Watkins Glen Dodge Preview

DODGE PREPARES FOR WATKINS GLEN Drivers Enjoy the Beauty and History Around This Second Straight Road Course in 1999 BULLY HILL VINEYARDS 150 Watkins Glen International Watkins Glen, N.Y. June 26, 1999 What Does It Mean to Race at the ...

DODGE PREPARES FOR WATKINS GLEN Drivers Enjoy the Beauty and History Around This Second Straight Road Course in 1999

BULLY HILL VINEYARDS 150 Watkins Glen International Watkins Glen, N.Y. June 26, 1999

What Does It Mean to Race at the Historic Watkins Glen International Raceway? When someone speaks about racetracks in the United States that are filled with history, there are several that immediately come to mind. Daytona, Indianapolis, Darlington and of course the road course in Watkins Glen, New York. Along with being known for the road course, many drivers are also quick to point out the beauty that surrounds the village of Watkins Glen.

More than fifty years ago on October 2, 1948, a law student who spent his summer vacations in the village, saw his dream of an international road race through the streets of Watkins Glen become a reality. Cameron Argentsinger had designed a race course that encompassed cement, asphalt and dirt roads through the village.

The permanent race track that will host the Bully Hill Vineyards 150 this weekend for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series was opened in 1956 and hosted its first professional race in 1958, a NASCAR Grand National Stock Car event won by Buck Baker. Over the last fifty years, some of the biggest names in motorsports have competed and won at the 2.3-mile road course. Andretti, Fittipaldi, Donohue, Martin, Wallace and Gordon are just a few of the names from racing series such as Formula One, CART and NASCAR Winston Cup achieved victory at The Glen.

The Dodge Ram teams would like to add their name to this historic list of drivers this weekend.

"This is one of those race tracks where there is a mystique about racing here," said Joe Ruttman, driver of the #18 Dana Dodge. "There is so much history at this track and it is a track where it would be an honor to say you have won an event. I also enjoy coming to the area around the race track. The people are so nice and the entire village gets behind the race and its drivers. I just enjoy everything about racing at Watkins Glen."

"Coming to Watkins Glen is probably one of the most enjoyable race tracks that we compete at," said Jimmy Hensley, driver of the #43 Dodge By Petty. "I think it is an honor for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series to run at a track that has as much history as this track. When you get to the track, you can't help but notice the unbelievable view from the top of the hill. It is just a tremendous facility and one of the nicest places in the nation to visit."

"I always look forward to the race at 'The Glen' because it is almost like getting a little vacation along with the race," said Dennis Setzer, driver of the #1 Mopar Dodge. "There are so many beautiful things to see in the area. I always go to see the water falls in Montour and I have walked through the Glen State Park a couple of times. That is one of the most beautiful things that I have seen. I am looking forward to the race and I hope that I will be able to have the honor of winning at such a historic race track."

"This track has a lot of history," said Stacy Compton, driver of the #86 RC Dodge. "We love racing here even though we have not had the best of luck here in the past. This year we are coming with a Dodge and even more road course experience. It would mean a lot to me to win at a track that is respected like Watkins Glen and the race fans are just incredible in this area. I hope that we can give them the type of show that they deserve."

The Oreo Man and the Mopar Team Following the race at the Bristol Motor Speedway two weeks ago, the Mopar team had finally resolved exactly what they needed to do in order to win a race. They were going to have to get rid of the "Oreo Man". The Oreo Man has been a part of every truck race as a passenger in the Mopar Dodge since the middle of last season. When the Oreo Man was added, the team's performance improved and they event picked up a win at the Bakersfield event last October. In 1999, their luck has just not been as good as they had hoped. There had been good finishes, but they had not gotten the win they had been working toward.

Following the race at Bristol, the Oreo Man was strapped to a hot exhaust and melted. And the sacrifice worked: Dennis Setzer and the Mopar team picked up their first win of 1999 the following weekend at the Texas Motor Speedway.

"The Oreo Man just had to take one for the team," said Setzer.

