Kentucky: Series round 18 preview

Cobb On Track To Make Female History In Series End Of Nine-Week Summer Stretch In Sight For Teams Kentucky Has Unique Link To Series Champion Cobb Quietly Making Name For Herself Female drivers began making history in NASCAR since the day -...

Cobb On Track To Make Female History In Series
End Of Nine-Week Summer Stretch In Sight For Teams
Kentucky Has Unique Link To Series Champion

Cobb Quietly Making Name For Herself

Female drivers began making history in NASCAR since the day - June 19, 1949 - the organization ran its first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in Charlotte, N.C.

Sara Christian, driving a 1947 Ford, finished 14th in a field of 33 cars and went on to rank 13th in the standings of what was then known as Strictly Stocks.

One race later, on Daytona Beach, Fla.'s road/beach course, three female drivers - Christian, Ethel Mobley and Louise Smith - donned helmets. Mobley, driving a 1948 Cadillac, finished 11th. She beat future champions Buck Baker and Herb Thomas as well as Fonty Flock, Marshall Teague and Curtis Turner.

Tammy Jo Kirk became the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series' first female competitor. Kirk remains the most successful female, finishing 20th in the 1997 NCWTS standings as a rookie with a best finish of 11th on the road course at Heartland Park in Topeka, Kan.

Jennifer Jo Cobb (No. 10 Ford) is poised to erase Kirk's championship achievements from the series record book. Heading into Friday night's Built Ford Tough 225 presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers, the Kansas City, Kan., competitor ranks 16th in points. Only two female drivers, Kirk and Christian, have managed top-20 points finishes in a NASCAR national series.

Cobb finished 22nd at Chicagoland Speedway on Aug. 27. She's twice finished 14th, at Darlington Raceway and Texas Motor Speedway, in posting five top-20 finishes.

"I think there are a lot of talented female drivers out there," said Cobb. "Our team, we're just moving along, gaining experience and it's starting to pay off. We're not looking to be the best (NASCAR) team with a female driver; that's not our intention, but I think we're a young team that has really improved all season long. Hopefully, we can continue to do that and finish the season strong."

Moving into the final top 15 is Cobb's goal, especially as the team seeks sponsorship for 2011.

"We've made so many strides this season and I feel we can continue to improve next season as well, but it's not going to happen without support from a sponsor. We're hopeful something will come up."

Up Next For Busch: Career Win No. 80

Kyle Busch sure does know his way to Victory Lane. This past weekend at Chicago, Busch celebrated his fourth national series victory in a row just off the heels of his Bristol Trifecta. If Busch wins the Build Ford Tough 225 Friday night at Kentucky Speedway, it will be his 80th career national series victory - he would remain ninth on the all-time win list.

Since the inception of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Busch would be the only driver to win five consecutive races involving all three national series.

Wayne's Words: Veterans Shine In The Bluegrass Sate

"Kentucky Speedway, like many of the intermediate tracks on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, separates the experienced drivers from those whose talents likely exceed their seat time in the series.

"Veteran drivers not only excel at Kentucky; they dominate.

"Nine different drivers have won the Built Ford Tough 225; six of them are series champions. Ron Hornaday Jr., no surprise, is the only two-time winner. His fellow champions Johnny Benson, Greg Biffle, Mike Bliss, Bobby Hamilton and Mike Skinner also have visited Kentucky's Victory Lane.

"The only exception to what you might call 'The Kentucky Rule?' - Carl Edwards. Carl shares a couple of 'firsts' at the track, the only rookie to win there, as well as the sole competitor to get his initial NASCAR Camping World Truck victory at Kentucky Speedway. In that sense, that success definitely predicted how well Carl would do in short order in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

"We've got several rookies who are running very, very well in 2010. Should one win this week, it definitely will be a feather in the cap in a big, big way.

"Kentucky Speedway is one of those tracks with multiple grooves. Passing shouldn't be an issue. We saw great, side-by-side racing a week ago at Chicagoland Speedway, a similar track. Kyle Busch and Todd Bodine showed that there's plenty of speed to be had whether you like to hug the white line or race up against the wall.

"The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has been a part of Bluegrass State racing since the inaugural season of 1995. We've built up a great fan base since racing at the old Louisville Motor Speedway. Kentucky Speedway isn't far from several other popular destinations - Nashville and Indianapolis - so I'm sure we'll have a great crowd for the final Midwest stop of the 2010 season.

