Nazareth notes

NAZARETH, Pa. - A quick look at the statistical book underscores the dominance of Greg Biffle on NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series superspeedways - whether he wins or not. Biffle, who led three times for 30 laps of Saturday's Chevy Silverado...

NAZARETH, Pa. - A quick look at the statistical book underscores the dominance of Greg Biffle on NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series superspeedways - whether he wins or not. Biffle, who led three times for 30 laps of Saturday's Chevy Silverado 200 en route to finishing third, has led 13 consecutive races on tracks of one mile or longer. He eclipsed Jack Sprague's series record on July 8 at New Hampshire International Speedway and extended the standard at Nazareth Speedway where he also consigned the two-time champion's consecutive top-five mark to the tour's dustbin. The race led streak began Aug. 20, 1999 with a victory at Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis. Biffle, in two plus seasons on the series, has led at least one lap on every superspeedway on the current schedule that hosted a NCTS race. No other series driver has accomplished the feat. Dodge's third victory of the season - by three different drivers - ended a bid by Ford and Jack Roush to win for a record sixth consecutive time on the series. A Ram never had won at Nazareth, making the venue the eighth among current series tracks to count victories by all three manufacturers. Chevrolet, meanwhile, finished third among manufacturers for the third consecutive race to match its all-time low tide mark of one year ago. Series victory No. 80 is proving quite elusive. The halfway race leader, Ruttman, failed to win for the 13th time in 16 races on the 2000 season. For the third time in six 2000 races, dire weather forecasts greeted NCTS competitors and fans. Heavy showers in the early morning and warnings of flash flooding in the Lehigh Valley gave way to partly sunny skies by mid-race. NASCAR officials announced, effective Jan. 1, 2001, engines in both the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division, may utilize maximum compression ratios of 12.0 to 1 - the same as the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. The current limit is 9.5 to 1. Michael Dokken continues to shine in Rick Ware's Chevrolet, leading his first series race since March 1, 1997. Ware, who injured his back playing with his son in mid-June, expects to return to the Dunlop Golf-sponsored Chevrolet next week at Michigan Speedway. Also slated to reappear is Lance Hooper, in Marty Walsh's Ford. Hooper began the season with the Florida team, then moved to the NASCAR Busch Series where he was released recently by Alumni Motorsports along with crew chief Mike Steurer, a fellow southern Californian. Crew chief Fred Wanke, who left Petty Enterprises two months ago, has been hired by Bobby Hamilton to replace Danny Gill who moves to Morgan-McClure's Kodak Chevrolet that Hamilton drives on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Seventeenth place might not seem like much but, for Pennsylvanian Ryan McGlynn, it followed a race in which the third-year driver finally turned some heads. McGlynn ran as high as second-place and passed both Jack Sprague and Mike Wallace under green flag racing. He missed his best finish by one spot. On paper, the Chevy Silverado 200 was a carbon copy of last year's race with 11 lead changes among seven drivers. In five tries at Nazareth Speedway, series winners have yet to post a 100-mph race average, mostly due to a myriad of caution flags. Saturday's nine slowdowns virtually matched the track's average of 9.2. While Biffle has rocketed to a 178-point championship lead, the battle for No. 2 is anything but settled. Just 23 points cover Wallace, Andy Houston and Sprague. Sprague, meanwhile, has failed to lead a lap in five of his past six starts and remains a serial shy of leading his 3,500th. Randy Renfrow has been released as the driver of Mike Farris' TKO Motorsports Dodge. Former Mittler Brothers' driver, rookie Jamie McMurray, is expected to wheel the Ram at Michigan Speedway and in the team's remaining 2000 appearances. Renfrow said he is considering several opportunities. Tony Roper has been signed by Mittler to drive his Ford.

Owen Kearns

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Mike Wallace , Andy Houston , Jack Sprague , Jamie McMurray , Lance Hooper , Ryan McGlynn , Michael Dokken , Jack Roush