December 2001 CTS Archive

  • #1 Crew Chief: hearing that Gene Nead will be the new crew chief of the #1 Mopar Dodge driven by Ted Musgrave(12-26-2001)
  • Team Rensi crew chief and to Fords? hearing the #61 Team Rensi team will switch to Fords in 2002 (as they are in the BGN series) and hire Gary Showalter as the crew chief for driver Randy Tolsma(12-26-2001)
  • #14 Assoc: For the second consecutive year, Circle Bar Racing is pleased to announce that Lennox Industries has signed on to be an associate sponsor of the #14 Ford during the 2002 NCTS season. Lennox proudly supports racing and is also an associate sponsor of the #2 Ford Taurus driven by Rusty Wallace on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. “Circle Bar Racing is excited about having Lennox as a sponsor. Brian O’Connor, John Cowart and the entire staff at Lennox have been a pleasure to work with,” stated driver Rick Crawford(Circle Bar PR)(12-26-2001)
  • New Team to Debut: Tommy Pistone (not Tom Pistone) plans to make his CTS debut in April at Martinsville in the #59 Dodge to be owned and crew chiefed by his grandfather Tiger Tom Pistone. Pistone plans to run a limited schedule unless a sponsor can be found to allow him to run the rest of the 2002 schedule(12-26-2001)
  • Smith tests:Eighteen-year-old Regan Smith recently completed a test in a CTS Truck at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in South Carolina. For Smith, the test marked his first time behind the wheel of a NASCAR truck. “I was very pleased with the test last Friday at Greenville-Pickens,” Smith said. “We were able to run a lot of laps and I gained a lot of seat time with the radial tires. It was also helpful to have veteran NASCAR Winston Cup crew chief Richard Broome with us for the test. With his knowledge and expertise, he was able to add a lot to our test.” Broome also considered the test a success. “I was really impressed to see Regan’s ability to communicate effectively back to the crew what he was feeling on the racetrack with the truck,” Broome said. “He was able to tell the differences that we made to the truck. He’s definitely an up and coming driver to keep your eyes on.” For Smith, he hopes the test marks the first of many times behind the wheel of a NASCAR truck. “We are still working on our plans for next year, but we know for sure that we are going to run at least five NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races,” Smith added. “If everything comes together, we have the opportunity to run the entire truck schedule.”(Regan Smith PR)(12-26-2001)
  • Mansion Motorsports back in the CTS: Mansion Motorsports [#85 Dodge in Cup with Carl Long] will bring back their CTS program to run a limited amount of races in 2002. They will be running Dodge Rams, with driver Carl Long. Mansion Motorsports is currently working on trucks for the 2002 season. Their first race for 2002 has yet to be determined but it won’t be at Daytona(Mansion Motorsports Site)(12-16-2001)


  • 2002 CTS Schedule Announced: NASCAR announced a 23-race schedule for the 2002 CTS season. For the first time in its eight-year history, the series will begin and end in the state of Florida and in combination with NASCAR’s other two national touring series – the NASCAR Winston Cup Series and the NASCAR Busch Series. The season begins with the third running of the Daytona 250, Feb. 15 at Daytona International Speedway. The season finale is set for Nov. 15 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Three other facilities will host NASCAR national touring series weekend tripleheaders kicked off by a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event: Dover Downs International Speedway on May 31, Richmond International Raceway on Sept. 5 and Phoenix International Raceway on Nov. 8. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series also will be paired with the NASCAR Winston Cup Series at Darlington Raceway on March 15 and at New Hampshire International Speedway on July 20. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will join the NASCAR Busch Series at The Milwaukee Mile on June 29 and Indianapolis Raceway Park on Aug. 2. One track, Texas Motor Speedway, will host two races in 2002, on June 7 and Sept. 13. Michigan International Speedway, host to events in 1999 and 2000, returns to the schedule with a July 27 race. See my 2002 CTS Schedule page for the full schedule(12-21-2001)
  • Sprague to IROC: three time CTS Champ Jack Sprague has been named to the True Value International Race of Champions (IROC) lineup for 2002. First race is at Daytona in February. The event will mark the first time a CTS driver has ever competed in the IROC ranks. Sprague will run the #24 NetZero Chevy in the 2002 BGN series(Motorsports Management Group PR)(12-21-2001)