"We're at the end of a two-plus month string of nine consecutive races. Six different drivers won races over the first eight events including a pair of first timers - Austin Dillon and Elliott Sadler. We visited Pocono Raceway for the first time before a huge and enthusiastic crowd. It's been a great summer." - Wayne Auton, Series Director

Carelli: Preparation Key To Succeeding During Long Weeks

Friday night's Built Ford Tough 225 at Kentucky Speedway marks the end of the nine-week summer stretch for the series - a stretch that proved successful for the teams who prepared both mentally and physically for the long haul.

Kevin Harvick Inc. won three of the nine races - the most by one team during the two-month stretch.

KHI General Manager Rick Carelli explained the challenges the team faced during the recent weeks.

"From a driver's standpoint, if you could race every day, that would be better. It makes you sharper, smoother and be more on top of what you're doing," said Carelli.

"Preparation-wise, it's hard to prepare and make sure you have enough equipment and enough people to do it all. I think that's our challenge in the Truck Series with our rosters. We don't have enough people to do the pit stops in the proper manner. We expect 110% out of everybody, but when you work all day in the heat of the day and try to be the best you can on the wall, I think that is where the mistakes come, but if you can keep them mentally focused, they do better. It's a tough schedule but you have to plan accordingly."


No. 2 Truck A Staple In Victory Lane For KHI

Throughout the Truck Series' 16-year history, the No. 2 (Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet) has visited Victory Lane 27 times, seven of which were KHI wins.

Shelby Howard (No. 2 Foretravel Chevrolet) hopes to earn win number 28 this weekend at Kentucky Speedway. Ten different Truck Series drivers have driven the No. 2 to victory, with three different drivers piloting the number to the win at KHI.

Co-owner Kevin Harvick has the most KHI wins in the No. 2 with five, and Elliott Sadler and Ryan Newman each have one win.

Busch Scores Toyota's 75th NCWTS Win

Kyle Busch (No. 18 Dollar General Toyota) will once again pilot the yellow and black colors of the Dollar General store at Kentucky Speedway.

Busch scored his first Kyle Busch Motorsports victory at Nashville Superspeedway the last time this particular sponsor adorned the No. 18 truck.

Last weekend in Chicago, Busch captured Toyota's 75th NCWTS win.

The manufacturer is going for its fifth straight victory this weekend.

Kentucky Winner Almost Always The Series Champion

Of the 10 total series races at Kentucky, seven were won by past, reigning or future champions. Only in 2001 (Scott Riggs), 2003 (Carl Edwards) and 2005 (Dennis Setzer) were the winners not also a champion.

Why is this potentially a huge story? There's a marquee name absent from that list: points leader Todd Bodine, the 2006 series champion.

What makes the statistic especially strange: Bodine usually excels at 1.5-mile tracks like Kentucky (see: wins at Texas, Kansas, Las Vegas, Homestead and Atlanta).

Yet, success has eluded Bodine at Kentucky. In five races there, he has an average finish of 13.2 and a Driver Rating of 92.2. Neither numbers are terrible, but they were deflated in part because of a runner-up finish in 2005.

Since then, Bodine has struggled. Over the last three races, he has finished 11th, 27th and 16th, respectively.

But he need only look at last year's race for some optimism. Despite a finish outside the top 10, Bodine led 45 laps, had a Driver Rating of 114.8 and an Average Running Position of 3.9.

Up Next: New Hampshire Motor Speedway

New Hampshire Motor Speedway is Ron Hornaday Jr.'s stomping ground. He became the first back-to-back winner in 2007, breaking a streak in which he started of 11 different winners.

The following year he became the first to win at the 1.058-mile track three times.

Last season Hornaday's rein at the top was derailed by Kyle Busch who led 75 laps to victory.

However, Hornaday, who led 101 laps, was not far behind - in second.

The duo will once again "have at it" on Saturday, Sept. 18 in the 175.

Fast Facts

The Race: Built Ford Tough 225 presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers
The Place: Kentucky Speedway (1.5-Mile Tri-Oval)

The Date: Friday, September 3, 2010
The Time: 8 p.m. ETRace Distance: 150 laps / 225 miles

TV: SPEED, 7:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SIRIUS NASCAR Radio(Listen locally on WPFB-FM 105.9)

2009 Polesitter: Ron Hornaday Jr.
2009 Winner: Ron Hornaday Jr.

Schedule (All times ET):
Thursday - Practice, 4-5:30 p.m., 6-7:00 p.m.
Friday - Qualifying, 4:05 p.m.

-source: nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Todd Bodine , Mike Skinner , Kevin Harvick , Greg Biffle , Ryan Newman , Johnny Benson , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Dennis Setzer , Scott Riggs , Shelby Howard , Rick Carelli , Tammy Jo Kirk , Elliott Sadler , Jennifer Jo Cobb , Austin Dillon , Kyle Busch
Teams Kyle Busch Motorsports