July 2003 Truck Series News Archive


  • New Fords Unveiled: Fans at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis were treated to a “first” today as Ford Racing unveiled a freshened exterior Taurus and all-new F-150 pickup truck that will be competing next season in the NASCAR Nextel Cup and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, respectively. Cisco Codina, vice-president, Ford Customer Service Division, and Dan Davis, director, Ford Racing Technology, unveiled the vehicles today as part of the annual Ford Racing Fan Appreciation Day. Numerous Ford Racing drivers from the NASCAR Winston Cup, Busch Series, and Craftsman Truck series assisted in the presentation. This marks the second time that Taurus has received a styling and design change to its nose and tail sections since becoming the first four-door entry in NASCAR’s top division in 1998. The F-150 is also undergoing its second facelift, but it’s the truck’s first since 1996. The new styling on the race vehicles reflects the styling changes that will appear on the production 2004 Taurus and 2004 F-150 that will be on sale this fall. Although being shown for the first time today, the Taurus and F-150 race vehicles won’t make their competition debut until February 2004, at the start of Daytona Speedweeks.(Ford Racing PR)(7-31-2003)
  • #63 MB Motorsports get an assoc sponsor for IRP: The #63 Ford Truck is happy to welcome RACEceiver.com as an Associate Sponsor for the IRP race on August 1, 2003. RACEceiver.com’s SW-251 Microscanner enables the NASCAR enthusiast to listen to behind-the-scenes communications of their favorite teams. Due to it’s unbelievably small size and price combined with powerful performance, the RACEceiver is now the hottest radio in racing. The size of a standard pager, the RACEceiver clips easily to your cap or drops in a shirt pocket. The RACEceiver offers 251 preprogrammed channels, a sleek new design, completely re-engineered for even stronger reception, speed and horsepower. New features include our “hot jump” feature so you can jump from your favorite driver to the Race broadcast and back again, with a simple push of a button! The new “SW” series includes “wide band” technology for even better reception. David Stover will start his 5th NCTS race at IRP August 1st and.(PR)(7-31-2003)
  • German Driver To Make Truck Series Debut: Alex Mueller is poised to become the first German driver to compete in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.. Mueller, 24, from Rees, Germany will drive the No. 23 RECARO Chevrolet Silverado at Indianapolis Raceway Park. “Though this will be my first NASCAR event, I’ve followed it on Eurosport TV since I was 14,” said Mueller, who has tested with the Williams team in Formula One. “Jeff Gordon became my favorite driver to watch each week.. As my career expanded in Formula One cars, I still wanted to give NASCAR a try. I’m glad I’ve been given this opportunity to run in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.” Mueller will be sponsored by a host of his loyal sponsors, including RECARO, a world leading manufacturer of specialty automotive seats with its North American production facility in Auburn Hills, Mich.. RECARO was the production seat on the 1998 General Motors Lumina police vehicles and continues its success in sales and distribution programs with Freightliner, Peterbilt and Kenworth for drivers of medium and heavy-duty trucks.. RECARO currently holds 60 percent of the United States commercial bus market. Mueller’s other sponsors are Bruderer, Turboservice.net and Energie Jeans. Mueller (pronounced Mu-l-er) has been preparing for his debut, running at Hickory Motor Speedway and Caraway Speedway the last two months in their late model truck divisions.. Mueller’s racing background began at age eight when he raced go-karts in Germany.. He earned two karting championships in 1994 and competed in the International Formula 3000 Series in 1998 and 2002. “When I raced at Hickory, it was the first time I drove a race car with a roof over my head,” said Mueller, who passed his IRL IndyCar Series driver’s test at California Speedway in January.. “You can see better in the truck because you sit higher but I had to get used to not seeing my tires and knowing where they were compared to the wall.”(Team Racing PR)(7-31-2003)
  • Nashville Sponsor Extends: Federated Auto Parts, sponsor of the Aug. 8 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Nashville Superspeedway, has extended its sponsorship for three more years. The extension comes on the heels of a similar three-year renewal of Firestone’s sponsorship of its Indy Racing League event at the track.(Tennessean)(7-31-2003)
  • Brian Rose Facing Charges: A former Bowling Green [KY] NASCAR driver faces possible indictment on various drug charges. Brian Rose, 23, was arrested July 23 and charged with first-degree alcohol intoxication – second offense, possession of marijuana, first-degree prescription in improper container, second-degree possession of an illegal substance of an unspecified origin, and first-degree promoting contraband. Rose was lodged in the Warren County Regional Jail and later released on a $7,500 bond. The former racer was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR on April 28 for undisclosed reasons. Rose’s case was waived to the grand jury yesterday in Warren District Court. (Bowling Green (KY) Baily News)
