Dodge Motorsports started on its trek to success in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series two years ago when Jimmy Hensley drove his ...
Dodge Motorsports started on its trek to success in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series two years ago when Jimmy Hensley drove his #43 Cummins Dodge to victory lane ending his 69-race winless streak. Then in 1999, Dennis Setzer recorded his second of three wins of the season in his #1 Mopar Dodge giving Dodge its second Gibson guitar in as many races.
In the 2000 season, Dodge has matched its number for most wins at four when Joe Ruttman drove the #18 Dana Dodge to victory lane at Indianapolis Raceway Park this past Thursday night. But Dodge can surpass that number this weekend by winning their third straight Federated Auto Parts 250. And many of the Dodge drivers will say that this is the one that would mean the most being the final race at the half-mile, high-banked historical speedway.
"Winning at Nashville last year was quite a thrill for myself and for Team Mopar," said Setzer. "There is a lot of history at the speedway and there are a lot of successful drivers that got their start here. I'm really going to miss racing here because the trucks have always put on a great show and the Dodge trucks seem to know how to get around this place."
Hometown favorite Joe Ruttman would like to be the Dodge driver that sweeps the win for the final race and give Dodge two wins in a row for the first time in series history.
"This is a great little track with a lot of history and with the runs that the Dana Dodge has been having lately, I think we've got a good chance of bringing Dodge their third straight win at the speedway," said Ruttman.
Ruttman has currently compiled two wins (IRP and Phoenix), seven poles positions, broke five track records and seven top-tens this season. Ruttman currently sits ninth in championship points.
Setzer has recorded one win (Nazareth), six top-five finishes and 12 top-ten finishes this season and sits eighth in championship points.
Mark Petty made his first start in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series at Indianapolis Raceway Park on Thursday night in the #44 Dodge By Petty. Mark is the son of engine-builder Maurice Petty who has been building the Petty powerplants for decades. Mark worked on the NCTS team for several seasons before leaving the road to work back in the shop full time. But at IRP, Mark was back on the road and behind the wheel of a race vehicle for the first time in four years.
The last time that Mark drove a race car was four years ago at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, North Carolina. So how did Mark end up behind the wheel of a truck in Indy?
"We were all sitting around at the beach a few weeks ago and they told me that they had a truck that I could run at IRP if I was up for it," said Petty. "Of course I jumped at the chance just hoping to make the race and get some experience on radial tires. We had a good run and I think we might have been even better if I would have looked in front of me rather than in my rear-view mirror at the start of the race. I got into the turn three wall on the first lap and had to fight a bad tow-in problem for the rest of the night."
Mark qualified 16th for the race and finished 22nd four laps down.
<pre> Following the Power Stroke 200 at IRP on August 3, 2000...
Dennis Setzer #1 Mopar Dodge Ram Started 20th, finished seventh Eighth in championship points 1 win, 6 top fives, 12 top tens $273,960 total money won
Joe Ruttman #18 Dana Dodge Ram Started first, finished first Ninth in championship points 2 win, 6 top fives, 7 top tens $331,943 total money won
Randy Tolsma #25 Supergard Motor Oil Dodge Ram Started 18th, finished 10th Seventh in championship points 5 top fives, 12 top tens $292,105 total money won
Steve Grissom #43 Dodge By Petty Dodge Ram Started 24th, finished 11th Sixth in championship points 5 top fives, 9 top tens $201,470 total money won
Scott Riggs #86 RC Cola Dodge Ram Started 23rd, finished 15th 22nd in championship points 0 top fives, 6 top tens $112,385 total money won 12 starts in 2000