Charlotte: News of note, schedule

* Urban Youth Racing School students intern this week * Hamilton ends short track streak and regains point lead NEWS & NOTES Urban Youth Racing comes to Charlotte ... Four students of Philadelphia's Urban Youth Racing School, a component of...

* Urban Youth Racing School students intern this week

* Hamilton ends short track streak and regains point lead


Urban Youth Racing comes to Charlotte ... Four students of Philadelphia's Urban Youth Racing School, a component of NASCAR's Diversity Initiative, will intern in various capacities during the week leading up to Friday's event at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The annual event is sponsored and coordinated by Craftsman. Carnell Roberts, 18, will intern with Goodyear; Stephanie Hartfield, 18, with NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series inspectors; Taj Muhammad, 16, with SPEED Channel and Jason Simmons, 17, with NASCAR Scene. Short-track streak ends at Mansfield ... UAW/GM Ohio 250 winner Bobby Hamilton (No. 04 TECH-NET/Torch Run Dodge) ended the series' string of 13 different short-track winners with a close victory over defending race winner Jack Sprague (No. 16 Chevy Trucks Chevrolet). Hamilton's previous victory during the streak came at Memphis Motorsports Park on June 19, 2004. Hamilton is the 2005 season's first repeat winner.

Hamilton regains the top spot ... The championship standings again have swung back into Hamilton's favor with last year's titleholder 45 points ahead of Ted Musgrave (No. 1 Mopar Dodge) entering Friday's Quaker Steak & Lube 200 presented by Click It or Ticket. Ricky Craven (No. 99 Superchips Ford) maintains the third position 71 points back. Hamilton is the first to crack $200,000 in season winnings with a $218,815 total.

ETC. ... Sprague's second-place finish at Mansfield marked the three-time series champion's 150th top 10, a continuing record. ... Country super group Diamond Rio will perform the national anthem prior to Friday's Quaker Steak & Lube 200 presented by Click It or Ticket. Diamond Rio also will be associate sponsor of Tony Stewart's No. 47 Chevrolet Tork Silverado Chevrolet. The team, led by crew chief Randy Goss, won in its last outing at Martinsville Speedway with Bobby Labonte behind the wheel. ... Last year's race saw 22 of 36 starters finish on the lead lap. ... There has been an average of 12.5 lead changes in each of the two series races at Lowe's Motor Speedway. ... Jimmy Spencer (No. 2 Team ASE Dodge) recorded the highest unofficial speed -- 178.879 mph during an abbreviated open test on April 26. David Starr's (No. 75 Spears Manufacturing Chevrolet) qualifying record is 178.577 mph recorded last year. ... Friday's race will be the 249th in series history. Milestone race No. 250 is the June 3 MBNA NASCAR Points 200 at Dover International Speedway.


Veteran trio bears watching ... Three competitors expected to compete at Lowe's Motor Speedway have average finishes below 10 in their two previous starts. Rick Crawford (No. 14 Circle Bar Truck Corral Ford) has the best average -- 5.0. He's followed by Hamilton at 8.5 and Matt Crafton (No. 88 Menard's Chevrolet) with 9.0.

Spencer a NASCAR Busch winner at Lowe's ... Spencer won the 1997 All Pro 300. He started fourth. Spencer's best NASCAR NEXTEL Cup finish in 31 starts is fourth, two times, most recently in the 2003 Coca-Cola 600. Craven finished third in the 2002 Coca-Cola 600.


"I like it now that there are two distinct grooves that will be there all night long. Before, people would stay on the bottom. Now I think you can race high or low." -- Jimmy Spencer on changes made in the track surface at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

"Having yet to run a single lap on the new surface, it's still comforting to know that the track is much smoother. I had heard a lot about the 'Humpy Bump,' but it was hard to pick it out because there were so many of them. I guess that has changed now." -- Brandon Whitt, No. 38 Cure Autism Now/McMillin Homes Toyota, who'll make his sophomore appearance at Lowe's. Whitt finished 18th in last year's race.

"I guess this just proves you can be older than 18 and still drive a race car." -- Rich Bickle, whose fifth-place finish in the No. 88 Veterans Racing/VFW Hidden Heroes Chevrolet was the 44-year-old Wisconsin native's first top-five performance in the series since 1998.


The month of May has been a good one for Dodge. Bickle, driving for Richard Petty, gave the manufacturer its first series pole on May 3, 1996 at the old Portland Speedway. On May 24, 1997 Tony Raines won at I-70 Speedway east of Kansas City. The win was the first by Dodge in a NASCAR national touring series since Neil Bonnett's Nov. 20, 1977 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series victory at the old Ontario Motor Speedway near Los Angeles.


Last year's Quaker Steak & Lube 200 featured 13 lead changes, three of which came in the final 13 laps. Three different drivers -- Michael Waltrip, Carl Edwards and Dennis Setzer -- swapped the lead before Setzer edged Edwards by .869 of a second. There have been six consecutive different winners on 1.5-mile speedways. Setzer was the last back-to-back winner at Lowe's and Texas Motor Speedway on June 11, 2004.

Fast Facts

Next Event: Quaker Steak & Lube presented by Click It or Ticket 200 (Race 7 of 25).

Where: Lowe's Motor Speedway.
When: 8:45 p.m. Friday, May 20, 2005.

Track layout: 1.5 -mile banked oval.
Race length: 201 Miles/134 Laps.

Posted awards: $502,682.

TV: SPEED Channel, 8:45 p.m. ET.
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.

2005 winner: Dennis Setzer.
2004 polesitter: David Starr

Pre-race schedule (all times local): Thursday -- Practice 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. & 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Qualifying 7:00 p.m. Trucks impounded after qualifying.

Top 10 drivers: 1. Bobby Hamilton 968. 2. Ted Musgrave 923. 3. Ricky Craven 895. 4. Jimmy Spencer 866. 5. Ron Hornaday Jr. 800. 6. Dennis Setzer 794. 7. Todd Bodine 793. 8. Jack Sprague 776. 9. Matt Crafton 737. 10. Johnny Benson 737.


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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Rich Bickle , Bobby Hamilton , Bobby Labonte , Tony Stewart , Michael Waltrip , Todd Bodine , Jimmy Spencer , David Starr , Johnny Benson , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Ted Musgrave , Tony Raines , Ricky Craven , Jack Sprague , Dennis Setzer , Rick Crawford , Matt Crafton , Brandon Whitt