In classic short track racing Dennis Setzer beat his way through the Craftsman Truck Series field to win the Advance Auto parts 250 at the Martinsville Speedway. "We had a really good truck, we were a little behind, but I had to show a little ...
In classic short track racing Dennis Setzer beat his way through the Craftsman Truck Series field to win the Advance Auto parts 250 at the Martinsville Speedway.
"We had a really good truck, we were a little behind, but I had to show a little patience. I had that after running a bunch of late model races here", notes the race winner.
Setzer, who was relegated to a provisional starting spot after he was found to have un-approved springs during post qualifying inspection on Friday charged through the field to take the lead for the first time on lap 208 of 250. A charge that moved him thirty-two positions, tying a series record set by Jimmy Hensley.
Reflecting on the penalty, Setzer notes, "Our crew overcame that, I felt like I had a pretty good truck, our pit strategy worked well for us. We took four tires a hundred laps in, and never came back in; it was the way it had to be, and we knew we had to pass too many trucks."
Setzer, who has competed in four different series at the famed speedway, has never won a truck race at the track.
"I had a fun time today, I think this is the best track on the circuit"
This marked Seltzers seventh career win in 97 starts in the Craftsman Truck series since 1995. Finishing Behind Setzer were Mike Bliss, Rick Crawford, Bobby Dotter, and Terry Cook.
"I saw Dennis about half way through the race coming up through the field, and I knew he was the truck to beat," notes second place finisher Mike Bliss. Bliss who has competed in the series on and off since 1995 marked his 36th top five finish.
Rick Crawford followed Bliss to the checkered flag.
Crawford summed up the day by saying. "You do all you can, all day, and you wind up third. I am pretty happy with that".
Going into the event, the third of the 2001 season, the championship point's battle was tied between Ted Musgrave and Robert Presley. Musgrave had an opportunity to take advantage of Robert Pressley's unscheduled stop for a flat tire on lap fifty, however Musgrave was unable to stay out of trouble during the race. The 2001 runner up made contact with several drivers, including an innocent one with Tom Powers on lap seventy-six. Powers collected Musgrave while he was the race leader on lap 76. Musgrave problems continued as he eventually went behind the wall on lap 162 to repair a broken brake rotor.
Pressley moves into sole possession of the series lead with a twenty-point advantage over Ted Musgrave, followed by David Starr, Rick Crawford, and Mike Bliss.
The event was marred with 14 cautions brought on mostly by overt aggressive driving.
Winston Cup Champion Darrell Waltrip returned to active competition driving the number 17 Duck Head Footwear Dodge. Waltrip's return from retirement started off well as he qualified 18th. Reality set in on lap four as Waltrip brought out the first caution of the day as he and Morgan Sheppard got together in turn one, with Waltrip parking on the infield wall. He was able to restart, and continue through lap 86 when he went into the garage area with a failed rear end gear.
"It felt great, particularly to be in something as good as I was today, I was having a ball. I would love to drive this truck again", stated Waltrip.
Two Winston Cup drivers competed in the race. Ken Schrader, who was collected in several on track incidents, finished eleventh. Schrader's truck suffered significant front-end damage after he hit his former boss Andy Petree head on in turn two. Petree, who had a tire going down, made contact with Michael Dokken turning him around. Schrader, who was running the inside line, had nowhere to go and hit him head on, ending the team owner's day.
After the accident, Petree was asked if he learned anything that would help his cup teams he replied, "Yeah, they need to be careful"
The other Winston Cup driver in the day event was Kevin Harvick, who qualified Twelfth and fell a lap down early as a result of a bad plug wire.
Returning to the track at competitive speeds Harvick spun coming off turn four when Coy Gibbs bumped him. Harvick, managed to regain control, but fell to the back of the field.
In what appeared to be a payback, Harvick tagged Gibbs on a restart on lap 187, and was promptly parked by the NASCAR officials for aggressive driving.
Harvick parked his truck at the NASCAR trailer, and left the facility.
Harvick was not the only driver penalized for aggressive driving. Matt Crafton was penalized for punting Brian Rose on lap 225. Crafton who pitted during the yellow, was called back in to serve a two-lap penalty, blew by the pit traffic official, and received a third penalty lap.
For the second time in the series history, a woman started a Craftsman Truck event as Angie Wilson started the Nutritional Pit Stop Dodge.
Wilson, who starred on a provisional, had a hard time qualifying. "We did not have time to test here, so I'm really flying blind. Wilson who finished the race in 23rd has secured a ride for the rest of the season and is the second woman since Tammy Jo Kirk to compete in the series.
The official time of the race was two hours, two minutes and five seconds. The margin of victory was .042 seconds, at an average speed of 64.628 MPH, the second slowest average in the eight-year history of the event.
There were six lead changes among six drivers.
Other taking the point were Terry Cook, Denis Setzer, Jason Leffler, Rick Crawford, and Mike Bliss.
Brandon Gaughan was the top-finishing Rookie.
The event was marred with 14 cautions for a total of eighty laps.
This was the third of twenty-three events.
The next Craftsman Truck Series race will be held May 5, 2002, as the series heads to St Louis Mo.