Colorado Springs: Pre-race news of note

NEWS OF NOTE * Proud but not satisfied... David Starr is the latest" overnight sensation" to be recognized on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, although the 34-year-old Texan had competed in 47 races and portions of four seasons before joining...


* Proud but not satisfied... David Starr is the latest" overnight sensation" to be recognized on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, although the 34-year-old Texan had competed in 47 races and portions of four seasons before joining Spears Motorsports for the 2002 season. Starr has been nothing short of sensational to date, finishing seventh, sixth, eighth and fifth to lead series point standings heading to Pikes Peak International Raceway. He's the 15th driver in series history to occupy the spot. Is Starr satisfied? No."It's an honor [to lead] but I try not to pay too much attention to points," said Starr."My job is to go out and win races and we haven't accomplished that. Until I get that done, I won't be happy."

* Speaking of Spears Motorsports ... Starr is Wayne Spears' 11th different driver for a team that's started 173 of 174 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races. The first, Bill Sedgwick, finished second twice in 1995 and seventh in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series points. Neither performance has been matched but it appears both high-water marks could be eclipsed this season.

* Rocky Mountain 200 is milestone race... The event marks the 175th event in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series history. A single team, the No. 2 Ultra Motorsports Team ASE Racing/Carquest Dodge entry owned by Marlene Smith, has started every race. Current driver Jason Leffler finished second at Gateway International Raceway and looks forward to giving the team something else to celebrate. Leffler won a USAC National Midget race at PPIR in 1998 and finished second there the following season.

* Weather means a lot at Rocky Mountain... Leffler says Pikes Peak International Raceway is extremely sensitive to temperature fluctuations at a track more than a mile above sea level."The weather is so funny up in the mountains and the temperature can change quickly, affecting the track quite a bit," said Leffler, who finished 24th in a NASCAR Busch Series event there in 2000."You have to be able to search out a better line and sometimes you have to compromise the way you run until the next pit stop."

* Breaking the string at last... Terry Cook's May 5 victory at Gateway International Raceway broke an 88-race drought since the Ohioan's only win on Aug. 8, 1998 at the old Flemington (N.J.) Speedway. That's the longest any previous winner has gone without reaching a second victory. Randy Tolsma's 73-race string (1997-2000) was the previous mark.

* And another yet another streak... The Rocky Mountain 200 will be the 100th start for Dennis Setzer. He's the 13th series competitor to reach the century mark.

* No lack of competition here... Cook became the 2002 season's fourth different winner in as many races, joining Ted Musgrave, Robert Pressley and Dennis Setzer. His No. 29 Power Stroke Diesel Ford gave each series manufacturer a victory this season. The win was No. 55 for Ford, which last went to victory circle with Greg Biffle on Oct. 26, 2001 at Phoenix International Raceway. And - just 75 points spans the top-10 championship positions, Starr through Jon Wood.

* New year's finally arrives - in May... The Rocky Mountain 200 marks the first time this season that provisional starting positions will be based upon 2002 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series owner point standings.

* Network change for Rocky Mountain 200... Due to network scheduling conflicts, the Rocky Mountain 200 Presented by Dodge now will air on ESPN2 rather than ESPN. Broadcast time remains the same - 4 p.m. EDT.


Three-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Jack Sprague continues to pile up consistent finishes on the NASCAR Busch Series. Sprague finished third in the May 11 Busch 200 at New Hampshire International Speedway - his eighth top-10 in 11 starts - to take a 64-point championship lead. Meanwhile another former champ, Ron Hornaday Jr., finished 14th to give Carroll Racing its best performance of 2002 in Hornaday's first appearance at the wheel of the No. 26 Dr Pepper Chevrolet.


For the first time in series history, on May 16, 1999, a driver held a full lap lead on the field in a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race. But Jack Sprague's advantage neither would hold nor prevail. A late caution flag on Lap 177, under which the leader pitted, allowed rival Mike Wallace to regain his lost lap. And, when another yellow was waved at Lap 185, Wallace closed up on Sprague's tailgate. Wallace pulled alongside off the fourth turn of the final lap to win in a literal photo finish of .013 second - the second-closest margin in series history.


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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Jason Leffler , David Starr , Greg Biffle , Mike Wallace , Robert Pressley , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Ted Musgrave , Jack Sprague , Dennis Setzer , Terry Cook , Jon Wood , Randy Tolsma