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March 2007 Truck Series News Archive


 

  • Winners of a race in Cup, Busch and Truck Series races: see my Misc Stats page for this and many others.

  • Skinner wins Wix Filters Lap Leader Award: Mike Skinner [#5] led twice for 246 laps to earn WIX Filters Lap Leader of the Race honors in the Kroger 250. Skinner took the honor for the third consecutive race. Skinner has led 13 times in four races this season for a total of 365 laps. Skinner won today’s race at Martinsville Speedway, crossing the finish line .527 seconds ahead of second-place Todd Bodine. The victory was the 22nd of Skinner’s 133-race Craftsman Truck Series career. He scored the 11th victory in the series for Bill Davis Racing. Skinner won the pole position for today’s race, his 34th pole in the series and second consecutive of the 2007 season. (WIX Filters PR)(3-31-2007)
  • Raybestos Rookie Notes following Martinsville: Aaron Fike[#1] was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the Kroger 250. Fike finished seventh in today’s race at Martinsville, his first top-10 and best finish in four Craftsman Truck Series races. His previous best finish was a 12th-place effort this season at Atlanta. Fike took Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the second time in four races this season. [Unofficially] Fike leads Joey Clanton [#09] by 10 points (45-35) in the Raybestos Rookie standings. Tyler Walker [#36] finished eighth, his first top-10 in seven career Craftsman Truck Series races. Walker’s best previous finish was 21st at Las Vegas in 2003. Blake Bjorklund[#8] finished 19th, his best finish in four Craftsman Truck Series starts.(Raybestos PR)(3-31-2007)
  • Sutton has four race deal with Billy Ballew Motorsports: UPDATE: Announced by BBM Ray Dunlap reported during the Martinsville practice session broadcast on Speed/TV that Kelly Sutton has a four-race deal to drive the #51 truck for Billy Ballew Motorsports beginning with the race at Kansas Speedway in April. Sutton will also race at Mansfield, Texas and Milwaukee. The sponsor will be Copaxone.(3-31-2007)
    UPDATE: Billy Ballew Motorsports has formally announced a four-race deal that will put Kelly Sutton behind the wheel of the #51 Team Copaxone Chevy beginning at the Kansas Speedway Craftsman Truck Series event, the O’Reilly Auto Parts 250 April 28, 2007. Team Copaxone is the primary sponsor of the #51 truck and an associate sponsor for the #15 Craftsman truck driven by Bill Lester.(Billy Ballew Motorsports PR)(3-31-2007)
  • Hernandez could drive truck this season: Ginn Racing development driver Jesus Hernandez will likely run three Craftsman Truck Series races this year. The Drive For Diversity driver, who will compete full time this season in the Busch East circuit, said Friday that his three races in the #47 Morgan-Dollar Motorsports truck likely will be Memphis (June 30), Las Vegas (Sept. 22) and Atlanta (Oct. 27). Hernandez is sharing time in the truck with another Ginn development driver, Kraig Kinser.(scenedaily.com)(3-31-2007)
  • McCray to run Lucas Oil ASA Super Late Model race: UPDATE: 10th place finish: Toni McCray, former publicist for Erin Crocker at Evernham Motorsports, will be behind the wheel of a new Victory Circle ASA Super Late Model on Saturday, March 31st at Orange Show Speedway in San Bernardino, CA. [McCray is the daughter of OSS 1970’s regular Rick McCray.] While living in North Carolina Toni learned every aspect of the racing business, and fifteen years later, will make her debut appearance in the #08 Lucas Oil sponsored ASA Super Late Model race car. This will be Toni’s very first race in the Super Late Model division.(Racing West)(3-28-2007)
    UPDATE: Toni McCray of Highland made her debut in the class and finished 10th.(Orange Show Speedway)(3-31-2007)
  • Sears Craftsman brand drives relationship in store: Sears and its Craftsman brand are making sure its customers are aware its sponsorship of the Craftsman Truck Series by installing racing-themed signs in tool departments at 861 Full-line Sears stores nationwide. The sign package features scenes of Craftsman Truck Series racing and pit stops, and includes cash register station wraps, threshold signs at entrances, hanging banners and tool box toppers. The sign package is just one part of a major activation program connected with Craftsman’s NASCAR association. In addition, Craftsman reaches out to race fans at-track with an 8,000-square-foot mobile interactive marketing display that features simulators, games involving skills and tools needed for pit stops, information on new and innovative Craftsman tools and a cutaway version of a Craftsman Truck Series race truck. These efforts complement an extensive advertising campaign and NASCAR references in Craftsman catalogs and Craftsman Club mailers.(Craftsman PR)(3-29-2007)
  • Rick Allen & Phil Parsons in the booth for Fox broadcast: UPDATE: Fox to broadcast first-ever Truck Series race: During a Sirius Radio interview with driver, Brendan Gaughan [#77], Gaughan mentioned that Speed/TV’s Rick Allen and Phil Parsons will be in the booth for the Fox TV broadcast from Martinsville Speedway on Saturday, March 31st beginning at 3:00 pm/et.(3-23-2007)
