* Benson Wins Fifth Time With Rebound From First Lap Spin * Roush Racing On Verge Of Fifth Raybestos Rookie Crown * 10 Winners In 10 Races At Homestead-Miami Speedway News & Notes And Musgrave's Pick For His Successor? ... No surprise...
* Benson Wins Fifth Time With Rebound From First Lap Spin
* Roush Racing On Verge Of Fifth Raybestos Rookie Crown
* 10 Winners In 10 Races At Homestead-Miami Speedway
News & Notes
And Musgrave's Pick For His Successor? ... No surprise here, it's Germain Racing teammate Bodine. "Todd's in a really good position compared to where I was last year (with a lead of 58 points entering the final race). I don't think there's going to be much pressure on him other than he'll probably be a little nervous just being in that position to be a champion."
Every Pass Could Be For Position ... Just 114 points is the spread between fourth and 10th in the championship point standings going into the Ford 200. Musgrave, hoping to extend his current streak of five top-five finishes, is fourth by 41 over David Starr (No. 11 Red Horse Racing Toyota). Terry Cook (No. 10 Ford Power Stroke Diesel by International Ford) holds 10th -- the final spot on stage at next month's Champion's Awards Banquet in Orlando -- by a margin of 48 on Mike Bliss (No. 16 strutmasters.com Chevrolet), the series' 2002 champion. Martin will compete in his 14th race of the season hoping to retain position No. 10. Martin would be only the second fulltime NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver to finish in the top 20. Geoffrey Bodine was 20th in 1995, the series' inaugural season.
Qualifying Has Meant A Lot As The Season Winds Down ... Although the Budweiser Pole winner has won the Ford 200 just once -- Bobby Hamilton in 2003 -- the No. 1 starter has gone to Victory Lane six times in the last eight races and nine times overall. The latter number is one short of the record set in 2000. Martin and six other competitors share the record for the most wins from the pole -- three -- in a single season. Kurt Busch and Joe Ruttman were the previous most recent "three-timers" in 2000.
Raybestos Rookie Of The Year To Be Crowned At Homestead
Erik Darnell (No. 99 Northern Tool + Equipment Ford) can point with pride to a singular achievement in his bid for Roush Racing's fifth Raybestos Rookie of the Year award.
Darnell has led Raybestos standings after 24 consecutive races beginning with the 2006 season opener at Daytona International Speedway. "he top rookie will be named this week at Homestead. Darnell carries a 58-point lead over Chad McCumbee (No. 08 The GPS Store/Garmin Chevrolet) into the finale.
Darnell opened the year with a sixth-place finish. He's posted a trio of top-five finishes and 11 times has run among the top 10 -- including the last four races in succession.
"We gained a lot of experience this year that will help us as we gear up to contend for the championship next year," said Darnell.
On The Right Track
Ten Different Drivers Have Found Victory Lane In South Florida ... Homestead-Miami Speedway is one of two NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series facilities to have run 10 or more races without a repeat winner. Benson became winner No. 11 at New Hampshire International Speedway in September to set a record that could be matched this Friday. Entered drivers who could become the first repeat winner at Homestead are Rick Crawford (No. 14 Circle Bar Truck Corral Ford), 1998; Mike Wallace (No. 15 Billy Ballew Motorsports Chevrolet), 1999; Musgrave, 2001; Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 33 AES HR Solutions Chevrolet), 2002; and Bodine (2005). Musgrave needs a victory to preserve a five season winning streak. Dennis Setzer (No. 85 FlexFuel E85 Chevrolet) must win the Ford 200 to extend his eight season stretch of victories that began in 1998.
Bodine, who tutored former Boston Red Sox outfielder Mike Greenwelll prior to the latter's two NASCAR Craftsman Truck starts earlier this season, will get fishing tips from the former Major League All-Star. Greenwell will instruct Bodine on the finer points of angling for Snook. ... Jack Sprague (No. 60Con-way Freight Toyota) has posted the most top-five (seven) and top-10 (eight) finishes at Homestead. He's finished second three times -- most recently a year ago -- and third on two other occasions. ... Defending Budweiser Pole winner and Homestead qualifying record holder Reutimann is one of two competitors to win two poles at Homestead. The other is Ruttman. Reutimann's record lap of 173.116 mph was set a year ago in the initial test of the track's latest configuration featuring turns banked 18-20 degrees. ... The Homestead-Miami Speedway will host the championship-deciding race for the fifth time. The season finale was moved from California Speedway beginning in 2002. ... There have been 46,057 laps of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competition at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Sprague has completed the most laps -- 1,385 -- of any driver. He and Crawford have the most starts -- nine. ... Dodge must add to its total of three Homestead victories to avoid its first winless season since 1996. Chevrolet's five wins are the fewest in a season by the truck maker. Toyota counts the most victories in 2006 -- 12 -- with Ford second with seven. The latter manufacturer won Homestead's first four races but has been shut out of Victory Lane since. ... Michael Waltrip (No. 12 Jani King Toyota) will make his first start since 2004. NASCAR NEXTEL Cup's Joe Nemechek (No. 46 Silverado Chevrolet) also is entered.
In The Loop
Todd Bodine and Johnny Benson aren't separated by much in several of Homestead's 2005 key Loop Scoring Data categories (below): Driver Rating, Fastest Laps Run and Average Running Position. Bodine, last year's race winner, is either first or second in all three categories topped by a Driver Rating of 143.2 (of 150.0) and Fastest Laps Run, 44.
One key to Bodine's third consecutive victory was his status as Fastest Late in a Run (166.080 mph) and Green Flag Speed, 165.713.
Bodine and Benson were among four drivers who ran the Most Laps in the Top 10 -- 131 of 134.
"It's my final race with all the guys and I mean the entire truck deal as a whole - the guys in the fab shop, my race day guys and my pit crew. Each one of them contributed a lot of time and energy and has been in my corner even when things weren't going good. I owe those guys a lot and it's tough for me to get up and leave. I'm not going to have the opportunity to race with them any more and that's the bummer part of the deal. That's what bothers me the most." -- David Reutimann, who'll move to the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series in 2007.
"It has been a great year -- a lot of ups and downs -- but this has been the most competitive season so far (in our) six years in the series." -- Gene Christensen, whose primary driver Chad McCumbee stands 17th overall and second in Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings.
"Homestead is one of those race tracks where I have had a lot of success, but somehow a win has just escaped me time and time again." -- Jack Sprague. We have built some momentum performance-wise, getting a little better each race. We ran in the top-ten at Atlanta, ran pretty good at Texas so our intermediate track program is coming along. Homestead will be another chance for all of us at Bobby Hamilton Racing to improve on those tracks and prepare for next year. " -- Bobby Hamilton Jr., No. 18 Fastenal Dodge.
The Race: Ford 200
The Place: Homestead-Miami Speedway
The Date: Nov.17, 2006
The Time: 8:05 p.m. (ET)
Track Layout: 1.5-mile paved oval
Race Distance: 201 miles/ 134 laps
TV: SPEED, 7:30 p.m. (ET)
Race Purse: $632,301
2005 Winner: Todd Bodine
2005 Pole: David Reutimann
Schedule: Friday -- Practice, 8:30 a.m. -- 9:30 a.m., 9:45 a.m. --10:15 a.m. and 10:25 a.m. -- 11:25 a.m. Qualifying, 5 p.m.