*Bliss Wins First Race In Four Years *Toyota Close To First Manufacturers' Championship News & Notes Darnell extends rookie lead ... Raybestos Rookie of the Year Candidate Erik Darnell (No. 99 Northern Tool & Equipment Ford) finished third...
*Bliss Wins First Race In Four Years
*Toyota Close To First Manufacturers' Championship
News & Notes
Darnell extends rookie lead ... Raybestos Rookie of the Year Candidate Erik Darnell (No. 99 Northern Tool & Equipment Ford) finished third for the second consecutive race to extend his lead in the rookie standings to 55 over Chad McCumbee (No. 08 GPS Store/Garmin Chevrolet). Darnell, who earned his seat through one of team owner Jack Roush's "Gong Shows" titled Roush Racing: Driver X, has one pole and nine top-10 finishes this season. He was 10 laps away from winning Saturday's race. The last rookie to win a race was Carl Edwards in 2003.
Biffle clinched 2000 title at Texas ... Greg Biffle clinched the 2000 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship at Texas, becoming the only driver in series history to clinch the title before the last race of the season. Biffle had built such a commanding lead over second-place driver Kurt Busch that a 25th-place finish at Texas was enough to claim the championship. Biffle finished the season with a 228-point lead, the second highest in series history. The championship was the first for Ford in the series and first for owner Jack Roush.
Walker to Bill Davis Racing ... Sprint Car standout Tyler Walker will drive the No. 36 360 OTC Toyota for Bill Davis Racing in 2007. Walker piloted the No. 7 truck for former team owner Jim Smith for three races in 2003. His highest finish was 21st at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He also competed in 19 NASCAR Busch Series races in 2004 and 2005.
Musgrave named honorary chairperson ... The Wisconsin Motorsports Charities, Inc. announced that defending series champion Ted Musgrave (No. 9 Team ASE Toyota), from Franklin, Wis., will serve as Honorary Chairperson for its WMCI Mid-Winter Banquet. Past honorees include Bobby Allison, Neil Bonnett, Benny Parsons and Ned Jarrett.
Blissful: Former Series Champion Back In Victory Lane
Mike Bliss (No. 16 Xpress Chevrolet) held off a hard-charging Terry Cook (No. 10 Ford Power Stroke Diesel by Int'l Ford) to capture his first series win in four years. Bliss passed Erik Darnell with 10 laps to go and beat Cook to the checkered flag by .209 of-a-second -- the fifth closest finish of the season.
The race featured 21 lead changes -- a track record -- including 10 in the final 30 laps. Laps 102 to 111 saw David Reutimann (No. 17 Team Tundra Toyota) and Bobby Hamilton Jr. (No. 18 Fastenal Dodge) swap the lead five times. Reutimann finished fourth, Hamilton Jr. finished th. Bliss, the 2002 series champion, last won at South Boston Speedway in 2002.
On The Right Track
Bodine Ties Series Record ... Todd Bodine has tied Ron Hornaday Jr. for the series record of consecutive weeks leading the point standings. Bodine has occupied the top position for 18 straight weeks. Hornaday accomplished the feat during his 1996 championship season. ... Terry Cook and Rick Crawford (No. 14 Circle Bar Truck Corral Ford) are the only drivers to compete in all 17 races at Texas Motor Speedway. Neither driver has won the event -- Crawford's best finish is second in Oct. 2001; Cook's best finish is sixth in Oct. 1999. ... Dennis Setzer (No. 85 Flex Fuel E85 Silverado) leads all drivers with 12 top-10 finishes at the track. He is tied with David Starr and Jack Sprague (No. 60 Con-Way Freight) for most top fives with six. Toyota Close To First Manufacturers' Championship ... Toyota will clinch its first Manufacturers' Championship in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series if the top finishing Toyota finishes higher than the top finishing Ford this weekend. Toyota currently holds a 13-point lead over Ford (154-141) and must lead Ford by 13 points after the Silverado 350 to clinch. Nine points are awarded to the highest finishing manufacturer, six to second-place, four to third and three to fourth.
Toyota leads all manufacturers with 11wins this season, its highest total in three years in the series. Ford has seven wins, Chevrolet has four and Dodge has 0. Dodge is in jeopardy of going winless for the first time since 1996.
Todd Bodine, David Starr, Johnny Benson, Jack Sprague and Mike Skinner have all won races for Toyota this season.
In the Loop
Mike Skinner, Johnny Benson and Jack Sprague lead several important pre-race Loop Data categories leading into Texas Motor Speedway. Despite not winning at the 1.5-mile track, Skinner leads all drivers in categories including Driver Rating (142.3), Fastest Laps Run (102) and Average Running Position (2.122). Skinner has led the most laps (309 -- 64.1% of all laps) and has Run in the Top 15 in 476 of the 482 laps (98.8%). Despite winning two of the past three races, Todd Bodine is sixth with a driver rating of 105.1. He is second to Skinner in fastest laps run with 66. Sprague, who won in June 2005, has a driver rating of 108.5 and an average running position of 8.238.
The Race: Silverado 350K
The Place: Texas Motor Speedway
The Date: Nov. 3, 2006
The Time: 9:15 p.m. (ET)
TV: SPEED, 9:00 p.m. (ET)
Race Distance: 350 kilometers/220 miles (147 laps)
Track Layout: 1.5-mile oval
Race Purse: $566,979
2005 Winner: Todd Bodine
2005 Pole: Mike Skinner
Schedule: Thursday -- Practice, 12:30 p.m. -- 1:30 p.m., 2:00 p.m. -- 2:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. -- 3:30 p.m. Qualifying, 7:00 p.m.