This Week in Ford Racing October 5, 1999 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Kevin Cywinski and the Brevak Racing team travel to the shortest track on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) circuit on Friday night for the shortest race on the ...
This Week in Ford Racing October 5, 1999
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
Kevin Cywinski and the Brevak Racing team travel to the shortest track on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) circuit on Friday night for the shortest race on the schedule, the Kroger 225. The Louisville Motor Speedway oval is only .438-mile long. So if large doses of bumping and grinding are what fans crave, then this is the race to watch. The Kroger 225 has never seen fewer than 56 laps of caution or 11 yellow flag periods. In four years, the caution flag has consumed 250 laps, or 28.6% of competition. In fact, the longest final stretch of green flag racing, 12 laps came last year. This year's Kroger 225 will be the first series event at Louisville Motor Speedway to feature "live" pit stops.
And while some drivers might cringe at the thought of running 225 laps/98.55 miles at such a challenging track, Cywinski is as optimistic as ever given his extensive short-track driving experience and overall positive results on the smaller oval tracks this season. Five of Cywinski's seven top-10 finishes this season have come at the series' short-tracks (1-mile or less) including a career-high third at Bristol.
Kevin Cywinski - 31 - Auto Trim Design/Milwaukee Electric Tools Ford F-150: SHORT TRACK RACING IN THE NCTS REQUIRES A "SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST" MENTALITY. HOW CONFIDENT ARE YOU GOING TO THE TOUGH LOUISVILLE OVAL? "Well, we've had a couple of weeks off now and have had a chance to regroup and go back to our short-track set up. It will be nice to go back to a short track and Louisville is a place where I've been to before in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. I hope that we can rebound from the past few races and have a good showing. I'm a little more confident going back to a short track. Our new crew chief, Les Back, has a lot more short track experience than speedway experience. So with us working together and the team working together, we can hopefully have a strong race."
TAKE US FOR A LAP AROUND LOUISVILLE MOTOR SPEEDWAY? "Going into (turns) 1 and 2 is really tight. But you'll drive into turn 1 and pinch it tight down into the curbing and then let the truck drift up. Then the track widens coming off of turn 2 going onto the back straightaway. There is actually another little corner right in the middle of the backstraight where you have to lift off the gas pedal just a little bit to get the truck set and then get right back on the gas. Then you bring the truck back down to the inside and then go off into (turn) 3. You kind of sweep into (turn) 3 and coming off of (turn) 4 it pinches tight so you have to get the truck 'whoa'd' down pretty well to pinch it off tight and come off the bottom of the track back on to the front straightaway to the start/finish. There are a couple of areas to pass. Like coming off (turn) 2, if you can get your truck to turn underneath someone there and get a good run underneath before you get to the little dogleg in the middle of the back straightaway, you'll be able to get by. It will be a typical short track race with a lot of bumping."
DOES THE CREW PUT EXTRA PADDING IN THE TRUCK TO CUSHION AGAINST ALL THE BUMPING? "Well, no, but we definitely don't figure on bringing the truck home with too many good body panels on it. We've talked when we get back home, we won't even be able to use that truck as a good backup anywhere!"
WHAT TRACKS ON THE CIRCUIT DOES LOUISVILLE COMPARE TO? "It's kind of a different configuration. Louisville has a D-shaped back straightaway so it's pretty tough to compare it to Evergreen or Bakersfield. It's somewhat like Evergreen because it is so flat, though."
THIS WILL BE THE FIRST NCTS RACE AT LOUISVILLE MOTOR SPEEDWAY TO USE "LIVE" PIT STOPS. "It's going to be very interesting to see how things work out in pit lane. I've not heard how NASCAR is going to set it up. We'll need to qualify well to hopefully get a good slot. If the Evergreen race was any indication, it will be really interesting. We had three lanes of pit boxes there (Evergreen) and it got to be pretty crazy at times. We'll have find out when we get there."
HOW IS IT TO WORK WITH NEW CREW CHIEF, LES BACK, WHO CAME ON BOARD AT IRP IN AUGUST? "Things have gone really well with Les. We started of well together because we both knew that we had some common experience at IRP. We realized that we would be behind the 8-ball so to speak because there have been some tracks that Les has not been to even when he was with Bryan (Reffner) at Phelon Motorsports. We're both still learning each other and getting to know what each other likes in certain situations. But we knew that would be part of the process that we had to go through. We're getting better every week and I look forward to the last three races of 1999."