Streaking Terry Cook to become third 200-race starter at Michigan NEWS & NOTES Milestone race comes in Cook's backyard ... Terry Cook (No. 10 Power Stroke Diesel by International Ford) and his team chose the right time to hit their stride.
Streaking Terry Cook to become third 200-race starter at Michigan
NEWS & NOTES
Milestone race comes in Cook's backyard ... Terry Cook (No. 10 Power Stroke Diesel by International Ford) and his team chose the right time to hit their stride. Cook, on a three-race string of top-10 finishes and eighth in championship standings, will make his 200th NASCAR Craftsman Truck start in Saturday's Paramount Health Insurance 200. The Sylvania, Ohio native made his competitive debut in nearby Toledo and considers Michigan his home track. Cook is just the third series driver to reach the 200-race plateau following Rick Crawford (No. 14 Circle Bar Truck Corral Ford) and Jack Sprague (No. 16 Chevy Trucks Chevrolet). Crawford has appeared in a record 207 consecutive races. Cook ran his first series race at The Milwaukee Mile on July 6, 1996.
Renshaw a top qualifier in Texas ... A ninth-place effort at Texas made Deborah Renshaw (No. 8 EasyCare Vehicle Services Contracts Dodge) the first female driver to qualify among the top 10 since 1997. Tammy Jo Kirk's third-place start at Portland (Ore.) Speedway, also in 1997, is the best on the series. Kelly Sutton (No. 02 Team Copaxone Chevrolet) hopes to break Kirk's female driver series start record of 32 this week in Michigan. Finally, Allison Duncan of San Rafael, Calif., became the first NASCAR Drive for Diversity winner with her victory in Saturday's Western Late Model feature at Stockton (Calif.) Speedway. Duncan drives for a team jointly owned by Bill McAnally and Richard Childress. Childress was the inaugural NASCAR Craftsman Truck owner champion in 1995. McAnally owned the cars of current NASCAR Craftsman Truck driver Brendan Gaughan (No. 77 Jasper Engines & Transmissions Dodge), winner of the 2000-01 NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series championship.
Schrader to drive Waltrip-owned truck in Michigan ... Ken Schrader (No. 11 Toyota Tundra Toyota) will drive an R&D entry for Darrell Waltrip Motorsports in the Paramount Health Insurance 200. Kyle Busch (No. 15 Billy Ballew Motorsports) looks to add to back-to-back victories at Lowe's Motor Speedway and Dover International Speedway. The last of three drivers to win three consecutive starts was Greg Biffle in 2000. NASCAR NEXTEL Cup competitors Bobby Labonte (No. 47 Chevrolet Silverado Chevrolet) and Harvick (No. 92 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet) also are among drivers entered in the season's 10th of 25 races.
ETC. ... Bobby Hamilton (No. 04 Dodge) would become the 11th driver in the series to reach the $2 million mark in career winnings by starting Saturday's Michigan event. Hamilton has won $1,999,908 in 83 series appearances. ... Last year's Michigan race saw a series track record 18 lead changes. Twenty-four finishers completed all 100 laps, also a track high. ... Gaughan and Robert Pressley (No. 59 Melling Systems Dodge) are the only MIS winners among this year's entered drivers. Pressley won in 2002; Gaughan in 2003. ... Ricky Craven's No. 99 Superchips Ford will carry a special Batman-themed paint scheme in Saturday's race as promotion for this week's premier of the film "Batman Begins." ... Sprague's Chex 400K victory on June 10 was the 25th of the three-time champion's NASCAR Craftsman Truck career -- two behind all-time leader Hornaday. Sprague is the third two-time winner of the race joining Gaughan and Setzer. ... The final fulltime driver to have a perfect laps-completed record in 2005 fell off the chart when Craven finished 13th at Texas, one lap behind Sprague.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
Toyota nailed first NASCAR national win at Michigan ... Toyota, winless since last October, returns to the scene of the manufacturer's first NASCAR Craftsman Truck victory. Travis Kvapil, now a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Raybestos rookie of the year contender, recovered from an engine change and rear-of-the-field start. Mike Skinner (No. 5 Toyota Tundra Toyota) and Johnny Benson (No. 23 Toyota Certified Used Cars Toyota) took third and fourth.
Points leaders have been consistent at Michigan ... With form as a measure, the top-five championship contenders look forward to Saturday's race. Leader Ted Musgrave (No. 1 Mopar Dodge) was the runnerup finisher in 2003-04. Hornaday, Hamilton and Dennis Setzer (No. 46 Chevrolet Silverado Chevrolet) all have logged top-10 finishes. Setzer has run 10th or better in four of his five starts at MIS. Although Craven will make his NASCAR Craftsman Truck debut at the track, Roush Racing's lead driver counts three NASCAR NEXTEL Cup top fives -- including a second in 2001.
"We're definitely knocking on the door." -- Mike Skinner, who led a race-high 116 laps at Texas before finishing fourth for the second time in 2005. "I really like racing in Michigan, it's fast and wide - where you can run four wide. You can run high, low or in the middle. It reminds me of Daytona somewhat because of the drafting." -- David Starr, No. 75 Spears Manufacturing Chevrolet.
"Drafting is a much bigger deal for the trucks. We obviously punch a bigger hole in the air, so you can really suck up to one another." -- Brandon Whitt (No. 38 Cure Autism Now/McMillin Homes Toyota) on why NASCAR Craftsman Truck competition differs somewhat from NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and NASCAR Busch Series racing at Michigan International Speedway.
10 YEARS TOUGH
Michigan drivers have finished one-two in two of 251 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events. Jack Sprague beat Johnny Benson by .406 of a second at Phoenix International Raceway on Oct. 26, 1996. The Grand Rapids area veterans were first and second in last Friday's Chex 400K at Texas as Sprague became the first series driver to win in eight different seasons.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
The fastest race in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series history was run at Michigan International Speedway on July 26, 2003. Brendan Gaughan averaged 154.044 mph in an event that saw a single caution period and three laps run under the yellow flag. There has never been a caution-free race in the series' 10-plus seasons.
Next Event: Paramount Health Insurance 200 (Race 10 of 25).
Where: Michigan International Speedway.
When: 3:15 p.m. ET, Saturday, June 18.
Track layout: 2.0-Mile Paved Speedway.
Race length: 200 Miles/100 Laps.
Posted awards: $571,810.
TV: SPEED Channel, 3:15 p.m. ET.
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.
2004 winner: Travis Kvapil
2004 polesitter: None. Field set by Rule Book.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Friday -- Practice 12 noon to 1:10 p.m. and 2:50 p.m. to 3:50 p.m. Saturday - Qualifying 1:00 p.m. Trucks impounded after qualifying.
Top 10 drivers: 1. Ted Musgrave 1,321. 2. Ricky Craven 1,304. 3. Bobby Hamilton 1,259. 4. Ron Hornaday Jr. 1,255. 5. Dennis Setzer 1,234. 6. Jimmy Spencer 1,184. 7. Matt Crafton 1,178. 8. Terry Cook 1,153. 9. Johnny Benson 958. 10. Jack Sprague 1,119.