NAPA AutoCare 200 Saturday notebook By Brett Borden NAZARETH, Pa. (July 17, 1999) Notes from Saturday's Bud Pole Qualifying at Nazareth Speedway, site of Sunday's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series NAPA AutoCare 200. Ron Hornaday and Jack Sprague...
NAPA AutoCare 200 Saturday notebook By Brett Borden
NAZARETH, Pa. (July 17, 1999) Notes from Saturday's Bud Pole Qualifying at Nazareth Speedway, site of Sunday's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series NAPA AutoCare 200.
Ron Hornaday and Jack Sprague have won all three previous races at Nazareth -- Hornaday last year, Sprague in 1996 and '97. But outside of eastern Pennsylvania their combined influence is slipping. The pair won 29 percent of the races in 1996, 38.5 percent in 1997, 40.7 percent last year, and this year it is down to 28.6 percent. Sprague, who qualified ninth for Sunday's race, says his No. 24 Chevrolet will take every position it can get this year.
"Team GMAC's got a nice little roll going right now," said the man with 12 top-10s in the last 13 races. "But I know how quickly a 165-point lead can disappear. Overconfidence or looking ahead won't be a problem for us. We came so close (three points) to repeating as champions last year. I want every single point in every single race that I can get. The difference between winning and losing a title last year was one position on the race track. That's why I'll never let up at Nazareth -- or anywhere else."
Jimmy Hensley stands poised to break a series record by becoming the sixth multiple-race winner in 1999. The series record is five, and Greg Biffle, Hornaday, Sprague, Mike Wallace and Dennis Setzer have already accomplished the feat. Hensley has 49 top-10 finishes in his series career, which includes 94 starts. He hopes to grab his second win of the season at Nazareth, where he says he enjoys running (he qualified seventh Saturday). "Nazareth is an odd-shaped race track -- it has three totally distinctive turns," he said. "It's a tough track to get a good set-up on. You usually have to give up a little in one of the turns to get it back in the others. I really enjoy racing there and for whatever reason I've always seemed to run well there -- I won a Busch race (1990), and won my first truck pole (1996) and had a couple of other really good finishes."
The Houston brothers are very competitive, so Sunday's race should see them battle for bragging rights right from the beginning. Andy, the series 'veteran' of a year-and-a-half, will start 14th Saturday, three spots ahead of brother Marty, who is running his USG SHEETROCK Brand Rookie-of-the-Year campaign this year. "It wasn't near as good as we ran in practice," said Andy of his run in the No. 60 CAT Rental Stores Chevrolet. "It looked like a lot of these guys slowed down, but I don't know. It was two really good laps. It's just really frustrating and I can't explain it. I don't know why we slowed down a tenth and a half. The truck's pretty good on long runs and I think we'll race well. But that's the story of my life, pretty much."
"I wanted to run faster, of course," said Marty of his run in the No. 75 Spears Manufacturing Chevrolet. "We'd run a mid-28 in practice so we've got a pretty substantial amount that we've picked up in qualifying and that always makes you happy. It was about what we're looking for, really. I felt like I could make it go a little faster but that's what they'd projected we could run.
The two local drivers, Jeff Andretti and Jerry Miller, will start the field from the last two positions. Andretti, from Bethlehem, Pa., will take the initial green flag 32nd, while Miller, from Allentown, Pa., will start 33rd. "My run was okay, but I was hoping that it'd be a little bit quicker here," said Andretti, son of racing legend Mario and brother of Michael. "You know, it's a long race tomorrow and I'm just going to stay out of trouble." Andretti will pilot the No. 94 Rockfort EML Enterprises/Geico Chevrolet.
Miller did not make a qualifying run, as he hit the wall in practice. NASCAR gave him permission to take his No. 32 Miller Bros./Eberhardt Plymouth Dodge to his nearby shop and make repairs to make the race.
Source: NASCAR Online