NASCAR veteran Mark Martin is series' 15th different winner in past 26 races NEWS AND NOTES Martin's GM FlexFuel 250 win sets record ... Although inactive since his Sept. 28, 1996 victory at North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway until the final...
NASCAR veteran Mark Martin is series' 15th different winner in past 26 races
NEWS AND NOTES
Martin's GM FlexFuel 250 win sets record ... Although inactive since his Sept. 28, 1996 victory at North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway until the final race of the 2005 season, Mark Martin (No. 6 Scotts Ford) nonetheless goes into the record book with the greatest number of seasons between wins at eight. Skinner broke a seven-season lull last August at Bristol. Martin's Daytona win was a record-extending 38th for Roush Racing and first on the series for crew chief Mike Beam, who twice finished second in 2005 with Raybestos Rookie of the Year Todd Kluever. Martin became the 15th different winner in 26 races since the beginning of the 2005 NASCAR Craftsman Truck season. Jack Roush became the second series owner to win multiple Daytona races.
Potential, future crew members tour this week ... Students from the Los Angeles Urban League Automotive Training Center (ATC) will spend much of Thursday in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck garage as guests of Toyota Motor Sales USA, a 13-year ATC partner. The visit is designed to give students -- drawn predominately from Los Angeles' African-American and Hispanic communities - an opportunity to experience a behind-the-scenes look at the racing industry, to speak with and hear from experienced motorsports professionals and develop an understanding of some of the employment opportunities available beyond the traditional automotive mechanic career path.
'Driver X' grabs first win among Raybestos rookies ... A solid, sixth-place finish -- coming from a lap behind -- made Erik Darnell (No. 99 Woolrich Ford) the year's first Raybestos rookie of the race winner. Darnell, 24, was the winner of the Discovery Channel's Driver X competition. A total of 10 rookie candidates qualified for the GM FlexFuel 250 with Darnell, Robert Richardson (No. 1 winyourmortgage.com Dodge), Kerry Earnhardt (No. 13 ThorSport Chevrolet) and Sean Murphy (No. 07 Garden Fresh Gourmet Salsa & Chips Chevrolet) completing all 102 laps.
ETC. ... Lester will address the Fontana City Council on Wednesday and attend a California Speedway reception to recognize African-Americans in motorsports as part of Black History Month activities for the City of Fontana. .... ... Daytona marked the 56th time a green-white-checker finish has concluded a series race. Mark Martin is the 24th different driver to prevail in such a shootout. ... The lead of the GM FlexFuel 250 changed hands 21 times at the scoring line and a total of 33 times at various portions of the track, according to loop data furnished by NASCAR timing and scoring and Stats LLC. ... California Speedway's Raceticket.com 200 has been won from the Budweiser Pole on two occasions in 1997 and 2000. The average starting position for the past five winners is 13.4. Park won the 2005 event from 25th on the starting grid. ... Mike Bliss (No. 16 Xpress Motorsports Chevrolet) has led the most laps of any series winner at California Speedway. He led 93 of 100 trips around the 2-mile speedway in 1997, the inaugural event. Park led just six laps a year ago -- fewest by a race winner. ... Qualifying for this week's race can be seen live on SPEED at 1:10 p.m. ET Friday.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
Musgrave solid in Racetickets.com 200 ... Defending series champion Ted Musgrave (No. 9 ASE/Germain Motors Toyota), coming off a third-place finish at Daytona, is a solid favorite to extend his California Speedway domination. Musgrave, in addition to winning consecutive starts in 2001-03, is a perfect five-for-five in top-five finishes. He's led the most laps -- 152 -- and won the most money - $216,480.
Dodge tops winners' list at California ... The California Speedway winner has been aboard a Dodge in four of 10 races including four of the past five. Musgrave accounted for three of those wins in consecutive starts between 2001 and 2003. Chevrolet, winner of two out of the first three races, has been shut out since 1999 when Sprague's victory clinched the NASCAR Craftsman Truck title.
"From watching it (on television), I say that truck series racing is the best racing in NASCAR. Boy, I sure felt it out there with them, too. Always watch their races. Certainly being out there with them was just a blast." -- Mark Martin, who'll make his second of seven 2006 NASCAR Craftsman Truck appearances at California Speedway.
"I'm not going to lie to you. It's disappointing not to win the fourth in a row and set the record," -- Todd Bodine, joining Mike Skinner (No. 5 Toyota Tundra Toyota), Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 33 Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet) and Greg Biffle in the unsuccessful pursuit of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck consecutive victory record. Bodine finished second to Martin at Daytona.
STATS INSIDE THE STATS
Daytona winner Martin tops Driver Ratings ... With a score of 138.7 points (of a possible 150) Martin is the series' highest rated driver following his Daytona victory. Skinner at 121.6 points and Bodine at 119.2 points follow. Driver Rating is based upon wins, finishes, top-10 finishes, average running position on the lead lap, average speed under the green flag, fastest lap, leading most laps and lead lap finish.
Crafton logs fastest lap ... Crafton posted Daytona's fastest race lap at 191.964 mph. Martin ranked 15th of the 36 drivers in fastest lap speed. Cook demonstrates Daytona prowess ... Coming from a starting position of 31st, Terry Cook (Ford Power Stroke Diesel by International Ford) demonstrated why he's six for seven in top-10 finishes at Daytona. Cook logged an even 100 Quality Passes -- passes of trucks running in the top 15 -- en route to a 10th-place finish.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
California Speedway has seen more races run at 140 mph or above than any series track, although none since 2003 when Musgrave bumped the track record to 145.926, fourth fastest in series history. The track's other 140-plus mph races came in 2000 (Kurt Busch), 1998 (Jack Sprague) and 2000 (Musgrave).
What: Racetickets.com 200 (Race 2 of 25).
Where: California Speedway
When: 9:15 p.m. ET, Friday, Feb. 24.
Track layout: 2.0-mile speedway.
Race length: 200 miles/100 laps.
Posted awards: $641,503.
TV: SPEED Channel, 9:15 p.m. ET.
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.
2005 winner: Steve Park.
2005 polesitter: Mike Skinner.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Thursday -- Practice 2:00 p.m. -- 3:00 p.m. Thursday -- Rookie practice 3:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Final practice 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.) Friday - Qualifying 10:10 a.m. Trucks impounded after qualifying.