Mesa Marin Race Report

Setzer survives for first win By Brett Borden BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (Oct. 18, 1998) The list of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers who have yet to win in the series gets shorter every week. Dennis Setzer, who took over the...

Setzer survives for first win By Brett Borden

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (Oct. 18, 1998) The list of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers who have yet to win in the series gets shorter every week. Dennis Setzer, who took over the seat in the No. 29 Mopar Performance Dodge permanently just four races ago, surged past Mike Bliss late in Sunday's Dodge California Truckstop 300 at Mesa Marin Raceway, then held off Jack Sprague for his very first checkered flag in what will be his full-time series next year. He became the 14th different winner of this season, the 11th consecutive different winner, and the seventh first-time winner in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 1998. The event was short-track racing at its finest, with fenders rubbing and a series short-track record 16 lead changes (the previous record was 12). "That's truck racing," said Setzer. "If you run out of here without any damage you weren't trying hard enough." In the end, Setzer had more than enough, and he came through as the unlikeliest of heroes. Consider that front row starters Ron Hornaday and Stacy Compton were right there at the end, finishing fourth and third, respectively. Throw in the series points leader in Sprague (who finished second), the local favorite in Kevin Harvick (fifth), and a driver who made Mesa Marin his second home early in his career, Rick Carelli (sixth). Yet it was the 38-year-old guy from Newton, N.C. who snuck in and grabbed the trophy. "I'm 38 going on 25," Setzer said with a grin after the race. "Do I get the Viper?" The official car of the race was a blue Dodge Viper with white stripes down the middle. Sprague moved one step closer to defending his series points title. Sprague now leads by 28 after beating rival Ron Hornaday by two positions. Just like last week at Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma, Mesa Marin was supposed to be a track that favored Hornaday. "I thought we had a good truck and we did," said Sprague. "It was a little tight in the center (of the turns), but the GMAC Chevrolet ran good all day and the guys did a great job." Hornaday was dominating early in the race, but had bad brakes (and bad breaks, with his handling) holding him back. "Trouble! That's all we get!" Hornaday said. "You know, the brake line came loose again... we'll have to do something about that. I really don't know what to tell you, it's hard. We had a dominant truck. I don't know what to say. It's not just that we lose some points, it's just a matter that we lost a race, you know?" And Setzer was more than happy to take it from him. "Bob and Ron Keselowski made some good calls this afternoon and that is really what won the race," Setzer said. "We made good calls all day and had good tires that made it through the race. The damage on the truck came from the No. 19 when he pitted in front of us and we were both leaving the pits and I got into the back of him. We just got the normal short-track truck racing scrapes out here today."

Source: NASCAR Online

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Kevin Harvick , Stacy Compton , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Jack Sprague , Dennis Setzer , Rick Carelli , Mike Bliss