    UPDATE: Craftsman Truck Series action races on to FOX this Saturday, March 31 live from Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Virginia. Saturday’s race marks the first of two NCTS events to air on FOX this season, while the remainder of the series is televised by FOX Sports’ cable brother SPEED/TV. Coverage gets underway at 3:00 pm/et from FOX’s renowned “Hollywood Hotel” traveling studio, and is hosted by the network’s Chris Myers and Jeff Hammond. From there, coverage shifts to the broadcast booth where SPEED’s race announcer Rick Allen and analyst Phil Parsons handle race coverage alongside FOX’s Darrell Waltrip. Covering the action from pit road are SPEED’s reporters Adam Alexander and Ray Dunlap. They are joined by former colleague Krista Voda, who covered Truck Series pit road action on SPEED/TV last season before joining FOX’s Nextel Cup broadcast team this season.(Fox Sports PR)(3-29-2007)
  • Culver’s Restaurants & Kreyer team up for two races: UPDATE: Layout image added: Key Motorsports has announced the signing of a 2-race Craftsman Truck Series partnership with the popular Culver’s Restaurant chain and Midwestern super late model stock driver Frank Kreyer. The 34-year-old Kreyer will enter two NCTS races in the Key Motorsports #44 Culver’s Restaurants Chevy; a task mandated by NASCAR to help gain Kreyer’s certification on all levels of race tracks. Kreyer will run his two NCTS events at short track venues beginning next weekend at Martinsville VA and then in Mansfield, OH on May 26th. Kreyer along with sponsor Culver’s plan on running four additional Busch Series races with Mac Hill Motorsports.(Key Motorsports PR)(3-22-2007)
    UPDATE:See layout and image of the #44 at the 2007 Paint Scheme Gallery.(3-29-2007)
  • All-American Driver Riethmeyer to attempt Martinsville: The Kroger 250 could be the shot that All-American Driver, Bradley Riethmeyer, has been waiting all his life for. This Saturday at Martinsville Speedway, Riethmeyer will be qualifying for the Craftsman Truck Series racing behind the wheel of the #49 All-American Driver Challenge Dodge. The All-American Driver Challenge is a driver search and competition that is geared toward fostering the best up-and-coming talent, ages 15-23, for a future career in a professional American racing series.(All American Driver Challenge PR)(3-28-2007)
  • Truck ride doesn’t work out for Day: UPDATE: Formosa gets Operation Big Chance ride: Mark Day had to choose between a one-shot ride in the Craftsman Truck Series and loyalty to his long-time Late Model team that helped him capture the Music City Motorplex championship last season. Day stuck by his team. By winning last year’s championship Day also won a ride with Kevin Harvick Racing in a competition called Operation Big Chance. Motorplex president Joe Mattioli and Dollar General put the deal together to give local drivers a chance at an upper-level NASCAR ride. The hitch came when Day got a call last week telling him he needed to practice Harvick’s truck prior to the scheduled race Saturday at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. “They called at the last minute and said a practice was scheduled on Thursday but I already had something scheduled that day,” said Day, 45, who works for Scoggins Enterprises, a racecar parts dealership. “They said if I didn’t practice I couldn’t race. I understand that; it’s just that I couldn’t do it right then.” Day was offered a backup date – June 30 at Memphis – but there was also a hitch. “We have a race at the Motorplex that night,” Day said. “In order to race at Memphis I’d have to miss the local race and I can’t do that to my team. Those guys have been with me too long and worked too hard for me to walk out on them.” Mattioli is trying to work out perhaps another truck race not conflicting with Day’s schedule. If that can’t be done, another Motorplex driver may take Day’s place. Willie Allen [#13], who was runner-up to Day last season, would be first in line for the truck opportunity, but Allen already has a ride of his own. Next in line is Nicholas Formosa.(Tennessean)(3-28-2007)
    UPDATE: Twenty-one year old Nicholas Formosa, the 2006 Music City Motorplex Super Truck Champion, will be given the opportunity to enter and qualify for the May 26th Craftsman Truck event at Mansfield, Ohio, officials of the Music City Motorplex have announced. Kevin Harvick, Inc. will field the truck, with Dollar General providing title sponsorship. Mark Day, by virtue of points, earned at the Motorplex in 2006, Mark Day was scheduled to drive the truck at this weekend’s event in Martinsville, Virginia, however scheduling conflicts for that event and other potential events have moved Formosa into the ride. The 250 Lap Craftsman Truck event at Mansfield is scheduled for 1:00 pm on Saturday, May 26th, providing he possibility for Formosa to compete there and be back that evening for NASCAR Whelen All American racing at the Motorplex, as he shoots for his 2nd Super Truck Championship at the Fairgrounds.(Music City Motorplex PR)(3-28-2007)
