*Defending Winner Mark Martin Entered In Race *Kevin Harvick Inc. Team Familiar With Victory Lane NCTS Etc: Martin Looks For Repeat; KHI Team Knows Victory Lane Martin Goes For Repeat ... Mark Martin (No. 21 Mark Martin Ford) will try ...
*Defending Winner Mark Martin Entered In Race
*Kevin Harvick Inc. Team Familiar With Victory Lane
Martin Looks For Repeat; KHI Team Knows Victory Lane
Martin Goes For Repeat ... Mark Martin (No. 21 Mark Martin Ford) will try to become the third driver to successfully defend a win from last season. Todd Bodine (No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota) (Texas Motor Speedway) and Johnny Benson (No. 23 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Toyota) (Milwaukee Mile) were the first two drivers to win races this season in which they were the defending champions.
Martin led 164 of the 200 laps at Bristol last season and held off Bodine by 0.149 seconds for his fourth win. Martin is winless in four starts this season. He won six of the 14 races he entered last season, including the first two races of the season. His six wins were a series high.
KHI Threesome All Winners
Long before Rick Ren was leading Ron Hornaday Jr. to Victory Lane, the long-time series crew chief led Rick Carelli to his first of four career wins. The duo won at Bristol Motor Speedway in 1996; Hornaday finished eighth in that race.
Hornaday went on to win the next two races at Bristol -- Carelli finished fourth and 30th.
Hornaday is the fifth different driver Ren has led to victory, tied for a series record with John Monsam, crew chief of the No. 21 Mark Martin Ford. Monsam won a race with both Hornaday and Carelli.
Gale Back In Action ... Cale Gale (No.2 Camping World Chevrolet) returns to the track for his fourth of five scheduled races. His best finish is 14th in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway. Team owner Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer and Daniel Pope II have also driven the No. 2 Chevrolet this season.
Gaughan Ties The Knot ... Series veteran Brandon Gaughan (No. 77 South Point Resort Chevrolet) married girlfriend Tatum Hayes on Saturday.
"I'm happy," Gaughan said. "We had a beautiful wedding and reception in Vail, Colo., near my family's house. It was an absolutely gorgeous day -- couldn't have asked for anything better. I'm happy to have her and excited to put my name on the list of married drivers now. I guess I'm no longer a 'Young Gun' officially."
Craftsman 80th Anniversary ... By leading the 80th lap of last week's race at Nashville, Mike Skinner earned an $8,000 bonus provided by Sears Craftsman in honor of the company's 80th anniversary. The bonus money also will be given to the leader of the 80th lap at Bristol.
"It would be great if we could lead again on the 80th lap," Skinner said. "The fact that Craftsman puts up an award for that just speaks volumes about them. It is a great opportunity. Hopefully, we are leading the 80th lap in Bristol, and the last one as well."
On The Right Track ... The O'Reilly 200 has been won from the pole on three occasions, most recently by Mark Martin in 2006. Only one Bristol winner has started outside the top five -- Travis Kvapil, who started 12th in 2003. Manufacturers' Standings: Chevrolet Tops Bristol Win List
Although Mark Martin won last year's race at Bristol in a Ford, Toyotas were at the top of the finishing order with the manufacturer grabbing the remaining four spots in the top five. Todd Bodine, whose runner-up finish was his second consecutive at the track, was the top-finishing Toyota.
Mike Skinner gave Toyota its only win at Bristol in 2005. Chevrolet has five Bristol wins and Ford has three.
Toytota enjoys a 15-point lead in the Manufacturers' Standings over Chevrolet. Travis Kvapil's Nashville win pulled Ford within one point of Chevrolet for second place.
In The Loop: Martin's Driver Rating Almost Perfect
The story coming into the rare Wednesday night NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race continues to be Ron Hornaday Jr.'s pursuit of elusive points leader Mike Skinner. The chase continues, but looking at recent history, the gap may widen after the mid-week action.
Bristol looks like the perfect place for Skinner to rebound from a sub-par performance in his last visit to a short track -- he finished 20th at O'Reilly Raceway Park. Skinner has had tremendous success there over the last two years (he won this race in 2005). He has a Driver Rating of 134.3, an Average Running Position of 3.7 and a series-high 59 Fastest Laps Run.
Hornaday must return to his 1997-98 Bristol form if he wants to make up ground. He won back-to-back Bristol races in 1997 and 1998, but has struggled at Bristol since returning to the series fulltime in 2005. With finishes of 14th in 2005 and 27th in 2006, Hornaday earned a Driver Rating of 79.6, an Average Running Position of 14.6 and 236 Laps in the Top 15 (59%).
Two new, yet familiar faces will race Wednesday -- NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series regulars Mark Martin and Kyle Busch (No. 51 Chevrolet).
Martin, who started and ended last year's Bristol race in first, earned tremendous stats. He had a near-perfect Driver Rating of 148.9 (maximum is 150.0), an Average Running Position of 2.7, 28 Fastest Laps Run and ran all 200 laps in the top 15.
Busch finished fifth and sixth, respectively, in 2005 and 2006 at Bristol. jkTrack Contact: Lori Worley, (423) 989-6948, email@example.com
He has an average Bristol Driver Rating of 103.0 and an Average Running Position of 10.5. He also has 22 Fastest Laps Run (third-most) and 343 Laps in the Top 15 (third-most).
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will make its annual trip to Gateway International Raceway next Saturday, Sept. 1 for the Dodge Ram Tough 200. Todd Bodine held off Ted Musgrave by 0.433 seconds for the victory last year.
Bodine's win pushed him past Mark Martin into first place in the standings, a a position Bodine held for the remainder of his championship season. Musgrave won the race in 2005 to become the first repeat winner at the Madison, Ill., track (he also won in 2001).
David Ragan, whose No. 6 Ford was first in owner points going into the race, started at the front of the pack after qualifying was rained out.
Next Race: O'Reilly 200
The Place: Bristol Motor Speedway
The Date: August 221
The Time: 8:00 p.m. (ET)
TV: SPEED 7:30 p.m. (ET)
Track Layout: 0.533-mile oval
Race Purse: $509,074
2006 Winner: Mark Martin
2006 Pole: Mark Martin
Schedule: Tuesday -- Practice 1 -- 5 p.m. Wednesday -- Practice 10 -- 11 a.m. and 12 -- 1 p.m.; Qualifying 4 p.m.