  • New #46 Crew Chief? UPDATE: hearing the John Monsam recently took over as crew chief of the #46 Morgan-Dollar Chevy for Dennis Seltzer and will be joined by Ray Kilgore as shop foreman. Monsam was the crew chief for #90-Lance Norick in 2001(12-19-2001)
    UPDATE: John Monsam has been hired as crew chief for Morgan-Dollar Motorsports’ #46 Chevrolet in the Craftsman Truck Series.(
  • Busch Banned? UPDATE – Minimum Age Requirement: Kyle Busch’s dream of competing for a national NASCAR championship next year might be put on hold for two years. The 16-year-old Durango High junior is under contract to drive full time in 2002 for Roush Racing in the CTS, but sources close to NASCAR said the sanctioning body will announce a policy this week that will not allow anyone younger than 18 to participate in any of its national or regional series as a driver or crew member. NASCAR hasn’t permitted anyone under 18 to participate in its premier Winston Cup or its regional Winston West stock-car series since at least 1998 because of its sponsorship by a tobacco company. Kyle Busch, who competed in six truck events last year for Roush, could not be reached for comment. It is believed that Roush will continue to pay him to keep him in its fold. Kyle Busch had the fastest truck in practice at California Speedway in Fontana for the series finale. But track officials would not let him try to qualify his truck Nov. 2, the day before the race, because the weekend event was partially sponsored by Marlboro.(Las Vegas Review Journal)and another column at the Las Vegas Sun: Rule could put Busch’s truck career on hold(12-11-2001)
    UPDATE – Minimum Age Requirement: Effective for the 2002 season, NASCAR has implemented a minimum age requirement for all drivers, crew members and other participants in its top three series – Winston Cup, Grand National and Trucks – as well as its Touring series. NASCAR hasn’t permitted anyone under 18 to participate in Winston Cup or the Winston West stock-car series since 1998, in part because of the series’ sponsorship by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. At least one driver will lose his chance at participating in one of NASCAR’s top series next season as a result of the new rule. Kyle Busch, 16-year-old brother of Winston Cup driver Kurt Busch, was scheduled to run a full season for Roush Racing in NASCAR’s Truck series, but will not be allowed to compete. Roush officials said Thursday he would remain under contract, however.(That’s Racin’) AND Busch, a high school student from Las Vegas, scored one top-10 effort. However, with the new ruling in place beginning with next year, it looks like Busch will be driving Late Model. With Busch sidelined for at least two years, that opens up the seat for someone else. The team has said that they will fulfill all contractual obligations to Busch. No driver has been named to the #99 CTS seat.(
  • Hendrick AND Sprague to the BGN? UPDATE: during the opening of the CTS race at Phoenix, ESPN mentioned that Hendrick CTS drivers, Jack Sprague and Ricky Hendrick, will both up to the BGN series, no more details(10-26-2001)
    UPDATE: Sprague and Hendrick were to officially unveil their 2002 paint schemes Dec. 14 at the Hendrick Museum in Charlotte, but the press conference was called off because all of the major sponsors could not be there. The same companies that sponsored the two teams in the truck series will do so again next year in the Busch Series. NetZero will remain with Sprague’s #24 Chevrolet, while GMAC Financial Services will back Hendrick’s #5 Chevrolet. Carquest will be an associate sponsor for Hendrick in six races. For Sprague, it’s the fifth time he will venture into the Busch Series. He’s started 75 Busch races over four full seasons and nine years. His best season came in 1993 when he finished 19th in points. He finished a career-best second in 1992 at New River Valley (Va.) Speedway. Hendrick has started 16 races over the last three seasons in the Busch Series. While finishing sixth in truck points, he ran just three Busch events this year. Crew chief Dennis Connor and Sprague now take their championship-winning ways to the next level with the entire #24 team intact. Hendrick and crew chief Lance McGrew will do likewise with Hendrick’s team.(Winston Cup Scene – need sub to read)(12-13-2001)