  • Sad News: Doc MacDonald: “Doc” MacDonald, father of Randy and Teri MacDonald, passed away Monday evening. Doc was a long time NASCAR owner, fielding cars in the CTS and Busch Series’. Funeral services will be held Thursday, March 29 at 6:30 pm at Cumby Funeral home in High Point, NC.(3-28-2007)
  • Gaughan to sport Hoya pride on final four weekend: Although Brendan Gaughan [former Georgetown guard (1994-1997] can’t be at the basketball game in person on Saturday, he’ll be sporting his Hoya pride on his #77 South Point Chevy. Gaughan will carry decals featuring the Georgetown ‘G’ on the deck lid of his Silverado and the school’s mascot, Jack the Bulldog on the truck’s B-post.(South Point Racing PR)(3-28-2007)
  • Six drivers attempt series debut: There are 43 trucks entered for this Saturday’s Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway. Six drivers will attempt to make their series debut in the race: Tim Cowen [#42-Cowen Truck Line Ford], Frank Kreyer [#44-Culver’s Restaurant Chevy], Bradley Riethmeyer [#49-All-American Driver Challenge Dodge], Kerry Roseman [#53-Blankenbaker Motorsports Dodge] , Jimmy Simpson [#64-Prime Development Group Chevy] and Chris Jones [#87-Chevy] are entered in the 250-lap race on the 0.526-mile short track. Brian Sockwell [#53-Reary Racing Dodge] and Shane Seig [#28-Kissin Kuzzins Construction Chevy] will be attempting to make their season debut.(3-27-2007)
  • Seig returns to Series at Martinsville: Driver Shane Seig, who has 23 previous starts in the Truck Series, has been entered as the driver for Jim Rosenblum’s #28-FDNY Racing Chevy at Martinsville. Kissin Kuzzins Construction will be the sponsor.(FDNY Racing)(3-27-2007)
  • Germain Racing to run some Busch races: UPDATE 3: Germain Racing to run Cup by 2009: “We were going to run a few races with the new Car of Tomorrow, but in retrospect we felt we maybe ought to back down on that a little bit and run some Busch races instead,” [Ted] Musgrave said. “I think that’s where we’re leaning, try to get the Toyota flag flying there, but one thing’s for sure, we’re going to try to go for the championship in the Truck Series again.” [Tddd] Bodine will drive the Busch car, according to Germain, who explained that it was Toyota who came to his team and asked if they would hold off on the Car of Tomorrow and run a partial Busch schedule.(Naples Daily News)(2-12-2007)
    UPDATE: During “The Driver’s Seat” broadcast on Sirius Radio, Todd Bodine said that he and the Germain Racing Team would be running up to twelve races in the Busch Series this season. They are also looking at running Indianapolis in the Cup Series.(3-6-2007)
    UPDATE 2: Interviewed on Sirius Radio’s The Morning Drive, Todd Bodine said his Germain Racing team will test at Richmond this week. They currently plan on running about 12 Busch races this season, starting at Richmond. The team also still plans 3-4 Cup races, possibly starting at the Brickyard.(3-27-2007)
    UPDATE 3: Germain Racing plans to field two fulltime Nextel Cup teams for Toyota by 2009. Todd Bodine took the first step in that process on Tuesday, testing a Busch Series car at Richmond. Germain Racing will enter Bodine in the May 4 Richmond Busch race in a Camry being built at its new Mooresville, N.C., shop. (ESPN.com)(3-27-2007)
  • Kvapil to make 100th career start at Martinsville: Travis Kvapil, driving the Roush Fenway Racing #6-K&N Filters Ford, will reach a career milestone when the green flag drops at Martinsville Speedway this Saturday, as it will mark his 100th start in the Craftsman Truck Series. In his 99 Craftsman Truck Series starts, Kvapil has recorded one pole, five wins, 41 top-five and 65 top-10 finishes and earned $2,430,295.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(3-27-2007)
  • Menard entered with Billy Ballew: UPDATE: Joint venture with DEI: The entry list for Martinsville shows Paul Menard entered in the #51 Chevy; a second entry for Billy Ballew Motorsports along with series regular Bill Lester in the #15 Chevy. No sponsorship has been announced.(3-27-2007)
    UPDATE: Billy Ballew Motorsports has announced a joint venture with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. for the Craftsman Truck Series Kroger 250 at the Martinsville Speedway. The #51 Menards Chevy will be piloted by Nextel Cup and Busch Series driver, Paul Menard. Menard’s will serve as the primary sponsor with Moen Faucets and Pittsburgh Paints serving as primary associate sponsors on the #51 Chevy.(Billy Ballew Motorsports PR)(3-27-2007)
  • Sterling Trucks to sponsor JC Stout: The #91 Craftsman Truck Series camp of Stellar-Quest Racing, has announced a sponsorship deal with Sterling Truck Corporation for the 2007 season. Driver, 23 year old JC Stout, confirmed the relationship today. The #91 race truck will feature the Sterling Truck Corp. logo starting with the May 18th race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, NC. That race will mark the beginning of Stout’s fifth consecutive part time season in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Sterling Truck Corporation headquartered in Redford, Michigan, produces and markets a full line of Class 3-8 work trucks for regional hauling and diverse vocational applications.(JC Stout PR)(3-27-2007)
