Terry Cook's Kansas victory ends series' third-longest drought NEWS AND NOTES Terry Cook's (No. 10 Ford Power Stroke Diesel by International Ford) victory in last week's O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 snapped a 94-race winless streak by a race winner...
Terry Cook's Kansas victory ends series' third-longest drought
NEWS AND NOTES
Terry Cook's (No. 10 Ford Power Stroke Diesel by International Ford) victory in last week's O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 snapped a 94-race winless streak by a race winner -- third longest in series history.
Cook's last win came nearly six years ago, on Aug. 2, 2002 at O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis.
Rick Crawford (No. 14 Circle Bar Truck Corral Ford) holds the record of starts between wins at 120. Crawford's drought followed his April 4, 1998 victory at Homestead-Miami Speedway and was ended in the closest, three-way finish in series history on Feb. 15, 2003 at Daytona International Speedway.
The current longest streak, 104 races, belongs to Butch Miller, whose last -- and only -- win was recorded July 15, 1995 at Colorado National Speedway near Denver.
David Reutimann (No. 17 Team Tundra Toyota) flirted with an aggressive reputation in 2004 when he won Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors. The third-year driver from Florida has a different attitude in 2006 and it's paying big dividends.
Reutimann has quietly assembled a series-leading 10 top-10 finishes and stands a solid second in the series standings. He trails Todd Bodine (No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota) by 138 points entering this week's 13th race that marks the mid-point of the 2006 season.
Ironically, it was Bodine's Germain Racing teammate Ted Musgrave (No. 9 Team ASE Toyota), whose off-season suggestions proved to be Reutimann's competitive epiphany.
"During a test session I really had a chance to talk to Ted since he's in the Toyota camp," Reutimann said. "We were talking and bench racing. He's the one that told me to strive to be consistent. He pointed out that he had only one win last year and that he was much more consistent across the board.
"He said that's what wins championships. Obviously, we want to win, but if we can't, we have to finish in the top-five and not outside the top-10. We've done that in all but two races this year."
Reutimann's Darrell Waltrip Motorsports team, led by crew chief Jason Overstreet, is one of the most seasoned in the series -- another reason why they are a serious championship contender.
"We were doing things well last year," said Reutimann, who'll defend his victory at Nashville Superspeedway next month, "but we weren't doing all things well at the same time."
This Week's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Leaders ... Through 12 races of the
ETC. ... At Kansas Speedway, Mike Skinner won his 28th series pole to break the career record he shared with Jack Sprague (No. 60 Con-way Freight Toyota). Skinner is the first driver in 2006 to win four poles. ... Brendan Gaughan (No. 77 Orleans Dodge) becomes the 22nd driver with 100 series starts when he takes the green flag in Saturday's race at Kentucky Speedway. ... Ford's sweep of the top three finishing positions at Kansas Speedway was a first for the manufacturer since September 2000 when Rick Carelli, Greg Biffle and Kurt Busch ran one-two-three at Richmond International Raceway. ... There have been seven different winners in the series' first 12 races. ... Johnny Benson's (No. 23 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Toyota) bid for a third consecutive victory ended with a ninth-place finish. ... Ambrose's Kansas performance, the best by an Australian in any of the three NASCAR national series, marked the first top-five finish by a Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate in 2006. Chad McCumbee (No. 08 Silverado Chevrolet) vaulted to the No. 2 position in rookie rankings to trail leader Erik Darnell (No. 99 Roush Racing Ford) by 11 points. ... Cook is the 28th different winner in 56 races on 1.5-mile tracks. Four of his six wins have come on tracks of one mile or longer. ... The victory was the first in the series for ppc Racing owner Greg Pollex, whose then-driver Jeff Green won the track's inaugural NASCAR Busch Series race in 2001. ... Kansas winning crew chief Dennis Connor went to Victory Lane with his fourth different driver. Cook added win No. 26 to a list compiled by Sprague, Jason Leffler and Jimmy Spencer. ... Dennis Setzer (No. 85 FlexFuel E85 Chevrolet) and Mike Bliss (No. 16 IWX Motor Freight Chevrolet) are the only Kentucky Speedway winners in this week's field. Bliss beat Setzer by 18.197 seconds in 2002. The margin remains the largest in NASCAR Craftsman Truck history. ... Two of six Kentucky Speedway races have been won at average speeds in excess of 140 mph. Last year's 144.844 mph pace stands as the 150-lap record. ... Bill Lester, (No. 22 Checkers Toyota) the Kentucky Speedway qualifying record holder with a lap of 178.141 mph, will carry a paint scheme promoting the release of the film "Talladega Nights -- The Ballad of Ricky Bobby."
