Dodge Truck Racing Memphis Preview

MEMPHIS 200 Memphis Motorsports Park Memphis, Tenn. May 8, 1999 NASCAR Dodge News April 29, 1999 DODGE - THE NEW KING IN MEMPHIS Dodge leads NCTS points for first time ever The April 17 race at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia was...

MEMPHIS 200 Memphis Motorsports Park Memphis, Tenn. May 8, 1999

NASCAR Dodge News April 29, 1999

DODGE - THE NEW KING IN MEMPHIS Dodge leads NCTS points for first time ever

The April 17 race at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia was exciting for the Dodge teams for many reasons, and the popular win by Jimmy Hensley in the #43 Dodge By Petty is just the tip of the iceberg.

For example: * Stacy Compton, in the #86 RC Dodge, leads the NCTS points standings by virtue of five straight top-five finishes, capped off by a second-place finish to Hensley at their hometown track. Hensley's margin of victory was less than five seconds.

* Dodge has never led the points in the history of the NCTS until now. *At one point during the race, five Dodge teams were running in the top six.

* Dennis Setzer, in the #1 Mopar Dodge, led the Napa 200 for a total of 72 laps, but fell back in the pack after cutting a tire in an encounter with another truck.

* Dodge teams led a total of 128 laps, more than half of the 250-lap Martinsville event.

* Dodge is tied with Ford for second in manufacturer's points. Only eight points separate Dodge, Ford and Chevrolet.

"The Martinsville weekend was exciting for everyone who has worked so hard to make the NASCAR truck program a success for Dodge," says Bob Wildberger, Senior Manager NASCAR Truck, DaimlerChrysler.

"We believe this is just the beginning of the success Dodge will find in the '99 season," Wildberger continued. "All of our race teams are capable of winning several races each this season and to battle for the championship. I know we'll arrive at every race this season in contention for the win."

WHO'S THE "REAL" KING IN MEMPHIS? Memphis isn't only the host city of the next NCTS race - it's home to Elvis Presley's Graceland Mansion.

We asked two Dodge Ram team drivers and two team owners a series of questions about the "King" of rock 'n roll and NASCAR's "King," Richard Petty. Here are excerpts of their responses:

Were you an Elvis Presley fan? Richard Petty: Yes, I enjoyed his music. He was a super singer. Jimmy Hensley, Butch Miller and Bobby Hamilton: Absolutely

What's your favorite Elvis song and what's your favorite Elvis movie? RP: "Love Me Tender" is my favorite Elvis song, and "Jailhouse Rock" is my favorite Elvis movie JH: "Jailhouse Rock" and "Blue Hawaii" BM: "Don't Be Cruel" is my favorite song; I don't have a favorite Elvis movie BH: "American Trilogy" and "Blue Hawaii"

Question:  What would be the best part of being Elvis?
RP, JH, BH:  Money

Question: What's your fondest Elvis memory? RP: When Elvis first started singing, I saw him in a concert in Greensboro (N. C.). Unfortunately, I never got to meet him, though I would have liked to. JH: I won Martinsville in the '70s and attended an Elvis concert in Roanoke, Va. that night. That was quite an experience.

Question:  How good are your Elvis impersonations?
RP:  I don't do any!
JH:  Bad!
BM:  About as good as my Richard Nixon.
Question:  Who's the "real" King - Richard Petty or Elvis Presley?
BH:  Elvis.  Richard duplicates the King's gestures.
BM:  Both - they're just kings of different worlds.
JH:  Elvis is the king of music, Richard is the king of racing.
RP:  I can't answer that - I'm biased!

RAMMIN' AHEAD... 5/8 Memphis 200 Memphis Motorsports Park Memphis, Tenn. TV: May 8 at 3 p.m. (EDT) on ESPN

5/16 NAPA 300K Pike's Peak International Raceway (1-mile track) Colorado Springs, Colo. TV: May 16 at 3:30 p.m. (EDT) on ESPN

5/22 O'Reilly Auto Parts 200 I-70 Speedway (.542-mile track) Kansas City, Mo. TV: May 22 at 3:30 p.m. (EDT) on ESPN

NEWS & NOTES ... If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Jimmy Hensley will drive the same Dodge Ram in the Memphis 200 that he drove to victory in Martinsville three weeks ago. The only change? New decals on the right side of the truck to replace those damaged in the heat of Martinsville competition.

