Martinsville II: News of note, schedule

Silverado 350K draws big ratings surge on SPEED Channel NEWS & NOTES Silverado 350K sees huge ratings climb ... Last week's Silverado 350K at Texas Motor Speedway earned a 0.6 average rating on SPEED Channel, a 100 percent increase over the...

Silverado 350K draws big ratings surge on SPEED Channel

NEWS & NOTES

Silverado 350K sees huge ratings climb ... Last week's Silverado 350K at Texas Motor Speedway earned a 0.6 average rating on SPEED Channel, a 100 percent increase over the same event's 0.3 rating on SPEED one year ago, according to Nielsen Media Research. Households were up 78 percent (350,000 vs. 199,000) and viewers increased 44 percent (427,000 vs. 297,000). The broadcast drew a higher rating than the PGA Tour Chrysler Classic, which aired in the same time slot. Through the season's first 20 races, the series has earned a 0.7 average rating on SPEED Channel, up 17 percent over 2003.

Bodine eyes possible three-peat at Martinsville ... Todd Bodine (No. 30 Germain Motor Company Toyota) looks at the record book this week following his second consecutive victory in the Oct. 16 Silverado 350K at Texas Motor Speedway. Bodine, the 13th different driver to post back-to-back victories, can become just the fourth driver in series history to win three consecutive races. The last to accomplish the feat was Greg Biffle in 2000.

Hamilton gains breathing room as Musgrave advances ... Bobby Hamilton (No. 4 Square D Dodge) increased his championship lead over Dennis Setzer to 79 points with a third-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway. The margin is the largest since the spread was 97 on Aug. 16 following the O'Reilly 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Ted Musgrave (No. 1 Mopar Dodge) continues his team's late season turnaround, bypassing Carl Edwards (No. 99 Super Chips Ford) for the third spot in the title race. Musgrave, sixth at Texas, leads Edwards by eight and trails Hamilton by 165.

Labonte heads Kroger 200 drop-in contingent ... Eight years after his first and only NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series start, Bobby Labonte (No. 47 ACXIOM Chevrolet), 2000 champion in NASCAR's premier series, returns for the Kroger 200. Labonte, who previously competed at Phoenix International Raceway in October 1996, will be joined by Bobby Hamilton Jr. (No. 59 Virginia Motorsports Tech Center Dodge), Jamie McMurray (No. 2 Team ASE/Carquest Dodge) and Ken Schrader (No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet). FOX commentator Darrell Waltrip (No. 11 Toyota Tundra Toyota) also is among more than 40 entries.

Etc. ... Bill Lester (No. 22 Husqvarna Toyota) and David Reutimann (No. 17 NTN Bearings Toyota) have been cleared by NASCAR to compete in the Kroger 200. The competitors were involved in a lap 103 accident at Texas Motor Speedway. ... The Kroger 200 is the 25th NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race to be held in the Commonwealth of Virginia and 11th at Martinsville Speedway. This is the second time the track has hosted two events in the same season. This is the eighth and final short track race of the season. There have been seven different winners. ... Setzer finished third a year ago in his bid for a season sweep and three wins in a row in Martinsville. The Newton, N.C. driver is the only double winner at the track. ... Last year's Kroger 200 had 32 laps of caution -- fewest in series history at Martinsville. ... The Bud Pole starter has won just once at Martinsville (Rich Bickle in 1997) although the winner has come from the first or second row on six occasions. Craftsman's "win from the pole" bonus increases to $26,000 this week. ... Ron Hornaday Jr. has been named to drive Kevin Harvick Inc.'s No. 6 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet in 2005. The two-time series champion is the division's all-time winning driver with 26 victories, the last coming in 2002 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

ON THE RIGHT TRACK

Championship contenders excel at Martinsville ... Setzer's two Martinsville victories came in 2002 and 2003. Hamilton sat on the Bud Pole in 1996 and won in 2000. Musgrave captured back-to-back poles in 2001-02 and finished second in last year's Kroger 250. Edwards won his first series pole a year ago and finished runnerup to teammate Jon Wood (No. 50 Roush Racing Ford).

QUOTEBOOK

"Ernie Irvan told me a long time ago, 'the guy who mashes the gas the longest is going to win.'" -- Rick Crawford, explaining his short-track racing philosophy.

"During the race, we watch what the other contenders are doing, so nothing catches us off guard. You just can't spend your time obsessing over it, though. It will drive a team crazy keeping up with the Joneses as some might say. The best thing to do is run fast, and then everything else falls into place." -- Bobby Hamilton on keeping track of his competitors.

"Bobby and I had some great rivalries in the late 80s and early 90s at tracks just like Martinsville. It's going to be great to compete with him again and even better that he is going to be my teammate this time." -- Dennis Setzer, like Bobby Labonte, a former NASCAR Late Model Stock champion at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, N.C.

"There are no expectations. I don't know if anybody knows if it's going to be a one-groove track, a two-groove track or what. But I think overall it's going to increase competition because everybody is starting over." -- Jon Wood, defending Kroger 200 winner on Martinsville Speedway's new track surface.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

Every NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion, with the exception of Greg Biffle in 2000, has won at least one short-track race in their title seasons. A Martinsville Speedway victory, however, never has been on a champion's dance card. Joe Ruttman and Rich Bickle, Martinsville winners in 1995 and '97, were championship runners-up.

Fast Facts

What: Kroger 200 (Race No. 22 of 25).

Where:  Martinsville Speedway

When: 1 p.m. ET, Saturday, Oct. 23.

Track layout: .526-mile paved.
Race length: 200 laps/105.2 miles.

Posted awards: $398,064.

TV: SPEED Channel, 1 p.m. ET.
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.

2003 winner: Jon Wood.
2003 polesitter: Carl Edwards.

Pre-race schedule (all times local): Friday -- Practice 9--11:15 a.m.; Qualifying 1:15 p.m. Final practice following NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series qualifying for one hour time permitting.

Top 10 in Points: 1. Bobby Hamilton 3,098. 2. Dennis Setzer 3,019. 3. Ted Musgrave 2,933. 4. Carl Edwards 2,925. 5. Matt Crafton 2,762. 6. Chad Chaffin 2,740 7. David Starr 2,726. 8. Travis Kvapil 2,717. 9. Steve Park 2,640. 10. Jack Sprague 2,637

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Rich Bickle , Bobby Hamilton , Ernie Irvan , Darrell Waltrip , Bobby Labonte , Todd Bodine , Steve Park , Ken Schrader , David Starr , Kevin Harvick , Greg Biffle , Bobby Hamilton Jr. , Ted Musgrave , Jack Sprague , Dennis Setzer , Rick Crawford , Jon Wood , Jamie McMurray , Matt Crafton , Joe Ruttman , Bill Lester , David Reutimann , Carl Edwards , Travis Kvapil