Thanks to NASCAR Online LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Jan, 18, 1998) Notes Sunday from the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Chevy Trucks Challenge at Walt Disney World Speedway: Appearances can sometimes be deceiving, and despite the Quaker ...
Thanks to NASCAR Online
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Jan, 18, 1998) Notes Sunday from the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Chevy Trucks Challenge at Walt Disney World Speedway:
Appearances can sometimes be deceiving, and despite the Quaker State graphics on defending NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Jack Sprague's No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet at the season-opening Chevy Trucks Challenge at Walt Disney World Speedway, the oil company will only carry associate sponsor status on the truck for the balance of the 1998 season. A team spokesman said the decor of the green truck was down as a favor to the company that was its primary sponsor for the championship season. Now, the team has more than two months to secure primary backing before the second race of the season, the April 4 Florida Dodge Dealers 400 at Metro-Dade Homestead (Fla.) Motorsports Complex.
Former NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division Raybestos Rookie of the Year Jeff Fuller was maintaining a profile in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Garage at the Chevy Trucks Challenge, and with good reason. First, he was spotting for driver Terry Cook in the season opener, but more importantly he was hunting for driving employment for 1998. "Making Daytona looks pretty bleak right now," said Fuller.
Chrysler continues to step up its motorsports program. In addition to running six Dodge Ram truck, the manufacturer had its newly-contracted "NASCAR technical consultant," former Roush Racing crew chief Howard Comstock, on hand at Walt Disney World Speedway for the Chevy Trucks Challenge. Two Dodges finished in the top-10, driven by Bob Keselowski and Butch Miller.
While they continue to arduously hunt for primary sponsorship to enable sophomore driver Barry Bodine to make a full season in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, the No. 7 Mattei Motorsports/Geoff Bodine Racing Ford had writing for Purvis Brothers, a Ford dealership in Fayetteville, N.C., on its flanks for the Chevy Trucks Challenge, young Bodine's eighth start in the NCTS. It was a one-race deal that was soured when F-150's engine failed, relegating Bodine to 35th.
In memory of the late T. Wayne Robertson, president of Sports Marketing Enterprises for the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Barry Dodson, a championship NASCAR Winston Cup Series crew chief and now pit boss for the No. 2 Team ASE Ford of driver Mike Bliss, created a special decal to honor the memory of Robertson, who was killed in a boating accident last Wednesday in Louisiana. All teams in the Chevy Trucks Challenge were asked to affix the decal to their trucks. "I pretty much grew up with T. Wayne," Dodson said. "We were both from Winston-Salem (N.C.). We were best friends over the years." "T. Wayne provided airplanes, personal support, vehicles during that time," Dodson said, recalling the death of his children Trey and Tia in a car crash. "That happened during the Winston Cup banquet in 1994, and I never forgot that. I don't feel like racing today, but I know he'd want me to. We'd like to win the race and dedicate it to T. Wayne. It's like losing a brother, almost."
Liberty Racing co-owner Brad Daugherty was noticeable in the NCTS garage area, as the former NBA standout stands 6-10. He regaled TNN Motorsports reporter Matt Yokam with tales of his and Robert Pressley's initial NASCAR Busch Series victory, when Daugherty was a co-owner of that team as well.
What a start to the 1998 NASCAR season for Jack Roush Racing. Roush, who also owns five teams in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series and two NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division teams, was on hand Sunday at Walt Disney World Speedway as his three teams finished second, fifth and 25th in the Chevy Trucks Challenge. Salving the hurt of Chuck Bown's off-the-pace finish was his Bud Pole Award on Saturday -- the first of his NCTS career.
With his victory in Sunday's Chevy Trucks Challenge at Walt Disney World Speedway, Ron Hornaday became the first driver to win at least one race in all four years of existence for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Hornaday, who holds the record for the most career victories in the series with 18 and who has started every event, also won his largest purse, $48,625. Mike Skinner, the driver of the No. 31 Lowe's Home Improvement Chevrolet in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series and the initial NCTS champion in 1995, won 16 races in two full seasons on the circuit. Mike Bliss, driver of the No. 2 Team ASE Ford, is the only other driver with a chance to tie Hornaday's mark with a win in 1998.
Hornaday won $48,625 for winning the Chevy Trucks Challenge. It's the largest single- race purse of his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series career. Hornaday finished 30th in the inaugural event at WDWS last season after crashing heavily. His last victory came on Aug. 9, 1997, at Flemington (N.J.) Speedway, nine races ago. The winner's payoff was the seventh-largest in the history of the NCTS.
Track officials estimated Sunday's attendance for the season-opening Chevy Trucks Challenge, the first event for NASCAR's top divisions in its 50th Anniversary Celebration, at nearly 40,000. Attendance was estimated at just over 28,000 for Saturday's Bud Pole Qualifying and for the USAC Silver Crown race. The capacity for Walt Disney World Speedway is nearly 52,000.
