STATESVILLE, NC -- The 2003 and 2004 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) seasons have seen the emergence of a new generation of powerhouse team and driver pairings. Dennis Setzer and Morgan Dollar Motorsports (MDM) have firmly established ...
STATESVILLE, NC -- The 2003 and 2004 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) seasons have seen the emergence of a new generation of powerhouse team and driver pairings. Dennis Setzer and Morgan Dollar Motorsports (MDM) have firmly established themselves as the leader of the pack of this strong, competitive group of owner/driver combinations.
Of the eight drivers who drove for the same team owner both years, Setzer boasts the best season-ending points position finishing average -- second. A total of just 55 points separated him from the NCTS champions, Travis Kvapil in 2003 (nine points) and Bobby Hamilton in 2004 (46 points). Setzer is the first driver in the series' ten-year history to record back-to-back championship runner-up finishes. There has never been a repeat champion.
Starting all 50 of the possible races in the past two seasons, Setzer and his MDM team clearly set the standard in a number of statistical categories. The No. 46 team completed 9,114 of the possible 9,207 miles run -- in 2003 and 2004 combined, an impressive 98.99% (3.5% more than the second highest finisher). Setzer and company finished 78% of the races in the top-ten, 10% more than the next team and driver in the order. They also captured the best average race finishing position with a remarkable 7.8, over 1.9 average positions ahead of second in this statistic.
Setzer completed 98.2% of the possible laps ran the two seasons, a mere .42% behind Hamilton. Four drivers won 22 of the 50 races, a staggering 44%. Setzer's piece of that pie is five trips to victory lane, three short track wins in 2003 and two superspeedway wins in 2004, bringing his NCTS career win total to 12.
Running in 49 of the 50 races when the checkered flag flew, he holds the lowest DNF percentage of the group, a mere 2% of his starts.
So what do all of these records mean for Setzer and the MDM No. 46 Chevrolet Silverado team in 2005? It means great things can happen when a team has consistency, performance and momentum.
The MDM organization is now firmly established in their Statesville headquarters after having moved from Oklahoma literally just weeks before the 2004 season-opening race at Daytona. The proximity to the North Carolina hub of NASCAR racing has given the team the advantage of access to the newest tricks of the racing game. As one of the four members of Chevrolet's Team Silverado factory support effort, the NC location is critical to maximizing the technological support program that has been established.
Further increasing the momentum factor is the addition of Eric Phillips as crew chief for 2005. Phillips is an established winner in the NCTS as well as the NASCAR Busch Series. To date, Phillips and Setzer have delivered very successful pre-season testing results including the mandatory NCTS test at Daytona International Speedway. Setzer was the fastest truck in both drafting practice and single-truck runs.
"This is the most excited I have been to get a race season started," said Setzer. "We are coming off of two very successful seasons but there was just a little tiny piece of our plan that wasn't quite in place yet and we just narrowly missed the championship in both 2003 and 2004.
"Now with Eric (Phillips) on board, I really feel he is the final component we need to make the 2005 season the most successful ever for this Morgan Dollar Silverado team. We have the advantage of incredible technical support from Chevrolet from wind tunnel time to chassis setup assistance to shock performance. The crew we have is the most focused and dedicated I have seen with the first race still a few weeks away. I can hardly wait to get this season going in Daytona."
The 2005 NCTS 25-race season kicks off on February 18 under the lights at Daytona International Speedway.
For more information on Dennis Setzer and the Morgan Dollar Motorsports No. 46 Chevrolet Silverado team, log on to www.dennissetzer.com.