  • Schedule out soon? UPDATE: when NASCAR releases its 2002 CTS schedule next week, Las Vegas Motor Speedway again will host a mid-October race. LVMS has hosted the NCTS five times in the past six years. In addition to Las Vegas returning to the Truck Series schedule, the Sun has learned that California Speedway will host two truck races in 2002. The Truck Series will run in conjunction with both the IRL and CART race weekends at the 2-mile oval in Fontana.(Las Vegas Sun)(12-9-2001)
    UPDATE: sources tell me that the CTS schedule will have 21 races, No Bristol race, only one race at Fontana (in Nov), no Bakersfield (TV conflict supposedly), no Nazareth. Trucks will be back at Vegas. Season opens at Daytona and the trucks dont race until April at Martinsville with Cup(12-12-2001)
  • Atlanta Testing UPDATE Day 1: Some Chevrolet truck drivers will be testing Tuesday and Wednesday [Dec 11th and 12th] at Atlanta Motor Speedway. #60-Travis Kvapil, #46-Dennis Setzer, #75-David Starr, #?-Mike Bliss, #20-Coy Gibbs and #90-Lance Norick are all expected to take part in the two-day test.(Atlanta Motor Speedway PR)(12-10-2001)
    UPDATE: David Starr set the fast lap of the day and then crashed his Truck in a test with six other Chevy truck drivers Tuesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Starr turned his quickest lap of 168.716mph early in the afternoon, then ended his day around 4:15pm after slamming into the turn 2 wall. Starr was not injured in the crash, which was caused by a blown tire. The CTS does not race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, but teams often test at the 1.54-mile high-banked track because the sessions do not count against their yearly total. The speeds for Day 1 were:
    #75-David Starr, 176.504
    #60-Travis Kvapil, 174.669
    #16-Mike Bliss, 174.559
    #90-Lance Norick, 173.857
    #20-Coy Gibbs, 168.819
    #08-Bobby Dotter, 168.716
    #28-Ken Allen, 163.059(Atlanta Motor Speedway PR)(12-11-2001)
  • New CTS Team? UPDATE 2: hearing there will be a new Truck team, the #49 Chevy truck owned by longtime racer, Doug Thompson, and the Covenant Race Team from Chapman, KS with driver Trent Owen and sponsor is Dickies. This team will race in a limited number of events for year 2001 and plans it’s marketing debut the first part of April at Dickies corporate headquarters just down the road from the Texas Motor Speedway(3-1-2001)
    UPDATE: Trent Owens, the nephew of NASCAR legend Richard Petty, was designated lead driver for the new Dickies Racing team (a partnership between Williamson-Dickie Mfg. Co. of Ft. Worth and Kansas City’s Covenant Racing team) for the CTS during the 2001 season, the truck will be #49 and run at least in the two Texas races and at Gateway, Kansas City and Phoenix(see full story and an image at Catchfence)(4-2-2001)
    UPDATE: The Williamson-Dickie Manufacturing Co., maker of the popular Dickies Workwear clothing brand, announced today it has entered into a NASCAR marketing association with Countryman Motorsports for the 2002 CTS season. The venture brings together two CTS owners – Preston Countryman and Billy Ballew – who each ran select event schedules during the 2001 NCTS season. By joining forces, Countryman Motorsports combines resources to run the entire 2002 schedule, and operates out of Ballew’s existing shop in Mooresville, NC. The team has named Trent Owens as the driver of the #15 Dickies Ford, and will attempt to capture the Raybestos NCTS Rookie of the Year Award. Owens ran three NCTS races for Countryman and three for Ballew in 2001.(Motorsports Management Group PR)(12-11-2001)
  • Pressley to the BGN/CTS? UPDATE to the #18 CTS: It appears Robert Pressley will wind up either in the CTS or the BGN, one option may be as the full-time driver for Michael Waltrip’s #99 BGN cars.(Savannah Morning News), but am hearing Pressley will end up in the #18 Dodge truck(12-8-2001)
    UPDATE: Robert Pressley will replace Joe Ruttman in Bobby Hamilton Racing’s #18 Dodge truck, it was announced Monday. Pressley, released from his Winston Cup ride at the end of the season, will be taking over the truck Ruttman drove to two victories, 20 top-10 finishes and third in Craftsman Truck points in 2001. Pressley joins new teammates Brian Rose and Bill Lester and crew chief Danny Gill as BHR revamps with a three-truck effort in 2002. Pressley’s team is currently without a sponsor — after DANA Corporation declined to renew its agreement for 2002 — but the team is in negotiations and hopes to announce one in the next few weeks.(
  • Dokken back? hearing Michael Dokken will run the full 2002 CTS schedule driving the #5 Dodge Ram for Rick Ware Racing switching from Chevy. Supposedly, Ken Glen will be the crew chief(12-8-2001)