    AND A grand jury will consider several drug charges against Brian Rose, a driver suspended in April from the NASCAR Craftsman Trucks series. Rose was arrested last week, posted a $7,500 bond and was released. NASCAR suspended Rose indefinitely, saying only that it was not because of on-track actions. He made two starts this season, finishing 14th in Darlington, S.C., and 24th in Martinsville, Va. Rose competed in 21 races in 2002 with five top-10 finishes.(ThatsRacin.com/AP), Rose drove for Bobby Hamilton Racing and other teams in 2002.(7-29-2003)
  • New driver to debut at IRP: Casey Kingsland is hoping to add his name to the growing list of drivers from Las Vegas who are finding success on NASCAR’s national stage. Kingsland, an 18-year-old Eldorado High graduate, will make his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut Friday night in the Power Stroke Diesel 200 at Indianapolis Raceway Park. Kingsland has a five-race deal to drive the No. 66 MLB Motorsports Dodge and he is attempting to parlay the audition into a full-time ride next season in the Truck Series.(Las Vegas Sun)(7-29-2003)
  • Dokken crashes, goes to hospital UPDATE 2 released: Michael Dokken crashed during practice for the NASCAR Truck series on Friday, and was taken to a hospital by helicopter. Dokken was awake and alert after hitting the wall in Turn 3, according to Michigan International Speedway officials. Dokken was cut out of the truck and transported by ambulance to the infield where a helicopter took him from the track. The extent of Dokken’s injuries was not immediately known, track spokesman Bill Janitz said. Dokken’s best finish this year was a 14th at Memphis last month. He raced just three times last season as a substitute driver, and his best career finish was a third at Evergreen in 1997.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(7-25-2003)
    UPDATE: Michael Dokken was in stable condition Saturday with a broken bone at the base of his skull, one day after crashing during a practice session in the NASCAR Truck series. Dokken broke his right occipital condyle, where the neck meets the skull, Michigan International Speedway said in a statement. No other information on Dokken’s injury was released. The 32-year-old from Thomasville, N.C., was awake and alert, and with his wife, Susan, the MIS statement said. Rick Ware took Dokken’s place in Saturday’s race for the MLB Motorsports Dodge team.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(7-26-2003)
    UPDATE 2: NASCAR says Craftsman Truck Series driver Michael Dokken, who was injured during Friday’s practice for Saturday’s race at Michigan International Speedway, has been discharged from the University of Michigan Medical Center. Dokken sustained a skull fracture when his truck struck the outside wall in turn three. NASCAR says Dokken faces a lengthy recovery.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-29-2003)
  • Gaughan wins at MIS: #62-Brendan Gaughan ran the fastest race in NASCAR Truck series history and continued his domination of the circuit by winning Saturday at Michigan International Speedway. Gaughan averaged 154.044mph in the Sears 200, his second consecutive victory and fourth in the last seven races. The speed easily eclipsed the previous record of 144.260 by Kurt Busch at California Speedway in 2000. The victory moved Gaughan to the top of the series standings halfway through the season. Gaughan and #16-Travis Kvapil have 2,000 points each, but Gaughan is leader on the strength of his four wins. Gaughan, who started sixth in a Dodge, took the lead for the final time on the 80th of 100 laps on the 2-mile track after a round of green-flag pit stops. He extended a nine-second advantage to a final margin of victory of 11.477 – nearly a quarter of a lap – over #1-Ted Musgrave, who also drove a Dodge. The margin of victory was third-largest in series history. Gaughan led 48 of 100 laps in a race slowed just once for six laps of caution. #18-Chad Chaffin finished third to match his best performance in the series. Polesitter #2-Jason Leffler was next as Dodges swept the first four positions. Rookie points leader #99-Carl Edwards was fifth in a Ford. #50-Jon Wood, #16-Kvapil, #46-Dennis Setzer, #29-Terry Cook and #4-Bobby Hamilton completed the top 10. There were 10 lead changes among eight drivers.(Thatsracin.com/AP)
    See race results at Thatsracin.com, Truckseries.com, MotorsportsOne or nascar.com.(7-26-2003)
  • Leffler breaks track record at MIS: #2-Jason Leffler won the pole for Saturday’s Sears 200 at Michigan International Speedway with a track record speed of 178.037mph. Jamie McMurray was the old record holder at 177.414. #18-Chad Chaffin will start 2nd, followed by #1-Ted Musgrave, #99-Carl Edwards and #8-Bill Lester. Points leader #16-Travis Kvapil will start 18th.