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
Defending winner Setzer excels in Bluegrass state ... Dennis Setzer leads all drivers with a finishing average of 5.7. Setzer is the only driver to have completed all 904 laps run since the 2001 series debut at Kentucky Speedway. He's also won a healthy share of the $3.72 million paid over the six races - $216,440. This week's posted awards of $746,240 makes the Built Ford Tough 225 the second richest race on the schedule.
"A win would be great at Kentucky but a top-three or top-five finish will help as well as we look at the big picture." -- Todd Bodine, who has led the series standings for eight consecutive races.
"I would like nothing more this week than for us to break this string of bad luck with a strong finish here. (Crew chief) Tom Ackerman and the guys have been working so hard at the shop and all we need is just a little luck to start going our way." -- Ted Musgrave, who averaged a finish of 3.0 over the season's first six races, but has slumped with an average of 23.0 in his most recent three starts.
"I can tell you right now that everyone has a specified job and we have a bunch of specialists and engineers. That's the reason we're running better right now." -- Rick Crawford, explaining team owner Tom Mitchell's commitment to making the Circle Bar Racing team a title contender after a lackluster showing in 2005. Crawford moved up a spot to fifth in the standings after his runnerup finish at Kansas Speedway.
"I just drove my tail off and found the old groove. It was awesome to be able to run good again." -- Brendan Gaughan after recording his first top-five finish since nearly a year ago at Memphis Motorsports Park.
IN THE LOOP
Rick Crawford moved into the top five of the standings after his runner-up finish at Kansas Speedway. Crawford also stands fifth in Driver Ratings and is poised to become the fifth competitor with a triple digit rating. His is 99.7 -- not far behind leader Todd Bodine's rating of 112.6 (of 150.0).
Crawford's climb through the standings is marked by his No. 1 ranking in laps run on the lead lap -- 1,964 of 1,974 or 99.49 percent of the time.
Terry Cook, who came within six laps of winning last year's Built Ford Tough 225, was the fastest on restarts in 2006 with an average speed of 166.140 mph. Mike Skinner, who finished fourth, led all competitors with an average running position of 1.993.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Two drivers in the field can complete a series Kentucky sweep with a victory in this week's Built Ford Tough 225. Ron Hornaday Jr. and Mike Skinner combined for three victories from 1995 through 1997 at the old Louisville Motor Speedway, a .438-mile short track.
What: Build Ford Tough 225 presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers (Race 13 of 25).
Where: Kentucky Speedway, Sparta, Ky.
When: 8:15 p.m. ET, July 8.
Track layout: 1.5-mile paved speedway.
Race length: 225 miles/150 laps.
Posted awards: $746,240
TV: SPEED Channel, 8 p.m. (ET).
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.
2005 winner: Dennis Setzer
2005 polesitter: Bill Lester
Top 10 drivers: 1.Todd Bodine 1,909. 2. David Reutimann 1,771. 3. Johnny Benson 1,766. 4. Ted Musgrave 1,657. 5. Rick Crawford 1,636. 7. David Starr 1,600. 8. Dennis Setzer 1,593. 9. Jack Sprague 1,578. 10. Ron Hornaday Jr. 1,560.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Friday--Practice 3:15 p.m. --4:20 p.m. Rookie Practice 4:25 p.m. -- 4:50 p.m. Final Practice 7 p.m. -- 8 p.m. Saturday - Qualifying 4:30 p.m. Trucks impounded after qualifying.