Chevy Trucks 150 Saturday Notebook By Dave Rodman PHOENIX (April 18, 1998) Notes and quotes from Bud Pole Qualifying day for the Chevy Trucks 150 at Phoenix International Raceway. Jack Sprague was back in a familiar spot -- first -- after...
Chevy Trucks 150 Saturday Notebook By Dave Rodman
PHOENIX (April 18, 1998) Notes and quotes from Bud Pole Qualifying day for the Chevy Trucks 150 at Phoenix International Raceway.
Jack Sprague was back in a familiar spot -- first -- after the final 18 minute-practice for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Sprague's lap of 125.611 mph was the best of 33 trucks that practiced. Sprague had won three straight NCTS races at Phoenix before Joe Ruttman broke his streak last fall.
"I kinda wish I could go out there and do it one more time," Sprague said after qualifying. "As close as we got, we could've made a few adjustments and possibly taken the pole. Last year, we were running for the championship. This year, I have nothing to lose. I'd love to get the crown back here. I love this track."
Bud Pole winner Stacy Compton, meanwhile, was 22nd-quickest at 123.584.
The trucks of Doug George, who broke a rear pinion gear in qualifying; Lonnie Rush, who hit the wall on his qualifying lap; and Jerry Glanville, who crashed heavily in NASCAR Winston West qualifying, were the only three that did not practice in the final session.
Lance Norick ended the final practice a couple minutes short of its scheduled 20 minutes when the motor his NHL Dodge blew in a big way. The team had started the change before the NASCAR garage closed Saturday night.
The Chevy Trucks 150 was a breakthrough event for no less than seven drivers who qualified for their first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event in the third round of the 27-race season.
Among the drivers who will race for the first time this season were Cintas Rookie of the Year Candidates Rick McCray, Rob Morgan and Dominic Dobson; former NFL coach Jerry Glanville; former NASCAR Winston West champion Doug George, who used a 1997 driver's provisional; and two more Cintas Rookie candidates, Texans Jay Stewart and David Starr -- who will be making their series debuts.
Pole plugs: The worst a Bud Pole winner in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series has finished in six races at PIR is 10th by Mike Bliss last fall. Compton joined Sprague (3), Bliss and Ron Hornaday as Bud Pole winners in the NCTS at PIR. Saturday's Bud Pole was Compton's first Bud Pole in the NCTS. His best previous truck start in 28 races was fifth here at PIR last fall.
Bliss had been on the front row for five of the last six truck races before today. Andy Houston's second place start is his best in seven truck races. His previous best was 12th in January at Walt Disney World.
Bryan Reffner, driver of the #66 Carlin Ford in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, has joined the newly formed Feed the Children Motorsports Awareness Program, which is designed to increase awareness about the serious problem of hunger in the U.S.
Popular NCTS driver Tammy Jo Kirk, according to her aunt, who race scores for driver Rick Crawford's Circle Bar Motel & RV Park Ford team in the NCTS, will not rejoin the series until the May 23 event at I-70 Speedway in Odessa, Mo.
Kirk, who sat in a career best 14th in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series point standings after two races, does not have a tractor trailer to haul her No. 51 Auto Value Ford, so she is skipping the first Western swing by the series, including races at Phoenix; Portland, Ore.; and Monroe, Wash.
Jerry Glanville, who felt his "standard snout" Ford truck would race much better than the "drop snout" chassis he'd qualified ninth with in last season's Chevy Trucks 150, won't get a chance to find out. Glanville, 56, crashed his ex-Stavola Brothers Ford Thunderbird heavily in Turn 3 on his second lap of qualifying for Sunday's Phoenix 150 NASCAR Winston West race.
At 7:45 p.m. EDT Glanville was in a regular room at St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix. He was listed in fair condition with multiple broken ribs and a broken left ankle. A possible head injury was under evaluation.
A determination of the status of Glanville's No. 31 UniFirst Uniforms Ford, which qualified 31st for the Chevy Trucks 150, would not be made until Sunday morning.
Chuck Bown continued his quest to run a full NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season by qualifying 29th in the No. 57 CSG Racing/Cunningham Historics Ford.
Bown, who lost his ride in the No. 99 Roush Racing Ford when the team encountered sponsorship difficulties, will drive the No. 57 at the upcoming West Coast short track races, at Portland, Ore., and Monroe, Wash., while he tries to determine his course over the balance of the 27-race series.
At Phoenix, Bown's CSG teammate, Cintas Rookie candidate Rob Morgan, out-qualified his more experienced teammate with a 27th place run, a good comeback from his Bud Pole Qualifying crash at Homestead, Fla., two weeks ago.
The Brevak Racing No. 31 Ford kept the Big Daddy's BBQ Sauce signage it wore in Homestead when Big Daddy's No. 93 truck did not qualify.
The Brevak team expected to announce a short term primary sponsor on Sunday morning in Phoenix. Meanwhile, the Hardy Motorsports Ortho Chevrolet had Big Daddy's signage on its tailgate, in what the team owner said was the first race of what could be a year-long associate's deal for the Oklahoma City, Okla., company.
In a break for race fans traveling to the Chevy Trucks 150, 115th Ave. was re-opened Friday after flood waters receded enough to allow its use as the main access route from I-10 to the raceway.
Bob Keselowski was still bemused on Saturday after he qualified 26th in the No. 29 Mopar Performance Dodge. Keselowski had a major engine failure after only a few laps in practice Friday.
"By the time we got it diagnosed, and changed, practice was over," he said. An hour and 15 minutes of practice Saturday did little more, but Keselowski improved to 14th quickest in final practice.
Randy Tolsma, driver of the No. 61 IWX Motor Freight NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Chevrolet, will meet fans and sign autographs at Meridian (Idaho) Speedway on Saturday, May 2. Meridian Speedway is where Tolsma started his racing career.
Eric Norris, who has made five NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series starts, is running the NASCAR Winston West Series this season. Norris, the son of actor Chuck Norris, star of TV's "Walker, Texas Ranger," expects to see his dad cheering him on at PIR this weekend.
Source: NASCAR Online