Kentucky: News of note, schedule

Craftsman Truck Series tops NASCAR programming on SPEED Channel Kvapil third to lead points standings in past three races NEWS & NOTES, PART II TV Timeout ... According to Nielsen Media Research, the average cable ratings for the first nine ...

Craftsman Truck Series tops NASCAR programming on SPEED Channel
Kvapil third to lead points standings in past three races


TV Timeout ... According to Nielsen Media Research, the average cable ratings for the first nine races of the 2003 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series schedule are 17% higher than 2002. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series has the highest average rating of NASCAR programming on SPEED Channel. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series also ranks third in motorsports cable ratings -- behind only the NASCAR Winston Cup and NASCAR Busch Series -- earning a higher average than IRL, CART, and Formula One.

Wood second youngest to win on series ... Wood's July 5 O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 victory ranks the Stuart, Va. competitor as the second youngest (at 21 years, eight months) to win a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race. Ricky Hendrick was 21 years three months when he won at Kansas Speedway in July 2001. There have been seven different winners in 10 races thus far in 2003.

Lester finally sheds top-10 jinx ... Bill Lester (No. 8 Dodge Motorsports Dodge) finished 10th in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 to post his first top 10 in his 38th series start. The last African-American competitor to finish among the top 10 in a NASCAR national touring event was Wendell Scott, who placed seventh in a NASCAR Grand National (now Winston Cup) Series race at Malta, N.Y., July 14, 1971.

Kvapil is third in three races to lead points ... Xpress Motorsports ended 2002 as the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship team and -- 10 races into this season -- is back on top following Travis Kvapil's (No. 16 IWX Motor Freight Chevrolet) fourth-place finish at Kansas Speedway. Kvapil holds a six-point lead over previous leader Brendan Gaughan (No. 62 Orleans Hotel Dodge). Bobby Hamilton (No. 4 Square D Dodge), who led the standings from March through mid-June, is third. Four different competitors have headed the points so far -- one short of the 1999 record of five.


Softball again is on tap this week for NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competitors, who face a team comprised of SPEED Channel personalities. Thursday's third annual Craftsman-sponsored game takes place at 6 p.m. on Northern Kentucky University's diamond in Highland Heights. ... Last year's The Built Ford Tough 225 was won by Bliss at an average speed of 143.515 mph -- second fastest in series history. ... 1995 series champion Mike Skinner returns to competition this week behind the wheel of the No. 15 Vokal Clothing/Fasscore Ford, following the release of Rich Bickle.


Ultra's No. 2 team is a perfect three-for-three in top-five finishes at Kentucky Speedway -- with three different drivers. Wallace finished third in 2000, Riggs won the following year and Leffler was fifth in last season's race.

Dennis Setzer (No. 46 ACXIOM/Computer Associates Chevrolet) looks for his third consecutive top-five finish at Kentucky Speedway. Setzer finished fifth in 2001 and was runnerup to Bliss a year ago. His third-place effort at Kansas Speedway extended Setzer's current top-five streak to four races.


"Anytime you can be in the point lead, it's good. But, the season isn't even halfway over yet." -- Crew chief Dave Fuge (No. 16 IWX Motor Freight Chevrolet).

"Kentucky Speedway is not your typical mile-and-a-half racetrack. It has some rough spots and some bumps and I like that. Those bumps give it a lot of character." -- Jason Leffler.

"One of the things we wanted to do when the season started was to eliminate the goose eggs in our performance columns. Now, after 10 races, we've knocked two of them off with the Bud Pole at Lowe's Motor Speedway and last week's top 10 but we've got a few more to go." -- Bill Lester.

"It's not the motor, it's not the crew chief, it's not the team; it's just a combination of things." -- Terry Cook (No. 29 Power Stroke Diesel/Oil Mate Ford), a four-time winner in 2002 who has yet to finish among the top five this season.

"Every win is special but this one, this is his first win. Those other guys, it wasn't their first win ever." -- Crew chief John Monsam (No. 50 Graham For President Ford), after Wood became the fifth different driver he's quarterbacked to victory lane.


Monsam was the winning crew chief at Kentucky Speedway in 2002 -- as he was at Kansas Speedway with Bliss and the No. 16 IWX Motor Freight Chevrolet team. Since joining the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 1997 with Dale Earnhardt Inc., Monsam has fashioned victories for Ron Hornaday Jr., Rick Carelli, Setzer and Bliss. Wood's win was No. 6 for Monsam. He's the only crew chief to win with five different drivers and five different teams -- DEI, Phelon Motorsports, Morgan-Dollar Motorsports, Xpress Motorsports and Roush Racing.

Fast Facts

What: The Built Ford Tough 225 presented by The Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers (Race No. 11 of 25).
Where: Kentucky Speedway, Sparta, Ky.
When: 8 p.m. ET, Sat., July 12.

Track layout:  1.5-mile paved oval.

Race length: 150 laps/225 miles.
TV: SPEED Channel, 8 p.m. ET.

Pre-race schedule (all times local): Friday -- Practice, 2:30 -- 4:30 p.m. Qualifying, 6 p.m. Final practice following the Goody's Dash race, time permitting.


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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Rich Bickle , Jason Leffler , Mike Skinner , Ricky Hendrick , Dennis Setzer , Terry Cook , Rick Carelli , Bill Lester , Brendan Gaughan , Travis Kvapil , Wendell Scott