Atlanta: News of note, schedule

Many NASCAR Craftsman Truck drivers are Atlanta veterans NEWS & NOTES * Where Atlanta will rank speed-wise ... The 1.54-mile Atlanta Motor Speedway should be in some pretty fast company after Friday's Bud Pole qualifying. The two quickest ...

Many NASCAR Craftsman Truck drivers are Atlanta veterans

NEWS & NOTES

* Where Atlanta will rank speed-wise ... The 1.54-mile Atlanta Motor Speedway should be in some pretty fast company after Friday's Bud Pole qualifying. The two quickest one-lap records are 187.563 at Daytona and 181.953 at Texas. Atlanta is the 42nd different venue to host a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race.

* Streak on the line in Atlanta ... Dennis Setzer (No. 46 Chevrolet Silverado Chevrolet) notched his 21st consecutive top-10 finish on Feb. 13 at Daytona, a streak that began May 30, 2003 at Dover. He's just three shy of Jack Sprague's (No. 16 Chevy Trucks Chevrolet) record of 24, a string that opened on July 27, 1997 and ran through July 18, 1998.

* Etc. ... Kelly Sutton (No. 02 Team Copaxone Chevrolet) recently was awarded a Gene Autry Courage Award, which is presented to athletes who have overcome hardships and disabilities. Sutton competes despite being afflicted with multiple sclerosis (MS). Former Chicago Cubs third baseman and broadcaster Ron Santo also was honored at the Phoenix-area banquet, a fund-raiser for Arizona scholarship programs and youth charities. ... Featherlite, a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series sponsor for nine seasons through its Long Haul Award program, has revised its program in 2004. Now known as the NASCAR/Featherlite Most Improved Driver Award, the award of $1,500 will be paid to the eligible driver improving the most positions from the finish of the previous event. Featherlite, the official trailer and coach of NASCAR, will pay a $10,000 end-of-season bonus to the driver winning the greatest number of Most Improved Driver awards during the 2004 season. ... Line-X Spray-On Bedliners will sponsor the July 31 series stop at Michigan International Speedway. The company also backs the No. 24 Toyota driven by defending champion Travis Kvapil. ... Tony Raines, a four-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series winner, returns to the series to drive the No. 08 Phoneco Chevrolet. Raines' last appearance came in 1999 at The Milwaukee Mile. He most recently won at the old Louisville Motor Speedway in August 1998.

ON THE RIGHT TRACK

* Plenty of Atlanta experience in the field ... Many series competitors have significant Atlanta Motor Speedway experience entering this week's inaugural race at the 1.54-mile facility -- especially Mike Skinner, winner of the 1999 NASCAR Busch Series Yellow Freight 200 and Ken Schrader (No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet), who won a 1991 NASCAR premier series race. Schrader is among the top-15 money winners at Atlanta with more than $1 million in earnings. Skinner also won a 500K ARCA race in 1995. ... Hank Parker Jr. (No. 21 Innovative Motorsports Inc. Toyota) finished fifth in last year's NASCAR Busch event while Shelby Howard (No. 23 Bill Davis Racing Toyota) nabbed a runnerup finish in the track's 2003 ARCA race.

* Kimmel could take K Automotive team to victory lane ... Frank Kimmel (No. 29 K Automotive Ford) has done everything but win at Atlanta, a track that has figured prominently in the Indiana native's five ARCA RE/MAX championships. Kimmel counts six poles and nine top five and ten top-10 finishes in 15 trips to AMS.

QUOTEBOOK

* "It's not what I'm accustomed to when I was in the NASCAR Busch Series. Once the season started, there were just a few off weekends. I think the reason I'm having such a tough time adjusting is because I'm ready to race." -- Hank Parker Jr. on the one-month break in the schedule between Daytona and Atlanta.

* "I've tested a NASCAR Busch Series car at Atlanta before and it was a real eye-opener. Atlanta feels fast and there's no mistaking it. It's fast-paced and a lot can happen in a hurry. You have to be sharp and on your game." -- David Reutimann (No. 17 NTN Bearings Toyota).

* "The fastest groove there a lot of times is not at the bottom of the race track. You can move around and find a place on the track where you can run faster. You can search around to find different grooves and find the one that works (best) for you." -- Andy Houston (No. 2 Team ASE/Carquest Dodge) on why he enjoys competition at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

* Mike Skinner could be considered the "series king" of debut races, having won six of them -- all in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series' inaugural season. Ted Musgrave and Jack Sprague have won a pair of first-time events. Bobby Hamilton and Kenny Schrader count one apiece. Musgrave's May 2003 victory at Lowe's Motor Speedway is the most recent.

Fast Facts

What:  EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 200 (Race No. 2 of 25).

Where: Atlanta Motor Speedway.
When: 1 p.m. ET, Saturday, March 13.
Track layout:  1.54 -mile banked paved oval.

Race length: 130 laps/200.2 miles.

TV: SPEED Channel, 1 p.m. ET.
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.

Pre-race schedule (all times local): Friday -- Practice, 9 -- 11:15 a.m. Qualifying, 1:30 p.m. Final practice following NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series practice, time permitting.

-nascar-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Mike Skinner , Ken Schrader , Hank Parker Jr. , Ted Musgrave , Tony Raines , Jack Sprague , Dennis Setzer , Shelby Howard , Kelly Sutton , David Reutimann , Travis Kvapil
Teams Bill Davis Racing