Memphis Friday Qualifying Notes

Notes from Friday's Bud Pole Qualifying for Saturday's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Memphis 200 at Memphis Motorsports Park: Jay Sauter turned his season around in last year's Memphis 200, finishing runner-up to Ron Hornaday. He followed that...

Notes from Friday's Bud Pole Qualifying for Saturday's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Memphis 200 at Memphis Motorsports Park:

Jay Sauter turned his season around in last year's Memphis 200, finishing runner-up to Ron Hornaday. He followed that up with a third at Gateway International Raceway and a win at Martinsville Speedway. He qualified well Friday, second only to Greg Biffle, so he is looking for dTja vu all over again. "Last year's race was a real turnaround point for us," Sauter said. "We came here with high hopes of improving our finishes. We had not been finishing well. In fact, we went nine races in a row prior to running here, with finishes from 7th to 24th. Things seemed to start going our way once we got here.

"We're coming here again this year, under somewhat of the same conditions as last year. We're 15th in points, and we could really use a good finish. Memphis is the place to do it. The track is great to run on, and the fans are real supportive of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series."

Kevin Harvick will start the Memphis 200 third Saturday. He enters the weekend on a roll, having posted three consecutive top-10 finishes. The No. 98 Porter-Cable Power Tools Ford team is racing the truck they call Tex for the third time this season, having finished 23rd with it at Phoenix and 9th at Evergreen Speedway in Monore, Wash.

Scott Hansen was the highest-qualifying USG SHEETROCK Brand Rookie of the Year candidate, placing 17th on the grid Friday. "I really like Memphis," he said. "It really is like no other track I have ever been on. I try to look at the straightaways, turns and bankings of each new track I go to so I can associate it with other tracks I know well. Memphis is an original for me. I can't wait to introduce myself to it during the race."

Randy Tolsma is featuring the SUPERGARD Online 500 Challenge on his tailgate for the next three races. The contest rewards the person who can pick the highest finishing driver in six NASCAR Winston Cup Series races (June 20-August 7). The top prize is a new car, while other prizes include a trip to the season-ending race in Atlanta and Citgo racing apparel and merchandise. A second segment of the competition will occur in the seven-race span from Aug. 15-Sept. 26. Rules and regulations can be found at www.citgo.com.

Andy Houston lost control of his No. 60 CAT Rental Stores Chevrolet in his second lap of qualifying. Luckily for him, his first was good enough to get him the 20th spot in the field. Houston put a spin on his feelings for Memphis even before his spin. "I like the track at the new Memphis Motorsports Park," he said. "It's kind of like a Richmond in a way. I'm looking forward to running there. Last year we didn't run too well. We got caught up in an accident. So far this season, we have improved our finishing positions from last year, and we hope we can go to Memphis and improve there and redeem ourselves."

NASCAR Winston Cup Series veteran Bobby Hamilton is driving the same truck (Catfish) that he raced two weeks ago at Martinsville. Hamilton ran as high as 3rd in the NAPA 250 before an engine problem sidelined the DANA Dodge with five laps to go, dropping him to a 22nd-place finish. Hamilton will not be driving the same truck he tested in January at Memphis. He qualified 6th in his second attempt to become the 4th driver to win races in all three of NASCAR top divisions. The other drivers that have accomplished this feat are Mark Martin, Terry Labonte and Ken Schrader.

Tim Steele got married since the last race in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series at Martinsville. The driver of the No. 21 HS Die Engineering/Softech Ford exchanged vows with Dawn Robb on April 23. Steele qualifed 28th for Saturday's race.

Source: NASCAR Online

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Terry Labonte , Kevin Harvick , Greg Biffle , Jay Sauter , Andy Houston , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Tim Steele , Randy Tolsma , Mark Martin , Scott Hansen