Indy IRP: GM Racing preview

Team Silverado Ready for IRP Challenge Indianapolis Raceway Park Race Set for August 5, 2005 Indianapolis, IN - The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Indianapolis Raceway Park (IRP) has produced some of the most exciting races with thrilling...

Team Silverado Ready for IRP Challenge
Indianapolis Raceway Park Race Set for August 5, 2005

Indianapolis, IN - The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Indianapolis Raceway Park (IRP) has produced some of the most exciting races with thrilling finishes in the series 10-year history. The 0.686-mile virtually flat oval just east of Indianapolis has been on the NCTS since the inaugural 1995 season.

IRP is a challenging track that plays favorably to veteran drivers. It is a difficult to pass and if a driver gets out of the preferred line, they can lose several positions in one set of corners. Having a truck that handles and gets good drive off the corners is critical. Track position is critical. If a team misses the setup and their driver is mired back in traffic, it is a very difficult track to make a charge through the field back to the front.

"IRP is a tough little track, "said Dayne Pierantoni, GM Racing Silverado program manager. "But I am sure our Silverado teams are up to the task. Our short track results haven't shown how well we've raced. We won at Martinsville with Bobby Labonte and led a ton of laps at Mansfield and Memphis but had some crazy stuff happen. This week we are coming to win!"

Current NCTS points leader Dennis Setzer and his No. 46 Chevrolet Silverado team are looking to capture their first-ever victory and fourth of the season at the August 5, 2005 event.

"I sure don't have the finishes here to show for how well we have run here in the past. Last year we ran second all night and there was a late caution that messed us up. Lots of guys got tires behind us - and we didn't. We went from second to tenth pretty fast and finished 12th. I've dominated races here in the past, but for one reason or another, we just couldn't complete the deal.

"Indianapolis Raceway Park is a tough place to get around. You have to run right up against the wall here and most of the passing is going to be done around the outside. The new gear rule has pretty much dictated that. The (gear) rule also has made track position very important and that has put a lot of the pressure on the crew chief. They are the ones that will be sweating it the most as far as when and how many times to pit."

Teaming with Setzer for the second consecutive race is Aric Almirola. Almirola is a member of the successful Reggie White/Joe Gibbs Racing Late Model Diversity Program. He made his first NCTS at Memphis and was running well, in 14th position, until late race contact sidelined the 21-year old Tampa, FL native. Almirola will pilot the No. 47 Home Depot Silverado.

"I have watched races at IRP on television since I was a little boy," said Almirola. "My Grandpa raced sprint cars so I watched Thursday Night Thunder every week. I am excited to have the opportunity to race there because I watched so many great drivers race on TV.

"I was able to test IRP with the No. 47 Morgan Dollar team right after the Memphis race and it is really a neat track. It was fun out there running up against the wall by myself. It definitely isn't a bottom feeder track. Our test went well, not as well as when we tested at Memphis before the race but I think that is a good omen for us. We learned some things that will really help us I think."

"The No. 47 team is loaded with talented guys who have a lot of experience in this sport," Almirola concluded. "With the experience of one race under my belt, I have more confidence going in to this race and can better communicate with Randy (Goss, crew chief) and the guys. Qualifying is going to be critical because passing is going to be tough on there and maintaining good track position is going to be key to getting a good finish. I can hardly wait until Friday night."

Ron Hornaday, No. 16 GM Goodwrench Silverado, captured a NCTS victory at IRP in 1997. Hornaday currently sits fourth in the standings after 14 of 25 events.

"IRP is a track that I think that we are going to run well at this weekend," said the two-time NCTS champion. "Everyone on this team feels like we are due. We keep catching bad brakes and it is time for this team to get back on track. I know how to run at IRP and have had good success there in the past. It is the kind of racing that I have been doing since I begin at Saugus Speedway in California early in my career. You can be aggressive there and use the nose and fenders to make a hole. Everyone is pushing and shoving for position and that is when I am the most comfortable."

Three-time NCTS champion Jack Sprague is no stranger to IRP victory lane. The No. 16 Chevy Trucks Silverado driver took home the winner's trophy in 1998 and again in 2001. Currently 12th in the NCTS standings, Sprague is looking for the race at IRP to turn his season around.

"IRP is probably one of my favorite tracks on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series circuit." Sprague stated. "I have had a couple of wins there over the years and some great races to the checkered flag with Joe Ruttman and my ole buddy (Ron) Hornaday. Last year we got the pole and the Chevy Trucks Silverado was about as perfect as a race truck could get then we lost a cylinder and just had to hang of to try and get a decent finish. This year we want to go, get the pole and win the race to turn the momentum around for the team. Our Chevy Trucks team has had some great trucks and some great races going several times this season. and then bad luck has hit us so our finishes don't reflect how well we have run this year at a lot of tracks. We want to get back in the top-10 in points and shoot for winning a couple more races before the year is out. I think IRP is a great place for us to do that. It is a track where you have to think ahead about who and what is in front of you because passing isn't easy and you have to set them up before you can get around them. We want to leave IRP with a strong run to set the ton for the rest of the season."

David Starr and the No. 75 Spears Manufacturing Silverado team have their sites set on taking their first 2005 trip to victory lane. Starr currently sets in 10th in the standings.

