Ten different competitors have last 10 short-track races DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 18, 2004) -- Ten and counting. That's the number of consecutive, different NCTS short-track winners dating back to Ted Musgrave's (No. 1 Mopar Dodge) June ...
Ten different competitors have last 10 short-track races
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 18, 2004) -- Ten and counting.
That's the number of consecutive, different NCTS short-track winners dating back to Ted Musgrave's (No. 1 Mopar Dodge) June 21, 2003 victory at Memphis Motorsports Park.
The total could reach 11 when series competitors travel to the always unpredictable Bristol Motor Speedway for the Aug. 25 O'Reilly 200 by Valvoline MaxLife.
Defending champion Travis Kvapil (No. 24 Line-X Toyota) won last season's Bristol event as the series returned to the track after a four-year absence. Kvapil hadn't won a short-track race since 2002 and hasn't won one since.
"You don't see one or two trucks that will be dominant very often at a short track," said Kvapil, who finished fourth earlier this month at Indianapolis Raceway Park. "Track position is crucial and gives the driver a huge advantage."
Veteran Dennis Setzer (No. 46 Chevrolet Silverado Chevrolet) may be the closest thing to Superman on NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series short tracks -- at least since 15-time winner Ron Hornaday Jr. departed for the NASCAR Busch Series.
Setzer's last victory, in October 2003 at South Boston Speedway, is part of the current streak. The 44-year-old Newton, N.C. competitor was the only multiple short-track winner last year with three victories. Seven of Setzer's 12 series wins have come on tracks less than a mile in length.
"I think the reason for parity on the short tracks is there are so many (good) short-track teams," said Setzer. "Many of the drivers come from different short-track backgrounds as do many of the teams."
Chad Chaffin (No. 18 Dickies Dodge) is the most recent -- and newest -- short-track winner. He led only the final lap earlier this month at Indianapolis.
Chaffin believes the streak is significant in a broader sense.
"The main reason we have so many winners is the competition of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series," he said. "The competition has stepped up from last year and continues to grow every weekend.
"There are a lot of good drivers out there that can win any race."
Short-track victories, however, don't come easily. Only one competitor since 1999 posted his first series win on a short track. That was Tony Stewart, who won his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Richmond in 2002.
Other winners over the course of the "streak" also are veterans. Jack Sprague (No. 16 Chevy Trucks Chevrolet), winner at Mansfield Motorsports Speedway, has three NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series titles and 24 victories -- 13 on short tracks.
Martinsville winner Rick Crawford (No. 14 Circle Bar Motel & RV Park Ford) has started a series record 188 consecutive races. Bobby Hamilton (No. 4 Square D Dodge), is this season's only four-time winner and current points leader. He won in June at Memphis.
Talent -- and seasoning -- would appear to be the key component, although youth is no obstacle to victory.
"On a short track, you can't out-dollar everyone else and the true talent shows," said Jon Wood (No. 50 Roush Racing Ford), the series' youngest short-track winner -- a week shy of his 22nd birthday when he outraced teammate Carl Edwards (No. 99 Superchips Ford) last October at Martinsville Speedway. "At the larger tracks the teams with the money and technology will often be fast right off the hauler but at a short track a lot of that is out the window."