Joe Ruttman Named Co-Driver of the No. 18 Fastenal Dodge MT. JULIET, TENN. (3/20/2007) -- When Bobby Hamilton Sr. began the search to fill his own seat of the No. 18 Fastenal Dodge three months before his passing he called upon a select number...
Joe Ruttman Named Co-Driver of the No. 18 Fastenal Dodge
MT. JULIET, TENN. (3/20/2007) -- When Bobby Hamilton Sr. began the search to fill his own seat of the No. 18 Fastenal Dodge three months before his passing he called upon a select number of drivers he knew could get the job done. The announcement was made at the end of last season that Hamilton Sr. tagged Ken Schrader as his replacement. However, Schrader's Nextel Cup schedule does not permit him to compete full time in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series leaving the BHR stable to find a co-driver. Referring to Hamilton Sr.'s list of drivers he had previously spoke with and the record books for all time winners in the NCTS, the management team at BHR, along with input from Fastenal and Dodge Motorsports, are proud to announce Joe Ruttman as the co-driver of the No. 18 Fastenal Dodge.
Ruttman, who is tied for seventh on the all-time NCTS race winners list, is no stranger to BHR. The Tennessee native piloted the No. 18 Dodge for the late Hamilton Sr.'s organization in 2000 and 2001. Coincidently, he gave the company its first victory at Phoenix International Raceway in 2000, the same venue Hamilton won his first Nextel Cup win in 1996. Ruttman has a total of 13 NCTS victories, including five of which came with BHR, 17 poles, 68 top five's and 111 top-10 finishes in 168 starts.
"I can't wait to climb into the Fastenal Dodge," Ruttman said. "Bobby Hamilton and I had a great friendship. I am not here to fill Bobby Sr.'s seat; I don't think anyone can do that justice as he did. But to have this opportunity to come back home to work with his organization and Dodge again is a real dream come true. All of the core people who were here the first time I raced with them are still there. I believe in the organization, the structure and the future of BHR. They have proven themselves as champions and one of the most competitive teams in the series in the past and will continue to do so. I have been using Fastenal products for years and look forward to promoting them."
Ruttman is slated to drive the No. 18 Fastenal Dodge in seven of the final 22 races on the circuit. His first start will be next month in Kansas City, MO. Texas, Milwaukee, Memphis, Kentucky, Nashville and Gateway are tentatively set to complete his schedule.