NEWS & NOTES Erin Crocker makes Craftsman Truck debut in Phoenix ... Evernham Motorsports' Erin Crocker will make her NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut this week behind the wheel of Bobby Hamilton Racing's No. 4 Betty Crocker/Cheerios/ Dodge...
NEWS & NOTES
Erin Crocker makes Craftsman Truck debut in Phoenix ... Evernham Motorsports' Erin Crocker will make her NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut this week behind the wheel of Bobby Hamilton Racing's No. 4 Betty Crocker/Cheerios/ Dodge Ram Dodge. Crocker will compete fulltime for Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors in 2006. Said Hamilton, "We tested Erin the other day at Nashville and she just told them what she wanted to do with the truck. She is a sharp cookie and knows exactly what she's doing and I think Ray (Evernham) wants to give her some more seat time to teach her how to race a little better. She's going to be pretty good." Three female competitors have entered the Silverado 150 -- Crocker, Deborah Renshaw (No. 8 Heritage Dodge) and Kelly Sutton (No. 02 Team Copaxone Chevrolet). The NASCAR record for female drivers in the same race, three, was set May 16, 2004 at Mansfield Motorsports Speedway.
ETC. ... Mike Skinner (No. 5 Toyota Tundra Toyota) goes for a record fourth consecutive superspeedway pole this week, having picked up No. 3 last week at Texas Motor Speedway. Skinner has one career pole at Phoenix International Raceway in 1996. Craftsman's Win from the Pole Bonus has reached $20,000. ... Bodine became the first driver to defend a 2004 victory as he won the Nov. 4 Silverado 350 at Texas Motor Speedway. Bodine bypassed Hornaday to reach third place in the season point standings. ... Defending Silverado 150 winner David Starr (No. 75 Spears Manufacturing Chevrolet) was fourth in Texas with the team's second-best finish of the season. Starr also becomes the 12th different driver to win more than $2 million in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competition with a career total of $2,007,326. ... Five former Phoenix winners -- Hornaday, Skinner, Sprague, Starr and Mike Bliss (No. 16 Chevy Trucks Chevrolet) -- are among entries for the Silverado 150.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
Sprague is Valley of the Sun master ... No NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competitor has a better record at Phoenix International Raceway than Sprague, who's finished outside the top five just once since 1995. Sprague's nine top five finishes include eight of either first or second. He has completed every lap of all 11 races he's started - 1,857 of 1,857.
"This whole team is still determined to win a race before the season ends. We've come so close on a few occasions that I have to believe our first win isn't too far off. I really want to win a truck race before I move up to Busch next year. We've pretty much got the rookie deal locked up so all that is left is to win a race." -- Todd Kluever, hoping to improve on a trio of second-place finishes before season's end.
"Phoenix International Raceway is a slippery surface and hard to hook up; you slide in the corners. The team that slides the truck the least will likely win the race. Phoenix is a lot like Nazareth Speedway in that you had to comprise between the turns and chase the balance of the truck. You might be better in one turn but you never really could get a handle on the other." -- Terry Cook, No. 10 Ford Power Stroke Diesel by International Ford.
10 YEARS TOUGH
Mike Skinner clinched the first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship with a victory in the 1995 Silverado 150, beating Joe Ruttman by 121 points. Skinner won both races at Phoenix International Raceway in the series' inaugural season.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Nine of 14 races run at Phoenix International Raceway have been won by NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champions. Jack Sprague won three straight in 1995-96. Skinner and Ron Hornaday Jr. each won twice. Other champions with Phoenix victories are Mike Bliss and Greg Biffle.
Next Event: Silverado 150. (Race No. 24 of 25).
Where: Phoenix International Raceway (Phoenix, Ariz.).
When: 8:15 p.m. ET Friday, Nov. 11.
Track layout: 1.0 -mile paved oval.
Race length: 150 miles/150 laps.
Posted awards: $479,060.
TV: SPEED Channel, 8 p.m. ET.
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.
2004 winner: David Starr.
2004 polesitter: Jack Sprague.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Thursday -- Practice 12:00 noon --1:20 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. -- 3:30 p.m. Friday -- Qualifying 10:00 a.m. Trucks impounded after qualifying.
Top 10 drivers: 1. Ted Musgrave 3,279. 2. Dennis Setzer 3,216. 3. Todd Bodine 2,087. 4. Ron Hornaday Jr.3,061. 5. Mike Skinner 3,003. 6. Bobby Hamilton 2,982. 7. David Starr 2,897. 8. Jimmy Spencer 2,860. 9. Jack Sprague 2,847. 10. Matt Crafton 2,707.