    For lineup/qualifying results, see: Thatsracin.com, Truckseries.com, or nascar.com.(7-25-2003)
  • DW and the Stooges at Martinsville UPDATE and more on the IRP deal: Darrell Waltrip will run the #17-Aaron’s Rent/”3 Stooges” Chevy Truck on October 18th at Martinsville Speedway. This program is a joint venture between Michael and Darrell due to sponsorship.(7-9-2003)
    UPDATE: The team will use the Tide group again for IRP. Tide along with Winston Cup #32 car owner Cal Wells feel like it’s important that they keep their crew involved. The team plans to take part in DW’s truck test at Hickory (N.C.) Speedway on Thursday to test for the race at IRP.(FoxSports)(7-22-2003)
    See the truck DW will run at IRP on my Truck Series Paint Scemes.(7-23-2003)
  • #29 K-Automotive’s 200th start at Michigan: While known as one of the top teams in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series since the inception of the division in 1995, K-Automotive has had a long and rich history that has produced a winning tradition for more than 40 years. This weekend the Sears 200 at Michigan International Raceway marks K-Automotive’s 200th NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race as the Lake Orion (MI) team fields the #29 Power Stroke Diesel Ford with driver Terry Cook. The Detroit area based team came to life in the 1960s at Michigan short tracks and in the ARCA division.  In 1970, Ron Keselowski steered the family run team to the NASCAR Grand National Division (now known as Winston Cup). With brother Bob calling the shots as the team’s crew chief, Ron’s best finish was fourth at Michigan International Speedway. The team also entered select United States Auto Club stock car events winning at the Pocono (PA) International Speedway in 1974. In 1975, Bob and Ron reversed roles with Bob taking over the driving duties and Ron stepping in as the crew chief and engine builder. Their greatest success came in the NASCAR Grand American Series for late model stock cars winning over 30 races. The K-Automotive team headed to the ARCA Bondo Mar-Hyde Series in 1986 winning the division championship in 1989 and finishing in the Top-10 in the standings from 1986 through 1994. With the inception of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, K-Automotive shifted gears to become a full-time NASCAR entry and has experienced more than its share of success. Bob Keselowski scored the team’s first Truck Series victory at Richmond (VA) International Raceway in 1997 and as a whole, K-Automotive has posted ten victories, 36 Top-5s and 98 Top-10s in 199 NCTS events.  K-Automotive has overcome many challenges over the years to become a top team since the inception of the NCTS in 1995. Their biggest challenge this weekend is getting a top finish in the Sears 200 at the two-mile Michigan International Speedway nestled in the Big 3 state. “We are excited to go to Michigan because it’s a home track for K-Automotive and I grew up only 45 minutes from there,” said Cook who joined the K-Automotive team at the end of the 2001 NCTS season at California Speedway. “Michigan will be a special race for K-Automotive because it’s their 200th NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race. Also, it’s special because our Power Stroke Diesel Ford team is based there, our major associate sponsor EMP Oil Mate is located in Michigan, Ford’s headquarters are there and the race is sponsored by our series sponsor Sears.(Motorsports Management Group PR)(7-22-2003)
  • Gaughan wins at Gateway; Kvapil keeps points lead: #62-Brendan Gaughan held off #2-Jason Leffler by a truck length Saturday night in the Dodge Ram Tough 200 NASCAR Truck series race at Gateway International Raceway. Gaughan, who pushed his Dodge to the front for the final time on the 50th of 160 laps, led the rest of the 200-mile race for his third victory of the season. Leffler, also driving a Dodge, closed the gap to 0.222 seconds at the checkered flag but his final challenge – in Turn 3 of the 1.25-mile speedway – fell short. #16-Travis Kvapil finished third in his Chevrolet to preserve a 34-point championship lead over Gaughan after 12 of 25 races. Gaughan averaged 99.489 mph in becoming the sixth different winner at Gateway International Raceway. The speed was the slowest in the history of the race as five caution periods consumed 27 laps. #99-Carl Edwards finished fourth, followed by #14-Rick Crawford. #75-David Starr [in his return], #1-Ted Musgrave, #46-Dennis Setzer, #29-Terry Cook and #88-Matt Crafton completed the top 10. Gaughan and Musgrave were the only race leaders, swapping the lead three times between laps 48 and 50 before handling trouble dropped Musgrave out of contention for a third victory of the year. Pole starter Kvapil failed to lead a lap after being passed by Musgrave one the initial lap.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)
    For race results see Thatsracin.com, Truckseries.com, MotorsportsOne or NASCAR.com.(7-20-2003)
  • Qualifying was rained out and cancelled at Gateway International Raceway for the Ram Tough 200. #16-Travis Kvapil starts 1st with #1-Ted Musgrave next to him on the front row as the field was set by the rules book/owners points. 36 trucks were at the track, all made the race [full field is 36]
    Starting Lineups can be found at ThatsRacin.com, Truckseries.com and NASCAR.com.(7-18-2003)
  • Football in the Pits: Two St. Louis Rams defensive players, tackle Brian Young and end Jeremy Staat, will serve as honorary pit crew members on Saturday. Young will help service the #18 Dickies Dodge of Chad Chaffin, while Staat will be in the pit of #14-Rick Crawford.(NASCAR PR)(7-17-2003)
  • TV Ratings: The July 5th O’Reilly 250 at Kansas Speedway was the second highest-rated motorsports program on cable television (behind the NASCAR Busch Series Winn-Dixie 250 from Daytona International Speedway) for the weekend of July 4-6, according to Nielsen Media Research. The race rated fifth among all cable sports programming for the weekend.(NASCAR PR)(7-17-2003)
  • Did ya know? #21-Morgan Shepherd extended his record at Kentucky Speedway as the oldest driver to lead a series race. Shepherd, 61 years eight months of age, can become its oldest starter (surpassing A.J. Foyt) by participating in any event beginning Aug. 20 at Bristol Motor Speedway.(NASCAR PR)(7-17-2003)
  • Skinner back to the trucks? Mike Skinner will likely be driving for Michael Waltrip’s new Truck team, according to team sources.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-23-2003)
    UPDATE: The future, Skinner said, is still up in the air: ‘If I get in cars that aren’t part of big-name teams, without big-name sponsors, and I can help a smaller team make a race or two, that’s not going to hurt me. But if I get in a DEI car or a Richard Childress car or a Robert Yates car, and do bad, that will hurt me. I don’t think what I’m doing now is going to hurt me a bit. ‘I’m keeping my face around, and if something happens, I’m around to talk to.’ One of Skinner’s options is to return to the truck series. Michael Waltrip has been considering fielding a truck team next season, and Skinner could drive it. ‘Michael and I are good friends, and he said ‘If we were to get the right sponsor, you’d be the first guy I’d call,’ Skinner said. ‘But we haven’t got the sponsorship yet. So that’s where that’s at.'(Winston Salem Journal)(7-17-2003)
  • #14 to carry Craftsman colors at Michigan: As part of a special one-race arrangement, Rick Crawford and the #14 Circle Bar Racing Team will carry the Craftsman colors for the Sears 200 at Michigan International Speedway on July 26. The #14 Ford truck will feature the famous red and black colors of America’s No. 1 tool brand. Two Craftsman wrenches cross on the hood and Craftsman saw blades are featured around the wheels. The paint scheme is similar to that of the Craftsman NHRA Funny Car driven by Dale Creasy, Jr. “All of us at Circle Bar Racing are honored to be carrying the Craftsman logo and colors on our truck in Michigan,” said Crawford, who currently sits sixth in points. “Without Craftsman, a lot of us wouldn’t be here racing today. I’m proud to be representing Craftsman during the Sears 200, and I hope we can take the sponsor of our Series to Victory Lane.”