  • Harvick pulling double-duty at Martinsville: Kevin Harvick will pull double-duty for the sixth time this season. Harvick will compete in the Truck Series Kroger 250 on Saturday and the Nextel Cup Series event on Sunday at Martinsville Speedway . This weekend marks his second race of the season in the #2 Camping World Chevy.(Kevin Harvick Inc. PR)(3-27-2007)
  • Cale Gale to make Busch Series debut with KHI at Nashville: Cale Gale will drive the #33 Camping World Chevy in the Pepsi 300 at Nashville Superspeedway.(KHI PR)(3-26-2007)
  • Cook to run Big Car Series Race: The second season of the Premier Racing Association’s Big Car Series will kick-off Saturday night April 7th with a return visit to South Georgia Motorsports Park. Truck Series regular, Terry Cook [#59] has told PRA officials that he will be there, making a rare appearance in an open wheel car. Cook will be driving for his father-in-law, famed car owner Bob East at South Georgia. Nextel Cup regular Ryan Newman is also scheduled to be there.(PRA Racing PR)(3-26-2007)
  • Raybestos Rookie News & Notes: Joey Clanton was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the March 16 American Commercial Lines 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Clanton scored a ninth-place finish, his second top-10 in four career Craftsman Truck Series starts. He has grabbed Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors in each of his two starts this season. Kelly Bires posted a 10th-place finish at Atlanta, his best effort in four career Craftsman Truck Series starts. Aaron Fike leads Clanton by just one point (30-29) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the March 31 Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway. Fike is 13th in the Craftsman Truck Series championship standings, best of any Raybestos Rookie. He trails 10th-place Dennis Setzer by just seven points. Erik Darnell was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the 2006 Kroger 250 at Martinsville, claiming an 11th-place finish. Two Raybestos Rookies have won a pole at Martinsville in the Craftsman Truck Series: Greg Biffle (1998) and Carl Edwards (2003). The best finish by a Raybestos Rookie at Martinsville Speedway is second, shared by Travis Kvapil (2001 spring race), Carl Edwards (2003 fall race) and Todd Kluever (2005 fall race).(Raybestos PR)(3-26-2007)
  • McCumbee racing at Lakeland: UPDATE: The Truck Series is off next week and won’t be running again until the March 31st event at Martinsville Speedway. Chad McCumbee [#08] will be in a racecar this weekend as he heads down to USA International Speedway to take part in the ARCA RE/MAX Series event on Saturday March 24th. He will be driving the #62 Andy Belmont Motorsports Chevy.(arcaracing.com)(3-23-2007)
    UPDATE: Engine problems sidelined McCumbee on lap 47.(3-24-2007)
  • S&M Brands, Peters & MDM team up for Martinsville/Bristol: Timothy Peters has been tapped to pilot the #46 Bailey’s Chevy fielded by Morgan-Dollar Motorsports in the Kroger 250 for the Craftsman Truck Series The March 31 event will mark the return of Bailey’s as a primary sponsor in the Truck Series. His entry at Martinsville Speedway will mark Peters’ first appearance in the series since Bristol Motor Speedway in August 2006. Peters will team with MDM teammate, Kraig Kinser, #47 Ginn Resorts Chevy. Eric Phillips, full-time MDM crew chief for the #46 Silverado team, will be atop the pit box calling the shots for Peters. S&M will also be on board as primary sponsor of #46 Chevy at the O’Reilly 200 at the Bristol Motor Speedway on Aug. 22.(MDM PR)(3-23-2007)
  • Quaker Steak & Lube renews sponsorship at Lowe’s: Quaker Steak & Lube, has announced their return for a third straight year as title sponsor of the Quaker Steak & Lube 200 Craftsman Truck Series race at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, NC. The Quaker Steak & Lube 200 will run under the lights on Friday, May 18, as part of the annual Nextel Cup Series All-Star Weekend activities. The race will air live on SPEED Channel beginning at 8:30 pm.(Quaker Steak & Lube PR)(3-22-2007)
  • Virginia’s Best Water to sponsor #40 at Martinsville: Wholesome Foods, Inc., producers of the popular Virginia’s Best Water, is stepping up its sponsorship of Key Motorsports and driver Mike Bliss in next week’s Kroger 250 Craftsman Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway. Already a product sponsor of Key Motorsports as the organization’s official bottled water supplier, Wholesome Foods will become the deck lid sponsor of the Bliss entry and the #40 Curtis Key Plumbing Chevy to further brand its popular Virginia’s Best Water.(Key Motorsports PR)(3-21-2007)
  • Bliss to drive 2 Busch races for Fitz: Fitz Motorsports will team up with driver Mike Bliss behind the wheel of the #22 Family Dollar/Supercuts Dodge for back-to-back races. Bliss will take the wheel starting this weekend at Bristol before heading off to Nashville in a few weeks.(Fitz Motorsports PR)(3-21-2007)

