Indianapolis (IRP): Dodge Motorsports preview

Dodge Rams roll to Indianapolis in high gear. INDIANAPOLIS (July 31, 2002) -- The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series teams of Dodge Motorsports will take their winning ways back to the track this weekend in one of the most legendary cities of racing,...

Dodge Rams roll to Indianapolis in high gear.

INDIANAPOLIS (July 31, 2002) -- The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series teams of Dodge Motorsports will take their winning ways back to the track this weekend in one of the most legendary cities of racing, Indianapolis, Ind. The teams will be part of an exciting race weekend in Indy, racing in the Power Stroke Diesel 200 at Indianapolis Raceway Park

Robert Pressley proved that he'll be a major factor in the 2002 championship race by earning a truck-length victory over Jason Leffler's Dodge Ram last weekend at Michigan. Pressley dominated the race to pull off his second win in his first season in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Pressley and the No. 18 Square D Bobby Hamilton Racing Dodge Ram led an impressive 74 out of 100 laps on the way to the checkered flag. The finish was Pressley's fifth top-five and ninth top-10 of the season. Pressley and the No. 18 Dodge are looking for more wins in the last nine races of the season to regain the team's No. 1 ranking in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, which they held for the first two races of the season. Currently, Pressley is in seventh place overall.

"We just keep getting better and better," Pressley said."The thing is though, you're only as good as your last race. So this week is a whole new week, and if you look at the points standings, they say we are a seventh place team, and that just isn't good enough for us. We had a goal at the beginning of the season to win a championship and anything less than that will be a failure."

Ted Musgrave is pulling double duty this weekend, racing in both the NASCAR Winston Cup and Craftsman Truck Series races in Indianapolis. Musgrave, who is currently in third place in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, will be teaming up with Casey Atwood at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend for the ninth annual Brickyard 400. Musgrave's last Winston Cup Series race came in the Pocono 500 of June 2001. There he started in the 15th position and finished the race in 29th. His last start at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was in 2000 when he finished the race in 24th place, far ahead of his 41st-place starting position.

"We've definitely got a full plate in Indianapolis," Musgrave said. "We're running the Truck Series race at I.R.P. Friday night and the Brickyard 400 Sunday. I'm definitely going to have to rely on my Truck Series teammate, Jason Leffler, at I.R.P. because my practice time in the Mopar Dodge will be cut in half. After about an hour of practice in the truck, I'll get in a helicopter and fly over to the big track and practice the No. 07 Kenwood/Sirius Satellite Radio Dodge Intrepid R/T. Because practices overlap Friday, I'll be doing double duty that day. I'm sure we'll have a great truck and we had a really good test in the Winston Cup car at Indy a couple weeks ago, so everyone is very optimistic about our chances in both events."

Meanwhile, Darrell Waltrip is helping his former NASCAR Winston Cup Series sponsor Tide celebrate its 15th year in NASCAR at IRP. His No. 17 Tide Dodge Ram will carry the same paint scheme Waltrip drove to victory lane at the 1989 Daytona 500.

"The trucks are big and driver-friendly, and the rules make for competitive racing," Waltrip said."Stevie, my wife, doesn't think the trucks go that fast. And that's what I want to keep her believing because the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series gives a guy like me the chance to get out and compete and have some fun."


* The Dodge teams of Ultra Motorsports have an average qualifying position of 3.4. Jason Leffler earned his seventh pole of season at New Hampshire, while Ted Musgrave has started from the pole three times this year. Leffler has led in 12 of the 13 races in 2002, and the two teammates combine for a total of 757 laps led - nearly 34% of the total laps run so far this year.

* Dodge won its lone victory at I.R.P. in 2000 when Joe Ruttman piloted Bobby Hamilton's No. 18 Dodge Ram to the winner's circle from the pole position. A Dodge driver has earned the pole in the last three races at I.R.P. Dennis Setzer took the pole for Dodge in the No. 1 Mopar Performance Dodge in 1999, while Ruttman earned the front spot in the past two years in the No. 18 Dodge.

* Robert Pressley's win in last weekend's Michigan 200 helped cinch a Dodge"Grand Slam." For the first time in its history, Dodge won races in the NASCAR Winston Cup, Busch, and Craftsman Truck Series, as well as the ARCA RE/MAX Series within a three-day span. Pressley's win was his second in 2002, and came in his first race with new sponsor Square D.

* Bill Lester was the top-finishing Raybestos rookie for the first time in his No. 8 Dodge Motorsports Dodge Ram last weekend in Michigan. Lester has been the top-qualifying rookie in seven races. Brendan Gaughan and the No. 62 NAPA/Orleans Dodge Ram has been the top-finishing rookie in seven races, and leads the rookie standings by 43 points.


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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Darrell Waltrip , Jason Leffler , Robert Pressley , Casey Atwood , Ted Musgrave , Dennis Setzer , Joe Ruttman , Bill Lester