Terry Cook set to match NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series consecutive start record NEWS AND NOTES Johnny Benson's (No. 23 Toyota Certified Used Vehicle Toyota) assault on Victory Lane began when he won June 17 at Michigan International ...
Terry Cook set to match NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series consecutive start record
NEWS AND NOTES
Johnny Benson's (No. 23 Toyota Certified Used Vehicle Toyota) assault on Victory Lane began when he won June 17 at Michigan International Speedway.
Victory No. 2 came just one start and six days later, giving him two consecutive victories after 60 winless career starts.
Benson, who celebrates his 43rd birthday on June 27, took the lead from Budweiser Pole starter Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 33 Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet) with 21 laps remaining in Friday's Toyota Tundra Milwaukee 200 and went on to become the 11th different winner at The Milwaukee Mile.
"I can't believe it," Benson said. "The first one was pretty hard and everyone said that the second one would come a little easier. But I didn't think it would come today."
Benson's performance marks the fifth time a competitor his won his first two NASCAR Craftsman Truck races in back-to-back starts. The first was Rich Bickle, who won short track events at Portland (Ore.) Speedway and Monroe (Wash.) Speedway in May 1997. Kyle Busch (No. 51 Billy Ballew Motorsports Chevrolet) was the most recent double winner in 2005 at Lowe's Motor Speedway and Dover International Speedway.
No driver has won his first three races in back-to-back outings -- something Benson can accomplish at Kansas Speedway.
Benson also would become the fifth series competitor to win in three consecutive starts. The last was Todd Bodine (No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota) in the final three races of 2005 at Texas Motor Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway.
"Kansas is (just) another race on the schedule," said Benson. "We are going to approach it just like we have every race this year," said Benson, who finished 28th in last year's race -- his only series start at Kansas Speedway. "We are looking forward to Kansas but we are not going to do anything different there than we've done all year."
Terry Cook (No. 10 Ford Power Stroke Diesel by International Ford) looks forward to starting his 209th consecutive NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race on Saturday. In doing so, Cook will match the series record held by Rick Crawford (No. 14 Circle Bar Truck Corral Ford) that runs from Jan. 19, 1997 through last year's O'Reilly Auto Parts 250.
Ironically, Crawford's streak ended a week later at Kentucky Speedway after a pre-race accident kept him out of the lineup.
Cook, 38, has started every race since Jan. 19, 1998 at Walt Disney World Speedway driving for three different owners: Duke Thorson, Bob and Kay Keselowski and Greg Pollex. During the eight-plus seasons, Cook has won five times among 24 top-five and 83 top-10 finishes. He's one of seven series drivers to win more than $3 million.
"I'm getting more and more people calling me 'The Iron Man' of the series but I remind them that Rick Crawford still holds the record," Cook said. "There's no need to jinx me."
ETC. ... Bodine's 20th-place finish at The Milwaukee Mile was his worst since last Sept. 22 at New Hampshire International Speedway. It ended a 20-race run of lead lap finishes and cut Bodine's standings lead to 126 points over David Reutimann (No. 17 Team Tundra Toyota), who logged a series-leading ninth top-10 performance. Reutimann, meanwhile, was 10th in Saturday's AT&T 250 to post his third consecutive NASCAR Busch Series top-10 finish. ... Benson moved up a spot in the standings to third place, four points behind Reutimann. That's the highest he's ever ranked. ... Jack Sprague's (No. 60 Con-way Freight Toyota) fourth-place Milwaukee finish was his 120th top-five finish, which extends the series record. ... Although Ted Musgrave (No. 9 Team ASE Toyota) failed to finish among the top five for the first time in six Milwaukee appearances, the 24th-place effort was enough to push his career winnings to $4,006,059. He becomes the third driver to win $4 million or more behind Sprague and Dennis Setzer (No. 85 FlexFuel E85 Chevrolet). ... Last year's finish in which Bodine edged Kluever by .387 second was the closest series margin at Kansas Speedway. ...The 2002 O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 saw the fewest lead changes -- 10. The most changes are 14, most recently in 2004. ... This year's race will produce the series' 100th different starter at Kansas Speedway. Ninety-three drivers have competed for more than $2.3 million.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
Cook, Crawford head Kansas statistical table ... Five competitors -- Cook, Crawford, Musgrave, Setzer and Matt Crafton (No. 88 Menards/Energizer Chevrolet) -- have competed in all five series races at Kansas Speedway. The quintet has accounted for 13 top-10 finishes. Cook has completed the most laps/miles with 821/1,231.5 of a possible 838/1,257. Crawford is the track's lap leader with 128/192. Setzer is the leading money winner with $100,545.
"I've always run well at Kansas even though my finishes don't show it. We've been up in the top 10 in every race at the track but something has always happened to take us out of contention for the win." -- Jack Sprague, whose engine failed while leading the 2001 O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 with 40 laps remaining.
"I've never been to Kansas. I've never even seen the track. We've got some good notes to go off of from last year so I think that will play into our favor." -- David Ragan, No. 6 Scotts Ford, whose crew chief Mike Beam called Kluever's second place run a year ago.,
"We were just happy to come out of (Milwaukee) unscathed and stay on the lead lap. The lesson we learned is you're not going to have a great truck every week but what defines a team is how they respond." -- Bobby East, No. 21 State Fair Corn Dogs/Edy's Dibs Ford, one of 18 competitors chasing Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors in 2006.
IN THE LOOP
Johnny Benson's climb to third in the standings is mirrored in season-to-date Loop Data. That's where Benson ranks with a Driver Rating of 104.8 (of 150.0) behind Todd Bodine (113.3) and Reutimann (107.3). Benson is No. 1 in Time Trailing at the Finish. His deficit of 30.012 seconds is more than nine seconds less than Reutimann's 49.331.
Terry Cook's dash from 20th at the start to a final finish of seventh can be seen in the number of Quality Passes the veteran competitor posted in last year's O'Reilly Auto Parts 250. Cook had 38 passes of a top-15 truck during green flag conditions -- two more than the 36 of Brandon Whitt.
No surprise: winner Bodine had the best Driver Rating of 145.6. Bill Davis Racing teammates Mike Skinner (fourth) and Bill Lester (fifth) were third in the category with identical ratings of 115.0.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
This week's race marks the one-year anniversary of the beginning of a phenomenal, eight-victory run by Todd Bodine and his Germain Motorsports team headed by general manager Mike Hillman and crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. Bodine left the team at the conclusion of the 2004 season, in which he won twice. His Kansas win came in the reunified team's second race. Bodine won four more times in 2005 and counts three victories this season.
What: O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 (Race 12 of 25).
Where: Kansas Speedway, Kansas City, Kan.
When: 3:15 p.m. ET, July 1.
Track layout: 1.5-mile paved speedway.
Race length: 250.5 miles/167 laps.
Posted awards: $602,231
TV: SPEED Channel, 3 p.m. (ET).
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.
2005 winner: Todd Bodine
2005 polesitter: Bill Lester
Top 10 drivers: 1.Todd Bodine 1,758. 2. David Reutimann 1,632. 3. Johnny Benson 1,628. 4. Ted Musgrave 1,560. 5. Jack Sprague 1,502. 6. Mike Bliss 1,483. 7. Dennis Setzer 1,463. 8. Rick Crawford 1,461. 9. David Starr 1,458. 10. Ron Hornaday Jr. 1,433.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Friday--Practice 9:40 a.m. -- 10:40 a.m. Rookie Practice 12 noon -- 12:30 p.m. Final Practice 12:30 p.m. -- 1:30 p.m. Qualifying 5:00 p.m. Trucks impounded after qualifying.