Atlanta II: GM Racing preview

* Bobby Labonte Back in No. 47 Chevrolet All Star Celebrity Silverado at Atlanta * Dennis Setzer (No. 46 Chevrolet Silverado) is only four-time NCTS winner this season - Michigan, Milwaukee, Kentucky and IRP * Chevrolet sits atop the NCTS ...

* Bobby Labonte Back in No. 47 Chevrolet All Star Celebrity Silverado at Atlanta

* Dennis Setzer (No. 46 Chevrolet Silverado) is only four-time NCTS winner this season - Michigan, Milwaukee, Kentucky and IRP

* Chevrolet sits atop the NCTS manufacturer championship chase with 135 points and nine wins

* Bobby Labonte will drive the No. 47 Chevrolet All Star Celebrity Silverado with Julie Roberts' image on the hood

* Econo Lodge/Rodeway Inn will sponsor the Morgan Dollar Motorsports entry

* Mike Bliss will return to the cockpit of the No. 16 Chevy Trucks Silverado field by Xpress Motorsports

*Bliss and the team won the 2002 NCTS championship

* Ron Hornaday (No. 6 GM Goodwrench Silverado) and Bobby Labonte (No. 16 Chevy Trucks Silverado) each have one victory in 2005 - Atlanta and Martinsville respectively

* In the spring 2005 Atlanta NCTS race, Hornaday beat Labonte at the checkered by a mere .008 second to score his first victory for Kevin Harvick Inc.

* Kyle Busch returns to the cockpit of the No. 15 Billy Ballew Motorsports Silverado

HAMPTON, GA - If there were such a title, Bobby Labonte would definitely be the "King of Atlanta". In 25 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup starts, the native of Corpus Christi, TX has two poles six wins, 12 top-five and 13 top-10 finishes. In his first NCTS start (March 2005) at the fast 1.5-mile oval just south of Atlanta, Labonte finished second to fellow Silverado driver Ron Hornaday by blink of an eye - just eight thousandths of a second.

The Easy Care 200 will be Labonte's fourth appearance as a member of the Chevrolet All Star Celebrity Team, but marks his sixth appearance in the Morgan Dollar Motorsports race truck. He scored the first win for the team in April 2005 at Martinsville Speedway, the week following the thrilling Atlanta finish.

Rising country star Julie Roberts will lend her image to the paint scheme of the No. 47 and will be trackside with Labonte and the team prior to the race. In addition, she will greet the drivers during introductions and sing the National Anthem.

"We are looking forward to another trip to Atlanta," said Dayne Pierantoni, GM Racing NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Program Director. "Our teams are really motivated this week. Ron Hornaday would like to back up his win from the spring. Dennis is ready for a good solid run without any of the bad luck he's had lately. David Starr is always good at the fast one and one-half mile tracks. And then we have Mike Bliss, Kyle Busch and Bobby Labonte coming over from the Cup side. We have had some great Silverados in the last few races but circumstances haven't really played to our favor. Several of our teams have tested for this race so we a looking for a strong showing and hopefully a trip to victory lane."

Mike Bliss will rejoin Xpress Motorsports behind the wheel of the No. 16 Chevy Trucks Silverado for the remaining 2005 NCTS races starting with Atlanta. As the team's full time driver, Bliss won the 2002 NCTS championship with five wins, 13 top-fives, 18 top-10 finishes and four poles. An announcement from Xpress Motorsports regarding the 2006 full-time driver will be forthcoming.

Dennis Setzer will be looking to regain his winning form from earlier this season as the No. 46 Chevrolet Silverado team unloads at Atlanta. Setzer suffered a disappointing 19th place finish at Martinsville Speedway that dropped him to second in the points for the first time since the Milwaukee race in June. He currently sits second in the standings, 54 points behind leader Ted Musgrave (Dodge).

Ron Hornaday is excited to get back to Atlanta and make it two-for-two trips to victory lane in 2005 at the Georgia track. The driver of the Kevin Harvick, Inc. No. 6 GM Goodwrench Silverado is the record holder for NCTS wins with 27 to his credit but would like to see that number climb by one when the checkered flag falls Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

David Starr and the No. 75 Spears Manufacturing Silverado team are looking to regain the consistency they enjoyed the early part of the 2005 season. Bad racing luck has hampered the team for several races including Martinsville. A solid top-10 run was negated when Starr was hit on pit road during a series of yellow flag pit stops as another competitor attempted to exit his pit stall. Starr's truck sustained substantial left side damage and the Texas driver had to settle for a disappointing 21st place finish.

