News and Notes * No. 49 team adds diversity to series at Texas ... NASCAR veteran Shawna Robinson, along with the first all-female over-the-wall pit crew in NASCAR national touring series history, will debut at the June 6 O'Reilly 400K at...
News and Notes
* No. 49 team adds diversity to series at Texas ... NASCAR veteran Shawna Robinson, along with the first all-female over-the-wall pit crew in NASCAR national touring series history, will debut at the June 6 O'Reilly 400K at Texas Motor Speedway. Robinson will drive the No. 49 Aaron's Sales & Lease Ownership Chevrolet owned by Mike Starr, a truck driven to victory at TMS in 2000 by Bryan Reffner. "I'm happy to have this opportunity to go racing," said Robinson. "I admit that even I was skeptical when I heard about the pit crew concept, but after meeting with the team I realize that they are committed to doing this and will work their hardest to do a good job. It's my job to drive the truck to the best of my ability and see how we can do as a team. It's a great truck so we do have a shot at it."
* Lowe's only first-time series track in 2003 ... Lowe's Motor Speedway becomes the 41st different venue to host a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race, 23 of which are active. The last series race to be run in North Carolina was held Sept. 28, 1996 at the old North Wilkesboro Speedway. Mark Martin won the 250-lap event. Rich Bickle (eighth), Hamilton (25th) and Randy MacDonald (30th) are the only participants from that race expected to compete in the Hardee's 200.
* Running with The Winston ... Friday's race marks the fourth time this season the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series gets weekend billing with the NASCAR Winston Cup series, and a first-ever companion race with The Winston. Three former series stars have qualified for The Winston on Saturday -- Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick and Jamie McMurray.
* Hardee's 200 kicks off long-track schedule ... Two of the season's first four races were run on half-mile tracks. Beginning with the Hardee's 200, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will visit just one short track in the next nine races, Memphis Motorsports Park on June 21 which is also the series' 200th race.
* Making history a possibility for Setzer ... Mesa Marin and Martinsville winner Dennis Setzer (No. 46 ACXIOM/Computer Associates Chevrolet) bids to become just the fourth series competitor to register three consecutive victories. A Hardee's 200 win would put the Newton, N.C. veteran in stellar company with series champions Mike Skinner (1996), Ron Hornaday Jr. (1997) and Greg Biffle (2000). No driver ever has won four straight.
* Hardee's 200 rear spoiler rule ... The rear spoiler approved for the Hardee's 200 is that used at Daytona and Texas-- 68-3/4 inches in width, measuring in 12 inches on left and right side the spoiler must be nine inches in height. The center 44-3/4 inches must be eight inches in height.
* Etc. ... Billy Ballew Motorsports has switched driver/crew chief combinations for the Hardee's 200, teaming Bickle (No. 15 FASSCORE/Vokal Clothing Ford) with Gary Showalter and Houston (No. 9 Spondivits Bar and Grill Ford) with NASCAR Busch Series veteran Tommy Morgan. ... Last season's champion crew chief Dave Fuge Jr. has left Xpress Motorsports and Kvapil (No. 16 IWX Motor Freight Chevrolet). Fuge joins ThorSport's No. 88 Menards/Enzyme Solutions Chevrolet driven by Matt Crafton. Kvapil's new crew chief is Chris Showalter. ... Jason Leffler (No. 2 Team ASE Racing/Carquest Dodge) has been named to the National Midget Hall of Fame with induction slated Aug. 23 in Sun Prairie, Wis. "Many of the world's greatest race car drivers have participated in this division and to be considered in the same class as them is a real honor," said Leffler, winner of consecutive U.S. Auto Club midget titles between 1997 and 1999.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
* Experience counts this week -- maybe ... Five drivers entered in the Hardee's 200 have combined for 197 NASCAR Winston Cup Series/NASCAR Busch Series starts at Lowe's Motor Speedway. One of them, Ken Schrader, won the now NASCAR Winston Cup UAW-GM Quality 500 on Oct. 8, 1989. Morgan Shepherd ranks first with 61 appearances, trailed by Schrader (55), Hamilton (31), Robert Pressley (28) and Ted Musgrave (22).
* "(Lowe's Motor Speedway) just has something about it that makes it prestigious. To me, it's like how everyone wants to win Daytona. I want to win here." -- Bobby Hamilton, No. 4 Square D Dodge.
* "We were posting some good times testing last week and I said to the guys, 'Man, you're going to have a hard time keeping me out of this thing.'" -- Jeremy Mayfield, named to drive Ultra Motorsports' No. 7 American Tire Distributors Dodge after Jimmy Spencer bowed out because of sore ribs suffered in an accident at Richmond International Raceway.
* "Quite frequently, when we start out on new tracks everyone is on equal footing. But this won't be true this time. It will be a mixed bag with some racers knowing the track well, guys like me with some experience and others racing on the track for the first time. A lot is going to depend on equipment and that's where I think we will have an edge." -- Brendan Gaughan, No. 62 American Racing Wheels/Orleans Dodge.
* "The trucks at Charlotte are a lot like driving an IROC car to me. It just reminds me of the kind of driving style I have to use when I'm in an IROC car." -- Kevin Harvick, whose No. 6 Sonic Chevrolet will be painted to salute the company's 50th birthday.
* "Everyone has a good luck charm and it just seemed that JoBue fit with this team. We've had some crazy things happen to us in the past so why not try something different?" -- Bill Lester, No. 8 Dodge Motorsports Dodge, on why a voodoo doll will go along for the ride in the Hardee's 200.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
* Only four active competitors have won a first-time series race. They are Hamilton (Darlington 2001), Musgrave (South Boston 2001), Schrader (Saugus 1995) and Mike Wallace (Daytona 2000). Ron Hornaday has won the most first-time races in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series history -- 10.
Hardee's 200 (No. 5 of 25). Lowe's Motor Speedway, Concord, N.C.
Race: 8:30 p.m. ET, Friday, May 16.
TV: SPEED Channel, 8 p.m. ET.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Thursday -- Practice, 12:30 -- 1:30 p.m. & 2:30 to 4 p.m. Qualifying, 5:45 p.m. Final practice 8 -- 9 p.m.