SPEED expanding NASCAR Craftsman Truck coverage beginning at ORP NEWS AND NOTES Series visits short track for fourth time in '06 ... Three drivers -- Dennis Setzer (No. 85 FlexFuel E85 Chevrolet), Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 33 Kevin Harvick Inc.
SPEED expanding NASCAR Craftsman Truck coverage beginning at ORP
NEWS AND NOTES
Series visits short track for fourth time in '06 ... Three drivers -- Dennis Setzer (No. 85 FlexFuel E85 Chevrolet), Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 33 Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet) and Jack Sprague (No. 60 Con-way Freight Toyota) -- are winners on the "bullrings" in 2006. They count a combined 29 short track victories. Only one series driver, Mike Skinner (No. 5 Toyota Tundra Toyota), has managed to win twice in the past 11 short track visits dating to October 2003 at Martinsville Speedway. Skinner went to Victory Lane last August at Bristol Motor Speedway and won the next event at Richmond International Raceway.
Up-front the place to be at ORP ... There have been 11 races at O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis and none of the 11 winners have started worse than fifth. The winner has come from the front row on six occasions with the pole starter taking the checkered flag five times. The last pole starter to win the race was Setzer in 2005 when qualifying was canceled due to inclement weather and the field was set via the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Rule Book. Skinner, Terry Cook (No. 10 Ford Power Stroke Diesel by International Ford) and Joe Ruttman also won from the pole.
SPEED expands NASCAR Craftsman Truck coverage ... SPEED has expanded its live coverage of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Beginning at 8 p.m. ET Friday, this new pre-race show will open the Power Stroke Diesel 200 broadcast by delving into the behind-the-scenes stories and unique personalities that make up the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Veteran reporter Ray Dunlap will host the 45-minute show, taking viewers up to green-flag action. Bob Dillner and Krista Voda will scour the pits for an inside line on what's happening in the garage area. The show also will provide in-depth interviews, racing highlights and interesting features in and around the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. "I want our audience to really get to know the characters and stories behind the great racing," said Chris Long, SPEED VP of studio productions. "People watch sports because they have a vested interest in how their favorite team or hero is faring in the heat of battle. Just like the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is made up of very interesting and colorful personalities. This new pre-race show will allow us to uncover all of these stories."
ETC. ... The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will use Sunoco unleaded fuel for the first time at Indianapolis Raceway Park and again on Aug. 12 at Nashville Superspeedway. The fuel was introduced to NASCAR competition at last weekend's NASCAR Busch Series event at Gateway International Raceway. ... Former NBA veteran and collegiate basketball All-American Rodney Rogers will partner with Key Motorsports and the No. 40 Chevrolet's driver Ryan Moore. Rogers played 12 seasons in the National Basketball Association from 1993 to 2005 after a brilliant collegiate career at Wake Forest University where he earned All-American honors. He played with seven NBA teams, the last being the Philadelphia 76ers during the 2004-05 season. The Durham, N.C. native has been a long-time NASCAR fan and has been a long-time friend of Key Motorsports crew chief Barry Dodson who befriended Rogers during his playing days at Wake Forest. Dodson is an avid supporter of the University's athletic program. ... Diversified industrial manufacturer Eaton Corporation will be the primary sponsor of the No. 59 HT Motorsports Ford driven by Chad Chaffin for the next two races at Indianapolis and Nashville. Eaton is a global company and leading manufacturer of original equipment products, engine valves and lifters. The Eaton Detroit Locker is the only differential used in NASCAR competition. ... Danny Rollins has been named crew chief at H-T Motorsports. Rollins, who joined the team as a consultant earlier this month, was Bobby Hamilton's championship crew chief in 2004. He replaces Kevin Cram, who left the team for other opportunities. ... Six Indiana drivers will attempt to compete at their "home" track. ... O'Reilly Raceway Park is one of four tracks to host a NASCAR Craftsman Truck race in all 12 years of the series. The others are Martinsville Speedway, The Milwaukee Mile and Phoenix International Raceway. One hundred eighty-four different competitors have taken the green flag at ORP.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
Six ORP winners in this week's field ... Six Power Stroke Diesel 200 winners -- including four of the last five -- will compete in this week's race. A year ago, Setzer led 177 of 200 laps from a pole position start giving Chevrolet its sixth victory at the .686-mile oval. Also entered are Chad Chaffin (No. 59 Eaton Corporation Ford), the 2004 winner; Cook, 2002 and Sprague, 2001 and 1998 winners. Skinner, back-to-back winner in 1995-96 leading all 250 laps and Hornaday, 1997, round out the winners' roster. Skinner led the most laps by a winner -- 200 in 1996 -- while Chaffin headed just the final lap of his victory.
Setzer, Crafton consistent finishers ... Two active drivers with multiple ORP starts own single-digit finishing averages. Matt Crafton (No. 88 Menards/Energizer Chevrolet) has averaged a finish of 7.6 in his five races. Setzer, who'll start his 10th race at the track on Friday, has an average of 8.2 and leads all competitors with seven top-10 finishes.
"We know we need to pick up our short track program. We've done some testing this summer. This team loves winning so we are always looking for ways to improve." -- Championship leader Todd Bodine, No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota, who finished 15th at ORP in 2005.
"O'Reilly Raceway Park is hard to drive. It's a very tricky short track and I don't think there's another track in the country that's like it. You have to work really hard to pass and the passes might keep you door-handle to door-handle, lap after lap." -- Ted Musgrave, No. 9 Team ASE Racing Toyota.
"I said after Memphis that I thought the win would give this young team the shot of confidence it needed. You've seen it before that after a team wins one race, it seems to be a little easier to get that next win. I hope that is the case for us at Indy this weekend." -- Jack Sprague.
IN THE LOOP
Dennis Setzer was Mr. Perfection in winning last year's Power Stroke Diesel 200. Setzer posted a Driver Rating of 150.0 out of a possible score of 150. He turned the fastest lap 52 times -- more than a quarter of the 200-lap distance. Setzer's Chevrolet was the second fastest truck early in a run and the fastest late in a run.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
O'Reilly Raceway Park has been a place where the tough get going. NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champions have won six of 11 races -- the most recent being Jack Sprague in 2001 when he notched his record-setting third title. Mike Skinner (1995) also won at ORP in his title year. Eight of 11 competitors finished fifth or better at the track in their championship seasons.
What: Power Stroke Diesel 200 by Ford and International (Race 15 of 25).
Where: O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis.
When: 8:45 p.m. ET, Aug. 4.
Track layout: .686 -mile paved oval.
Race length: 200 laps /137.2 miles.
Posted awards: $519,687
TV: SPEED Channel, 8:00 p.m. ET.
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.
2005 winner: Dennis Setzer.
2005 polesitter: Dennis Setzer.
Top 10 drivers: 1.Todd Bodine 2,161. 2. David Reutimann 2,044. 3. Johnny Benson 1,998 4. Rick Crawford 1,930. 5. Ted Musgrave 1,913. 6. Ron Hornaday Jr. 1,905. 7. Jack Sprague 1,898. 8. David Starr 1,872. 9. Terry Cook 1,864. 10. Dennis Setzer 1,835.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Friday--Practice 10 a.m. -- 11:00 a.m. Rookie Practice 11:30 a.m. -- 12 noon. Final Practice 12 noon -- 1 p.m. Qualifying 5:30 p.m. Trucks impounded after qualifying