NEXTEL Cup stars Kevin Harvick, Robby Gordon, Ken Schrader enter O'Reilly 200 NEWS & NOTES, PART II NEXTEL Cup Series drivers enter O'Reilly 200 ... Three NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series veterans have entered the O'Reilly 200 presented by Valvoline...
NEXTEL Cup stars Kevin Harvick, Robby Gordon, Ken Schrader enter O'Reilly 200
NEWS & NOTES, PART II
NEXTEL Cup Series drivers enter O'Reilly 200 ... Three NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series veterans have entered the O'Reilly 200 presented by Valvoline MaxLife, including Kevin Harvick (No. 92 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet), who lost the race lead to tire failure with slightly more than a lap remaining in last year's event. Robby Gordon (No. 47 ACXIOM Chevrolet) will make his first series appearance since 1997 as will Ken Schrader (No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet).
Hamilton in pursuit of Tennessee Triple ... Bobby Hamilton (No. 4 Square D Dodge) can go where no driver has before, with a chance to win all three current series stops in the state of Tennessee in the same season. Hamilton won at Memphis Motorsports Park in June and at Nashville Superspeedway on Aug. 14. Also the NCTS points leader, Hamilton will drive a chassis dubbed "Mini Me," the truck his son, Bobby Jr., put on the Bud Pole at Nashville and drove to a fourth-place finish. "Mini Me" is the elder Hamilton's nickname for Bobby Jr.
Etc. ... Hamilton's championship lead of 84 points over Dennis Setzer (No. 46 Chevrolet Silverado Chevrolet) is the second largest of the season. Setzer held a 131-point advantage over Carl Edwards (No. 99 Superchips Ford) after the June 25 event at The Milwaukee Mile. ... The O'Reilly 200 presented by Valvoline MaxLife has been won off the front row three times, and by a competitor starting among the top three on five occasions. The defending winner, Travis Kvapil (No. 24 Line-X Toyota), started 12th last year. ... Ron Hornaday Jr. led all 200 laps in winning the 1997 race. Hornaday also won the last event in which there were no lead changes -- July 12, 1997 at the old Louisville Motor Speedway. ... Reutimann's team owner, Darrell Waltrip, won 12 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup events at Bristol Motor Speedway, the most by any driver. The team's general manager, Bobby Kennedy, was Michael Waltrip's winning crew chief in the 2003 NASCAR Busch Series Food City 250 ... Three of the first four Bristol events were decided by less than one second. Joe Ruttman's victory over Geoffrey Bodine in the first NCTS event remains the closest finish, a margin of .130 second. ... Chevrolet has won five of six series races at Bristol Motor Speedway. Dodge remains winless, but was the runnerup in 1999 and 2003.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
Three of top four Bristol lap leaders to compete ... Drivers ranked second through fourth in laps led at Bristol Motor Speedway have entered this week's event. They are Jack Sprague (No. 16 Chevy Trucks Chevrolet, 129 laps led), Mike Skinner (No. 42 Toyota Tundra Toyota, 125) and Kevin Harvick (124), respectively. In five Bristol starts, Sprague has never finished out of the top 10, completing each of a possible 956 laps. QUOTEBOOK
"You see a lot of veterans win on short tracks just because they've been there to figure the track out and are patient enough to wait on the right timing during the race. There is not really a certain way to drive them. Just staying out of trouble is hard enough. It pays to be in the front of the pack." -- Bobby Hamilton on what it takes to win a short-track race.
"There is nothing we race on that is similar to Bristol. Bristol is such a unique track by itself. Whether it's Mansfield, Memphis, IRP or Martinsville, absolutely 'zero' will help us at Bristol. There is nothing we've done at the other short tracks this year that can help us at Bristol." -- Terry Cook (No. 10 International Truck and Engines Ford), whose 14th-place finish in 1998 remains his best effort at Bristol Motor Speedway.
"You know how quickly things can happen out there and stay heads-ups from the drop of the green. Even then, you can be leading and then in the garage in a blink of an eye." -- Jack Sprague. "It's a pivotal race for points. We're going to keep our eyes wide open when we get there, but there again, I gotta keep my foot wide open, too, in order to stay at the front and out of trouble." -- Ted Musgrave (No. 1 Mopar Dodge), the 2003 O'Reilly 200 presented by Valvoline MaxLife Bud Pole winner.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Two competitors, Joe Ruttman (1995) and Rick Carelli (1996) recorded their first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victories at Bristol Motor Speedway. Every subsequent winner -- Ron Hornaday Jr. (1997-98), Sprague (1999) and Travis Kvapil (2003) - has been a series champion.
What: O'Reilly 200 presented by Valvoline MaxLife (Race No. 16 of 25).
Where: Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol, Tenn.
When: 9 p.m. ET, Wednesday, Aug. 25.
Track layout: .533-mile high- banked concrete oval.
Race length: 200 laps/106.6 miles.
Posted awards: $446,514.
TV: SPEED Channel, 9 p.m. ET.
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.
2003 winner: Travis Kvapil.
2003 polesitter: Ted Musgrave.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Wednesday, Practice 11:20 a.m. until 1:20 p.m. Qualifying 4:40 p.m. Trucks impounded following qualifying.
Top 10 in Points: 1. Bobby Hamilton 2,288. 2. Dennis Setzer 2,204. 3. Chad Chaffin 2,092. 4. Carl Edwards 2,084. 5. Matt Crafton 2,075. 6. Ted Musgrave 2,043. 7. Travis Kvapil 2,038. 8. Rick Crawford 1,903. 9. Mike Skinner 1,886. 10. David Starr 1,885.