Richmond: News of note, schedule

NASCAR Winston Cup Series champ Stewart, Spencer in field this week Richmond races usually decided by split-second margins NEWS & NOTES: * Richmond has been good to series "visitors" ... Richmond International Raceway is the only track in...

NASCAR Winston Cup Series champ Stewart, Spencer in field this week
Richmond races usually decided by split-second margins


* Richmond has been good to series "visitors" ... Richmond International Raceway is the only track in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series where an active NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver has won more than once. Terry Labonte (1995) and Stewart (2002) have accomplished the feat -- both drivers also won NASCAR Winston Cup races in those respective years in addition to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event at RIR. The last NASCAR Winston Cup Series competitor to win a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race was Kevin Harvick (No. 6 Kevin Harvick Racing Chevrolet) at Phoenix last November. Harvick, who has finished second at Richmond the last two years, has elected to sit this one out.

* Promotions produce changes ... NASCAR Winston Cup veteran Jimmy Spencer, winner of two NASCAR Bush Series races at Richmond, will make his first series appearance in the Ultra Motorsports No. 2 Team ASE Racing/Carquest Dodge formerly driven by Jason Leffler. Leffler resigned from the Jim Smith-owned team following the Bristol event to take a fulltime NASCAR Winston Cup spot with the No. 0 NetZero Pontiac team. Also at Richmond, Carl Edwards (No. 99 Superchips Ford) will work with new crew chief Kevin "Cowboy" Starland. Starland succeeds Doug Richert, who was promoted to crew chief for NASCAR Winston Cup Raybestos Rookie contender Greg Biffle. Both drive for Roush Racing.

* Split-second finishes the norm at Richmond ... Richmond is noted for close finishes beginning with Terry Labonte's .006-second victory over Geoffrey Bodine in 1995. The victory margin has been .53-second or less in five of the six events going the advertised distance. Two races, 1996 and 1999, were red-flagged early due to inclement weather.


Bob Dotter, 64, a three-time ARCA champion, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series crew chief for Gene Christiansen's Green Light Racing and father of series driver Bobby Dotter, passed away Monday. Services will be held at 1 p.m. CT Sunday at Schroeder/Lauer Funeral Home in Lansing, Ill. ... Two series

records were set or matched at Richmond International Raceway. The 1998 race featured 24 lead lap finishers, the most in series history, while the 1996 race's 32 finishers share the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series mark. ... Nearly 100 high school students from inner city schools will attend the Virginia Is For Lovers 200 as guests of the U.S. Army and NASCAR. ... The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) -- which sponsors the No. 2 Dodge - celebrates its 200th race as a series team sponsor at Richmond.


* Richmond a good track for resurgent Chad Chaffin ... Chad Chaffin (No. 18 Dickies Dodge) has yet to compete in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competition at Richmond International Raceway, however, the track is the site of his career best finish -- 9th -- in the NASCAR Busch Series. After a troubled start, Chaffin has been hot of late, finishing among the top 10 in three of his most last four starts.

* They're solid at Richmond, too ... Setzer and Rick Crawford (No. 14 Circle Bar Motel & RV Ford) are the track's only multiple top-five finishers (two apiece) expected to compete. Musgrave, Setzer, Bobby Hamilton (No. 4 Square D Dodge) and Ken Schrader (No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet) count three top-10 finishes with Musgrave's coming back-to-back (2000-'02).


* "Once you get to Victory Lane, it's kind of addictive; you really can't wait to get back there again. I'd sure like to win in my home state of Virginia." -- Jon Wood, No. 50 Bob Graham For President Ford.

* "I'm thinking racing at Richmond might be a little easier than Bristol since the pace will be a bit slower." -- Carl Edwards, whose only track experience was in a U.S. Auto Club Silver Crown car in 2001.


* NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champions Biffle, Ron Hornaday Jr., Mike Skinner and Jack Sprague have claimed eight of 16 top-two positions at Richmond International Raceway. Sprague tops the list with three -- wins in 1998 and 2001 and a second place in 1997. He is the only series competitor with two victories at the track.

Fast Facts

What:  Virginia Is For Lovers 200 (Race No. 17 of 25).

Where: Richmond International Raceway.
When: 8 p.m. ET, Thurs., Sept. 4.
Track layout:  .75-mile paved oval.

Race length: 200 laps/150 miles.

TV: SPEED Channel, 8 p.m. ET.
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.

Pre-race schedule (all times local): Thursday -- Practice, 10:00 a.m. -- 11:55 a.m. Qualifying, 2 p.m. Final practice following NASCAR Busch Series qualifying, time permitting.


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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Terry Labonte , Jason Leffler , Mike Skinner , Geoffrey Bodine , Ken Schrader , Jimmy Spencer , Kevin Harvick , Greg Biffle , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Jack Sprague , Bobby Dotter , Jon Wood , Chad Chaffin , Carl Edwards , Doug Richert , Jim Smith