  • Roush Needs Sponsors: Roush Racing announced that their #50 and #99 Ford CTS teams are seeking primary sponsorships for the 2002 CTS seaon. Eldon Organizers, the primary sponsors for both of the Roush trucks during the 2001 season, will become an associate sponsor for the #97 Sharpie/Rubbermaid Ford Taurus of Kurt Busch in Winston Cup. Eldon became the primary sponsor for the two Roush trucks in May 2001. Jon Wood, driver of the #50 Eldon Ford finished the 2001 season 17th in driver’s points (1917), generated two top-five finishes, four top-10 finishes, and 12 top-20 finishes in just 15 starts for Roush Racing. In just six starts, Kyle Busch, driver of the #99 Eldon Ford, amassed two top-ten finishes and three top-five starts.(Roush Racing)(12-8-2001)
  • Carelli to drive in the 24 hours:CTS driver Rick Carelli is going to drive in the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona in one of two Corvettes fielded by Flis Motorsports of Ormond Beach, FL and bringing Re/Max sponsorship along(Daytona Beach News Journal)(12-7-2001)
  • Leffler to the CTS? Reports have Jason Leffler (current driver of the #01 Cingular Dodge and rumored to be out of that ride for Jimmy Spencer) taking over the #2 Dodge Truck in the CTS next year. The #2 CTS team is owned by Jim Smith [who also owns the #7 Ford — to be Dodge in 2002] and he is losing Scott Riggs to the #10 BGN Ford of ppc Racing( Buzz)(10-22-2001)
    UPDATE: Ultra Motorsports [#7 Cup, #1 and #2 in the CTS] owner Jim Smith may be ready to introduce Jason Leffler as the driver of his #2 Dodge in 2002. Leffler, a rookie with Chip Ganassi Racing this season, is losing his ride in favor of veteran Jimmy Spencer and has been told he can search for another team. Smith said the deal is virtually done, but won’t be announced until the contracts are signed.(Winston Cup Scene – need sub to read)(11-1-2001)
    UPDATE 2: Jason Leffler has been named by Ultra Motorsports to pilot the #2 Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge Ram in their quest for the 2002 CTS championship. The association will be a homecoming for Leffler, reuniting the Long Beach, CA driver with ASE (National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence) and long-time friend and Ultra Motorsports owner Jim Smith. As the primary sponsor on the No. 2 Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge Ram, the non-profit organization has been able to highlight its efforts to provide the highest quality professional technician certification and assessment services at all levels of vehicle maintenance and repair. In addition to ASE’s racing involvement, the organization is active in numerous civic, charitable, educational and humanitarian activities. The seven-year NCTS association between ASE and Ultra Motorsports has produced 15 wins and 19 pole positions. Mike Bliss, Mike Wallace and Scott Riggs have all notched victories flying the Team ASE banner.(Motorsports Management Group PR)(12-6-2001)
  • New Driver for the #18? Bobby Hamilton Racing may fill their third seat with either Robert Pressley or Frank Kimmel. Joe Ruttman supposedly will not return in 2002. During a recent test session at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Kimmel bettered everyone else by six-tenths of a second. Ron Hornaday is also a candidate(11-30-2001)
    UPDATE: Bobby Hamilton Racing is currently in negotiations with several sponsors for the #18 Dodge Ram team and is also in the process of signing a former Winston Cup driver for next year.(RoseRacing Site)(12-4-2001)
  • Crawford to run the Snowball Derby UPDATE: CTS driver, Rick Crawford, will be returning to the Gulf Coast for the running of the 34th annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida. The Snowball Derby is one of the oldest established short track races that is still in existence today. The race started in 1968 has run at the speedway every year since. Crawford, now a veteran of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, won the Snowball Derby in 1989. Many great NASCAR Winston Cup drivers have run laps at the half-mile, high-banked oval at Five Flags Speedway. Donnie Allison and Darrell Waltrip have entered and won the race at least one time each. Rick Crawford will be driving a Ford Taurus fielded by Richie Wauters. Wauters is no stranger to the Snowball Derby. He has fielded cars in the past for drivers such as Jeff Purvis and Scott Hansen. Wauters has also worked as crew chief in the CTS. This will be Crawford’s fourteenth appearance in the famed race. The #5 