Gino Across America: Part Four

We have been following Kevin Ryan (Gino), transport driver for the #1 Mopar Dodge team during the nine week stretch of races in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

After a long drive to the Portland International Raceway, Gino got to enjoy the victory from the previous weekend with the rest of the Mopar race team. A victory party was thrown for the team on Thursday evening at a seafood restaurant on the Columbia River in Portland. On race day, Gino prepared his world famous cheeseburgers for the team and guests to enjoy while they watched the rain fall.

Following the race on Friday evening, Gino loaded the hauler before returning to his hotel to clean up and pick up the second driver who flew to Portland from Detroit the previous day. The Mopar teammates drove straight to Detroit with no stops, a 1900-mile trip that took nearly 40 hours.

Once the hauler returned to Detroit on Sunday, the team had two days to work on the road course truck from Portland and get it ready for Watkins Glen, since the haulers are scheduled to park in New York on Wednesday evening. Gino will wait until Wednesday morning to drive to New York as this drive will only take seven hours.

The three days at home will allow Gino to visit with his wife and drive his new black Dodge Ram dually that was delivered while he was on the road. The new Freightliner truck is scheduled to be delivered before the Watkins Glen event. Gino will be working hard to get the truck ready for the next trip.

Catch 'Em If You Can...

6/24 Eastview Mall in Victor, NY 6:30 - 7:30pm Drivers will sign autographs for the race fans

7/8 Hickory Hollow Mall in Nashville, Tenn. 7:00p - 8:00p at the center of the mall Drivers will sign autographs for the race fans. Show vehicles will be on display. Silent Auction will take place to benefit Gilda's Club.

RAM REVIEW Three Dodge Rams were in the top ten at the conclusion of the Grainger 225 at the Portland International Raceway. Dennis Setzer ran second for part of the race until a late-race caution flew causing the Mopar Dodge to make a final pit stop. Setzer was able to work his way back to the fourth position before spinning in the "festival turn" while racing for the third position. Setzer finished ninth at the end of the day. Joe Ruttman brought the Dana Dodge from the 31st starting position to a tenth place finish. Randy Tolsma scored his best finish of the season with a sixth place. Stacy Compton had some of the worst luck of the day when he cut down a tire going into the first turn and lost a lap limping around the entire race track in order to get back to pit road. Compton maintained second place in the points standings with his 17th place finish. Jimmy Hensley finished 23rd after overheating in the Dodge By Petty and pulling the truck behind the wall with only six laps remaining in the race.

RAMMIN' AHEAD...

6/26 Bully Hill Vineyards 150 Watkins Glen International Watkins Glen, NY TV: June 26 at 5 p.m. (ET) on ESPN

7/3 Die Hard 200 The Milwaukee Mile Milwaukee, Wis. TV: July 3 at 2:30 p.m. (ET) on CBS

7/10 Federated Auto Parts 250 Nashville Speedway USA Nashville, Tenn. TV: July 10 at 3:30 p.m. (ET) on CBS

DODGE RAM FAST STATS After Portland, the 11th of 25 NCTS events

Dennis Setzer, #1 Mopar Dodge 1 win, 5 top-five finishes, 8 top-10 finishes Started 5th in Portland, finished 9th $173,895 total winnings in 11 NCTS starts 5th in championship points Randy Tolsma, #25 Supergard Dodge 1 pole, 0 wins, 0 top-five finishes,4 top-10 finishes Started 12th in Portland, finished 6th $93,900 total winnings in 11 NCTS starts 13th in championship points

Jimmy Hensley, #43 Dodge By Petty 1 win, 4 top-five finishes, 6 top-10 finishes Started 18th in Portland, finished 23rd $122,220 total winnings in 11 NCTS starts 12th in championship points

Stacy Compton, #86 RC Dodge 2 poles, 0 wins, 8 top-fives, 9 top-10 finishes Started 3rd in Portland, finished 17th $163,955 total winnings in 11 NCTS starts 2nd in championship points

Joe Ruttman, #18 Dana Dodge 0 wins, 0 top-five finishes, 1 top-10 finishes Started 31st in Portland, finished 10th $36,275 total winnings in five NCTS starts 28th in championship points

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Stacy Compton , Dennis Setzer , Joe Ruttman , Randy Tolsma , Jimmy Hensley