* Fike Tops Rookie Standings NBS, Etc. Huffman To Make Season Debut ... NASCAR Busch Series driver Shane Huffman will make his season debut in the No. 40 Curtis Key Plumbing Chevrolet for Key Motorsports at Lowe's. Huffman ran four of the last...
* Fike Tops Rookie Standings
Huffman To Make Season Debut ... NASCAR Busch Series driver Shane Huffman will make his season debut in the No. 40 Curtis Key Plumbing Chevrolet for Key Motorsports at Lowe's. Huffman ran four of the last five events of 2006 for Key Motorsports; his best finish was 20th at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Mike Bliss and Clay Rogers have split driving duties for the first five races. Bliss has the best finish -- 10th at California Speedway.
Fike Happy With Start Of Rookie Season
Five races into the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season, Aaron Fike (No. 1 Red Horse Racing Toyota) is right where he wants to be. He leads the Raybestos Rookie of the Year race by 17 points and is 11th in the standings, seven points out of 10th-place.
"I think everything has gone really well so far," Fike said. "My goals coming into the season were to run in the top 10 in points, win rookie of the year and I'd like to win a pole ... a race win would be nice too."
Fike has finished in the top 10 in consecutive races and led six laps at Kansas -- the first lead he has had in 57 NASCAR races (including 52 NASCAR Busch Series starts). He also knows that he could be doing better in the standings.
"We should have more top 10s; we've run up front almost every race," Fike said.
The Loop Data backs him up. Fike's Average Running Position is 11.925, eighth-best in the series. He is quick to give the credit to his team.
"I'm just happy to be with a good team," Fike said. "Red Horse Racing is giving me a good truck every weekend. Hopefully we can just keep the momentum going. When you're running good you want to be out there racing every weekend."
Despite his early success, Fike knows how tough the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is.
"This series is one of the most competitive in racing," Fike said. "You have a lot of good veterans out there and there are almost 20 different trucks that can win any week."
Toyota Leads Manufacturers' Standings
Toyota has picked up where it left off last year with an early lead in the Manufacturers' Standings. Toyotas have won four of the five races this season, including the season-opener by Jack Sprague and three straight by Mike Skinner (No. 5 Toyota Tundra Toyota). Last year Toyota had 12 wins and won its first-ever Manufacturers' Championship.
Erik Darnell picked up the first Ford win of the season at Kansas. Chevrolet and Dodge are searching for their first wins. Ron Hornaday, runner-up at California, has the best Chevrolet finish of the season; Ken Schrader's 12th-place finish at Martinsville is the best for Dodge.
In The Loop: Busch Tops Loop Data Charts
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series racing at Lowe's Motor Speedway the past two years has become Kyle Busch versus the field.
Busch, who will step into a Craftsman Truck for the 26th time in his career, has won the past two races at LMS and has made the annual race an Us vs. Him extravaganza, pitting the Craftsman Truck regulars against the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series star.
Busch has shown his brilliance the past two years, collecting some impressive stats. He holds the top rank in Average Running Position (3.082), Driver Rating (147.9 -- the maximum is 150.0), Fastest Laps Run (81), Green Flag Speed and Laps in the Top 15 (264).
But it's not as if Busch has stolen the show with ease.
Terry Cook is one driver who has consistently vied for the Lowe's Motor Speedway title. He was the runner-up in each of the past two years and ranks near the top of many Loop Data categories. Cook has an Average Running Position of 6.432 (second-best), a Driver Rating of 119.0 (second-best) and the third-fastest Green Flag Speed.
Then there's the hard-luck case of Mike Skinner. Over the past two races at LMS, Skinner has started twice from the pole and led a total of 78 laps, but has an average finish of 28.5 to show for it. Skinner got caught in an accident in 2005 and blew an engine last year. Otherwise, his Lowe's runs have been solid. Skinner has an Average Running Position of 8.473 (fourth-best), a Driver Rating of 110.4 (third-best) and 26 Fastest Laps Run (second-most).
Next Race: Quaker Steak & Lube 200 presented by Circle K
The Place: Lowe's Motor Speedway
The Date: May 18
The Time: 9 p.m. (ET)
TV: SPEED, 8:30 p.m. (ET)
Track Layout: 1.5-mile paved oval
Race Purse: $544,474
2006 Winner: Kyle Busch
2006 Pole: Mike Skinner
Schedule: Friday -- Practice 10 a.m. -- 11:15 a.m.; 11:20 a.m.. -- 11:40 a.m. (rookies) and 11:50 a.m. -- 12:50 p.m. Qualifying 4:35 p.m.