The No. 90 National Hockey League Dodge of driver Lance Norick sported a new, one-race look during the season-opening NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event at Walt Disney World Speedway. Keeping with the theme of sporting specific motifs at different NCTS venues, the new scheme spotlighted the NHL's "Winter Break" -- a two-week suspension of play for the Olympic Games -- and featured blue instead of black trim and the "Winter Break" logo instead of the traditional NHL shield. Unfortunately, Norick failed to qualify for the Chevy Trucks Challenge despite a strong qualifying lap and a good run in the Last Chance Qualifying Race. A companion race truck was also on display in Vancouver, B.C.., in conjunction with Sunday's NHL All-Star game.
1997 NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie of the Year Mike Skinner -- who was also the inaugural NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion in 1995 -- has very high hopes for his new venture into the NCTS. He believes he and his son, Jamie, can win a race or two in the Llumar Window Films Chevrolet that they will share in 10 races, and that the truck racing endeavor will provide a giant stepping stone for the youngster's bid to join his father in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. "He's going to be awfully good," Mike Skinner said of his 23-year-old son. "I'm a firm believer in the truck series being the best way to get ready for the Winston Cup Series. And that's why I have put this deal together -- plus I really like running the trucks."
The Brevak Racing team, owned by Bob and Shelley Brevak , is still looking for major sponsorship for its No. 31 Ford, but is ready to go racing in 1998. Tony Roper returns for a second year to drive the truck. The crew members, with the exception of spotter Dean Roper, a veteran Midwest racer, are all originally from Wisconsin, where the team is based. Members of the team include: Crew chief Joe Shear, truck driver/mechanic Jim Kent, mechanic Tim Secora, gas man Dave Lapean and scorer Betty Lapean. Despite losing an engine on Saturday morning, Roper still qualified sixth and ran in the top-10 until he was forced into the wall, and out of the race. He was listed in 28th at the finish.
Freddie Query, a veteran of the NASCAR Slim Jim All Pro Series, attempted to make his debut in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series at Walt Disney World Speedway in the No. 20 Walker Evans Racing Chevrolet. Query failed to make the race, which is the only event on off- road standout Walker Evans' NCTS calendar due to a lack of sponsorship. The team went the majority of the 1997 season without full sponsorship, and still finished 11th in the point standings with five top-five finishes and 12 top-10s, using driver Butch Miller. Unless it does secure a full-time sponsor before the next scheduled event, the Florida Dodge Dealers 400 on April 4at Metro-Dade Homestead (Fla.) Motorsports Complex, the team does not plan to race again in the series.
Dave Stacy, former NASCAR Goody's Dash Series driver, appeared in Bob Blake 's Chevrolet during Saturday's Bud Pole Qualifying for Sunday's Chevy Trucks Challenge. He failed to make the field, however. Stacy, who has competed in only one other NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event in his career (at Indianapolis Raceway Park in 1996), is a native of Enon, Ohio, and has won two career NASCAR Goody's Dash Series races. Blake Racing ran the first 10 races last season in the NCTS with driver Doug George, but its No. 12 was maintained in the top-20 of the truck owners' standings for the majority of the year by a variety of drivers.
Jimmy and Kevin Sasser, along with Steve Fogleman, have joined forces to form Sasser-Fogleman & Associates, Inc., and purchased Grier Lackey's "Gran Daddy Racing" NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series operation in the fall of 1997. Kelly Denton from Bristol, Va., will be the primary driver for the team in 1998, and legendary NASCAR driver and team owner Junior Johnson is the team manager. The team is based in Johnson's shop complex in Ronda, N.C.
Reher-Morrison Racing Engines has announced that it will add a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series team to its 26-year racing legacy. The company, based in Arlington, Texas, is the primary engine builder for NHRA Winston Drag Racing teams and also works with many NASCAR Winston Cup Series teams. Additionally, it owns the successful Outlaw-sponsored NHRA Pro Stock machine driven by Bruce Allen. After many years of going straight and seven world championships, co-owner Buddy Morrison has developed another division of the company called Reher-Morrison Motorsports. "We plan to compete in 10 truck races this season, but we must sign a sponsor to do that," Morrison said. "Since we are new to the truck series and we only plan to race a partial schedule, we feel we can offer a company a great deal of publicity at a reasonable price." Newcomer David Starr of Houston, a veteran of the TIDA Late Model series, will pilot the Chevrolet 1500. He attempted to make his debut in the season-opening Chevy Trucks Challenge, but a seventh in the Last Chance Qualifying Race was his best result, but the team had reason to be encouraged.