Silverados playing Darlington catch up

The Dodges of Joe Ruttman (30.323) and Bobby Hamilton (30.423) topped the time sheets in today's open testing at Darlington Raceway in advance of Saturday's sixth round of the 2001 series, followed by Rick Crawford's Ford (30.497). The quickest...

The Dodges of Joe Ruttman (30.323) and Bobby Hamilton (30.423) topped the time sheets in today's open testing at Darlington Raceway in advance of Saturday's sixth round of the 2001 series, followed by Rick Crawford's Ford (30.497). The quickest Chevy Silverado was Travis Kvapil's, which was clocked at 30.742 seconds (fourth quickest), while Jack Sprague's #24 NetZero Platinum Silverado was fifth quickest with a lap of 30.758 seconds. The Chevrolets continue to play catch-up to the dominant Dodges.

This is the first time the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is racing on Darlington Raceway, known as the "Lady in Black" and famous (or notorious) for its "Darlington Stripe." No, that's not a ribbon of paint which decorates the interior walls of this 1.366-mile oval, but the scrape a car, or truck, is apt to acquire as it brushes the walls of this narrow and unforgiving circuit. Many a racer has "earned" his/her Darlington Stripe over the years. Two Chevy drivers earned their Darlington Stripes today: Lance Norick and Travis Kvapil.

* LANCE NORICK, #90 AVENTIS-BEHRING CHOICE SILVERADO (31.440): "It's just Darlington. We were running a good lap and the thing got a little tight off of turn 2 and we put the old Darlington Stripe on it. We pulled the backup Silverado out, but it was a second off of the truck we wrecked, so we're fixing the truck we wrecked. It's just right-side body damage. It's a much better truck, so we're going to run that one instead. We probably could have made the the backup Silverado better, but we figured it's not a good truck for this place. You don't have enough tires to stay and try to make something fast; you need to be good right off the bat. I didn't bend anything on it other than sheet metal. It won't look pretty, but it will be fast."

* TRAVIS KVAPIL, #60 CAT RENTAL STORES SILVERADO: "It happened just at the end of the day, no big deal." THIS IS YOUR FIRST RACE HERE: "This will be my first race here, definitely. We tested here over the winter. We went pretty well in testing. We had a good truck right off the trailer, we tried to make it better; I don't think we made any gains. We'll go back to our baseline setup for tomorrow and kind of start over again, I guess." ON EARNING YOUR STRIPE: "There was a truck that pulled up in front of me. I don't know if he had older tires on or not. I was going to try to pass him on the outside. We had pretty old tires on our Sivlerado. I lost all the grip, just slid up to the wall a little bit in turns 3 and 4. It's no big deal, but I hate to make the guys work. The problem is that I have already had one of them when we tested here before and I didn't plan on getting another one. It's just a part of racing at this track. It's going to be common. The track is so narrow, you are always driving as hard as you can trying to get the best run you can. It's going to happen."

* J.D. GIBBS, #48 HOT ROD MAGAZINE SILVERADO, returns to the series for his first race of the season, with sponsorship from HOT ROD Magazine. Roy was 29th quickest in the afternoon session with a 31.996-second lap.

GIBBS: "It's fun. My first Busch race was here in Darlington (two years ago). At least I have some experience here, so I'm somewhat comfortable. We're not worrying a whole lot about qualifying. I want to get good long runs here. We're looking for a respectable finish for the HOT ROD guys and to just beat my brother (Coy Gibbs). I'm not asking too much. We put some stickers (new tires) on it and just about lost it, so we parked it. We'll let it sit and put it back on the track tomorrow."

* RANDY TOLSMA, #61 TEAM RENSI MOTORSPORTS CHEVY SILVERADO (12th in second session, 31.216). Randy drove two of his trucks today, "Curly" and "Larry, the Magician." He selected Larry for the race.

TOLSMA: "It's pretty good. We just tried a lot of options today to see what the Silverado reacted to, what it liked or disliked. It got me more time on the race track so I can give better feedback. It was more of a day of trying different options rather than tuning right for the race track. It's a test so you want to try some things you wanted to try that might help you in different race tracks. We were trying to engineer new ideas and and new thoughts to be able to use them at different race tracks. You have to keep in mind that other teams are tuning and trying to setup for this race track, so you can't try too many options and expect to beat the guys who are tuning for this race track. We tried new things to get the Silverado better both in qualifying and in race trim. You want to get your truck as consistent as you can so you have tires at the end of the fuel run and the other competitors have burned theirs off."

-GM Racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Jack Sprague , Coy Gibbs , Lance Norick , Rick Crawford , Joe Ruttman , Travis Kvapil