Joe Ruttman named Co-Driver of the #18: The management team at Bobby Hamilton Racing, along with input from Fastenal and Dodge Motorsports, are proud to announce Joe Ruttman as the co-driver [along with Ken Schrader] for the #18 Fastenal Dodge. Ruttman, who is tied for seventh on the all-time NCTS race winners list, is no stranger to BHR. The Tennessee native piloted the #18 Dodge for the late Bobby Hamilton organization in 2000 and 2001. Ruttman is slated to drive the #18 Fastenal Dodge in seven of the final 22 races on the circuit. His first start will be next month in Kansas City. Texas, Milwaukee, Memphis, Kentucky, Nashville and Gateway are tentatively set to complete his schedule.(Bobby Hamilton Racing PR)(3-20-2007)

  • Benson & 360 OTC team up at Martinsville: Johnny Benson will be sporting a green machine in two weeks for the Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway. He will be representing Team Green with 360 OTC adorning the sides of the #23 Bill Davis Racing Toyota for the first of a scheduled ten races with the sponsorship.(Bill Davis Racing PR)(3-20-2007)
  • Officials check trucks at Atlanta: UPDATE: Also Rick Crawford’s #14: NASCAR officials tested the horsepower of five Craftsman Truck Series entries following the American Commercial Lines 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway Friday night. Brendan Gaughan’s #77-South Point Racing Chevy, Ken Schrader’s #18-Bobby Hamilton Racing Dodge, Todd Bodine’s #30-Germain Racing Toyota, Matt Crafton’s #88-ThorSport Racing Chevy and #13-Willie Allen’s ThorSport Racing Chevy were tested on the chassis dyno machine in the garage immediately after the race.(Scene Daily)(3-18-2007)
    UPDATE: Rick Crawford’s #14-Power Stroke Diesel by Int’l Ford was also tested on the dyno following the race at Atlanta.(3-20-2007)
  • Lester to run Grand Prix of Miami: The Craftsman Truck Series has a weekend off but Bill Lester is scheduled to be behind the wheel of a Daytona prototype car [#12-RVO Motorsports Pontiac] in the Rolex Sports Car Series, Linder Industrial Komatsu Grand Prix of Miami race at Homestead-Miami Speedway’s 2.3 mile, 11-turn road course; March 22-24, 2007.(Billy Ballew Motorsports PR)(3-20-2007)
  • News & Notes – Martinsville Part I:
    A year ago, Mike Skinner (#5 Toyota Tundra Toyota) was the picture of frustration. The 1995 Craftsman Truck Series champion won the most Budweiser Poles and led the second highest number of laps but won just a single race before squeaking into 10th place in final standings. Skinner and his Bill Davis Racing team have a different outlook this year and it shows. His March 16 victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway was the driver’s second in a row. Adding to a fourth-place finish at Daytona, the 49-year-old Skinner is off to his best start in six fulltime seasons. The California native, who resides in Daytona Beach, hasn’t slowed down perceptibly – he won Atlanta’s American Commercial Lines 200 from the pole and led the most laps – but Skinner’s goal is to race smarter in 2007. Nonetheless, Skinner says it’s too early to think about winning a second title. He holds a 69-point lead over Todd Bodine (#30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota) marking the first time he’s lead the standings since August 1996.

