Defending MBNA America 200 winner Chaffin looking for a little good fortune DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 31, 2005) -- There's no sure way to turn around a season hamstrung by bad luck, but returning to the scene of a driver's first NASCAR Craftsman...
Defending MBNA America 200 winner Chaffin looking for a little good fortune
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 31, 2005) -- There's no sure way to turn around a season hamstrung by bad luck, but returning to the scene of a driver's first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory certainly can't hurt.
That's what Chad Chaffin (No. 30 Germain/Arnold Toyota) looks forward to this week -- competing on Friday at Dover International Speedway, where the Tennessee native captured the 2004 race.
Dover's Monster Mile is a challenge to every series competitor. To Chaffin, however, it's a friendly ribbon of concrete.
"Dover is appropriately named the Monster Mile," he said. "But I like to race on challenging tracks and I think that frame of mind has helped me with some solid runs at Dover."
Chaffin's victory came in his second NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series appearance at Dover. He finished seventh in 2003 and led four laps.
"I always look forward to running at the concrete tracks as I feel these tracks are built for my style of racing," said Chaffin, a former pole-sitter at Nashville Superspeedway, a similarly surfaced layout.
A year ago, Chaffin benefited from superlative luck. He gained track position when a number of front-running trucks were trapped a lap down by an untimely caution flag.
That's why a little Dover good fortune may play into the equation. Chaffin's team, a two-time winner in 2004 with Todd Bodine (No. 66 Fiddle Back Racing Toyota) in the seat, has been among the fastest this season, a fact not reflected in points or finishing positions.
Chaffin has led three of the season's first seven races. His single top-five finish -- fifth at Martinsville Speedway -- has been more than offset by three postings of 28th or worse. Chaffin currently is 14th in the championship race.
"We've been in the wrong place at the wrong time all year," said Chaffin, whose truck has been caught up in numerous accidents not of the driver's making.
Chaffin believes that this year's Dover race, like last season, can be a turnaround for his team.
"I'm not discouraged," Chaffin said of the record so far. "I know I have a strong team and before long things will turn around and we will be in the right place at the right time.
"This kind of reminds me of last year where we had gotten caught up in someone else's mess at Mansfield and Lowe's -- just like we have this year -- then we came to Dover with another strong truck and things fell our way."
Thus, Chaffin, whose last series victory came last August at Indianapolis Raceway Park, carries a strong sense of dejà vu into Friday's race.
"Maybe Dover is that magical place for me," he said.