Talladega: News of note, schedule

* Look For Daytona Elite To Contend In John Deere 250 * Crawford Fulfills Dream Of Competing At Talladega John Deere 250 News & Notes First race winners also have won titles ... Twice since 2000 drivers winning inaugural races have captured...

* Look For Daytona Elite To Contend In John Deere 250

* Crawford Fulfills Dream Of Competing At Talladega

John Deere 250 News & Notes

First race winners also have won titles ... Twice since 2000 drivers winning inaugural races have captured the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship as well. (See chart below). Bobby Hamilton's Atlanta victory in 2004 aided his title drive as did Greg Biffle's win at Kentucky Speedway in 2000.

Raybestos rookies count pair of inaugural wins ... Kurt Busch took the checkered flag at Dover International Speedway in 2000 following up his second-place finish at Daytona. The following season Ricky Hendrick was Kansas Speedway's first NASCAR Craftsman Truck winner.

Six have Daytona-Talladega connection ... Six drivers who participated in the first series race at Daytona International Speedway are expected to compete this week in the John Deere 250. They are Wallace, Terry Cook (No. 10 Ford Power Stroke Diesel Ford), Dennis Setzer (No. 85 Shell Rotella Chevrolet), Jack Sprague (No. 60 Con-way Freight Toyota), Rick Crawford (No. 14 Circle Bar Truck Corral Ford) and David Starr (No. 11 Red Horse Racing Toyota).

Bodine watched and learned from the master ... The current series point leader can't wait to take the green flag at Talladega where he'll be making his 18th NASCAR national touring series start. Bodine says he learned drafting from the master -- Dale Earnhardt. "Me watching him race taught me a lot about this type of racing. Being sent to the back of the pack isn't a problem when you're running in a race at Talladega. I have a lot of fun running these races -- in traffic or at the front."

Ambrose, East among first-timers ... JTG Motorsports teammates Marcos Ambrose (No. 20 Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards Ford) and Bobby East (No. 21 State Fair Corndogs Ford) will be making their first "super track" starts. Neither Raybestos Rookie candidate was approved to compete at Daytona in February.

Racing at Home -- Finally

Rick Crawford has competed just about everywhere in a career of late model barnstorming and his 241 NASCAR Craftsman Truck starts.

Until this week, however, the Mobile, Ala. veteran only could dream of racing at one of his home state's most famous sports stadiums.

"The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series gave me the opportunity to fulfill a lot of dreams -- racing and winning at Daytona and now racing at Talladega," said Crawford.

Circle Bar team member Tommy Praytor -- who also hails from Alabama -- will cook breakfast for a number of media members on Saturday.

On The Right Track

Brief But Solid For Hornaday ... Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 33 AES HR Solutions Chevrolet) has made only four NASCAR Busch Series starts at Talladega but two resulted in top-five finishes. Hornaday finished second in 2004. Ditto For Brendan Gaughan ... Gaughan (No. 77 South Point Dodge) competed in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at Talladega twice in 2004 and led seven laps en route to a fourth-place finish in the track's fall event.

Excellent Credentials ... Joe Nemechek will drive Morgan-Dollar Motorsports' No. 46 U.S. Army Chevrolet in his first series start since January 1998. "Front Row Joe" has lived up to his nickname at Talladega scoring eight Budweiser Poles. Nemechek won NASCAR Busch Series races in 1998 and 2000.

Quotable

"The past couple of years at Daytona, I've kind of hung around in a safe place throughout the course of the race. I've tried to be patient and bide my time. It worked for me this year." -- Jack Sprague, who finished fifth at Daytona in February.

"It's just another big mark for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. I remember the first time that we went to Daytona and that's when we knew that everyone was taking the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series seriously. I think it is the same way with us going to Talladega this year." -- David Starr.

"It doesn't matter who you are; you kind of forget about your friends and forget about your curiosity. Instead of giving and taking all day, you start taking at that point and that's just a product of racing." -- Terry Cook, on what he expects in the final 10 laps of the John Deere 250.

This week's race marks the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series' inaugural visit to Talladega Superspeedway. For comparison purposes, below is data from the 2006 opening event at Daytona International Speedway on which teams competed under an identical rules package.

Race winner Mark Martin posted a Driver Rating of 138.7 and had an average running position of 2.608. The series' most recent winner, Mike Skinner, notched the second-highest Driver Rating of 121.6 despite finishing fourth.

Martin was fractionally quicker in traffic than runnerup Todd Bodine. Martin's best speed was 186.154 mph vs. Bodine's 185.998. The race was run under green flag conditions at significantly higher speeds than Martin's pole speed of 178.628. That certainly will be the case at Talladega as well.

From The Archives

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series was conceived as a short-track series -- with never a thought of scheduling events at Daytona and Talladega.

The first-year schedule in 1995 contained three mile-track races at The Milwaukee Mile and Phoenix International Raceway.

Mike Skinner won all three.

Ironically, Skinner didn't win another speedway race until two weeks ago when he captured the Smith's Las Vegas 350 to mark his 19th career victory.

FAST FACTS

The Race: John Deere 250

The Place: Talladega Superspeedway

The Date: Oct. 7, 2006
The Time: 3:15 p.m. (ET)

Race Distance: 250 miles (94 laps)
Track Layout: 2.66-mile banked paved oval

TV: SPEED, 2:30 p.m. (ET)

Race Purse: $753,800

2005 Winner: Inaugural event
2005 Pole: Inaugural event

Schedule: Thursday -- Practice, 12:10 - 1 p.m., 1:50 -- 2 p.m. and 2:20 -- 3:20 p.m. Friday - Qualifying, 11:15 a.m.

-credit: nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Bobby Hamilton , Todd Bodine , Mike Skinner , David Starr , Joe Nemechek , Greg Biffle , Kurt Busch , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Ricky Hendrick , Jack Sprague , Dennis Setzer , Terry Cook , Rick Crawford , Marcos Ambrose , Brendan Gaughan , Bobby East , Mark Martin
Teams Red Horse Racing