Track duo looking to make their mark at Texas

FORT WORTH-DALLAS (May 18, 2004) -- Tina Gordon and Kelly Sutton have high expectations for the 2004 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season. The O'Reilly 400k on Friday, June 11 could help propel both to successful Truck Series...

FORT WORTH-DALLAS (May 18, 2004) -- Tina Gordon and Kelly Sutton have high expectations for the 2004 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season. The O'Reilly 400k on Friday, June 11 could help propel both to successful Truck Series campaigns.

Gordon and Sutton are full-time competitors in the Craftsman Truck Series, the only major oval track series with a pair of women drivers. Both dispel their gender, instead focusing solely on proving themselves on the speedway.

"When I'm racing, I don't think about being a girl among a bunch of guys," said Gordon, who will drive the Vassarette/Microtel Chevrolet Silverado in the O'Reilly 400k. "It doesn't cross my mind. I'm just driving a truck just like everybody else is doing."

"When I strap myself in the Truck, I'm a driver," commented Sutton, driver of the Team Copaxone Chevrolet. "Everything I've done in my life has been guy things. It isn't anything to prove because I'm a woman, it's just the things I enjoy doing. Racing is one of the things I like to do."

Sutton does race with a passion. She is the only person with a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) known to be racing in NASCAR. Her sponsor, Copaxone, is a treatment used for the reduction of relapses in relapsing-remitting MS.

"Copaxone has been great," continued Sutton. "Not only has it helped me manage my disease, it has helped me fulfill a dream. Having them on board is a really unique situation, my sponsor is very dear to my heart."

Gordon and Sutton are looking to make their mark in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Gordon began racing in dirt track powder puff races in 1995 in her native Alabama and advanced through the NASCAR All Pro Series and ARCA. Sutton is a third-generation racer that has advanced through the Goody's Dash Series.

Gordon is campaigning full-time in the Craftsman Truck Series for the first time the ThorSport team. Former Cup Series driver Lance Hooper is her crew chief.

"They are a top-notch team," said Gordon. "Duke and Rhonda Thorson have given me a great opportunity this year. Having Lance as my crew chief, he has been on all sides of the sport, driver, owner and crew chief. He has been to all these tracks, so he can help relate what I'm telling him.

"Realistically, this year is going to be a lot tougher to win races and championships because the competition is unbelievable. It is twice as tough as last year. If we could get some top-ten finishes and finish in the top 15 in points, this would be a huge accomplishment for us this year."

Sutton's goals for 2004 include a solid placing in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings and good race finishes.

"The Craftsman Truck Series this year is so competitive," commented Sutton. "There are a lot for former Cup drivers in the series. It is a goal in and of itself to just qualify for each race. A good season would be having top 20 race finishes and learning at each track we go to."

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series features four manufacturers, Chevrolet, Ford, Dodge and Toyota, battling for victory with the sport's top stars. Gordon and Sutton will be joined in the O'Reilly 400k by defending NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Travis Kvapil, three-time Truck Series title winner Jack Sprague and former Cup Series drivers Ted Musgrave, Bobby Hamilton, Mike Skinner, Steve Park and Andy Houston.

Other Craftsman Truck Series stars with eyes on the O'Reilly 400k victory lane include David Starr, Rick Crawford, Carl Edwards, Dennis Setzer, Jon Wood, Terry Cook, Hank Parker Jr., David Reutimann, Matt Crafton and Chad Chaffin.

Tickets for the O'Reilly 400k are on sale daily at the speedway, by calling (817) 215-8500, online at www.texasmotorspeedway.com and at Ticketmaster locations.

-tms-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Steve Park , Mike Skinner , David Starr , Hank Parker Jr. , Ted Musgrave , Jack Sprague , Terry Cook , Rick Crawford , Jon Wood , Lance Hooper , Tina Gordon , Kelly Sutton , Chad Chaffin , David Reutimann , Carl Edwards , Travis Kvapil