NEWS OF NOTE * No quit in this team... Here's a bit of history for you. Despite having missed only two NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races, Spears Motorsports only has scored manufacturer points for Chevrolet twice: on June 23, 1995 (Bill ...
NEWS OF NOTE
* No quit in this team... Here's a bit of history for you. Despite having missed only two NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races, Spears Motorsports only has scored manufacturer points for Chevrolet twice: on June 23, 1995 (Bill Sedgwick, fifth) at Bristol Motor Speedway and last week, when David Starr finished fourth - a season best - in the MBNA America 200 at Dover International Speedway.
* Better have your stopwatch ready... Ted Musgrave's winning margin at Dover was .530-second - about two truck lengths - and marked the fifth time this season and 13th time in the last 14 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races in which less than one second comprised the spread from first to second place. Musgrave, by the way, ended the string of consecutive different winners to start a season at five. He and Robert Pressley also finished one-two at Darlington Raceway on March 15.
* Not a victory but a team milestone nonetheless... In 131 previous races, Rick Crawford's best start had been second - four times, in fact, including 2001 at Dover International Speedway. He won the Bud Pole for the MBNA America 200 and finished third to match his 2000 performance in the event."It's been a long time in coming; that's all I can say," Crawford said.
* Just how close is it?... The current NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship battle, after six races, is the closest in history, with four points separating the leader, Starr, from second-place Mike Bliss. The previously closest was in 1998, when 23 points separated the top two. The current battle goes deeper than that: Musgrave is 15 behind Starr with Crawford 17 back.
* Everything's wide open in Texas... There have been eight consecutive different winners at Texas Motor Speedway, a record the 1.5-mile venue shares with Martinsville Speedway. Unlike the latter track, however, TMS has seen three first-time winners - and two in the past three events. The trio is comprised of Kenny Irwin Jr. (1997), Bryan Reffner (2000) and Travis Kvapil (2001). Two of the three - Irwin and Kvapil - went on to claim rookie-of-the-year honors. Another first-time winner? Could be. Current Raybestos rookie of the year leader Brendan Gaughan (No. 62 NAPA Auto Parts Dodge) finished second in last year's O'Reilly 400.
* Another note on David Starr... Texas Motor Speedway will honor Starr with a limited edition, souvenir T-shirt, available only at TMS souvenir stands this week."He's having a great year and his skills as a driver are finally being recognized," said the track's vice president and general manager Eddie Gossage. On Sunday, Starr tossed out the first ball when the Texas Rangers met the Kansas City Royals in Arlington.
* We never had field trips like this... Kathy Hennessey's fourth-grade class at Five Palms Elementary School in San Antonio will be among 60,000 or so attending this week's O'Reilly 400. As part of the trip, 35 students will meet a number of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers during a Friday afternoon meet-and-greet and visit Craftsman's interactive display. Hennessey promotes reading through the"Racing to Read" program that features NASCAR-themed problem solving."The students are so involved in this project that their reading progress has excelled ten-fold," she said.
* Talking about Texas Motor Speedway..."The victory here in 1999 was undoubtedly a huge win at the time for Dodge and I will say it has been my biggest, most memorable win in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series" - Dennis Setzer (No. 46 ACXIOM/Computer Associates Chevrolet), who gave Dodge its first victory on a track of a mile or longer..."Racing under the lights always gets everybody fired up, so hopefully we can capitalize on the adrenaline and be in Victory Lane by the end of the night." - Jason Leffler (No. 2 Team ASE/Carquest Dodge), still looking for win No. 1 on the series..."With the 390 cfm carburetor that we run, you can't afford to let off the gas and lose all that momentum. It's more or less going to be like the race at Daytona. You build up all that speed and, if you lift, it takes quite a while to get going again." - Ted Musgrave (No. 1 Mopar Performance Dodge).
* Crew chief watch... Bobby Hamilton Racing's Danny Rollins counts 30 starts as a crew chief on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. During that span, he has won at Daytona International Speedway and Pikes Peak International Raceway among 11 top-five and 24 top-10 finishes. That's an 80 percent top-10 record."The only thing I can say about my record is that it's not me," said Rollins, currently calling the shots for the No. 4 Perry Connection Dodge of Brian Rose."It's the team I'm with, the guys I work with and the two drivers (Rose and Joe Ruttman) I've worked with. It's all about teamwork." Also at BHR, Danny Gill has left the No. 18 Dodge team driven by Pressley. Todd Meyers will serve as interim crew chief at Texas Motor Speedway. Says Bobby Hamilton:"I'm in no hurry to fill the crew chief position. I've had several crew chiefs run the No. 18 truck and each time we have won races. This will not change."
* Making progress, one race at a time... Bill Lester (No. 8 Dodge Motorsports Dodge) has posted his season-best finish two races in a row (15th at Pikes Peak and 12th at Dover). The 42-year-old Raybestos rookie is seeing light at the end of the tunnel."We started the year trying to finish races and now we are trying to finish them in the top 10," said Lester.
TRACKING SERIES ALUMNI
* 2000 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Greg Biffle scored his first victory of the season, winning the June 1 NASCAR Busch Series MBNA Platinum 200 at Dover International Speedway. Appropriately, the weekend marked the return to the track of owner Jack Roush, who continues to recover from injuries sustained in an April light plane crash in Alabama. Jack Sprague and Scott Riggs, the latter bidding to win a second NASCAR Busch Series race Saturday at Nashville Superspeedway, stand one-two, respectively, in the point standings.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
* Just once have official rookie candidates swept the top-three finishes in a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event. It happened June 6, 1997 when Irwin, Boris Said and Crawford captured the top three positions in the series' first visit to Texas Motor Speedway.