Taurus will be sponsored in part by Bay City Tool Company of Mobile, Alabama and by Milwaukee Electric Tool. Bay City was an associate sponsor of Rick’s truck team at the inaugural race at Daytona in 2000. Milwaukee Electric Tool, a major producer and seller of high-quality power tools, has sponsored Crawford’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series team for the past two years. The team will comprise of crewmembers from Rick’s Truck Series team, Circle Bar Racing, as well as members from Richie Wauters Racing. Rick Crawford’s crew chief from the NCTS, Ray Stonkus, will be with the team as a consultant. Crawford has tested the #5 Ford Taurus at a track in Georgia in preparation for the Derby and was pleased with the results.(Circle Bar PR)(11-30-2001)
    UPDATE: Rick Crawford and the #5 Ford Taurus had a tough weekend at Five Flags Speedway. In the Snowball and Snowflake races Crawford was unable to finish due to mechanical failure or damage due to a wreck. Crawford qualified second for the 34th annual Snowball Derby. He drove the #5 Ford around the track at a blistering speed, but came up a few one hundredths of a second from taking the pole position for the race. “Starting the race on the front row is nice, but I wanted the pole,” stated Crawford. After battling the competion, avoiding wrecks and just flat out driving the wheels off of the #5 Ford Taurus, Crawford’s day ended on lap 230 when the motor seized up. Crawford had worked his way up to eighth position and was sitting in the catbirds seat, saving his tires and his car for the end of the race. In Saturday night’s Snowflake race, Crawford had the same “tough luck,” as he was knocked out of the race on lap 44 with a broken bracket near the rear axel. Once again, Crawford drove one of the fastest cars on the track. The accident happened when Crawford was driving into turn one and a car on the outside pinched him into the inside wall. One bright note of the weekend’s events, the Milwaukee Heavy Duty Pit Crew won the pit crew challenge. Led by “Gator” Morris, the team smoked the competition by a full two seconds. During four tire pit stops in the Snowball Derby, the team sent Crawford out either maintaining or gaining positions.(Circle Bar PR)
    Winner: Wayne Anderson’s previous two Snowball Derby races were good-bad. On Sunday, it was bad-good. Anderson came from a lap down to lead the final 35 laps at the 34th annual race before nearly 10,000 fans at Five Flags Speedway. “It’s just a big win for me,” said the Wildwood driver who won the NASCAR All Pro Series title this season. “A lot of big names have won it.” He earned $20,000 in his first Snowball Derby win. The previous six races had been won by repeat winners.(more at (12-4-2001)
  • Another Hamilton driver – Brian Rose UPDATE: Brian Rose signed with Bobby Hamilton to drive in the CTS for the 2002 season. Rose ran 15 races in the 2001 season(Middle Tennessee Racing News), no word on sponsor or what will happen with current driver Joe Ruttman. Bill Lester will drive another truck for Hamilton, replacing Willie T. Ribbs(11-7-2001)
    UPDATE: Beginning in 2002, Bobby Hamilton Racing (BHR) will expand to become the first full-time, three-team operation [actually Impact Motorsports ran 3 teams in 2000 -#’s 12,25 and 86] in the CTS. Brian Rose, who began his CTS career last season at Memphis Motorsports Park, will compete in his first full schedule on the tour in the #4 SunClear Energy Dodge Ram for BHR. Rose’s #4 Team will operate out of the same 46,000 square foot race shop in Mount Juliet, Tennessee where BHR’s other two teams are based. Rose’s new team will have the services of last year’s third place finishing crew chief, Danny Rollins, in the CTS points standings. Rollins worked with veteran, Joe Ruttman, last season(RoseRacing Site)(12-4-2001)
  • Gill and Morgan-Dollar part ways: The Morgan-Dollar Motorsports race team announced that Danny Gill and the team have decided to part ways and he has been relieved of his duties as crew chief of the #46 CTS team. The move was made effective immediately to allow the team to pursue other qualified candidates to move forward in preparing for the 2002 race season. Currently, the team is concentrating on various off-season test dates and will bring in several technical advisors to complete the testing. No replacement for Gill has been named at this time. Following the decision on Friday, the team has begun to interview candidates for the position.(Morgan-Dollar Motorsports PR)(12-4-2001)

Born On Date: Dec 26, 2001

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