    Series’ top winners parlay poles into race victories; you might call it sealing the deal. The top four drivers in career victories also top the list of Craftsman Truck Series drivers winning races from the Budweiser Pole. Skinner’s Atlanta victory followed his record-extending 33rd series pole giving him seven pole/win combinations. That’s 33.3 percent of his 21 victories. Jack Sprague (#60 Con-way Freight Toyota) remains the all-time winner from a pole start with eight. Greg Biffle, the 2000 series champion, has the best ratio of pole starts to total victories. Biffle’s percentage is .385, with five of his 16 wins coming from a #1 starting position. In fact, among the top five drivers in wins from the pole (see below), only Joe Ruttman has failed to win a series championship. Each of the season’s first three races has been won from a front-row starting position.

    News & Notes Part II:
    Crawford upstages Sprague in 250th race…Rick Crawford (#14 Power Stroke Diesel by Int’l Ford) nearly scored a Cinderella victory when the Mobile, Ala. native – along with Jack Sprague – started his 250th series races in Atlanta. Crawford got within a half truck length of overpowering race leader Clint Bowyer (#2 Camping World Chevy) with 15 laps remaining, but the challenge fell short. Crawford settled for a fourth-place finish – his first top five of the season. Sprague, meanwhile, was hit with transmission woes that turned a front-row start into a 23rd-place finish. Atlanta Motor Speedway’s Record Intact.. Despite the widest victory margin in six series race – .711 seconds – Atlanta retained its reputation as one of the Craftsman Truck Series’ most competitive tracks. Numbers, numbers, numbers…Terry Cook (#59 Harris Trucking Toyota) overcame a myriad of difficulties to finish 17th in his record-extending 225th consecutive start. Matt Crafton (#88 Menards/Quaker State Chevy) became the ninth driver to reach 150 career starts and celebrated with a third-place finish. He moves to sixth in the standings.