When Hensley won the Napa 250 at Martinsville, he stopped at the start/finish line to salute all of his hometown fans and thank them for coming out to the race. However, Hensley added a pretty entertaining move to his salute. And the question that has been asked since that moment has been, "Where did Jimmy learn that dance?"

"I really didn't know what I was going to do when I got out of the truck," Hensley said. "Before the race, my daughter Amy showed me how to 'raise the roof,' and I did it even though I didn't really know what it meant. I was just caught up in the enthusiasm of the crowd." The "raise the roof" gesture wasn't what most people were expecting from the two-time NCTS winner, but his rendition was as good as any that the NASCAR community has ever seen.

John Wehrly, the Lead Engineer for DaimlerChrysler's NASCAR Truck program, ran in the April 19 Boston Marathon, finishing with a time of 4:02.

"I accomplished my goal, which was to finish in close to four hours," Wehrly, 59, said. "I just wish that I would have done as well as the Dodge teams did in Martinsville. I'm proud of how the teams performed, and I think that my marathon running will improve when I can commit more time to practice."

RAM REWIND TO ... ...the 1998 MEMPHIS 200, the 21st event on the NCTS schedule; this year it's sixth. Current Dodge Ram team driver performances at the 150-mile event on Memphis Motorsports Park's 3/4-mile track include:

* Jimmy Hensley started 10th on the grid and finished third. He led laps 110-147 and left Memphis seventh in NCTS points. * Butch Miller started the Dana Dodge fifth and finished 12th. * Randy Tolsma qualified #18 and finished 13th. He was eighth in points after the event. * Stacy Compton started 16th and finished 16th. He was fifth in NCTS points after the event.

DODGE RAM FAST STATS After Martinsville, the fifth of 26 NCTS events

Dennis Setzer, #1 Mopar Dodge Ram Started fourth in Martinsville, finished 15th 0 wins, 1 top-five finish, 3 top-ten finishes $38,460 total winnings 11th in championship points

Butch Miller, #18 Dana Dodge Started 17th in Martinsville, finished 27th 0 wins, 0 top-five finishes, 2 top-ten finishes $37,450 total winnings 18th in championship points

Randy Tolsma, #25 Supergard Dodge Started fifth in Martinsville, finished seventh 1 pole 0 wins, 0 top-five finishes, 1 top-ten finish $40,610 total winnings 10th in championship points

Jimmy Hensley, #43 Dodge By Petty Started ninth in Martinsville, finished first 1 win, 2 top-five finishes, 3 top-ten finishes $66,870 total winnings eighth in championship points

Stacy Compton, #86 RC Dodge Started 16th in Martinsville, finished second 1 pole 0 wins, 5 top-five finishes, 5 top-ten finishes $85,270 total winnings first in championship points

DRIVER 'SPRING BREAK' ACTIVITIES Here's what the Dodge Ram drivers did with the only two-week break in the NCTS schedule they have until September:

Dennis Setzer, driver, #1 Mopar Dodge - Spent quality time with his wife, Darla, and their son Brandon. - Visited with Winston Cup driver Bill Elliott at his Hickory, N.C., race shop.

Butch Miller, driver, #18 Dana Dodge - Provided color commentary at the ASA race at Nashville Speedway USA. - Visited the Dana Dodge race shop. - Spent time putting the finishing touches on a move into his new home in Mooresville, NC.

Randy Tolsma, driver, #25 Supergard Dodge - Participated in media tour in Memphis, Tenn. - Attended the Charlotte, N.C., IRL race with members of his Supergard race team.

Jimmy Hensley, driver, #43 Dodge By Petty - Gardened in his Ridgeway, Va., yard. - Spent time with his family. - Visited the Dodge By Petty race shop and practiced pit stops with the team.

Stacy Compton, driver, #86 RC Dodge - Perfecting my golf game. - Spent time with his family.

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Bill Elliott , Bobby Hamilton , Stacy Compton , Dennis Setzer , Richard Petty , Randy Tolsma , Jimmy Hensley , Butch Miller