2002 Rookies, newcomers and returning stars

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Welcomes Rookies, Newcomers and Returning Stars DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. This year's season opener for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Feb. 15 will have some new faces joining Series regulars, including rookies who...

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Welcomes Rookies, Newcomers and Returning Stars

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. This year's season opener for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Feb. 15 will have some new faces joining Series regulars, including rookies who have barely tested the waters of a major national series, NASCAR veterans who are new to the Craftsman Truck Series, and past Series stars who are returning to Craftsman Truck racing.

ROOKIES

Brendan Gaughan No. 62 NAPA Dodge
With five championship titles in off-road racing, Gaughan moved from dirt to asphalt in 1997. He captured the NASCAR Winston West Series championship twice: in 2000 and 2001. Gaughan is a business graduate of Georgetown University where he played on the men's varsity basketball team.

Bill Lester No. 8 Bobby Hamilton Racing Dodge
Lester joins Bobby Hamilton Racing in 2002 after making five NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series starts with the team in 2001. He began his racing career in the Sports Car Club of America's GT-3 class. From there, he moved to IMSA's GTO Series and participated for four years in the 24 Hours of Daytona.

Trent Owens No. 15 Dickies Ford
Owens started his racing career in the Slim Jim All-Pro Series in 1998. He also has competed in the USAR Hooters Pro Cup in 2000 and a few Craftsman Truck Series races in 2001. Owens, Richard Petty's nephew, is an instructor at the Richard Petty Driving Experience.

Donnie Neuenberger No. 81 International House of Pancakes Dodge
Neuenberger is the only 2002 rookie-of-the-year candidate who has competed at Daytona in a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race (2000). His experience comes from seven years of Goody's Dash competition.

Jason Small No. 07
Small started racing in the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series while still in high school. In 1999, he won rookie-of-the-year honors in the NASCAR Winston West Series. This season will be his first full-time effort in the Craftsman Truck Series.

NEWCOMERS

Jason Leffler No. 02 ASE CARQUEST Dodge
Leffler moves to the Craftsman Truck Series in 2002 after a one-year stint in Winston Cup. He is a three-time USAC Midget champion (1997, 1998, 1999), and also claimed the 1998 Silver Crown National title. Leffler's one start in the Craftsman Truck Series came at Indianapolis Raceway Park in 2000.

Robert Pressley No. 18 Bobby Hamilton Racing Dodge
A veteran of both the NASCAR Winston Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series, Pressley will start his first Craftsman Truck Series event at Daytona. In 1989, he was the first driver in NASCAR to win a Busch race in his rookie year. With 205 starts in the Busch Series and 204 in Cup, Pressley will be one of the most experienced of the new drivers.

RETURNING STARS

Mike Bliss No. 16 IWX Motorfreight Chevrolet
In 2002, Bliss returns to the Craftsman Truck Series where he has won seven races. He started in 1995, the first year the Series ran, and competed full-time through the 1999 season, scoring at least one victory each year.

Ron Hornaday No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Although he is a two-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion (1996, 1998), this will be Hornaday's first time competing in a Craftsman truck at Daytona International Speedway. He has 25 victories, the most of any driver in Series history.

Celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2002, Craftsman, the Official Tools of NASCAR, has sponsored the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series since it began in 1995. According to a 2001 Equitrend survey, Craftsman is rated the number-one brand in the nation for overall quality. Sears sells more than 1,800 Craftsman hand tools, all made in America and guaranteed forever. Sears offers Craftsman tools, merchandise and related services nationwide through its full-line stores, Sears Hardware, Sears dealer stores and Orchard Supply Hardware stores as well as through specialty catalogs and online at www.sears.com.

-sct-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Jason Leffler , Robert Pressley , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Richard Petty , Jason Small , Trent Owens , Bill Lester , Brendan Gaughan , Mike Bliss , Donnie Neuenberger
Teams Hendrick Motorsports