Huge Field Set for WDW Race

For Immediate Release HUGE FIELD READY TO ROLL IN CHEVY TRUCK CHALLENGE LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Jan. 14, 1998 - There's a special sense of urgency among NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competitors entered in the Chevy Trucks Challenge on...

For Immediate Release

HUGE FIELD READY TO ROLL IN CHEVY TRUCK CHALLENGE

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Jan. 14, 1998 - There's a special sense of urgency among NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competitors entered in the Chevy Trucks Challenge on Jan. 18 at Walt Disney World Speedway.

This is the first NCTS race since last November, and it's the last race until April 4 at Metro-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex near Miami.

Both of those factors have helped contribute to a huge field of nearly 70 entries for the season-opening event. Established teams will try to use this event as a springboard toward the NCTS championship, while new teams will use this race as a litmus test for their ability to compete for an entire season in one of NASCAR's premier series.

"I'm a racer - I'd like to race every weekend," said defending event champion Joe Ruttman. "But maybe for some of the other teams, the break in the schedule will give them a chance to fortify their teams for the upcoming onslaught of the season. We're cranked up and ready to go."

Said Dennis Huth, NASCAR vice president of administration: "This is such a great facility to go to as an opener, even with the downtime afterward. The newer teams can come to Walt Disney World Speedway and run the first event, and then they can regroup and see if this is a series that they can run. It's a grueling schedule."

That tough schedule starts at one of the most challenging racetracks in America. The 1-mile tri-oval features different banking in each turn, with 10 degrees in Turn 1, 8 degrees in Turn 2 and 7 degrees in Turn 3. The unique layout makes it tough for teams to devise a chassis setup that will give their truck superior handling in each turn.

"I've been to 350 racetracks in the United States, and I've never seen any track like this one," Ruttman said. "That's the challenge, setting up the truck for a track like this track. It's give and take. You have to set up for the most important corner."

NCTS practice starts at 11 a.m. Jan. 16. Qualifying starts at 12:45 p.m. Jan. 17. The second annual Chevy Trucks Challenge takes the green flag at 12:05 p.m. Jan. 18.

*** On parade: A parade featuring NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series transporters will start at 1 p.m. Jan. 15 at Blizzard Beach in Walt Disney World. The colorful team transporters, which carry race trucks and equipment to each event, will drive in groups of five from Blizzard Beach to Walt Disney World Speedway via World Drive North. The Hendrick Motorsports transporter of defending series champion Jack Sprague is scheduled to lead the parade. The parade should last approximately 2 hours.

*** Race of champions: All three season champions in the history of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series - Jack Sprague (1997), Ron Hornaday Jr. (1996) and Mike Skinner (1995) - are entered in the Chevy Trucks Challenge. All three drivers won their titles in a Chevrolet.

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Chevy Trucks Challenge tickets: Tickets for the Jan. 18 Chevy Trucks Challenge are available by calling Ticketmaster, (407) 839-3900 (Orlando) or (813) 287-8844 (Tampa).

On the airwaves: The Chevy Trucks Challenge will be broadcast live at noon, Jan. 18 on ESPN2 and MRN Radio.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Mike Skinner , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Jack Sprague , Joe Ruttman