Indianapolis Raceway Park notes and quotes

INDIANAPOLIS -- Some of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series' oldest records are under siege by Jack Sprague, one of which fell as the two-time champion won Friday's Power Stroke 200 at Indianapolis Raceway Park. Sprague's NetZero Platinum...

INDIANAPOLIS -- Some of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series' oldest records are under siege by Jack Sprague, one of which fell as the two-time champion won Friday's Power Stroke 200 at Indianapolis Raceway Park.

Sprague's NetZero Platinum Chevrolet led for an 11th consecutive race, dating to the May 6 stop at Gateway International Raceway, to erase Mike Skinner's 1996 standard. Ironically, the mark was surpassed at IRP, where Skinner's streak began on Aug. 1, 1996.

Here are some other records Sprague has in his sights over the season's final nine races:
* Miles led, 1,136.902 by Skinner, 1996. Sprague has led 1,048.24.
* Laps led, 1,533 by Skinner, 1996. Sprague has led 995.
* Races led, 19 by Greg Biffle, 2000. Sprague has led 13.
* Career wins, 25 by Ron Hornaday. Sprague has 22.

Records may be set to be broken but figure any longevity mark established by Sprague to be difficult to topple given that young phenoms are being promoted to NASCAR Busch and Winston Cup series after just a year or two on the NCTS.

Sprague will celebrate his 37th birthday Wednesday when the series sets up for an optional test day, hosted by Dodge, at Nashville Superspeedway in preparation for Friday's Federated Auto Parts 250.

Friday's race was the fifth at IRP to be won from the front row. No Indy winner has started worse than third. Sprague became the season's fourth different winner in as many short track stops, joining Ted Musgrave, Scott Riggs and Dennis Setzer. Two events remain, both in September, at Richmond International Raceway and South Boston Speedway.

Terry Cook's fantastic August of 1998 came to mind when he threatened to win Friday's race and settled for a solid second-place finish. Cook scored his only NCTS victory on Aug.8 of that year at now- shuttered Flemington (N.J.) Speedway and followed up that performance on Aug. 23 with a runnerup run at Heartland Park Topeka, a circuit no longer on tour.

Since joining K Automotive Performance, Cook has fashioned a second and two third-place finishes among four top-fives.

Jack Roush set new standards for youth being served when he fielded 19-year-old Jon Wood and 16-year-old Kyle Busch in the Power Stroke Diesel 200. That is believed to mark the first time the same team has started two teens in the same event in a NASCAR national series.

Wood qualified fourth but finished 27th, kayoed by a Turn 1 accident. Busch, younger brother of Roush Racing's NASCAR Winston Cup Series freshman Kurt Busch, experienced a multitude of highs and lows during his ESPN-televised debut. After sliding into the wall on his second qualifying lap, Busch started shotgun on the 36-truck field and wound up a lap down before rebounding to regain the lost serial and finish ninth.

And what would Busch do next? "I'm taking off to run the (NASCAR) late models tomorrow back home" at the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, he replied. And -- later in the month -- he'll return to high school. Busch is one of two 16-year-olds to have performed on the series. Casey Atwood appeared once in 1996 at his hometown Nashville Speedway USA.

The 43-truck qualifying field was the largest on the series in 2001, one team greater than the entry for events at Daytona International Speedway and Martinsville Speedway. Seven drivers went home including road racer G.J. Mennen, a sports car regular hoping to crack NASCAR in an ex-Rob Morgan campaigned Ford F-150.

Yes -- that Mennen family, which prompted one observer to dub the newcomer -- Speed Stick.

Joe Ruttman's third-place finish was his sixth top-10 in seven tries at IRP and 65th top-five on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. The latter number is No. 2 all-time behind Sprague's 92, breaking a tie with Ron Hornaday.

Setzer, meanwhile, was recording his 50th career top-10.

Ruttman's Bud Pole speed of 109.043 mph was the slowest to lead qualifying since 1996 and nearly six-tenths of a second off his No. 1 time of last year. Goodyear's harder tire compound, on which the teams competed two weeks earlier at New Hampshire International Speedway, has reduced speeds -- and wear -- dramatically.

Bobby Dotter had gone 25 NCTS starts without a top 10 finish, his best run a 14th that came in February at Daytona. Dotter, a onetime NASCAR Busch Series regular, erased that blemish Friday by finishing 10th. The run also was best for Green Light Racing, owned by Gene Christensen.

The Federated Auto Parts 250 marks the conclusion of the second leg of Raybestos Rookie-of- the-Year competition. Ricky Hendrick heads Travis Kvapil by five points, however, Kvapil is a position ahead of his rival in NCTS standings (fourth vs. fifth) and -- having scored more points over the past seven races -- stands to collect the 10 second leg bonus points to be awarded after Friday's race.

NASCAR officials announced the 390-cfm carburetor, tested in June at Texas Motor Speedway and in July at Kansas Speedway, will be the only carburetor eligible for use during the remainder of the 2001 season. The series previously had allowed an 830-cfm carburetor. The change is effective Aug. 7 and brings the series engine rule in line with that of the NASCAR Busch Series.

Billy Bigley and his Spears Manufacturing crew spent the week after the New England 200 fishing near Ketchikan, Alaska -- owner Wayne Spears' bonus for winning May's ARCA event at Memphis Motorsports Park. Bigley caught a 108-pound halibut but engine specialist Doug Wolf was top angler -- his halibut checking in at 145 pounds.


Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Greg Biffle , Casey Atwood , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Ted Musgrave , Ricky Hendrick , Jack Sprague , Dennis Setzer , Bobby Dotter , Terry Cook , Jon Wood , Joe Ruttman , Billy Bigley , Rob Morgan , Jack Roush , Kyle Busch