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Longtime team owner Billy Ballew gets first series win in 101st appearance NEWS AND NOTES Hmiel, Ballew are winners in Las Vegas ... Two winless streaks -- one short, the other long -- were snapped when Shane Hmiel (No. 15 Whitaker ...

Longtime team owner Billy Ballew gets first series win in 101st appearance


Hmiel, Ballew are winners in Las Vegas ... Two winless streaks -- one short, the other long -- were snapped when Shane Hmiel (No. 15 Whitaker Farms Chevrolet) won the Las Vegas 350 on Sept. 25. Hmiel won in his 19th appearance to become the season's 10th different winner. Hmiel is the series' fifth-youngest first-time winner at age 24 and four months. The race also marked the 101st time that Hmiel's team owner, Billy Ballew of Atlanta, Ga., had fielded a truck in a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race. Ballew's first start came June 22, 1996 with Mark Gibson finishing 12th at Bristol Motor Speedway. His best finish over the first 100 races had been Hmiel's pair of second-place finishes at Bristol and Memphis this season.

California 'under the lights' from flag to flag ... Unlike Labor Day Weekend's Pop Secret 500, which began in daylight and finished after sundown, Saturday's American Racing Wheels 200 will go flag-to-flag under the lights at California Speedway.

Etc. ... Bobby Hamilton's (No. 4 Square D Dodge) championship lead over Dennis Setzer (No. 46 Chevrolet Silverado Chevrolet) is 39 points as the pair finished fifth and seventh, respectively, in Las Vegas. ... Two of the series' fastest four races have been run at California Speedway. Ted Musgrave (No. 1 Mopar Dodge) boosted the race record to 145.926 mph in winning last year's American Racing Wheels 200. Brendan Gaughan's all-time mark of 154.044 was set in 2003 at Michigan International Speedway. ... The average margin of victory in seven California Speedway races is .984 of a second. The closest finish came in 2001 in which Musgrave edged Rick Crawford (No. 14 Circle Bar Motel and RV Ford) by .090 of a second. ... Four competitors -- Musgrave, Crawford, Jack Sprague (No. 16 Chevy Trucks Chevrolet) and Mike Bliss -- have won more than $100,000 at California Speedway. Musgrave tops the list with $155,455. ... Steve Park (No. 62 Orleans Dodge) has moved into 10th in the championship standings, the first time he's held a top-10 position. Park was the NASCAR Busch Series pole winner at California Speedway in 1997. ... Carl Edwards (No. 99 Superchips Ford) will make two trips to California Speedway this week. He'll qualify at California Speedway on Friday, fly to Talladega Superspeedway to run the final NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series practice for Sunday's EA Sports 500, then return to California for the American Racing Wheels 200. Dave Blaney will qualify the No. 99 Roush Racing Ford at Talladega. ON THE RIGHT TRACK

California Speedway has been Musgrave's track ... Musgrave is a perfect three-for-three in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series appearances at California Speedway. This week, he seeks an unprecedented fourth consecutive victory in the same event. He has out-raced three different rivals -- Crawford, then-teammate Jason Leffler and Gaughan. Gaughan holds the record for consecutive victories at the same track; however, his four wins came in the 2002-03 spring-fall events at Texas Motor Speedway. QUOTEBOOK

"I paid a lot of attention to the lighting around the track in California when the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup guys raced there. I think it will be better for me and all the other competitors and even the fans. The fans are having a great time because it is a good cool night instead of a hot day." -- Bobby Hamilton on the series' first night race at California Speedway. "We'll have a good enough shot at winning -- good enough truck and good enough team. But it's just luck the way it goes." -- Ted Musgrave on the possibility of winning at California Speedway for the fourth time. "I think running the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race there earlier this month got me a lot of experience that is really going to pay off in the truck. It's going to be fast racing under the lights since it's a temperature-sensitive race track." -- Carl Edwards, who finished sixth in California's Pop Secret 500.


Jim Smith's Ultra Motorsports is the dominant team at California Speedway. Ultra has four victories at the track -- three by Ted Musgrave and another by Mike Bliss. Musgrave and Jason Leffler finished one-two for the team in 2002. Smith's outfit has a pair of Bud Poles at Fontana from Bliss and Scott Riggs.

Fast Facts

What:  American Racing Wheels 200 (Race No. 20 of 25).

Where: California Speedway, Fontana, Calif..

When: 10 p.m. ET, Saturday, Oct. 2.

Track layout: 2.0-mile paved.
Race length: 200 miles/100 laps.

Posted awards: $603,594.

TV: SPEED Channel, 10 p.m. ET.
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.

2003 winner: Ted Musgrave.
2003 polesitter: Brendan Gaughan.

Pre-race schedule (all times local): Friday -- Practice 10:35 a.m. -- 12:30 p.m. Qualifying 3:15 p.m. Final practice 5:45 -- 6:45 p.m., time permitting.

Top 10 in Points: 1. Bobby Hamilton 2,778. 2. Dennis Setzer 2,739. 3. Carl Edwards 2,653. 4. Ted Musgrave 2,603. 5. Matt Crafton 2,571. 6. Travis Kvapil 2,514. 7. Chad Chaffin 2,495. 8. Mike Skinner 2,418. 9. David Starr 2,401. 10. Steve Park 2,371.


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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Steve Park , Jason Leffler , Mike Skinner , David Starr , Ted Musgrave , Jack Sprague , Dennis Setzer , Matt Crafton , Shane Hmiel , Mark Gibson , Brendan Gaughan , Chad Chaffin , Mike Bliss , Carl Edwards , Dave Blaney , Jim Smith