    “We thought it fitting to highlight our sponsorship of the Sears 200 at Michigan International Speedway by developing a special paint scheme for one of the most noteworthy teams in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series,” said Touré Claiborne, Sears motorsports marketing manager. Craftsman has had a long-standing relationship with Rick Crawford, and we are pleased that he will be piloting the #14 Craftsman truck during the Sears 200,” Claiborne added.(Craftsman Motorsports PR)(7-17-2003)
  • Gibbs to run a Truck team in 2004? with Toyota? hearing that J.D. Gibbs (son of Joe) run a Toyota Factory backed truck team in the Truck Series in 2004.(7-10-2003)
    UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing has no plans to reenter the truck series in the foreseeable future.(Team Sources)(7-16-2003)
  • Lester to be featured on Honey Nut Cheerios boxes: For most of his life, Bill Lester, driver of the #8 Dodge Dealers Dodge Ram in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, has generally been more interested in what is inside boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios. But now, his picture will appear on the outside of the popular breakfast cereal package. Honey Nut Cheerios, a long-time NASCAR auto racing sponsor, today unveiled new packaging that will feature Lester, the first African-American NASCAR driver and first driver from the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series to appear on his own cereal package. The special-edition 14-ounce Honey Nut Cheerios packages will hit grocery store shelves, primarily in the southeastern United States, in the next two weeks. “This is a thrill for me,” said Lester, one of the top names in the popular national series, which has 25 races during the NASCAR season. “I ate Honey Nut Cheerios cereal as a kid and I still eat it today. To think that my picture will be on the box is a pretty awesome thought.” Honey Nut Cheerios and Lester had announced an endorsement partnership in March. “Bill Lester’s popularity among fans of all ages is very evident. All you need to do is watch the fan reaction in the grandstands,” said Laurie Greeno, vice president of Motorsports for General Mills. “Coupled with the long-time popularity of Honey Nut Cheerios, we feel this is a tremendous opportunity for all of us.” Lester, who was born in Washington, D.C., received a degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of California at Berkley, and became an award-winning Research and Development Project Manager at Hewlett-Packard. He made a nearly lifelong dream come true when he was selected to drive Dodge’s Diversity Program truck for Bobby Hamilton Racing at the end of the 2001 season. He ran his first full season in NASCAR’s Craftsman Truck Series last year, finishing 17th in the final points standings. Through the first 11 races of this season, Lester is 13th in the standings and well within range of the top 10. He posted a 10th place finish at the O’Reilly 250 at the Kansas Speedway on July 5, making him the first African-American driver to place in the top 10 in a national NASCAR tour race since in 1971.
