NASCAR JACKSON HEWITT PRESEASON THUNDER AT DAYTONA -- DAY FOUR * Germain Motor Company debuts NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series "super team" * Hornaday, reconstituted Kevin Harvick Inc. crew, look for better luck in 2006 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.
NASCAR JACKSON HEWITT PRESEASON THUNDER AT DAYTONA -- DAY FOUR
* Germain Motor Company debuts NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series "super team"
* Hornaday, reconstituted Kevin Harvick Inc. crew, look for better luck in 2006
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 13, 2006) -- By any measure, Germain Motor Co. will field a "super team" during the 2006 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season.
Lead driver Todd Bodine (No. 30 Germain Motor Co. Toyota) won the final three races of 2005 and can set a series record for consecutive victories if he captures the Feb. 17 Daytona 250 at Daytona International Speedway.
Just a few days before this week's NASCAR Jackson Hewitt Preseason Thunder at Daytona began at the 2.5-mile superspeedway, the organization added 2005 champion Ted Musgrave (No. 9 Germain Motor Co. Toyota) to its stable.
To say the combination is potent would be an understatement.
"Ted makes this team incredibly strong," said Bodine, whose five victories carried the team to a third-place championship finish a year ago. "It's only going to help the 30 team. Ted knows about championships and how to get there.
"He not only adds a whole different dimension (but) we thought we had a good shot at (the championship) before he came along."
Musgrave weathered a bizarre turn of events over the past seven days when Ultra Motorsports abruptly closed its doors and put the 16-time series winner on the street.
"It was one of the strangest things I've ever been involved in," he said.
The 50-year-old Musgrave wasn't out of work long. He made a call to Germain general manager Mike Hillman last Saturday and by Tuesday he'd found a new home.
On Friday, Musgrave had seen enough to be as excited as when he celebrated his first NASCAR championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November.
"We've obviously got obstacles to overcome," he said. "I'm going to spend a little time in the shop, take the guys to lunch and get that 'first day of school' feeling out of us.
"They've got a whole lot of energy. You don't have to ask them twice to do something."
Bodine, who joined Mike Skinner (No. 5 Toyota Tundra Toyota), Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 33 Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet) and 2000 champion Greg Biffle as winners of three consecutive races, isn't thinking about setting any records. A decent finish in the Daytona 250 will be a good start as far as the veteran competitor is concerned.
"We aren't focusing on that at all," he said. "I've come out of here 40th and that doesn't help you in the point race."
NEWS AND NOTES, PART II
Two-time champion Hornaday not satisfied with '05 effort ... A fourth-place championship finish might be something for many to celebrate but not Hornaday, winner of titles in 1996 and 1998 and 27 series races overall.
"Fourth isn't great," he said, "and we didn't come here to finish fourth (again)."
Hornaday will be teamed with a new crew chief, Chris Rice, at Kevin Harvick Inc. Many of his team members also will be new to the truck organization.
"Chris brings a different attitude to the team. He's a real smiley person," said Hornaday. "We're going back to the basic stuff."
Hornaday was pleased with the team's efforts in 2005 -- but not with the outcome.
"We ran good all year but the points didn't fall our way," he said, ticking off a number of missed opportunities both on-track and on pit road. "In racing, you've got to take the good with the bad and last year was a lot of bad."
Even with a large helping of good luck, no driver is a lock to win this year's title, according to the veteran of 150 series starts.
"The competition has gotten really great, really high," Hornaday said. "It used to be drivers who were racing to try to make a name for themselves. Now, you've also got drivers who already have made names for themselves."
Daytona 250 Bud Pole winner returns with veteran team ... Kerry Earnhardt clipped off a fast lap of 182.475 mph to win the pole for last year's race but left the series a week later. On Friday, ThorSport Racing announced that Earnhardt would drive the No. 13 Chevrolet campaigned a year ago by Tracy Hines. He joins Matt Crafton (No. 88 Menards Chevrolet) at Thorsport. Crafton finished ninth in series points -- the first time the team cracked the top 10.
Roush Racing duo quick in morning drills ... David Ragan (No. 6 Roush Racing Ford) and Eric Darnell (No. 99 Roush Racing Ford) ran one-two in the day's initial practice with speeds of 180.032 mph and 176.658 mph, respectively. Carl Edwards won the 2004 Daytona 250 -- a victory that played a large part in Jack Roush's decision to advance the Missourian to the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series later that year.
Open wheel graduates Krisiloff and Kinser among top 10 timers ... Kyle Krisiloff (No. 15 Billy Ballew Motorsports Chevrolet) and Kraig Kinser (No. 47 Morgan-Dollar Motorsports Chevrolet) logged top 10 laps in their NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut. Krisiloff, driving for last year's pole winning team, was eighth at 174.931 mph and Kinser 10th with a speed of 174.679 mph. Both laps were recorded in morning practice.
Testing continues Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a one-hour lunch break.
Session 2: NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series teams participating in the Feb. 17 Daytona 250.
What: Preseason testing for the 2006 Daytona 250.
Where: Daytona International Speedway.
Track Layout: 2.5-mile tri-oval superspeedway.
When: Friday, Jan. 13 through Sunday, Jan. 15.
Times: 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Includes one-hour lunch break from noon until 1 p.m.
Who: NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series teams intending to compete in the Feb. 17 Daytona 250. More than 40 teams are participating.
TV: Test highlights shown at 7 p.m. ET Jan. 15 on SPEED.