St. Louis: Round 17 preview

* Starr Hopes Good Fortune Repeats Itself At Gateway * Plenty Of 'Home Cooking' This Week For Missourians * Marc Davis Debuts With Randy Moss Motorsports David Starr: Perhaps Gateway Lightning Will Strike Twice DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 2,...

* Starr Hopes Good Fortune Repeats Itself At Gateway
* Plenty Of 'Home Cooking' This Week For Missourians
* Marc Davis Debuts With Randy Moss Motorsports

David Starr: Perhaps Gateway Lightning Will Strike Twice

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 2, 2008) -- Talk about catching lightning in a bottle.

David Starr (No. 11 Red Horse Racing Toyota) is one of nine NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series winners at Gateway International Raceway.

Nothing special about that, right? Wrong.

Starr won the 2004 Camping World 200 presented by Honda Power Equipment leading just the final lap.

Had it been 2005 or later, the Texan never would have gotten the chance. Starr won on a fourth green-white-checker restart -- the final time a NASCAR national series used multiple green-white-checker finishes.

"In typical truck series fashion, the race ended with a bang," said Starr, recalling the series of accidents that set up his pass of Chad Chaffin. "So much of a bang that it resulted in a rule change."

Ironically, the 174th lap of the race is the only lap Starr has led in eight Gateway starts.

Returning for Saturday's race, Starr is battling for a spot in the top 10. He was riding a mini streak of sorts -- three top 10s in four races, two of them top fives -- until Bristol Motor Speedway worked its black magic on the Houston native.

A multi-truck accident left Starr 29th and outside the top 10 in the standings -- again.

The 40-year-old Starr is a big fan of Gateway, which he likens to Martinsville and Phoenix where he also counts victories."We need to just keep doing what we have been doing and our luck will eventually turn around," said Starr. Perhaps this week.

Patience And Focus Keys To Surviving First Gateway Experience

Experience would seem to be everything at Gateway International Raceway where four NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champions have won five of the 10 races held at the 1.25-mile, egg-shaped layout.

The track has yet to produce a first-time series winner.

That said, rookies and first-time competitors haven't been completely shut out. There are top fives and 10s to be had -- 10 to be exact, for previous Raybestos Rookie of the Year contenders.

Erik Darnell (No. 99 Northern Tool + Equipment Ford) didn't get one. But the 2006 rookie of the year bounced back from a 31st-place debut to finish seventh a year ago.

"Once you have raced there a couple of times and gotten over the mental challenges of the track, Gateway is a pretty cool place to visit," said Darnell.

He has this advice for those coming to the track for the first time.

"Being patient and staying focused will help get these drivers through their first Gateway experience," he said.

Darnell was among the fortunate, having competed previously at the track in another series.

"I felt pretty relaxed my first go-round in a truck," said Darnell, who was closing in on a possible top-five finish in 2006 before an accident ended his race.

"The track will definitely take you by surprise if you don't do your homework."

Etc. & Quotable:

Homecoming Time ... It's the equivalent of "old home week" for Chrissy Wallace and two members of her No. 03 Toyota team. Wallace, of course, is a St. Louis native and the fifth member of the Wallace clan to compete at Gateway.

Her crew chief, Mike Abner, and Brent Glastetter, a mechanic, hail from Oran, Mo., a small town between Cape Girardeau and Sikeston in the "boot heel" of the Show Me State.

Abner's been to Gateway as a member of Wyler Racing and part of Jack Sprague's crew. "With the driver being a hometown person and Gateway being a hometown track to me, yeah, we want to run really well here," he said.

"Our focus is getting Chrissy prepared for a full (season in 2009). Doing well in front of a hometown crowd would simply be a bonus."

Glastetter and Abner have paired on area dirt tracks for a number of seasons. They competed in Monday's ARCA RE/MAX Series race at DuQuoin, Ill., with Glastetter behind the wheel. He finished 14th.

