Germain Racing team is the leader with Benson's Bill Davis Racing outfit second, 137 points behind. Jack Roush's No. 6 Scotts Ford, which will be driven by Mark Martin in the season's final two races, is 140 points out.
Front row seems the place to be ... Last week's Texas race was won from the Budweiser Pole marking the sixth time in seven races that the winner has started from the front row. Eight of the year's 23 races have been won from the No. 1 starting position including four of the last five. At Phoenix International Raceway, the pole winner has scored four victories -- but none since Joe Ruttman in 2000.
Record Number Of Title Holders Eye Top-10 Mark
With four among the current top 10 and one a spot outside, it's possible that six current or former series champions could finish among the top 10 in this year's championship battle.
The previous most champions among the top 10 is five in 2005.
It's a veteran group by any measure. The current top 10 has accrued 1,729 starts and 121 victories.
Bodine has the fewest starts: 63. Rick Crawford (No. 14 Circle Bar Truck Corral Ford) and Jack Sprague (No. 60 Con-wayFreight Toyota) share the record for most starts -- 245.
Bowyer Is Series' 12th Different Winner Of 2006
Clint Bowyer (No. 46 Jack Daniel's Chevrolet) became the year's 12th different winner with a Budweiser Pole to Victory Lane performance on Nov. 3.
Bowyer joins two other active NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers -- Kyle Busch (No. 15 Freedom Grill/kylebusch.com) and Martin -- as 2006 winners.
This is the fifth time in series history that 12 or more drivers have won races. The record is 14 set in 1998 and matched a year ago.
The victory broke a Morgan-Dollar Motorsports drought that began in August 2005. Team owner David Dollar collected his 13th win, while crew chief Eric Phillips has won seven times with three different drivers.
On The Right Track
Six former winners in this week's field ... Six different competitors with a combined 10 Phoenix victories are expected to compete in Friday's Casino Arizona 150. Sprague is the track's all-time series winner with three scores. Hornaday and Skinner count two wins apiece. One-time winners include Bodine, Mike Bliss (No. 16 Xpress/Strutmasters Chevrolet) and David Starr (No. 11 Red Horse Racing Toyota).
Sprague is king in Phoenix ... Sprague has started 13 of the track's 14 events and dominates Phoenix International Raceway statistics. In addition to his three wins and five poles, Sprague counts nine top-five and 11 top-10 finishes. He has led nine of the 13 races he's entered.
Toyota claims first NASCAR national touring title in Texas ... Skinner's third-place finish in last week's Silverado 350K at Texas Motor Speedway wrapped up the 2006 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series manufacturer championship -- the first national title for the truck maker. It was dejà vu for Skinner, who clinched Chevrolet's second manufacturer crown in 1996. Skinner is the first competitor to clinch championships for two different manufacturers and joins Sprague in wrapping up a pair of titles. This is the first time a race finish of lower than second has clinched a manufacturer championship. Toyota trucks have won 11 races with five different drivers -- Skinner, Sprague, Benson, Bodine and Starr.
"He tried to give it to us but we can't take it. Now we have to fight for second. It's not meant to be, I guess." -- Johnny Benson on being unable to take advantage of point leader Bodine's recent misfortune.
"Phoenix International Raceway is definitely unique and that's what makes it so fun. It's a really flat driver-style corner where you've got to dance around and you're never going to have the grip you want." -- Brendan Gaughan, who likes the one-mile layout despite continuing to search for his first top-10 finish.
"We were able to win there a couple of years ago, which is by far my best finish. In fact, I think I only have one other top 10. Even though it hasn't been one of the best tracks for me, when you get a win at the race track, I guess that it makes it one of your favorites." -- David Starr, No. 11 Red Horse Racing Toyota, the track's 2004 winner.
Phoenix is a fun race track to drive. It's a little tricky, but there's a lot of side-by-side racing. Anywhere that you can go that you can run side-by-side, lap-after-lap is a good race track." -- Ted Musgrave. In The Loop
Todd Bodine and Johnny Benson should compete neck-and-neck in the Casino Arizona 150 based upon last year's Loop Data report.
They ran first and second in all three key categories (below): Driver Rating, Fastest Laps Run and Average Running Position.
Ron Hornaday Jr. is the only other driver to find his name on all three of the lists. Hornaday ranked third in Driver Rating, fourth in Fastest Laps Run and fourth in Average Running Position.
Kyle Busch, looking for his second win of the year, ranked fifth in Driver Rating and third in Fastest Laps Run.
The Race: Casino Arizona 150
The Place: Phoenix International Raceway
The Date: Nov. 10, 2006
The Time: 8:15 p.m. (ET)
Track Layout: 1-mile oval
Race Distance: 150 miles/ 150 laps
TV: SPEED, 7:30 p.m. (ET)
Race Purse: $500,327 2005
2005 Winner: Todd Bodine
2005 Pole: Brandon Whitt
Schedule: Thursday -- Practice, 2 p.m. -- 2:30 p.m., 3:20 p.m. -- 3:50 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. -- 6:30 p.m. Friday -- Qualifying, 10:30 a.m.