    Lester, the only African-American driver in any of NASCAR’s premier national touring series, has been instrumental in helping promote diversity throughout the motor sports industry. Partnering with Honey Nut Cheerios will extend the reach of his pioneering efforts into the homes of millions of Americans and continue to bring the sport to new fans. According to recent independent polls, NASCAR’s fan base continues to grow more diverse. For example, African-American fans have increased 18 percent¾approximately 2 million people¾since 1995.(Williams Company PR)(7-16-2003)
  • Testing at Atlanta: Ford Racing will conduct a one-day test session on Monday, July 21, at Atlanta Motor Speedway with NASCAR Craftsman Truck drivers #14-Rick Crawford and #99-Carl Edwards. Although Atlanta Motor Speedway is not a stop on the Craftsman Truck circuit, it is a popular testing spot for truck teams, as it does not count against their yearly total mandated by NASCAR. But the extra knowledge teams gain from practicing on the high-banked 1.54-mile quad-oval – similar to series stops at Texas and Lowe’s Motor Speedway – is invaluable. Ford officials said Monday’s test will be specifically to test air flow for the cooling system of the truck. The test is closed to the public.(Atlanta Motor Speedway PR)(7-16-2003)
  • Toyota Submits Truck to NASCAR: Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. and Toyota Racing Development (TRD) U.S.A. submitted the official Tundra race truck to NASCAR officials Tuesday for competition in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. The manufacturer announced its intentions to race in the Craftsman Truck Series at the Chicago Auto Show in February; a Toyota Tundra prototype race truck was unveiled at Daytona International Speedway during race weekend. The Tundra’s official submission is a landmark achievement in Toyota’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series program in preparation for its debut at Daytona in 2004.(FoxSports)(7-16-2003)
  • Andretti to Toyota? Trucks? The latest on Toyota: John Andretti may get the call to Truck duty next season for the Japanese giant.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-15-2003)
  • Parts Confiscated from the #99 UPDATE team penalized and fined, loses points; response: NASCAR has confiscated the cylinder heads from the engine of the #99 Roush Racing Ford that Carl Edwards drove to victory in Saturday night’s Built Ford Tough 225 Craftsman Truck Series race at Kentucky Speedway. Truck Series Director Wayne Auton said the heads were taken to NASCAR’s Research and Development Center and said a penalty notice was expected by Tuesday. Auton would not speculate on the severity of the potential penalties for Edwards, a rookie who won for the first time, or the team.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-14-2003)
    UPDATE: NASCAR officials announced today that Doug Richert, crew chief of the #99 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series team, has been fined $25,000 due to a rule infraction discovered last week at Kentucky Speedway, following the Built Ford Tough 225. In addition, NASCAR has penalized the team’s driver, Carl Edwards, 100 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship driver points and team owner, Jack Roush, 100 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship owner points. During the event’s post-race inspection process, the engine of the #99 Ford was found to have unapproved cylinder heads, a violation of Section 12-4-Q of the 2003 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series rulebook (parts and/or equipment used that do not conform to NASCAR rules) and Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing).(NASCAR PR)
    AND Roush Racing officials issued the following statement in response to the penalty handed down by NASCAR today against the No. 99 Roush Racing Ford F-150. “We had a quality control breakdown when our Mooresville, N.C., engine department decided to use a non-conforming part to build a back-up engine with the hope and expectation that it would not be needed at the race. We were wrong and we accept the penalty.”(Roush Racing)(7-15-2003)
  • Starr back at Gateway: It’s been four long weeks for David Starr. Since his injury back in mid-June, Starr has been watching the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races from the top of the pit box, not his ideal vantage point. Instead of making laps on the track, he was pacing laps in a 2′ x 2′ square area on pit road and watching every move Hank Parker, Jr. made in the Spears Motorsports Chevrolet. Although it was Parker’s first experience in a race truck, he was able to turn in two top-10 finishes and keep the team from losing ground the owner’s points battle. Starr knows he can’t get those four races back but he believes the Spears Motorsports team can still have a successful season. “I’m going to be like a kid in a candy store when I get back in that racetruck. It’s been like waiting for Christmas morning to open presents. I know I only missed four races but those were probably the four toughest weeks I’ve had in my racing career. I can’t explain how difficult it was sitting on pit road watching someone else race the Spears truck. I appreciate what Hank Parker, Jr. was able to do for our team while I was out. He’s a great driver and he worked extremely well with our team. He got some good, solid finishes and kept us in the owner’s point contention. However, I’m ready to get back in the seat and see if we can’t pick up where we left off. I took a few laps around Texas Motor Speedway in one of my uncle’s school cars and I felt great. I got fitted for a new Hans device, my doctor gave me the okay and I’m ready to go. I know we won’t be a contender in the points battle but we can still win a few races and move the Spears Motorsports team up in the owner’s points. I know Clancy, our hauler driver, likes to park near the front and I want to make sure we get closer every week.”. Starr On Racing At Gateway International Raceway: “I’m excited that my first race back will be at St. Louis because we had a good run there last year but I made a couple of mistakes in the pits. I thought we could have won the race. It’s a fun racetrack to race at and it’s very challenging. It’ll be my first race back and I hope it’ll be a top-five for the Spears Motorsports team. I just can’t wait to get back in the truck!”(Spears Motorsports PR)(7-15-2003)
  • Roush Racing to announce Truck Series plans July 15th UPDATE 3 will be at Gateway AND staying in the series: Roush Racing will announce its plans for current NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers #50-Jon Wood and #99-Carl Edwards on Tuesday, July 15. Roush Racing has been a part of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series since the series’ inception in 1995. “The truck series has been a great place for us to develop sponsors and drivers,” said Roush Racing president, Geoff Smith. “But we have to be mindful that the changing economic dynamic of the series is making it very difficult for us to justify continuing. We are the last of the “major” teams fielding trucks, which illustrates the difficulty that championship driven teams have making the business model work. And, the series is in the middle of a turbulent sponsorship environment created mainly by the increased spending levels brought into the series by Dodge and which we expect to be matched or exceeded by Toyota. Our priority will be to preserve and develop the talent we have with Jon Wood and Carl Edwards, and our decision will be based on whether our economic model to develop these outstanding drivers can be better realized in the Craftsmen Truck or Busch Series.” For sponsorship inquiries, contact John Miller, Roush Racing, (704) 720-4600.(Roush Racing PR)(7-9-2003)
    UPDATE: many sites are reporting that this may be an announcement of Roush leaving the Truck Series and moving the teams to Busch.(7-10-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Some published reports say that Roush Racing may announce next Tuesday that they are leaving the Craftsman Truck Series due to poor economic dynamics they see in the series. But Jack Roush told Krista Voda at Chicago that his trucks driven Jon Wood and Carl Edwards, who have won the last two series races, will be at St. Louis for the July 19 race. Roush has fielded at least one truck since 1995. Wood and Edwards are both currently in the top 10 in points and are competing without primary sponsors.(FoxSports Totally NASCAR)(7-14-2003)
    UPDATE 3 – staying in the series: Roush Racing announced today that it will continue to field Jon Wood and Carl Edwards in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series for the remainder of 2003. “We have two winners in Jon and Carl, a program with momentum and confidence, and a very real chance to win another championship. With the additional attention that the series is attracting through its excellent broadcast coverage, and the increased fan attendance that has been augmented by tying into more Winston Cup events, we think that the best way to highlight the talents of Jon and Carl, and capture the interest of corporate America and the NASCAR fan base is to keep them in the Craftsman Truck Series for the remainder of the year. Besides, the racer in all of us at Roush Racing cannot turn its back on the very real possibility that one of our guys could emerge the winner in this very tight championship race,” says Geoff Smith, Roush Racing president.
