Tenth anniversary: 10 toughest moments

10 Toughest Moments in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series "10 Years Tough" From the first time a pickup truck took to the race track when the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series was born in 1995, TOUGH has been the dominant theme. Close...

10 Toughest Moments in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series "10 Years Tough"

From the first time a pickup truck took to the race track when the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series was born in 1995, TOUGH has been the dominant theme.

Close action, fender-to-fender racing and hard-nosed championship battles have earned the Series its "Tough Trucks, Tough Drivers, Tough Tools" image. It's an image that the Series lives up to each year.

Just take a look at some stats: the Series championship has been decided in the final race nine out of 10 seasons and it has been won by fewer than 100 points in seven out of 10 seasons. Over the years, 59 percent of the races have been decided by a margin of victory of less than one second.

It's that trademark action-packed, tough racing that the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is celebrating with its yearlong "10 Years Tough" campaign in 2005.

To commemorate the Series and its "10 Years Tough" celebration, drivers, team members, media members, NASCAR officials and others were asked to submit their ideas for the toughest, most memorable moments in Series history.

An expert panel narrowed the list to 25 moments. Those 25 Toughest NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series moments will be featured during the SPEED Channel broadcasts (one per race) throughout the season.

SPEED will begin counting down from No. 25 to the No. 1 Toughest Moment beginning with the broadcast from Daytona International Speedway on Friday, Feb. 18 on SPEED Channel at 8 p.m. ET and continuing with each race.

In honor of "10 Years Tough," below is a sneak peek at the top 10 moments -- in chronological order. See if you can figure out what moment will be named the No. 1 Toughest Moment in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series history:

* July 15, 1995 -- Butch Miller edged eventual Series champion Mike Skinner at the finish line at Colorado National Speedway by .001 second -- the closest race in Series history.

* 1995 -- Mike Skinner, driving the No. 3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing, was crowned the 1995 champion of the NASCAR SuperTruck Series presented by Craftsman. In the Series inaugural season, Skinner scored eight wins and 10 poles. He won the championship by 126 points over Joe Ruttman.

* November 8, 1998 -- Jack Sprague vs. Ron Hornaday went down to the wire for the championship at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Sprague won the race, and Hornaday finished second. But it was Hornaday who claimed his second championship by just three points over Sprague. The two celebrated together -- with donuts in the grass and a high-five from the window of their race truck on the front stretch.

* October 30, 1999 -- Mike Bliss passed teammate Greg Biffle in the final race at California Speedway, and Biffle lost the championship by eight points -- despite winning nine races that year.

* February 18, 2000 -- The Series hit the big time with its first appearance at Daytona International Speedway. There was a dramatic wreck, 31 official lead changes among 12 different drivers and a close finish. Only two-tenths of a second separated race winner Mike Wallace (No. 2 Ultra Motorsports entry) from second-place Kurt Busch (a rookie).

* 2001 -- Jack Sprague, driving for Hendrick Motorsports, became the Series first ever three-time champion. He scored four wins, seven poles and 18 top-10s en route to his third championship (by 73 points over Ted Musgrave). Sprague also won championships in 1997 (by 232 points over Rich Bickle) and 1999 (by eight points over Greg Biffle).

* February 14, 2003 --SPEED Channel became the Series' first-ever dedicated network to carry all the races live, and the first broadcast was one of the most dramatic races.

All three manufacturers -- Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge -- crossed the finish line almost simultaneously, with Rick Crawford taking the checkered flag and ending a 120-race winless streak.

* November 14, 2003 -- Four drivers (Brendan Gaughan, Travis Kvapil, Ted Musgrave and Dennis Setzer) went into the season's final race with a chance to claim the championship. Front-runner Gaughan was wrecked halfway through the event, and Musgrave jumped the final restart too early. After several minutes delay at the race's end, Kvapil (with one win on the season) was crowned the Series' youngest champion.

* February 13, 2004 -- Toyota entered NASCAR's major leagues and the trucks raced under the lights at Daytona for the first time. The action was fast and furious as early on one of NASCAR's young stars narrowly avoided a wreck by speeding down pit road -- while still managing to keep up with the draft. Despite the wild ride, Carl Edwards still took the checkered flag in front of Travis Kvapil's Toyota. Edwards then wowed the crowd with his trademark victorious back-flip on the front stretch.

* July 17, 2004 -- When NASCAR announced that it would end the practice of multiple green-white-checkers and instead opt for one chance at a finish under green following the race at Gateway International Raceway; they had no idea the send-off the rule would get. It took 14 extra laps, a lot of bent sheet metal and hurt feelings, four attempts at the green-white-checker finish, and a bump and run on the final lap before David Starr was finally crowned winner in St. Louis.

Craftsman, the Official Tools of NASCAR, has sponsored the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series since it began in 1995. According to a 2004 EquiTrend survey, Craftsman is rated the No. 1 brand in the nation for overall quality. Over 1600 Craftsman hand tools are made in the USA and guaranteed forever. If any Craftsman hand tool ever fails to give complete satisfaction, return it for free repair or replacement. Sears offers Craftsman tools, merchandise and related services nationwide through its Full-line stores, Sears Hardware stores, Sears Dealer stores and Orchard Supply Hardware stores, as well as through specialty catalogs and online at www.sears.com and www.craftsman.com.

-craftsman-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Rich Bickle , Mike Skinner , David Starr , Greg Biffle , Mike Wallace , Kurt Busch , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Ted Musgrave , Jack Sprague , Dennis Setzer , Rick Crawford , Joe Ruttman , Brendan Gaughan , Mike Bliss , Carl Edwards , Butch Miller , Travis Kvapil
Teams Richard Childress Racing , Hendrick Motorsports