Nazareth race report

Visiting Greg Biffle Doubles At Nazareth For First Nascar Craftsman Ford Win Of ¡01 NAZARETH, Pa. - Greg Biffle gave Ford its first victory of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season with a virtually perfect performance in Sunday's Chevy ...

Visiting Greg Biffle Doubles At Nazareth For First Nascar Craftsman Ford Win Of ¡01

NAZARETH, Pa. - Greg Biffle gave Ford its first victory of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season with a virtually perfect performance in Sunday's Chevy Silverado 200 at Nazareth Speedway.

Biffle, who won the 200-mile race two years ago, erased his own record in leading the final 192 of 200 laps over the triangular one-mile layout. The 2000 champion, currently the Raybestos Rookie-of-the- Year leader on the NASCAR Busch Series, averaged 108.778 mph.

The speed, as just three brief cautions for 15 laps slowed the pace, topped Biffle's race record of 95.910 set in 1999. Twenty-three of the 36 starters were running at the finish of a race that was free of serious accidents.

Biffle, who won $50,410, scored his 15th victory on the series but first since last July at Michigan Speedway. He also became the first full-time NASCAR Busch Series driver to win on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

"Today was a dominating day for all of us," said Biffle who made just his third appearance of the season on the series driving the Eldon Ford F-150 for owner Jack Roush. "Today I really got in the groove with the truck.

"In happy hour (final practice) I stumbled on a set-up that was really good ... that I guess the other guys missed. I guess it's the experience with the trucks and having broadened my experience with the Busch cars."

The victory was the second of 2001 at Nazareth Speedway by Biffle who, in May, captured May's NASCAR Busch Series Nazareth 200 in his Grainger Ford Taurus.

Biffle, starting second, nosed his F-150 truck under Terry Cook's Bud Pole winning Power Stroke Diesel Ford as the two began their ninth lap. He built leads of up to nine seconds but had to withstand Cook's last-ditch pressure after the race's third caution that ended with two laps remaining.

Cook, entering the third turn of lap 199, drew to within a few feet of Biffle's tailgate but his truck pushed sideways. Biffle's victory margin was 0.514 second - about three truck lengths.

"Greg's a talented driver and he knows Nazareth and I give him credit," observed Cook. "He did a good job."

Cook, in turn, was pressured at the checkered flag by Jack Sprague, whose NetZero Platinum Chevrolet finished three-quarters of a length back in third-place. Rick Crawford, at the wheel of the Milwaukee Electric Tool Ford, was the final driver to complete all 200 laps.

Raybestos rookies Rick Hendrick, Jon Wood and Billy Bigley grabbed the next three spots, a lap behind. Ted Musgrave, Joe Ruttman and Lance Hooper completed the top 10.

Ruttman took over the series championship lead by a 13-point margin over Scott Riggs. Riggs, who led Ruttman by one entering the season's 18th event, finished 13th. Sprague, meanwhile, drew to within 20 points of Ruttman in third-place with six races remaining on the 2000 season.

Until the final caution, when Coy Gibbs grazed the Turn 4 wall and littered the track with debris, the race was for second-place. Biffle, after passing Cook, lapped all but Cook, Sprague and Crawford by lap 120.

Crawford also was about to go a lap behind on lap 142, before Ricky Sanders stalled his Ford in Turn 1 to bring out the second yellow flag.

Pit stops a lap later didn't change the order among the lead trucks, although Sprague was forced to pit twice under caution - the second time to replace a flat left rear tire, dropping his Chevy to fourth- place.

He re-passed Crawford on lap 154 for third-place and, after a pit stop under caution on lap 196, almost caught Cook but fell a second and a half short of a third Nazareth victory.

*Hey, he (Cook) was better than me all day and deserved to finish in front of me,* said Sprague, adding, *we gained some points and that¢s what it¢s all about.*

While Ford recorded its first one-two finish since September of last year at Dover Downs International Speedway, Dodge drivers complained about aerodynamic inequities. Musgrave, two laps behind, was the best to finish in a Ram - a truck that won eight of the season's first nine races before several rule changes were made by NASCAR.

"I was expecting an old-fashioned butt-kicking and, today, we firmly got our butts kicked," said Ruttman. "We were lucky to get ninth."

Dodge still has a 21-point lead in the series manufacturer standings following Sunday's race.

After nine races over a span of 10 weeks, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series takes Labor Day weekend off before heading to Richmond International Raceway for the Sept. 6 Kroger 200.


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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Greg Biffle , Ted Musgrave , Jack Sprague , Coy Gibbs , Terry Cook , Rick Crawford , Jon Wood , Scott Riggs , Joe Ruttman , Billy Bigley , Jack Roush