    “We particularly thank Senator Bob Graham for stepping up to extend his sponsorship of the Jon Wood truck for the remainder of the year. His participation made a significant impact on our decision to continue,” said Smith. “We will continue our search for additional sponsorship for the remainder of the year.”
    “This is great news for everyone on the team,” says Edwards. “We just won our first race last weekend in Kentucky and I couldn’t imagine having to stop now. This is the opportunity of a lifetime for me and I’m glad we can go on to St. Louis this weekend and only have to worry about winning.”
    “With this decision behind us, now we can keep the team focused on winning and set out sights on the championship,” said Wood. “We’ve had an incredible season so far with two poles and my first win in the last month. We’ve got so much momentum going right now. I can’t wait to see how this season plays out. My hat’s off to everyone at Roush for keeping our team together.”
    “Both of these young men are extremely talented. Our organization believes that their career development, and the development of the sponsors that are needed to support them, can be equally achieved through participation in the Craftsman Truck or Busch series. We have proved that with Kurt Busch and Greg Biffle. Accordingly, as we look to 2004 we will race them in the environment where the combination of manufacturer’s and sponsor support makes the best business sense for Roush Racing,” said Jack Roush.(Roush Racing PR)(7-14-2003)
  • Edwards wins at Kentucky: #99-Carl Edwards raced to his first NASCAR Truck series victory Saturday night, beating #1-Ted Musgrave by 3.568 seconds in the Built Ford Tough 225 at Kentucky Speedway. Edwards, a 23-year-old rookie from Columbia, Mo., finished second last week at Kansas Speedway, behind Roush Racing teammate #50-Jon Wood. Wood, who started on the pole in Kentucky, finished fourth, behind Edwards, Musgrave and #46-Dennis Setzer. Edwards qualified fifth Friday night using a backup engine. His original engine broke during Friday afternoon’s practice session. Because his engine was changed, his Ford as relegated to the back of the field and started 30th in the 36-truck field. #62-Brendan Gaughin led with 39 laps left, but his Dodge blew an engine, giving Edwards the opening he needed. #4-Bobby Hamilton started second and led briefly at the start, but struggled most of the way and finished 18th. #2-Jason Leffler rounded out the top five. Points leader, #16-Travis Kvapil finished 6th and maintains the points lead. #15-Mike Skinner finished 13th on the lead lap in his CTS return.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)
    For race results see ThatsRacin.com, Truckseries.com, MotorsportsOne or NASCAR.com.(7-13-2003)
  • Wood is on the pole at Kentucky: #50-Jon Wood, coming off his first NASCAR Truck series win last week, earned his second career pole Friday night for the Built Ford Tough 225 with a qualifying record for the series of 169.641mph at Kentucky Speedway. Bryan Reffner had held the record after a 168.46-mph lap in June 2000. #4-Bobby Hamilton will start on the outside of the front row after a lap of 169.513mph. #18-Chad Chaffin qualified third with a lap of 168.734, followed by #2-Jason Leffler at 168.219 and #99-Carl Edwards at 167.926. #99-Carl Edwards had trouble during Friday afternoon’s practice session, forcing him to go to his backup engine and delaying his qualifying run until the final minutes of the session. Because of the change, Edwards will start at the back of the 36-truck field Saturday. That’s the same scenario Wood faced in Kansas. #15-Mike Skinner qualified 10th. Series points leader Travis Kvapil was 14th in qualifying, with a lap at 165.899.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)
    Qualifying results/lineup at ThatsRacin.com, Truckseries.com or NASCAR.com.(7-11-2003)
  • Starr Getting Better UPDATE: #75 Truck Series racer David Starr hopes to be back in the #75 Spears Manufacturing Chevy in time for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Kentucky Speedway on July 12. Starr suffered a fractured left hand and foot, along with a broken clavicle, in a testing accident at Milwaukee two weeks ago. Hank Parker Jr. is subbing for Starr in the truck until Starr returns. “I’m already able to use my hand, and my foot feels good,” Starr said. “The only thing keeping me out of the truck is my collarbone. But I’m going to Milwaukee this weekend to support the team.”(Dallas Morning News)(6-26-2003)
    UPDATE: Irving’s David Starr plans to return to his driving duties in the No. 75 Spears Manufacturing Chevy for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at St. Louis on July 19. Starr suffered fractures in his left hand, foot and his collarbone in a crash during a test session at Milwaukee last month.(Dallas Morning News – need to register to view)(7-10-2003)
  • Wood second youngest to win on series: #50-Jon Wood’s win at the O’Reilly Auto Parts 250 in Kansas ranks Wood as the second youngest (at 21 years, eight months) to win a Truck Series race. Ricky Hendrick was 21 years three months when he won at Kansas Speedway in July 2001. There have been seven different winners in 10 races thus far in 2003.(NASCAR PR)(7-9-2003)