    Personnel change aids Setzer…with veteran Tom Ackerman assuming the crew chief’s role, Dennis Setzer (#75 Spears Manufacturing Chevy) drove to his first top-10 finish with the Wayne and Connie Spears-owned team. Setzer was a solid seventh after finishes of 19th at Daytona and California. He is the only newcomer to the top 10, replacing Erik Darnell (#99 Northern Tool + Equipment Ford). Bowyer Remains Perfect In Races Led … Nextel Cup Series regular Bowyer, a series winner at Texas Motor Speedway last November, has started four races over the past season and has led laps in each event. Bowyer is three-for-four in top-10 finishes. The June 30 O’Reilly 200 at Memphis Motorsports Park will be dedicated to the late series champion Bobby Hamilton, the track’s 2004 winner. Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen has signed a certificate recognizing June 30 as “Bobby Hamilton Day.”

    Raybestos Rookie of the Year Standings:
    Candidates Joey Clanton and Kelly Bires finished ninth and 10th at Atlanta Motor Speedway, but Aaron Fike is the current standings leader after three races. Point standings following Atlanta: Aaron Fike, 21; Willie Allen, 16; Joey Clanton, 16; Kelly Bires, 15; Blake Bjorklund, 15; Tim Sauter, 15; Tyler Walker, 14; Casey Kingsland, 5; Josh White, 4.

    This Week’s Craftsman Truck Series Leaders: (through 3 races of the 25-race season)
    Points leader – Mike Skinner (550)
    Driver Rating – Mike Skinner (129.2)
    Winnings – Mike Skinner ($155,650)
    Laps led – Mike Skinner (119)
    Victories – Mike Skinner (2)
    Budweiser Poles – Jack Sprague, Mike Skinner, Carl Edwards (1)
    Top-five finishes – Mike Skinner (3)
    Top-10 finishes – 3 drivers with 3
    Raybestos Rookie Leader – Aaron Fike (1 over Joey Clanton)
    Races led – Mike Skinner (3)
    Weeks in Top 10 – 9 drivers tied with 3

    Etc:
    Martinsville Speedway’s Kroger 250 is Historic Track’s 17th Series Event. Suppose that only a single driver has been able to win more than once at a track hosting 16 Craftsman Truck Series races. That’s the case at Martinsville Speedway, where only Dennis Setzer has been able to visit Victory Lane on two occasions. The .526-mile layout in southern Virginia is next on the schedule with the March 31 Kroger 250. David Starr (#10 International/MaxxForce Ford) is the defending winner. Will Martinsville crown a 16th different winner? The odds say yes since only five drivers who are expected to compete have a Martinsville victory. The race is the first of two in 2007 to be broadcast by FOX.

    In the loop:
    Skinner rolling up rivals in Loop Data Statistics. Clearly, Mike Skinner has been the class of the Craftsman Truck Series. With back-to-back wins and a fourth-place finish in the season-opening Chevy Silverado HD 250 at Daytona, Skinner has amassed a 69-point lead over Todd Bodine in the series standings. He also finds himself at the head of practically every Loop Data leads category. He dominates the all-encompassing and all-important Driver Rating category. With a Driver Rating of 129.2, Skinner tops the second-place driver by more than 18 points – Bodine is runner-up with a Driver Rating of 110.5.

    Another category that shows how consistently impressive Skinner has been is his Average Running Position – 3.946. That means Skinner has spent an overwhelmingly majority of his laps in the top five. His speed figures, too, are at the top of the charts. Skinner is the Fastest on the Straightway, Fastest in the Turns, and he has the most number of Fastest Laps Run – 46. Along with that, he has the Fastest Green Flag Speed and the Fastest Speed in Traffic as well. But maybe Skinner’s most telling stat is his Laps in the Top 15. With 327 laps in the top 15, Skinner has spent 99.1% of the 330 total laps run this season at the front of the pack.

    Toyota still perfect in Manufacturers’ Championship.
    Toyota’s third victory marked the first time since 2001 that the same manufacturer captured the season’s first three races. The number, however, is far off the Craftsman Truck Series record. In 1995 – the series’ inaugural season – Chevy won the first eight races. The record was duplicated by Dodge in 2001. The victory matches Toyota’s longest series streak – the most recent in 2006. Manufacturer’s Point Standings: Chevy 16; Ford 14; Dodge 9.(NASCAR PR)(3-19-2007)

  • Skinner wins WIX Filters Lap Leader Award: Mike Skinner led five times for 67 laps to earn WIX Filters Lap Leader of the Race honors in the American Commercial Lines 200. Skinner took the honor for the second time in 2007. Skinner has led 11 times in three races this season for a total of 119 laps. