Texas: Round nine preview

*Speed-y Win: Scott Speed Finds Monster Mile's Victory Lane *Three's The Magic Number: Kyle Busch To Make Weekend Triple-Header *Rick Crawford Takes Title Lead; Top Eight Spots Covered By 68 Points Scott Speed Conquers The Monster...

*Speed-y Win: Scott Speed Finds Monster Mile's Victory Lane
*Three's The Magic Number: Kyle Busch To Make Weekend Triple-Header
*Rick Crawford Takes Title Lead; Top Eight Spots Covered By 68 Points

Scott Speed Conquers The Monster Mile

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 2, 2008) -- For the third week in a row, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series celebrates another first time winner.

Raybestos Rookie Scott Speed, in only his sixth start in the series, held off Kevin Harvick, Inc.'s Jack Sprague (No. 2 American Commercial Lines Chevrolet) and Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 33 Camping World Chevrolet) to bring his No. 22 Red Bull Toyota to Victory Lane in the AAA Insurance 200 at Dover International Speedway.

Speed follows Donny Lia (No. 71 NationRide.com/Zurich Chevrolet) and Matt Crafton (No. 88 Menards Chevrolet) to victories in consecutive races.

That matched the series first-time winner record set in 1995 and duplicated in 1998.

The win also was the first for the No. 22 team and crew chief Doug Wolcott. The team had competed in 106 races with a number of different drivers including Formula One champion Jacques Villeneuve and Bill Lester.

"To be honest with you, whether we win or not, it doesn't affect my confidence," said Speed, who collected his third top-10 finish of the season. "I don't let results control how I feel about myself; I've said it a thousand times.

"Today we had a good strategy and we had an awesome truck. We got everything we could out of it."

Said Wolcott, "So far every race we've had with Scott, he's done a fabulous job. It (was) pretty cool to watch it unfold today."

Kyle Busch Looks Ahead To Multi-State Triple-Header

Kyle Busch has a busy weekend ahead of him. The driver who is finding success in all three of NASCAR's national series will try to do something this weekend that has never been attempted before: compete in all three national series at three different tracks in as many states.

Busch will be behind the wheel of the No. 51 Billy Ballew Miccosukee Resorts/NOS Energy Toyota in the Sam's Town 400 at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday night. Saturday, he'll race the No. 32 Toyota for Braun Racing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series at Nashville Superspeedway for the Federated Auto Parts 300 presented by Dollar General. By Sunday morning he'll arrive back at Pocono Raceway in time to hop into his No. 18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Pocono 500 for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

"The full emphasis will be set by my Sprint Cup schedule; I am going to make every practice and qualifying in Pocono," said Busch, a winner earlier this year at Auto Club Speedway in California and Atlanta Motor Speedway. "I'm going to miss qualifying and practice in the truck and in the Nationwide car, but I will be there to race it.

"It's just about racing it and trying to keep ourselves up in the points and keep Billy Ballew up in the owners' standings. A lot of it has to do with the fans: They like to see it and they want to go see a driver trying to race in as many races as they can and to see somebody be as crazy as I am most of the time."

Ballew development driver J.R. Norris will practice and qualify Busch's truck.

"I'm a little nervous because I haven't been in a truck all year," said Norris, who finished 20th at TMS last November. "I wish I could race the truck myself but if Kyle was to win, I know that I played a part in that and that is a good feeling.

"Maybe if this goes well I can get another chance to drive or race for this team or who knows? Maybe for someone else."

Etc. & Quotable

Close Battle ... After eight races of the 25-race schedule, the championship points battle is a close one. A 105-point spread separates drivers one through 10.

For the second time in 280 series starts, Rick Crawford (No. 14 Power Stroke Diesel by International Ford) sits atop the standings. Crawford's only previous lead was in 2003 after he won the season opener at Daytona.

But his advantage is precarious, to say the least. Matt Crafton (No. 88 Menards Chevrolet) is 20 points behind in second. In fact, a slim 68 points cover positions one and eight.

Crafton, who made his first trip to Victory Lane at Lowe's Motor Speedway, is already after win No. 2. Since his win, the driver has finished 12th at Mansfield and fifth at Dover.

By The Numbers ... It's been a good a year so far for the younger drivers of the series. The average age of the first seven race winners: 28.1. The average was 40.6 for 2007.

Texas Proud ... Two Texas natives are looking forward to racing this weekend in their home state: Series veteran David Starr (No. 11 Red Horse Racing Toyota), from Houston, has seven top-fives and 9 top-10s.

Colin Braun (No. 6 Conway Freight Ford) is also headed home. The young rookie is not only ready to race at home, but would like to make it three rookie winners in a row.

"Obviously, being from Texas I'm really excited about racing there. I've never run there before, but we've had good runs at all the other mile-and-a-half tracks this season," said Braun.

"We got a third-place finish at Kansas, so I expect to run well. I know the truck we're taking has a lot of great history so I'd like to add my name to the list of drivers who've won in that truck," he added.

"We've had three first-time winners in the truck series the last three races, including two rookies, so I'm hoping to make it four-in-a row in my home state."

His crew chief, Mike Beam, thinks the young Texan will have a good weekend. "I'm sure Colin will have a good run at Texas," he said.

Beam is confident in the truck Braun will race at TMS too. "We're taking one of our favorite trucks which has always run well for us. Travis (Kvapil) won at Michigan, Nashville and Vegas with this truck last year, and Mark (Martin) won races with it in 2006," said Beam.

"We haven't run it yet this year, but we just took it to the wind tunnel last week and were pleased with the numbers. It would be great for Colin to get his first win in his home state."

New Face To Share Ride ... Bill Davis Racing announced at Dover that Michael Arnett will share the driving duties of the No. 22 Toyota with Scott Speed for the remainder of the 2008 season. Annett, who is part of BDR's driver developmental program, will make his debut in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series at The Milwaukee Mile.

"I am thrilled at this opportunity," the 22-year-old Iowa native said. "The guys at Bill Davis Racing are the best, and I can't wait to test my skills against NASCAR's elite drivers."

The driver has found success in the ARCA RE/MAX Series where in nine career starts he has two wins, five top-five finishes and eight top-10 finishes in addition to one pole.

Annett will practice and qualify Speed's truck at Texas. Speed, competing in Pocono's ARCA RE/MAX event, will fly in on Busch's airplane late Friday afternoon.

All Tied Up ... Drivers Todd Bodine (No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota) and Brendan Gaughan (No. 10 International MAXX FORCE Diesel Ford) are heading this week to a track they know all too well.

Both drivers are tied with the most wins at Texas with four. In Texas, Germain Is Tops

No team has done better at Texas Motor Speedway than Germain Racing, which counts five victories at the 1.5-mile track.

Todd Bodine is the defending winner of the Sam's Town 400 -- the 2006 champion's fourth victory at the track.

Thanks to a wild finish in last November's Silverado 350, Ted Musgrave (No. 59 Team ASE/Harris Truck Toyota) snagged win No. 5 for the team.

"Texas is a little bit special but you're never dominant in this sport. You have to be good to be lucky -- to create your own luck," said Mike Hillman Sr., Germain's general manager. "Our mile-and-a-half program has always been real strong and our superspeedway program is good. I look forward to getting back to Texas and hopefully getting another cowboy hat."

Rookies Bring Home Back-to-Back Victories

For the second week in a row, a Rookie of the Year candidate finds his way to Victory Lane.

Scott Speed's win follows fellow rookie Donny Lia's (No. 71 TRG Chevrolet) at Mansfield.

While Lia and Scott have wins to their credit, Colin Braun (No. 6 Con-way Freight Ford) is the highest-ranking rookie in championship points.

Braun is 14th, followed by Justin Marks (No. 9 Crocs Toyota) in 17th, and TRG Motorsports teammates Lia (20th) and Andy Lally (No. 7 TRG Chevrolet) (21st).

Braun leads the Rookie of the Year points competition but the others keep it close. Lia and Marks are tied at 72, while Lally holds only a one point lead over Brian Scott (No. 16 Albertson's Chevrolet).

Up Next

The series will head north to Michigan International Speedway for the Cool City Customs 200 on June 14.

Travis Kvapil was 2007's winner and the first to win from the pole position in the eight visits the series has made to the track.

In The Loop: Skinner Leads

If anything can jump-start Mike Skinner's season, it is a race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Skinner is phenomenal there -- except for one glaring problem. He has yet to win at the 1.5-mile venue.

Other than that, he's incredible. Skinner has led a lap in all eight of his Texas races, and finished in the top-four in each of the last six trips to Texas. His statistics there are tremendous.

He owns series-highs in Driver Rating (134.2), Average Running Position (2.7), Fastest Laps Run (166) and Laps in the Top 15 (98.3 percent). This Friday night's race seems like a perfect opportunity for Skinner to get his first win at Texas -- and of 2008 (last year at this juncture, Skinner had three victories).

As usual, Kyle Busch will attract much attention this weekend. Busch will attempt to run three races in three days at three different tracks. The first will be Texas.

Busch has raced at Texas three times in his career, but this will be the first at the spring standalone event. He has solid stats at Texas, finishing third in 2005 and second in 2006.

Over the last three races at Texas, Busch has a Driver Rating of 114.8, an Average Running Position of 8.7 and 36 Fastest Laps Run.

Also watch for a strong performance from Jack Sprague. Sprague, coming off a second-place finish at Dover, has two wins at Texas. Over the last three seasons Sprague has a Driver Rating of 94.8 and an Average Running Position of 11.9. Sprague is attempting to end a 32-race winless streak -- his last win came at Daytona in 2006.

Bow Ties Lead, But Points Close

Toyota and Chevrolet are neck and neck as the series heads into the Lone Star State. Toyota was the last to visit Victory Lane with Ted Musgrave this past November but Chevrolet holds the most wins by a manufacturer at TMS with seven.


Director's Take: Wayne's Words

"The fans in Texas really like their pickup trucks. And so does Texas Motor Speedway, which will be running its 21st NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race this week. That's the most races at any track, two a year since 1999, so it shows how attached the Lone Star State has become to the series.

"Of course, the racing itself is awesome. There may be some long, green flag runs early but something always seems to shake up the race at the end. We've had a couple of wild, green-white-checker finishes there including last November, when Chad McCumbee and Jack Sprague got together and handed the win to Ted Musgrave.

"Ted had been racing there since 2001 and saw the wins slip through his fingers so many times, so I guess the track owed him one.

"At the beginning, Texas was kind of a one-groove track. No longer. There are multiple grooves, giving drivers and crew chiefs plenty of ways to make their trucks go fast. Some drivers like the bottom. But Brendan Gaughan sure made the high groove work when he won four straight races back in 2002-03.

"This will be the first time at Texas for the new engine package. We think it's been a big success so far -- especially when it comes to saving teams money. Scott Speed, our latest first-time winner, used a two-race engine to win last week in Dover." - Wayne Auton, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Director

FAST FACTS

The Race: Sam's Town 400

The Place: Texas Motor Speedway
The Date: June 6, 2008

The Time: 9 p.m. ET
Race Distance: 250.5 miles / 167 laps
Track Layout: 1.5-mile paved oval

TV: SPEED, 8:30 p.m. ET

2007 Winner: Todd Bodine
2007 Pole: Todd Bodine

Schedule: Thursday -- Practice, 11:00 am-12:15 pm; Final practice, 12:45 pm-2:00 pm; Qualifying, 6:00 pm

-credit: nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Todd Bodine , Mike Skinner , Jacques Villeneuve , David Starr , Kevin Harvick , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Ted Musgrave , Colin Braun , Jack Sprague , Rick Crawford , Matt Crafton , Andy Lally , Scott Speed , Bill Lester , Brendan Gaughan , Justin Marks , Chad McCumbee , J.R. Norris , Brian Scott , Donny Lia , Kyle Busch , Travis Kvapil
Teams Germain Racing , TRG Motorsports , Bill Davis Racing , Red Horse Racing