*Teams Prepared For New Bristol Surface *Repeat Wins Rare At Short Tracks *Mike Skinner Reaches Milestone New Surface Offers Familiar Challenge For Contenders DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 20, 2007) -- Wednesday night's O'Reilly 200 at Bristol ...
*Teams Prepared For New Bristol Surface
*Repeat Wins Rare At Short Tracks
*Mike Skinner Reaches Milestone
New Surface Offers Familiar Challenge For Contenders
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 20, 2007) -- Wednesday night's O'Reilly 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway will present a new challenge to drivers familiar with the 0.533-mile oval. A recently-completed resurfacing project has given the track a new concrete surface that will force teams to make adjustments to compete for the win.
The changes to the track include variable banking added in the corners to make the transitions to the straightaways smoother, and a three-foot widening of the track.
Teams tested their trucks on the new surface in July and drivers generally came away impressed. But the question remains, how will the new surface affect the racing?
"My initial reaction was, 'Wow, that will be a project'," said Rick Gay Jr., crew chief for the No. 9 Team ASE/Germain Toyota driven by Ted Musgrave. "Now, after seeing the job they did with the track, it's still Bristol, but with less bumps. They did a nice job. The track looks different, but it's really the same Bristol -- and that's a good thing."
Gay was able to guide Musgrave to second on the time chart during the July test with a top lap of 119.321 mph. The duo trailed Travis Kvapil (No. 6 K&N Filters Ford) who ran a top lap of 119.626 mph.
"The team did a great job working through our test plan," Kvapil said. "They hit on some things towards the end of the day that found us some more speed."
Short Track Races Short On Repeat Winners
The only thing more difficult than winning a short- track race in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is winning more than once on a short track.
Since 2001, only three drivers have won more than one short-track race in the same season - Jack Sprague (No. 60 Conway Freight Toyota) (2006 -- Memphis Motorsports Park and Martinsville Speedway), Mike Skinner (No. 5 Toyota Tundra Toyota) (2005 -- Bristol and Richmond International Raceway) and Dennis Setzer (No. 75 Spears Manufacturing Chevrolet) (2003 -- Mesa Marin Raceway, Martinsville and South Boston Speedway).
That does not bode well for the winners of the first four short-track races this season. Skinner (Martinsville), Setzer (Mansfield Motorsports Park), Travis Kvapil (Memphis) and Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 33 Camping World Chevrolet) (O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis) are all seeking their second short- track win of the season.
Each driver except Setzer has won previously at Bristol. Hornaday is the only driver to have multiple wins (two) in the nine series races at the track.
Hornaday also leads the series with 17 short- track wins. He has wins at every short track currently on the schedule except for Martinsville.
Skinner Hits Miles Led Milestone
In 15 races this season, only one thing has remained a constant - Mike Skinner leading a lap. Skinner has led the field in every race this season, including 102 laps during the last race at Nashville Superspeedway. Those laps led on the 1.333-mile track pushed Skinner's miles led to over 1,000 for the season, the fifth time the feat has been accomplished in series history.
Skinner previously had reached 1,000 miles led in 1996 and finished third in the standings. It was the only time a driver led over 1,000 miles and failed to win the championship.
Skinner has led the most laps in seven races this season. He has won four of those seven (California Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Martinsville and Kentucky Speedway.) The bonus points he has accumulated from running up front have helped pad his tight points lead over Ron Hornaday Jr. Skinner's 82-point lead can be attributed to his 100 bonus points compared to 55 for Hornaday.
As impressive as his laps led streak is this season, the streak actually stretches back to 2006. Skinner has at least one lap led in every race since Atlanta Motor Speedway last October, a streak of 19 consecutive races.