* "Elvis" now in Whitt's possession after Memphis * Familiar faces in hunt for NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series title * Reutimann coming off best career finish DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 25, 2005) -- For Brandon Whitt (No. 38...
* "Elvis" now in Whitt's possession after Memphis
* Familiar faces in hunt for NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series title
* Reutimann coming off best career finish
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 25, 2005) -- For Brandon Whitt (No. 38 Cure Autism/McMillin Homes Toyota), Memphis will now mean more than Elvis and Graceland.
He will remember it for the day he won his first career NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race and became the first driver to win the Elvis Presley trophy.
"It's cool to get my first win," said Whitt. "I think I'll hold Memphis Motorsports Park close to my heart forever. The track, the fans, everything I love about it. You can't get a better trophy for your first win."
Earlier in the day, Whitt recorded his first career pole. He also led the first laps of his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series career.
The win and the pole follow his previous best career performance, a sixth-place finish at Kentucky Speedway earlier this season.
"I can't say I wasn't nervous at the end of the race," said Whitt. "I had butterflies right there at the end. My Tundra was great all night long and I knew we were going to be good at the end of the race."
"Tonight's just a perfect example of why you always need to remember that it's never over until it's actually over."
Not only was it the 22-year-old Whitt's first win, it was the first win for his crew chief Jamie Jones and owner Tom DeLoach, who became the first owner in 2005 to win his first race.
"We've had some good runs this season," said Whitt. "But the addition of Jeff Hammond and Tom DeLoach helping us form Red Horse Racing has been the extra push we needed to get over the top."
For Whitt, the off-week will allow him to celebrate his win a little bit longer.
"This is a dream come true," said Whitt, who became the fifth-youngest winner in series history. "I'm on cloud nine and I don't think I'll come down for a couple of weeks."
"It's pretty hard to forget your first win, but it's impossible when you have 'The King' as a trophy to remember it by."
NEWS & NOTES, PART II
Familiar faces in title chase ... The top of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series standings has a striking resemblance to the last couple of years. Two drivers who have been in the hunt the last two years for their first NASCAR Craftsman Truck title, Dennis Setzer (No. 46 Chevy Silverado Chevrolet) and Ted Musgrave (No. 1 Mopar Dodge), head up a "who's who" in the standings heading to Indianapolis Raceway Park. Defending champion Bobby Hamilton (No. 04 Bailey's Dodge) and two-time winner Ron Hornaday (No. 6 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet) are third and fourth, respectively. Says Setzer, "Being in the championship hunt the past two seasons helps us to understand how to keep a good balance as the season unfolds, but the game plan the team puts together is where the focus [of winning races] stays."
Reutimann has career-best finish at Memphis ... David Reutimann (No. 17 NTN Bearings Toyota) has finished in the top five in the last three NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races, including his career-best finish of second at Memphis. The finish moved Reutimann into seventh place in championship standings, only 15 points out of fifth place. "Since Dover, things have been really good," said Reutimann. "I think we were 13th in the points at Dover and that hasn't been that many races ago. Obviously, we've got some momentum going now." In addition to his second-place finish, Reutimann also won a 10-lap All-Star feature on Memphis Motorsports Park's dirt oval on Friday night prior to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race on Saturday night. ETC. ... Whitt won the Craftsman "Win from the Pole" bonus, which was at $18,000. Musgrave is the only other driver to win the bonus this year, having done so at Gateway International Raceway. ... There have been 10 different winners in 14 races this year. ... Whitt's win was the second win for Toyota this season (the other was by Todd Bodine, No. 30 Germain Racing Toyota at Kansas). ... With his win from the pole, Whitt became the second driver to win from the pole at Memphis (Greg Biffle in 1999 is the other).
10 YEARS TOUGH
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers have competed regularly in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events since the Feb. 5, 1995 inaugural race in which Terry Labonte, Ken Schrader and Geoffrey Bodine finished second, third and fifth respectively at Phoenix International Raceway. Schrader, however, became the first driver to win in NASCAR Craftsman Trucks, NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and NASCAR Busch Series with his April 15, 1995 victory at the old Saugus Speedway near Los Angeles. To date, 13 different competitors have won at least once on all three of NASCAR's national touring series.
Next Event: Power Stroke Diesel 200.
Where: Indianapolis Raceway Park.
When: 8:45 p.m. ET, Friday, Aug. 5.
Track layout: .686-mile paved oval.
Race length: 200 laps/137.2 miles.
Posted awards: $498,400.
TV: SPEED Channel, 8:45 p.m. ET.
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.
2004 winner: Chad Chaffin.
2004 polesitter: Jack Sprague.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Friday -- Practice 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 12-1 p.m. Qualifying 5 p.m. Trucks impounded after qualifying.
Top 10 drivers: 1. Dennis Setzer 2,089. 2. Ted Musgrave 1,931. 3. Bobby Hamilton 1,926. 4. Ron Hornaday Jr. 1,841. 5. Jimmy Spencer 1,814. 6. Ricky Craven 1,803. 7. David Reutimann 1,799. 8. Terry Cook 1,778. 9. Matt Crafton 1,758. 10. David Starr 1,752.