Another dramatic 'fall finish' in store as 188 points cover six title hopefuls NEWS & NOTES Title race tightens for fall finish ... You might say Bobby Hamilton (No. 4 Square D Dodge) has been waiting for his rivals to catch up, and ...
Another dramatic 'fall finish' in store as 188 points cover six title hopefuls
NEWS & NOTES
Title race tightens for fall finish ... You might say Bobby Hamilton (No. 4 Square D Dodge) has been waiting for his rivals to catch up, and that's exactly what they've done over the past two races. Hamilton, who enjoyed a 96-point lead after last month's race at Bristol Motor Speedway, is up by just 30 over Dennis Setzer (No. 46 Chevrolet Silverado Chevrolet). Carl Edwards (No. 99 Superchips Ford) is 39 behind in third. In fact, the top six are separated by 188 points in a battle that figures to go down to the wire as it did in 2003. Since winning Aug. 16 at Nashville Superspeedway, Hamilton has finished 12th, 26th and 15th -- his longest stretch without a top 10 since joining the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series fulltime in 2003. Etc. ... Last weekend's event at New Hampshire International Speedway marked the first time in 2004 that three NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champions have finished among the top 10 in the same race. Travis Kvapil (No. 24 Toyota Tundra Toyota) won with Sprague second and Mike Skinner (No. 5 Toyota Tundra Toyota) 10th. ... Rick Crawford (No. 14 Circle Bar Motel & RV Park Ford) was in Washington, D.C., Tuesday to attend the 2004 "Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award" dinner hosted by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Lisa Karnes, daughter of Circle Bar Racing owner Tom Mitchell, accompanied Crawford. The event recognizes employers who provide exceptional support to their employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve. ... Edwards figures to get equal amounts of racing and flying time this week as he competes in the Las Vegas 350 and Sunday's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series MBNA America 400 at Dover International Speedway. Edwards will qualify the Roush Racing No. 99 Ford on Friday, fly west for Saturday's LVMS event then return to Dover for Sunday's race. ... Jack Roush is the only active owner to win two NASCAR Craftsman Truck races in Las Vegas. Joe Ruttman won in 1997; Greg Biffle in 1999. Rick Hendrick also has two victories with Sprague. ... Ruttman led the fewest laps by any winner -- three. ... Every Las Vegas winner has finished fifth or higher in that season's championship standings. None, however, has won the title. Four -- Ruttman, Sprague, Ted Musgrave (No. 1 Mopar Dodge) and Biffle -- have finished second. ... Todd Bodine (No. 30 Germain-Arnold Toyota) won the 2001 NASCAR Busch Series Sam's Town 300. He'll be making his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck start at LVMS ... NASCAR West Series veteran Brandon Miller is slated to drive the Ultra Motorsports No. 2 Team ASE/Carquest Dodge this week. Ricky Bogart, a veteran of the same series, will take the controls of the ThorSport No. 13 Washington Mutual Chevrolet.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
Three have victories at Las Vegas ... Sprague, Musgrave and David Starr (No. 75 Spears Manufacturing Chevrolet) count a combined four victories at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Sprague (1998) and Starr (2002) won from the Bud Pole. Also, Sprague wrapped up his first championship with a second place finish in the 1997 edition of the Las Vegas 350. He has never finished worse than fifth in six Las Vegas appearances. Sprague's $310,200 is the most money won by any series driver at a single track.
"We are going to go at these last seven races as if we need to win every single one of them. Forget points racing. We are on a mission now." -- Matt Crafton, No. 6 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet, fourth in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck championship standings.
"We didn't make a whole lot of laps out there in March but when you're a rookie, any time you get additional experience can only help you." -- Shane Sieg, No. 07 Auto-Air Colors Chevrolet, who competed earlier this year in the NASCAR Busch Series Sam's Town 300.
"Everyone asks how you can concentrate on a race while in Vegas. There are a lot of things to do and see. It's a fun town but when we come to race, we come to race." -- Shane Hmiel, No. 15 Billy Ballew Motorsports Chevrolet, a top-10 finisher in four of his last six series starts.
"When you have a bad couple of weeks, all it takes is one good race to feel better. It takes only one bad race to make you feel bad." -- Raybestos Rookie of the Year leader David Reutimann, No. 17 NTN Bearings Toyota, who followed up a 30th-place finish at Richmond with a fifth at New Hampshire International Speedway.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
The Las Vegas 350 has been scheduled at three distances -- 175 laps (1996-97), 167 laps (1998-99) and the current 146 laps (2001-present). The 1998 race was extended two laps by caution for the only green-white-checker finish at LVMS.
What: Las Vegas 350 (Race No. 19 of 25).
Where: Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas, Nev.
When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25.
Track layout: 1.5-mile paved.
Race length: 350 kilometers/219 miles/146 laps.
Posted awards: $476,706.
TV: SPEED Channel, 10 p.m. ET.
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.
2003 winner: Brendan Gaughan.
2003 polesitter: Brendan Gaughan.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Saturday -- Practice 10:30 a.m. -- 1 p.m. Qualifying 3:30 p.m. Trucks impounded after qualifying.
Top 10 in Points: 1. Bobby Hamilton 2,623. 2. Dennis Setzer 2,593. 3. Carl Edwards 2,584. 4. Matt Crafton 2,469. 5. Ted Musgrave 2,461. 6. Travis Kvapil 2,435. 7. Chad Chaffin 2,380. 8. David Starr 2,267. 9. Jack Sprague 2,266. 10. Mike Skinner 2,263.