South Boston: News of note, schedule

Dodge clinches second series manufacturer championship Points battle remains third closest with five races remaining NEWS & NOTES * TV Timeout ... According to Nielsen Media Research, 260,000 households tuned into the Sept. 27 Las Vegas 350...

Dodge clinches second series manufacturer championship
Points battle remains third closest with five races remaining


* TV Timeout ... According to Nielsen Media Research, 260,000 households tuned into the Sept. 27 Las Vegas 350 broadcast by SPEED Channel. That's a 106 percent increase over the 126,000 households that tuned into the 2002 event.

Gaughan, Dodge Las Vegas winners ... Hard to believe, considering his ascendance in the points standings but Gaughan's Sept. 27 victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway broke a two-month winless streak. The victory, his fifth, makes Gaughan the ninth series competitor to win five or more races in a season. The last to do it was Mike Bliss in 2002. The win also clinched the 2003 manufacturer championship for Dodge, the truck maker's second in the last three seasons. This is the earliest the title has been decided since 1997 (six races remaining).

* Points battle still ranks high among close finishes ... Although Gaughan increased his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship lead to 67 points over Travis Kvapil (No. 16 IWX Motor Freight Chevrolet), this year's title chase ranks third closest (of nine seasons) with five races remaining.

* South Boston Speedway is sixth short track stop ... six series short track races in 2003 have produced five winners with only Setzer able to win twice. Tony Stewart is this year's only winner not competing at South Boston, however, Paul Menard (No. 33 Pit Bull Chevrolet) will drive Stewart's Richmond winning Andy Petree Racing truck. Ted Musgrave (No. 1 Mopar Performance Dodge) is the only South Boston winner entered. He won the race in 2001 and Bud Pole last year.


Kvapil, fourth in Las Vegas, posted his 16th consecutive top-10 finish and moves to within two of Ron Hornaday Jr.'s 1996 record ... Jack Sprague's (No. 11 IWX Motor Freight Chevrolet) fifth-place finish was the 99th top five for the three-time series champion. He's expected to seek No. 100 at Texas Motor Speedway on Oct. 11 ... the 51 teams seeking spots in the Las Vegas 350 field comprised the largest series entry since the 2000 season opener at Daytona International Speedway ... History, however, was not made as Shawna Robinson (No. 49 Aaron's Sales & Leasing Chevrolet) was the only successful qualifier among three female entrants ... South Boston Speedway, at .4-mile, is the most compact venue on the 2003 series schedule. The 250-lap, 100-mile distance makes Saturday's event the shortest of the year ... Last year's John Boy & Billy 250 saw 83 of 257 laps run under caution, a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series record.


* Setzer's also in the right state ... Veteran driver Setzer, who won a NASCAR Busch Series race at South Boston Speedway in 1994, has finished out of the top five just once in seven races in Virginia since September 2001. Setzer was second in each series race at South Boston Speedway, missing victories by a combined deficit of 1.513 seconds.


* "I'm going to South Boston with an open mind." -- Carl Edwards on his first visit to South Boston Speedway.

* "South Boston is a critical track where a lot can happen in a hurry and you can get caught up in someone else's mayhem if you are not careful." - Terry Cook, No. 29 Power Stroke Diesel Ford.

* "I lied to myself a bunch and tried to pretend this was just another race worth 185 points. But I really wanted to win this one for my dad (Michael Gaughan) and the entire Orleans Team." -- Brendan Gaughan, on finally winning a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race in his hometown of Las Vegas.


* South Boston Speedway may be the shortest circuit on the current schedule but it's not the smallest track on which the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series has competed. In fact, the 1995 inaugural season saw its second race run at Tucson Raceway Park, a .375-mile oval and its third at Saugus Speedway, a .333-mile flat oval. Races also were held at Colorado National Speedway, which measured .375-mile.

Fast Facts

What: The John Boy & Billy 250 (NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race No. 21 of 25).
Where: South Boston Speedway, South Boston, Va.
When: 4:30 p.m. ET, Sat., Oct. 4.

Track layout: .4-mile paved oval.
Race length: 250 laps/100 miles.

TV: SPEED Channel, 4:30 p.m. ET.
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.

Pre-race schedule (all times local): Saturday Practice, 8:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. Qualifying, 1 p.m.


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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Tony Stewart , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Ted Musgrave , Jack Sprague , Terry Cook , Brendan Gaughan , Andy Petree , Mike Bliss , Paul Menard , Carl Edwards , Travis Kvapil