  • 1st top 10 for Lester: #8-Bill Lester finished 10th in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 250 to post his first top 10 in his 38th series start. The last African-American competitor to finish among the top 10 in a NASCAR national touring event was Wendell Scott, who placed seventh in a NASCAR Grand National (now Winston Cup) Series race at Malta, NY, July 14, 1971.(NASCAR PR)(7-9-2003)
  • Harvick close to sponsor UPDATE: Kevin Harvick said his truck team is close to signing a sponsor to run in all the events next season.(Roanoke Times)
    UPDATE: “When I started it I just wanted to go out and have fun,” Harvick said. “I wanted to race something that I owned and put together. And now it’s evolved in what looks like a full schedule next year with another driver and I’m going to have to watch it go around. My ultimate goal was to have a truck team and make mistakes as an owner — well, I guess you could say while I could afford to make mistakes as an owner — and not have to do it at a Busch or Winston Cup level. Hopefully we can get all the sponsorship stuff done in the next month and start hiring people and really start paying attention to who we want to put in the truck,” Harvick said. “I want a young, marketable, aggressive driver somewhere between (the age of) 18 and 24. We want somebody we can use at RCR and maybe put in a Busch program or Cup program down the road. Hopefully, it’ll be somebody who has had experience in the Truck Series.”(NASCAR.com)(7-9-2003)
  • TV Ratings: According to Nielsen Media Research, the average cable ratings for the first nine races of the 2003 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series schedule are 17% higher than 2002. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series has the highest average rating of NASCAR programming on SPEED Channel. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series also ranks third in motorsports cable ratings “ behind only the NASCAR Winston Cup and NASCAR Busch Series “ earning a higher average than IRL, CART, and Formula One.(NASCAR PR)(7-9-2003)
  • Skinner back in a Truck: Former NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Mike Skinner makes his return to the truck series this weekend as the driver of the #15 VOKAL Clothing Racing team. Team owner Billy Ballew named Skinner as the replacement for Rich Bickle starting with Saturday’s Built Ford Tough 225 at Kentucky Speedway. Skinner will drive for Billy Ballew Motorsports in the next two events to help the team examine all the competitive elements of its operation. “Billy has asked me to come in and help evaluate his team for the next two events and I am available to help him do that at this time,” Skinner said. “We plan to take a look at all the aspects of his operation and help the organization move forward. We will evaluate everything from the chassis to the engines to the team and even the driver. I am willing to do anything within my power to help Billy and crew chief Gary Showalter achieve their goals.” The VOKAL Racing team currently sits 15th in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series owner’s points standings. Ballew feels like he has to examine every feasible alternative in order to provide the best possible competitive combination for his sponsor and his team. “We cannot sit here and spin our wheels,” Ballew said. “I have the utmost respect for Rich Bickle as a person and as a driver. I am sure that all the problems we have experienced lately are not necessarily Rich’s fault but I had to address the concerns we had. I looked at all the options we had available to help us get back on track competitively, and when you have the opportunity to bring in a former champion to help you then I think you have to capitalize on that opportunity. Mike Skinner is a talented driver with great instincts with these truck chassis. He will be a tremendous asset to our team and he will help us get where we need to be from a competitive standpoint.” Skinner’s record in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is stellar. He has 16 wins, 15 poles, 32 top five finishes, 41 top ten finishes in only 50 starts. He captured the 1995 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship while driving for Richard Childress Racing. He has earned $1,082,780 in the series, and his last start in the truck series was at California Speedway in 1998 where finished in the 5th position. “I love the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series,” Skinner said. “I still have a lot of friends in that garage area and I look forward to seeing them this weekend. Right now our plans are to run the next two races for Billy Ballew Motorsports in the VOKAL Clothing truck and if we get a chance to run a few more, then that would be great too.” The Built Ford Tough 225 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event at Kentucky Speedway is slated for Saturday July 12th at 8:00 pm ET. The race will be broadcast live nationally on the Speed Channel and MRN Radio.(Billy Ballew Motorsports PR)(7-8-2003)
