Sprague's Ohio win builds momentum toward possible fourth series title NEWS & NOTES Jack (Sprague) definitely is back ... Jack Sprague (No. 16 Chevy Trucks Chevrolet) measured the competition at Mansfield, Ohio to post his 24th career win and...
Sprague's Ohio win builds momentum toward possible fourth series title
NEWS & NOTES
Jack (Sprague) definitely is back ... Jack Sprague (No. 16 Chevy Trucks Chevrolet) measured the competition at Mansfield, Ohio to post his 24th career win and first since 2001. The victory vaulted Sprague to seventh in the points as he bids for a fourth series title. IWX Racing, which now has won with five different drivers -- Sprague, Travis Kvapil (No. 24 Line-X Toyota), Mike Bliss, Ron Hornaday Jr. and Randy Tolsma -- looks for the "hat trick" as the championship team of 2003-04.
It seems not to matter what you drive ... The first four spots in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series points standings are occupied by drivers representing all four manufacturers. Dennis Setzer (No. 46 Chevrolet Silverado Chevrolet) moved to the lead with a second-place finish in the UAW/GM Ohio 250.
Previous leader Carl Edwards (No. 99 Superchips Ford) dropped to second followed by Raybestos Rookie David Reutimann (No. 17 NTN Bearings Toyota) and Bobby Hamilton (No. 4 Square D Dodge). Setzer is on top for the first time in his series career of 146 races dating to July 1, 1995 at The Milwaukee Mile.
Kvapil's finishing streak ends ... An accident prematurely ended Kvapil's day and with it a run of 35 consecutive races without a DNF. The streak began Sept. 5, 2002 at Richmond International Raceway after Kvapil suffered engine failure three weeks earlier at Nashville Superspeedway. The Ohio DNF was only the second for the reigning champion in 75 series starts. As a measure of how tough this year's title race will be, Kvapil entered the Mansfield Motorsports Speedway event in second place and -- following his 32nd-place finish -- left the track in 10th. Setzer now owns the longest current finishing run of 27, beginning with a March 23, 2003 victory at Mesa Marin Raceway in Bakersfield, Calif.
Three's the charm at Mansfield ... The UAW/GM Ohio 250 saw NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series history made when three female drivers -- Tina Gordon (No. 13 Vassarette/Microtel Chevrolet), Teri MacDonald (No. 72 MacDonald Motorsports Chevrolet) and Kelly Sutton (No. 02 Team Copaxone Chevrolet) -- took the green flag. The last time three women started the same NASCAR national touring series race (NASCAR NEXTEL Cup) was July 4, 1977 when Christine Beckers, Janet Guthrie and Lella Lombardi competed in the then-Firecracker 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Sutton had the best finish at Mansfield -- 20th -- completing all 252 laps.
Urban Youth Racing members join teams ... Four members of Philadelphia's Urban Youth Racing School, comprised of inner city young people considering a career in the racing or automotive industries, have joined NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series teams in internship roles this week. The interns work in shops Monday through Wednesday then participate in crew activities at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Teams hosting the UYRS are Morgan-Dollar Motorsports (Setzer), Innovative Motorsports (Robert Huffman, No. 12 Toyota and Hank Parker Jr. No. 21 Toyota), Circle Bar Racing (Rick Crawford, No. 14 Ford) and Darrell Waltrip Motorsports (Reutimann).
Etc. ... Inclement weather cancelled Bud Pole qualifying for the UAW/GM Ohio 250 marking the 11th time -- and first since Sept. 4, 2003 at Richmond -- that the starting field has been set by the NASCAR rule book. ... The Infineon 200 is the fifth race of the season and first in which provisional starting positions and bonus plan monies are based upon 2004 owners points. ... Orleans Racing (Steve Park, No. 62 Dodge) released crew chief Johnny Allen following the Mansfield event. A permanent successor has not yet been named. ... Four NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers will attempt to qualify for this week's race. A year ago, Kevin Harvick (No. 92 Snap-On Tools Chevrolet) led 70 laps and finished fifth. Also entered are Ken Schrader (No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet), Michael Waltrip (No. 47 AXCIOM Chevrolet) and Todd Bodine (No. 67 Fiddle Back Racing Ford). ... Charlie Bradberry (No. 78 Bradberry Racing Chevrolet) is the 17th and latest driver to join the Raybestos Rookie of the Year competition. Bradberry, 21, is the 2003 NASCAR Elite Division, Southeast Series champion.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
Harvick is Lowe's 'pole cat' ... Harvick won the Busch Pole for both 2003 NASCAR Busch Series events at Lowe's Motor Speedway. He qualified third for last year's Infineon 200.
Lester's also quick at Charlotte ... Last year's Infineon 200 saw Bill Lester (No. 22 Toyota Tundra Toyota) win his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Bud Pole.
"Finishing 12th last year felt like a victory considering how loose the truck was. This year, I think we can greatly improve on that and have a good shot at winning it." -- Carl Edwards.
"We struggled with (the truck) the last two races but now we're starting to rebound and I think Charlotte should be a good race for us." -- Terry Cook, (No. 10 Power Stroke Diesel Ford), who led the race and finished third at Mansfield for ppc Racing's best finish on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
"Once the race starts, the groove widens out, and some guys will run at the top and some will run at the bottom. It's two different lines, but drivers can make both of them work." -- Andy Houston on the potential for side-by-side racing at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
"These guys on the No. 88 team really deserve this. Before Mansfield was on the schedule, they used this track as their short track test facility and all those hundreds of laps and great notes paid off." -- Raybestos Rookie Tracy Hines, No. 88 Menards Chevrolet, on his fifth-place finish, a series-best, at Mansfield.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Should one of the Toyota drivers win the Infineon 200, it won't be the first time the manufacturer has visited Victory Lane at Lowe's Motor Speedway. In fact, it would be the third. Robert Huffman captured last year's NASCAR Goody's Dash Series event en route to his fifth -- and Toyota's first -- series championship. Huffman's Toyota also won the 2002 race.
What: Infineon 200 (Race No. 5 of 25).
Where: Lowe's Motor Speedway, Concord, N.C..
When: 8:30 p.m. ET, Friday, May 21.
Track layout: 1.5 -mile banked paved oval.
Race length: 201 miles/134 laps.
Posted awards: $489,966.
TV: SPEED Channel, 8:30 p.m. ET.
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.
2003 winner: Ted Musgrave.
2003 polesitter: Bill Lester.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Thursday -- Practice 1:30 -- 3:45 p.m. Qualifying 5:45 p.m. Final practice 8 -- 9 p.m., time permitting.
Top 10 in Points: 1. Dennis Setzer 630, 2. Carl Edwards 598, 3. David Reutimann 576, 4. Bobby Hamilton 560, 5. Mike Skinner 554, 6. Rick Crawford 552, 7. Jack Sprague 544, 8. Matt Crafton 541, 9. Terry Cook 536, 10. Travis Kvapil 531.