Kyle Busch will again wheel the No. 15 Silverado looking for another win to add to the two he has scored this season. The youngster won back-to-back NCTS races in 2005 at Lowe's Motor Speedway and Dover International Speedway.

The first practice for the Easy Care 200 is scheduled for one hour beginning at 2:35 p.m. EDT on Friday, October 28. Final practice will be held from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Qualifying will be held at 11:30 a.m. EDT on Saturday, October 29 and the final field of trucks impounded until the scheduled race start at 3:15 p.m. EDT that afternoon. Live television coverage of the 130-lap/ 200.2-mile race will be provided by SPEED Channel with MRN and XM Satellite bringing the race live on the airwaves.


TEAM: No. 46 Morgan-Dollar Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado

"We had a really good run here in the spring. Our truck was fast and could race really good around other trucks. I thought we would have a shot there to win the thing in the end, but fourth was a good finish for our Silverado team at that time.

"After our problems at Martinsville, we really need a good run at Atlanta. The mile-and-a-half tracks have been pretty good to us so far this year, so maybe we can get back on track here. This is a super-fast track, but a fun track to race at. The trucks always put on a good show and there is plenty of room to race side-by-side. Eric and the guys have worked hard and we are going to take back the same truck that we ran with in the spring. It's a little different than the truck that we have used at the bigger tracks this summer, but we know that it can be fast at Atlanta."

TEAM: No. 16 Xpress Motorsports Chevy Trucks Silverado

"I am excited to be back with every one at Xpress Motorsports and have the opportunity to drive the Chevy Trucks Silverado. We had great success in the past. Thanks to Dave Fuge and Chevrolet for giving me the opportunity the rest of this season. I would really like to win a couple of races for them before the season ends.

"This will be my first truck race at Atlanta. I think it will be a lot of fun. It should be pretty much wide open at Atlanta and it will come down to who can leave their foot in it the longest. The track is wide and fast so in the trucks it has made the first two races there really exciting. I think we will see the same thing this time. I am just looking forward to being on of the guys battling for the win."

TEAM: No. 75 Spears Manufacturing Silverado

"I love racing at Atlanta. It is one of the fastest tracks on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck circuit and the racing is awesome for both the fans and the drivers. It is similar to Texas, which is my home track and definitely suits my style of driving. Not only is the track extremely fast, but also it is multi-grooved which lets you pass low, high and in the center.

"This is only our third race at Atlanta and earlier this year we earned a fifth place finish. Hopefully, the third time out will be the charm and we will be able to put our Spears Chevy Silverado in the Number One spot. We tested here recently and were pleased with the results. The key at this track is a combination of a good handling truck, a good aero package and lots of horsepower. Our Spears Chevy and our Hutter engine gives us everything we need. This should be a really good event."


TEAM: No. 6 Kevin Harvick, Inc. GM Goodwrench Silverado

"Obviously we are looking forward to returning to Atlanta, because of our success earlier this year. We have been back to test since we won there during the first part of the season and we still feel like we are going to be the team to beat when the race gets underway. The GM Goodwrench Chevrolet has been running good lately we just haven't finished as well as we have needed to in order to gain in the championship race. It is not completely out of reach for us to get back in the hunt, but Musgrave has a pretty good lead and it is going to take some luck if we want to catch him. All we can do now is focus on Atlanta and hope that we can duplicate the result. I know the fans would love another close finish and as long as we are the first to cross the stripe another close finish is fine with me."

TEAM: No. 47 Morgan Dollar Motorsports Silverado

"Atlanta creates great racing just because of the fact you have multiple groove racing. You can run high or low and that is what really does it for the track. There is grip in both grooves so it doesn't seem to matter as long as your car or truck works in one or both of them, you can get around the place pretty good. I think that is what the close racing at Atlanta is all about.

"I am looking forward to working with Randy Goss and the Morgan Dollar Motorsports crew. We have had great runs our last two races together so it will be fun to pick up right where we left off."

TEAM: No. 15 Billy Ballew Motorsports Silverado

"Trucks punch such a big hole in the air and it's a little different than any other race I have run in them. The closest thing to that would be the Michigan race and that was really fun. We sat on the pole and challenged for the win but just ran out of laps. It's a place where you can go and hold it wide open for eight to ten laps, then you have to back it down a little to save your stuff. The winner will be the person who can hold it down the longest. It's not a race where you can get out front and leave the field behind. There will be a pack of trucks running together up front. I think that race will be pretty fun for us."

-gm racing-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Bobby Labonte , David Starr , Kevin Harvick , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Ted Musgrave , Dennis Setzer , Mike Bliss , Kyle Busch