Off-week news of note 2007-04-17

NASCAR CRAFTSMAN TRUCK SERIES NEWS AND NOTES * Ageless Ruttman Revs Up Competitive Juices * Youth Versus Experience: It Doesn't Matter At Kansas * Rollins Brings Champ's Perspective To HT Motorsports * McCumbee Wins In...


*       Ageless Ruttman Revs Up Competitive Juices

* Youth Versus Experience: It Doesn't Matter At Kansas
*       Rollins Brings Champ's Perspective To HT Motorsports

* McCumbee Wins In Nashville; Wise Eyes Series Debut

Ruttman Out To Prove He's Not Just A Name In The Record Book

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 16, 2007) -- Joe Ruttman (No. 18 Fastenal Dodge) feels the shoe is on the other foot when it comes to proving his ability to compete.

"That's for the other guys to do," said Ruttman, 62, who'll rejoin the series April 28 at Kansas Speedway after an absence of nearly five years.

"I think it will be just as important for them to prove as it is to me," said Ruttman, a 13-time series winner whose last victory came in May 2001 at the age of 56.

Ruttman is no stranger to his former rivals -- three-time champion Jack Sprague (No. 60 Con-way Freight Toyota), Mike Skinner (No. 5 Toyota Tundra Toyota) and Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 33 AES HR Solutions Chevrolet).

Not so with those drivers under the age of 30.

"I compare myself to the young guns in the sport," he said. "When you first come into racing, you are very eager to prove yourself to so many people.

"Well, even though I'm not young, I still have that high for racing and proving myself. There are a lot of people out there who don't know who Joe Ruttman is and I have to show them. The only difference between being a young gun in the sport and me is they probably have better eyesight."

Ruttman's return may spark some old rivalries and the California native is fine with that.

"I think returning to the series allows for those rivalries to be rekindled, but I don't think they will be any bigger than what they were," said Ruttman.

"I'm looking forward to racing against them (but) they have to prove to me they can beat me again."

Rewind: Winners Of All Ages, Experience Win At Kansas

At many tracks, experience wins.

Not necessarily so at Kansas Speedway, where drivers in their 20s, 30s and 40s have grabbed the checkered flag in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series' six trips to the 1.5-mile speedway.

One of the series' biggest surprises occurred in 2001's inaugural race when the late Ricky Hendrick became the then-youngest winner at age 21 years three months.

Hendrick's victory might have been considered an aberration except that two years later Jon Wood, 21 years nine months, captured the O'Reilly Auto Parts 250.

Now-NASCAR Nextel Cup Series star Carl Edwards was the third 20-something to visit Kansas' Victory Lane. Edwards was less than two months shy of his 25th birthday in 2004.

Youth, however, doesn't have a lock on the track. Todd Bodine, 41 and Terry Cook, 38, are its most recent winners.

Two weeks hence, at Kansas Speedway, Brendan Gaughan (No. 77 South Point Hotel Chevrolet) could make a huge jump in the point standings. He finished fourth there last year and has placed in the top 10 in each of the last three races at the track.

How he closes a race might be the most impressive stat Gaughan owns.

In the last two Kansas races, Gaughan has improved seven positions over the last 10 percent of the race for an average of 3.5 positions improved.

That finishing power is tied for the most positions improved and has led to eighth and fourth-place finishes. Gaughan also leads all drivers at Kansas in Green Flag Passes with 99.

Rollins Hopes To Duplicate Championship Success

Danny Rollins knows what it's like to be a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race and championship-winning crew chief, having captured the 2004 title with the late Bobby Hamilton.

Now working with HT Motorsports and driver Terry Cook, Rollins wants to repeat that success.

"I have expectations and realistically, I want to win races," said the 34-year-old.

HT Motorsports has yet to win a series race but Rollins believes the potential is there -- and more.

"I said it's going to take us a bit," he said, noting that Cook is the defending winner of Kansas Speedway's April 28 O'Reilly Auto Parts 250.

"I think we can get it done here. Jim (Harris) is committed to success (and) there isn't a single thing I don't like about Terry. It might take a little time but we're going to get there."

McCumbee Wins In Nashville ... Chad McCumbee (No. 08 Garmin/The GPS Store Chevrolet) won his first ARCA RE/MAX Challenge race on April 7 at Nashville Superspeedway, passing Cale Gale (No. 2 Camping World Chevrolet) with three laps remaining. "It's been a long time coming. I think we deserved a few (more) wins and it just seemed to slip by us." Wise To Make Series Debut ... Open-wheel star Josh Wise will be behind the wheel of Darrell Waltrip Motorsports' No. 00 Toyota at Kansas Speedway. Wise won U.S. Auto Club midget and sprint titles driving for Tony Stewart. "I have waited what seems like forever to get into the truck and race," said Wise "This is an outstanding opportunity for me and a big step in my career."

Skinner Tops 'Pros' ... Skinner was fourth -- and the highest finishing Pro driver -- in Saturday's Toyota Long Beach Grand Prix Pro/Celebrity race.



Next Race: O'Reilly Auto Parts 250

The Place: Kansas Speedway
The Date: April 28

The Time: 6 p.m. (ET)
TV: SPEED, 5:30 p.m. (ET)

Track Layout: 1.5-mile paved oval

Race Purse: $624,951

2006 Winner: Terry Cook
2006 Pole: Mike Skinner

Schedule: Friday -- Practice 11 a.m. -- Noon; 12:05 p.m. -- 12:35 p.m. (rookies) and 2:30 p.m. -- 3:30 p.m. Saturday -- Qualifying 1:30 p.m.

-credit: nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Darrell Waltrip , Tony Stewart , Todd Bodine , Mike Skinner , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Ricky Hendrick , Terry Cook , Jon Wood , Joe Ruttman , Brendan Gaughan , Carl Edwards , Josh Wise , Cale Gale , Chad McCumbee