  • #50 gets sponsor for Kansas. and beyond? UPDATE 2 race deal: The presidential campaign of U.S. Senator Bob Graham announced that it has signed with Roush Racing to sponsor a truck in the Truck Series beginning July 5th at the O’Reilly Auto Parts 250 in Kansas City, KS. The move breaks new ground as no Presidential candidate has ever sponsored a NASCAR vehicle. Jon Wood, from the legendary Wood Brothers racing family out of Virginia, will drive the “Graham for President” #50 Ford truck. Wood is currently seventh in the point standings in the Truck Series and has had four straight top-10 finishes. The “Graham for President” truck will take the white body, red roof and gold numbers of the original Wood Brothers’ #21 car. The “Graham for President” truck will carry Jon Wood’s number “50” which Wood said, “I think the number 50 is a great number for Senator Graham – we have NASCAR fans in all 50 states and Bob Graham is running to represent all 50 states as President. I just want to thank Senator Graham and his campaign for appreciating the culture of racing and for helping me personally by sponsoring our truck.”(Roush Racing PR)(7-5-2003)
    UPDATE: during an XM Radio interview, Wood said the deal is for Kansas [which he won] and this weeks race at Kentucky Speedway.(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio – Subscription Required)(7-8-2003)
  • Chevy Engine Approved: General Motors will have a new 358 c.i. engine in its NASCAR Trucks next season. The new GM engine has been under development for four years, and Doug Duchardt, GM’s new boss, said that the new engine should have come as no surprise to anyone in the Winston Cup garage, though it certainly did. GM had generally lost interest in the Truck series the last few years, so GM’s newfound interest, coming along with NASCAR’s surprising decision to OK a brand new engine, indicates that the two are not unrelated, and it raises questions about how much added marketing GM will provide for NASCAR.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-5-2003)
  • Jon Wood wins at Kansas: #50-Jon Wood won the O’Reilly Auto Parts 250 at Kansas Speedway, his first ever win the the Truck Series [after 49 starts] and a win for his new sponsor, presidential candidate of U.S. Senator Bob Graham. His teammate, #99-Carl Edwards, unsponsored, finished 2nd. The win is the 29th for Roush Racing. The rest of the top five were, #46-Dennis Setzer, #16-Travis Kvapil and #59-Robert Pressly — and how about #03-Eric Jones, a 6th.
    See race results at ThatsRacin.com, Truckseries.com or NASCAR.com (7-5-2003)
  • Chaffin wins pole at Kansas: #18-Chad Chaffin won his first NASCAR Truck series pole Friday setting a new track record, with Bobby Hamilton Racing teammate #8-Bill Lester also starting Saturday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 250 on the front row at Kansas Speedway. Chaffin’s Dodge turned in a fast lap of 166.323mph on the 1 1/2-mile tri-oval. #4-Bobby Hamilton will 4th on the inside of the third row, behind #50-Jon Wood who was 3rd and #1-Ted Musgrave who will start 5th, giving his team three of the top five spots. Wood will have to drop to the back of the pack for Saturday’s race because he changed engines between practice sessions.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)
    See lineup/qualifying results at ThatsRacin.com, Truckseries.com or NASCAR.com.(7-4-2003)
  • Speaking of Starr. . an update: David Starr admits his original intention of returning to the Truck Series for this weekend’s race at Kansas Speedway was overly optimistic. “You’re always optimistic, but then reality sets in,” said Starr, who suffered a broken right collarbone and fractures in his left hand and foot in a crash during a test at The Milwaukee Mile on June 11. Starr will sit out his third consecutive race Saturday, and also figures to miss the ensuing event at Kentucky Speedway on July 12. Starr plans to return to the #75 Spears Manufacturing Chevy at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Ill., on July 19. Starr said his injured hand is regaining strength, and he is wearing a protective boot on his foot. Starr also has been outfitted with a brace that wraps around his shoulders to help his collarbone heal as straight as possible. “I’ve been taking calcium pills, and I’ve about drank the store across the street out of chocolate milk,” said Starr, 35. “The whole process of trying to get bones to mend has been tough. But I’m doing the right thing.”(Fort Worth Star Telegram)(7-3-2003)
  • #200 For Spears: The O’Reilly 250 at Kansas Speedway will mark the 200th NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race for Spears Motorsports. In the nine-year history of the series, the team has missed only two races. The Mooresville-based team is owned by Wayne and Connie Spears and is sponsored by Spears Manufacturing. Their history began in California and includes a Winston West Championship with Kevin Harvick. Throughout the course of the team’s NCTS history, they seen drivers such as Bill Sedgwick, Bobby Gill, Nathan Buttke, Dan Press, Kevin Harvick, Lonnie Rush, Marty Houston and. Billy Bigley Jr. take the seat of the #75 Chevy Silverado. However, the team celebrated their most successful season in 2002 with driver, David Starr. Starr brought the team their first win, 16 top-10 finishes, eight top-five finishes and a fifth place finish in the points. Hank Parker, Jr. is the tenth driver [due to Starr’s injuy] to take the wheel of the #75 Spears Manufacturing Chevrolet.(Spears PR)(7-3-2003)


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Born On Date: July 15, 2003

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