"I got to race on the dirt again, then see family for a couple of days before we get up to Gateway," said Glastetter. "It will be a fun week."

Said Wallace, "My dad (Mike) went to Fox High School. The Wallace family runs deep in the St. Louis community. There's always a good family turnout when a Wallace is racing (at Gateway)."

And Marks Also ... Germain Racing's Justin Marks (No. 9 crocs/Construct Corps Toyota) was born in St. Louis' BJC Hospital.

One To Watch ... T.J. Bell (No. 7 Home4theHolidays Chevrolet) has fashioned top-10 finishes in two of his past three starts for TRG Motorsports.

Ganging Up On The Competition ... Teammates have finished one-two at Gateway on two occasions, matching the most such performances on a single track. It last happened in 2006 when Todd Bodine outlasted then-teammate Ted Musgrave (No. 59 Team ASE/Harris Trucking Toyota). There have been two "sweeps" in 2008: Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 33 Camping World Chevrolet/ Sprague) at Kansas and Benson/Michael Annett (No. 22 Pilot Travel Centers Toyota) at Kentucky. Charting The Championship

The Camping World 200 is the 17th of 25 races on the 2008 schedule. The Race 17 leader has won the championship nine times but only in three of the past seven seasons.

Davis To Make Gateway Debut For Moss Motorsports

Call it coming full circle.

At Bristol Motor Speedway, Randy Moss Motorsports employed arguably one of the most experienced NASCAR competitors, two-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson.

This week's Camping World 200 will see 18-year-old Marc Davis make his series debut in the NFL All- Pro's No. 81 Howard University/WHUR Chevrolet.

Davis will be the second youngest driver, at 18 years two months 14 days, to compete in the series since the age 18 minimum was established in 2002.

Davis, from Silver Spring, Md., has raced on two and four wheels since age six. He is on "loan" to Moss from Joe Gibbs Racing, which backs Davis in the NASCAR Camping World East Series.

He's currently ranked fourth in Camping World East standings with three top-five and six top-10 finishes.

"I've been preparing for it all my life," said Davis. "Randy Moss and (partner) David Dollar have given me a wonderful opportunity."

Benson Defends -- Again

Johnny Benson (No. 23 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Toyota) is the defending winner of the Camping World 200.

If that sounds familiar, you're right.

This week marks the third time in the last seven races Benson has defended a 2007 victory. He's batting .500, winning at The Milwaukee Mile and finishing fourth on Aug. 20 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

A whopping seven former Gateway winners (with eight victories) are expected to participate in this week's race.

Three are among Benson's championship rivals in the current top 10: Todd Bodine (No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota); Jack Sprague (No. 2 American Commercial Lines Chevrolet) and Terry Cook (No. 60 Toyota).

Who Is The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series' Most Popular Driver?

Have you cast your vote yet? Don't forget to make it count. For the first time in series history, voting for the Series' Most Popular Driver is in the hands of the fans. Be sure to check out and vote for your favorite. More than 36,000 votes have been cast since voting began July 5.

Fast Facts

The Race: Camping World 200 presented by Honda Power Equipment
The Place: Gateway International Raceway

The Date: Sept. 6, 2008
The Time: 2:30 p.m. ET

Race Distance: 200 miles / 160 laps
Track Layout: 1.25-Mile Oval

TV: SPEED, 2 p.m. ET

2007 Winner: Johnny Benson
2007 Pole: Mike Skinner

2008 Standings:

Friday: Practice, 2:45-4:15 p.m. and 6:15-7:15 p.m.
Saturday: Qualifying, 10:05 a.m.

-credit: nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Todd Bodine , Mike Skinner , David Starr , Johnny Benson , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Ted Musgrave , Jack Sprague , Terry Cook , T.J. Bell , Chad Chaffin , Justin Marks , Erik Darnell , Michael Annett , Marc Davis , Chrissy Wallace
Teams Germain Racing , Joe Gibbs Racing , TRG Motorsports , Red Horse Racing