Bristol: GM Racing preview

* Dennis Setzer holds a 178 point lead in the NCTS championship standings * Setzer is only four-time NCTS winner this season - Michigan, Milwaukee, Kentucky and IRP * Chevrolet sits atop the NCTS manufacturer championship chase with 110 points...

* Dennis Setzer holds a 178 point lead in the NCTS championship standings

* Setzer is only four-time NCTS winner this season - Michigan, Milwaukee, Kentucky and IRP

* Chevrolet sits atop the NCTS manufacturer championship chase with 110 points and nine wins

* Ron Hornaday and Jack Sprague each have one victory in 2005 - Atlanta and Texas respectively

Bristol, TN - Gritted determination is an accurate description of the attitude Dennis Setzer and his fellow Team Silverado drivers have as they head to Bristol Motor Speedway for the August 24, 2005 O'Reilly 200 for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. With nine races remaining in the 2005 NCTS season, solid finishes are critical in Setzer's bid for his first-ever series championship and top points finishes for former NCTS champions Ron Hornaday and Jack Sprague. David Starr is focused on getting to victory lane and maintaining his solid place in the elite top-10 year-end points finishers.

"Bristol is always one of the most exciting races of the year," said Dayne Pierantoni, GM Racing Silverado program manager. "The track's high banks and high speeds require the drivers to be very aggressive with their truck but patient with the traffic around them. Our Silverado drivers are certainly up to the task. We are looking forward to another action-packed Bristol truck race."

Setzer retained his lead in the series standings following his 14th-place finish at Nashville. While not changing the team approach to racing each race as it comes, the Newton, NC native knows to continue his march toward the NCTS driver championship, it is critical to leave Bristol with a solid finish and the fenders attached to his No. 46 Chevrolet Silverado.

"We are approaching the Bristol race no differently than any other," said Setzer. "There are nine races left in the season. If there were only two races left, we might be looking at this race differently, but we still have to go out and try and win races at this point.

"If you don't race hard you are not going to be in position to win a championship. But you have to race hard to earn points and sometimes it doesn't work out, but most of the time it does.

"It does take a lot of luck to avoid trouble at Bristol, but the caliber of drivers we have in the series now should make this race a lot cleaner than in the past. But as always at a place like this, it's always best to be up front."

Bristol Motor Speedway is considered by many as the toughest track on the NASCAR circuit. It is 0.533 mile, concrete surface with 36 degrees of banking in the corners and 16 degrees on the straights. Trucks will qualify at an average speed in excess of 126.500 mph in slightly over 15 seconds. Even with the possibility of the race slowed by numerous caution flags, the NCTS has averaged in excess of 80 mph for 200 laps/106.6 miles, virtually equal to the pace run by competitors in the NASCAR Busch Series and just a mere 5 mph average slower than the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers.

"Thunder Valley", nicknamed as much for the noise emanated from within the confines of the circle of speed as for its location in a Tennessee mountain valley just south of Bristol and north of Johnson City in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is one of only three concrete surface tracks on the NCTS circuit. Martinsville has concrete corners but paved straights. This week's race will make consecutive NCTS events on concrete tracks.

"Although the track is concrete, tires wear pretty good at Bristol pretty much like Nashville last weekend," said Sprague, three-time NCTS champion and driver of the No. 16 Chevy Trucks Silverado. "You can't abuse them by any means, but they maintain that place so well, it usually doesn't come down to a tire wear situation in the NCTS. Don't get me wrong, new tires are always better than used tires but the track doesn't eat our Goodyear Wranglers up like Dover does.

"You have to keep the body on your truck and find that fine line between being aggressive enough to stay up front and careful enough to not get caught up in a wreck. There usually isn't such a thing as a little wreck at Bristol. You have to be both lucky and good to get out of there with a good finish and a truck in one piece."

Two-time NCTS champion Hornaday concurs with Sprague on how to be successful at the Tennessee bullring. Hornaday has two NCTS victories at Bristol and Sprague has one trip to victory lane.

"The key to Bristol is to get out front," said the driver of the No. 6 GM Goodwrench Silverado. "You don't want to make anyone mad on your way there, but you have to get out of the middle of the pack as soon as you can. A lot of times, things that you cannot control happen and that is exactly what you are trying to avoid. You have to be patient as you move through traffic, but you can't be so patient that you don't get anywhere. There is a pace that you have to find that combines a charge to the front, while at the same time not taking out your competitors or making them mad."

Starr and the No. 75 Spears Silverado team are working to shake off a string of bad luck.

We've had good runs at Bristol in the past, but have never made it into victory lane," said Starr. "I'm optimistic about this year and know that our Spears Chevy Silverado has the potential to take the win. You need a strong truck that turns in the center and has good forward bite, You need to strike that perfect combination of being fast and being able to save your equipment. You can't win unless you are there at the finish and we definitely plan to be there.

"We've been struggling a bit, but everyone on the Spears team has been working overtime to get our Chevy Silverado dialed in. If we don't run into any unforeseen problems, I think this will be a good run for us."

Kyle Busch will climb back in the cockpit of the No. 15 ditech.com Silverado at Bristol.

"I'll be looking forward to getting back into Billy Ballew's No. 15 truck," Busch said. "It's been fun this year, as well as a great learning tool. We've won two races together and finished second in the third race, but the biggest deal has been the experience that I have been able to get by running on the race tracks that I have this year. Billy and Ritchie Wauters have been great to work with and they just want to do well. We try to learn what we can with the truck so then we can apply that knowledge to the Busch, and Cup cars."

The O'Reilly 200 by Valvoline Maxlife at Bristol Motor Speedway is a one-day show on Wednesday, August 24, 2005. The first practice is scheduled for 11:15 a.m. EDT on followed by the final practice at 1:00 p.m. EDT. Qualifying will be held at 5:30 p.m. EDT and the trucks impounded until the scheduled race start at 9:15 p.m. EDT. Live television coverage of the 200-lap/ 106.6-mile race will be provided by SPEED Channel with MRN and XM Satellite bringing the race live on the air waves.

DRIVER: DENNIS SETZER
TEAM: No. 46 Morgan-Dollar Motorsports Chevrolet Z71 Silverado

QUOTES: "Bristol is a really fun, but really fast place. It takes a while for a driver to get used to the speed here. Its almost like when you are done with our two hundred and fifty mile race, you feel like you are ready to go another five hundred miles because you've finally gotten used to the speed.

"This is obviously a very treacherous track and anything can happen. But the Craftsman Truck Series has such a high caliber of racers nowadays, that I expect this to be one of the best races for the trucks and not as much trouble as in the past.

"We got in some trouble here last year near the end of the race by being a little aggressive. But to run for a championship, you've got to race hard and fight for every position. That is especially important at this point since we've still got nine races to go in the season, we've got to concentrate on winning races. Whether you have a good truck or not is really going to dictate how hard you push the truck at a place like Bristol."

DRIVER: JACK SPRAGUE
TEAM: No. 16 Xpress Motorsports Chevy Trucks Silverado

QUOTES: "Bristol is the hardest track in the world to keep the body straight and keep to a race strategy. One of the biggest key to Bristol is qualifying near the front and stay there throughout the race so you have yourself in position to make your moves at the end. If you can keep your truck in good shape until the end and close to the front of the field, you have done what you need to do to make a run for the win. Things happen fast, you don't have the ability to look down the track and see things unfolding so the reaction time is virtually nil when something does happen. It is an intense race because you are just on it mentally and physically the entire race.

"At Bristol, it is always better to be lucky than good because of the fast action. But to win, you have to put yourself in the best possible place as the race winds down, so you have to have both to get to victory lane. This Chevy Trucks Silverado team is determined to leave Bristol with a victory. We need to get back on track and deliver the performances and finishes this team is capable of having."

DRIVER: DAVID STARR
TEAM: No. 75 Spears Manufacturing Silverado

QUOTES: "I have always liked going to Bristol. It is an exciting, fun place to race. The layout of the track is awesome, kinda' like racing in a dome stadium. The fans can see everything and the action is intense. We've had good runs at Bristol in the past, but have never made it into victory lane.

"I'm optimistic about this year and know that our Spears Chevy Silverado has the potential to take the win. You need a strong truck that turns in the center and has good forward bite. You need to strike that perfect combination of being fast and being able to save your equipment. You can't win unless you are there at the finish and we definitely plan to be there.

"We've been struggling a bit, but everyone on the Spears team has been working overtime to get our Chevy Silverado dialed in. If we don't run into any unforeseen problems, I think this will be a good run for us. "I've always liked Short track racing and Bristol is definitely one of my favorite tracks.

"This is a one day event where you practice, qualify and then race which means your crew has to really be spot on. The Spears crew is definitely one of the best and they know how to get the job done."

DRIVER:  RON HORNADAY

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

QUOTES: "Bristol is definitely one of my favorite races. It is fun. It is fast. And it is exciting. The fans love Bristol and that just makes me enjoy it even more. My GM Goodwrench team is in need of a good finish and even though Bristol requires some good luck, I think that this is going to be a good race for us. I have had success there in the past and we have raced well at the short tracks this season.

"The key to Bristol is to get out front. You don't want to make anyone mad on your way there, but you have to get out of the middle of the pack as soon as you can. A lot of times, things that you cannot control happen and that is exactly what you are trying to avoid. You have to be patient as you move through traffic, but you can't be so patient that you don't get anywhere. There is a pace that you have to find that combines a charge to the front, while at the same time not taking out your competitors or making them mad. Most of the time when someone gets upset at Bristol they find the person that they are looking for. That is what makes it so exciting to the fans, but when you are trying to win a race at Bristol, sometimes a lack of excitement is what you need."

DRIVER: KYLE BUSCH
TEAM: No. 15 Billy Ballew Motorsports ditech.com Silverado

QUOTES: "I'll be looking forward to getting back into the 15 truck. It's been fun this year, as well as a great learning tool. We've won two races together and finished second in the third race, but the biggest deal has been the experience that I have been able to get by running on the race tracks that I have this year. Billy Ballew and Ritchie Wauters have been great to work with and they just want to do well. We try to learn what we can with the truck so then we can apply that knowledge to the Busch, and Cup cars.

"Getting into Bristol, I have run well there but I have a lot to learn about the race track. It's a track like Dover where we won, you can never stop learning something about it. It's always a tough place on drivers and equipment, but we just need to make the most of it.

"ditech.com is returning for Bristol, and it's great to have their support on the truck. They have been a very good to Hendrick Motorsports and to me personally, and I look forward to getting them back to victory lane again. They deserve anything that we can give them plus that much more."

-gm racing-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers David Starr , Kevin Harvick , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Jack Sprague , Dennis Setzer , Kyle Busch
Teams Hendrick Motorsports