CHARLOTTE, N.C., (July 25, 2001) NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Joe Ruttman will pilot the ...
CHARLOTTE, N.C., (July 25, 2001) NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Joe Ruttman will pilot the #1 Yellow Racing Chevrolet in Saturday's NAPA AutoCare 250 NASCAR Busch Grand National Series event at Pikes Peak (Colo.) International Raceway. Ruttman won at Pikes Peak earlier this season in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. The Jelly Belly 200 was his second truck win of the season. The 56-year-old driver hopes that success will carry over to Team Yellow Racing this Saturday when the green flag falls on the 250-lap affair.
"I'm really looking forward to Pikes Peak because the #1 Yellow Racing Chevrolet has always been good there," said Ruttman. "I have had some success there as well, and hopefully we can rekindle the performance that I had earlier this season in the truck series.
"Driving a NASCAR truck translates well to these Busch race cars. Most people assume the vehicles race differently, but that's not true. I don't want to give away the secrets I learned in this year's truck event, but I think we discovered something that will carry over to the Busch side."
It will be the third time that Ruttman has substituted for driver Jimmy Spencer this season. In his two previous starts for Team Yellow Racing, Ruttman finished 33rd at Kentucky Speedway (June 16) and 38th at The Milwaukee Mile (July 1). The interim Yellow Racing driver believes he put too much pressure on himself in the first two events. But Ruttman says he is more relaxed this week because he has had his share of success at the one-mile oval.
"Pikes Peak International is a fun race track and a beautiful place to visit," said Ruttman. "It gives me some peace of mind knowing that I have done well there. The track is smooth and they built a great facility around it. It is also real wide, so it puts on a great race. The multi-grooves allow you to find different ways around the track. If your race car isn't running well, you have the ability to work with it."
In addition to his knowledge of Pikes Peak, Ruttman can count on his long-time friendship with #1 Yellow Racing crew chief Marc Reno. The pair has known each other for more than 30 years, going back to their early racing days in Southern California. This weekend, they hope to add another distinctive chapter to their history together.
"All races rely on race strategy more than one might think," Ruttman said. "That's when a good crew chief helps a lot. Experience comes into play when it's time to make a decision. Hopefully, I can give Marc and the team some good information on when to pit, how many tires to take and how to adjust the race car. My experiences with the truck series should help me in that respect.
"This is my final run in the #1 Yellow Chevrolet, and I want a good performance," said Ruttman. "My focus is on a top five. There'll be a lot of passing on Saturday. From a spectator's standpoint, it's a great place to watch a race."As the driver of the #18 Bobby Hamilton Racing truck, Ruttman currently stands second in the Craftsman Truck Series point standings. He has 2,135 points in 14 starts this season.