"I'm excited about going back to Indy, especially after our 5th place finish at Memphis two weeks ago," Starr stated. "I think we are pulling out of our slump and hopefully this will be another good weekend for us, We have struggled in the past at IRP, in fact our best finish to date was an 11th in 2003. Dave McCarty and everyone on the Spears team have been working overtime to get our Chevy Silverado in perfect running order and I think we will see some good results at this race.

"IRP is a really exciting and challenging track and setup is all important. You have to have a truck that cuts good in the center and has good forward bite. We know our Spears Chevy Silverado is one of the best trucks out there and with McCarty's expertise, our Ron Hutter engine and the performance of our Silverado we should be good to go."

Practice, qualifying and the Power Stroke Diesel 200 at Indianapolis Raceway Park will all be held on Thursday starting at 10:00 AM CDT followed by final practice starting at noon. Qualifying is scheduled for 5:00 PM CD and the 200-lap, 137.2-mile race scheduled to begin at 7:45 p.m. CDT on Saturday night. Live television coverage will be provided by SPEED Channel with MRN and XM Satellite bringing the race live on the air waves.

DRIVER: DENNIS SETZER
TEAM: No. 46 Morgan-Dollar Motorsports Chevrolet Z71 Silverado

QUOTES: "I sure don't have the finishes here to show for how well we have run here in the past. Last year we ran second all night and there was a late caution that messed us up. Lots of guys got tires behind us - and we didn't. We went from second to tenth pretty fast and finished 12th. I've dominated races here in the past, but for one reason or another, we just couldn't complete the deal.

"Indianapolis Raceway Park is a tough place to get around. You have to run right up against the wall here and most of the passing is going to be done around the outside. The new gear rule has pretty much dictated that. The (gear) rule also has made track position very important and that has put a lot of the pressure on the crew chief. They are the ones that will be sweating it the most as far as when and how many times to pit."

DRIVER: JACK SPRAGUE
TEAM: No. 16 Xpress Motorsports Chevy Trucks Silverado

QUOTES: "IRP is probably one of my favorite tracks on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series circuit. I have had a couple of wins there over the years and some great races to the checkered flag with Joe Ruttman and my ole buddy (Ron) Hornaday. Last year we got the pole and the Chevy Trucks Silverado was about as perfect as a race truck could get then we lost a cylinder and just had to hang of to try and get a decent finish. This year we want to go, get the pole and win the race to turn the momentum around for the team. Our Chevy Trucks team has had some great trucks and some great races going several times this season and then bad luck has hit us so our finishes don't reflect how well we have run this year at a lot of tracks. We want to get back in the top-10 in points and shoot for winning a couple more races before the year is out. I think IRP is a great place for us to do that. It is a track where you have to think ahead about who and what is in front of you because passing isn't easy and you have to set them up before you can get around them. We want to leave IRP with a strong run to set the ton for the rest of the season."

DRIVER: DAVID STARR
TEAM: No. 75 Spears Manufacturing Silverado

QUOTES: "I'm excited about going back to Indy, especially after our 5th place finish at Memphis two weeks ago. I think we are pulling out of our slump and hopefully this will be another good weekend for us, we have struggled in the past at IRP, in fact our best finish to date was an 11th in 2003. Dave McCarty and everyone on the Spears team have been working overtime to get our Chevy Silverado in perfect running order and I think we will see some good results at this race.

"IRP is a really exciting and challenging track and setup is all important. You have to have a truck that cuts good in the center and has good forward bite. We know our Spears Chevy Silverado is one of the best trucks out there and with McCarty's expertise, our Ron Hutter engine and the performance of our Silverado we should be good to go."

DRIVER:  RON HORNADAY

TEAM: No. 6 Kevin Harvick, Inc. GM Goodwrench Silverado

QUOTES: "IRP is a track that I think that we are going to run well at this weekend. Everyone on this team feels like we are due. We keep catching bad brakes and it is time for this team to get back on track. I know how to run at IRP and have had good success there in the past. It is the kind of racing that I have been doing since I begin at Saugus Speedway in California early in my career. You can be aggressive there and use the nose and fenders to make a hole. Everyone is pushing and shoving for position and that is when I am the most comfortable."

DRIVER:  ARIC ALMIROLA

TEAM: No. 47 Morgan Dollar Motorsports Home Depot Silverado

QUOTES: "I have watched races at IRP on television since I was a little boy. My Grandpa raced sprint cars so I watched Thursday Night Thunder every week. I am excited to have the opportunity to race there because I watched so many great drivers race on TV.

"I was able to test IRP with the No. 47 Morgan Dollar team right after the Memphis race and it is really a neat track. It was fun out there running up against the wall by myself. It definitely isn't a bottom feeder track. Our test went well, not as well as when we tested at Memphis before the race but I think that is a good omen for us. We learned some things that will really help us I think.

"The No. 47 team is loaded with talented guys who have a lot of experience in this sport. With the experience of one race under my belt, I have more confidence going in to this race and can better communicate with Randy (Goss, crew chief) and the guys. Qualifying is going to be critical because passing is going to be tough on there and maintaining good track position is going to be key to getting a good finish. I can hardly wait until Friday night."

-gm racing-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Bobby Labonte , David Starr , Kevin Harvick , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Jack Sprague , Dennis Setzer , Joe Ruttman , Aric Almirola
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing