Talladega: GM Racing preview

Talladega, Ala. - With just six races remaining in the 2007 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) season, Team Chevy Silverado heads to Talladega Superspeedway for the running of the Mountain Dew 250 on Saturday, October 8, 2007. In 2006 the...

Talladega, Ala. - With just six races remaining in the 2007 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) season, Team Chevy Silverado heads to Talladega Superspeedway for the running of the Mountain Dew 250 on Saturday, October 8, 2007.

In 2006 the famed high-banked, 2.666-mile tri-oval was added to the NCTS schedule giving competitors two superspeedway events during the season. As was the case at Daytona in February, members of the Bowtie Pickup Brigade expect the action to be fast, furious and edge-of-seat exciting for all 94-laps.

"Our Silverado teams are well prepared for Talladega," said Dayne Pierantoni, NCTS Silverado program manager for GM Racing. "Several of our drivers had great performances at the season's first race at Daytona. Ron Hornaday, Matt Crafton and Brendan Gaughan were in the lead pack battling all race long.

"We are looking for an even more exciting event at Talladega because the track is so wide and smooth, it gives the drivers numerous options to find the line that suits their Silverado the best. It will be a great race and we are looking for our Silverado drivers to be battling for the win."

Ron Hornaday, Jr., No. 33 Camping World Silverado, is treating the upcoming Alabama race as the next race he wants to win with crew chief Rick Ren and the entire Kevin Harvick, Inc. (KHI) crew. Although the two-time champion is engaged in a see-saw battle for the top-spot in the NCTS standings and currently sits second, just three points behind the leader, he is only concentrating on what needs to happen for the team at the race immediately in front of them.

"We finished 10th last year at Talladega," Hornaday said. "Overall, our current truck program at KHI is completely different from last year, and we should be even faster this year.

"The track is really different from how it used to be. Now it's really smooth, and you can run four and five-wide and be comfortable doing it. It's a little different than Daytona, but we are bringing a truck that does well on the straightaway and drafts well."

Ren echoed Hornaday's thought by adding: "Last year the track was really smooth and the drivers could run three-wide. It should be an exciting race.

"This is the same truck that Ron raced at Daytona, but we didn't have any help there. It will be the same at Talladega, you will need a dancing partner in order to get to the front."

Cale Gale will pilot the second KHI entry at Talladega. He returns to his home state of Alabama to pilot the No. 2 Camping World Chevrolet for the final time this season. The Mountain Dew 250 marks Gale's fifth NCTS start for KHI and first start on the high-speed track.

"I am really excited to be able to go home to Alabama and race in front of my family, friends and all of the fans that have supported me," said Gale. "It makes the race even more special."

Brendan Gaughan and his South Point Racing Team are looking to take the bull-by-the-horns so to speak at Talladega and make a strong statement the remainder of the season in the No. 77 South Point Hotel Silverado.

"With how well the South Point Racing team ran at Daytona this year, I am really looking forward to Talladega," said Gaughan. "You look at the truck that we had there. We ended up not finishing Daytona because we got in a wreck with 12 to go, but our Chevrolet was definitely the best Chevrolet there. We pushed all the Roush trucks to the front and they were the ones who were eventually the best team there overall. We kept pushing them and helping them so you know we had a great race truck there. We came very prepared, and for Talladega we are coming just as prepared.

"We've had a bunch of disappointing weekends.and a lot of it has been any fault of our own. At Las Vegas, we had two right front flats. And it sounded like that was a resounding theme throughout the garage - people getting right fronts flat. We just happened to be a victim of it. Unfortunately, the second one we were the victim of a very aggressive blow-up of a right front flat. But I still believe we have a great race team and I still believe we can get to the top 10. We've just got to go and do it. We've got to go win races and finish in the top five every week to get ourselves there."

Billy Ballew Motorsports will field a two-truck arsenal at Talladega. Kyle Busch will be behind the wheel of the No. 51 Flanders Beef Patties Silverado. When asked about the difference between the Silverado and Impala SS he will drive at Talladega, Busch replied: "The transition from the Impala SS and the trucks is not too bad. We've done it all year long between the new-generation car and the car of today and in the Busch car as well. I'm able to transition back and forth without too much difficulty. I remember growing up and racing Legends cars and Late Models in the same night. So it's something I'm accustomed to and that I enjoy.

"The Silverado, just like the Impala SS, have more drag and they both have more power so drafting is different but similar to drafting in the truck. The way both the COT and the trucks are built the bumpers line up so I expect you'll see a lot of bump drafting in both races. When a car has more drag it creates a larger swing and in both series you have the horsepower versus the drag at a track like Talladega so it should make for an exciting race. I know last year the trucks had their first race in Talladega and it was pretty clean where there was four-wide racing. Hopefully we'll be able to stay up front and bring Billy Ballew home his first win of the 2007 Season."

Shane Sieg will drive the No. 15 Billy Ballew Motorsports Silverado.

"I'm excited at the opportunity to be back behind the wheel of the No. 15 Billy Ballew Motorsports Chevrolet this weekend in Talladega." Sieg said. "We had a great truck and a great finish a few weeks back and I plan on learning as much as I can during all the practices so that we are in good shape for Saturday. Although I haven't raced in Talladega I feel I have a bit of an advantage to some of the other rookies from driving at Daytona and by having Kyle (Busch) as a teammate this weekend. Both the Billy Ballew Motorsports NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series teams share information and I know I'll be following Kyle around this track to pick up some tips on lines and style. Hopefully, we'll learn enough and bring home another top-10 finish."

Matt Crafton, No. 88 Menards Silverado, was one of the strongest trucks at Daytona and battled in the lead pack all night long. The ThorSport Racing driver is looking for a repeat of that performance at Talladega.

"We had a great Chevy at Daytona," said Crafton. "My crew has been working really hard to make sure I have an even better truck for Talladega. There is no doubt the race is going to be exciting. The track is so smooth and wide; you can run almost anywhere and go three-wide without worrying about running out of race track. The biggest thing is you have to have smart and make your moves at the right time and a lot of luck to not get caught up in something because things happen really fast."

Willie Allen, No. 13 National Pork Board/Nashville Music City Silverado will continue his battle to capture the NCTS Raybestos Rookie of the Year title at Talladega.

"I think one key to success at Talladega is patience," said Allen, Crafton's ThorSport teammate. "Keeping yourself out of a dangerous position and trying to avoid 'the big one' is critical. We need to have a good qualifying effort, make good pit stops and maintain good track position throughout the race. I actually tested at Talladega a few years ago so I am familiar with the track. That helps a lot because I don't have to spend as much time learning the track during practice and can focus more on the setup. Hopefully we'll have our Silverado up front at the end and gain some points in the Rookie of the Year race."

Chad Chaffin and the No. 40 Chrome Shop Mafia Silverado team fielded by Key Motorsports see Talladega as an opportunity to continue the progress the team has seen in the past several races.

"We seemed to have tossed that monkey that had been on our backs the last two races with a decent run in Las Vegas last week," said Chaffin. "The history that Key Motorsports has had with its trucks at places like Daytona and Talladega over the last two years tells me that we should really be strong in Talladega next week. I was right behind the 40 last year (with Derrike Cope behind the wheel) when it got taken out on the last lap running fifth or sixth, We have a brand new truck for the race and Gary (crew chief Showalter) told me that the wind tunnel numbers were awesome, and I have also learned that we will have a really good engine. I'm really looking forward to having a good, competitive run to continue building some momentum."

For the fifth time this season, Dale Earnhardt, Inc. driver Regan Smith has been tapped to drive the No. 47 Ginn Resorts Silverado fielded by Morgan Dollar Motorsports.

"We have had a good run every time I have been in the No. 47 truck this season," said Smith. "Eric Phillips and everyone at Morgan Dollar has done a great job giving me awesome trucks to race. I can hardly wait to get to Talladega. The track is wide and smooth and I am sure we will put on a race that will have the fans on their feet for the entire 250 miles."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Derrike Cope , Kevin Harvick , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Matt Crafton , Brendan Gaughan , Chad Chaffin , Regan Smith , Shane Sieg , Willie Allen , Cale Gale , Kyle Busch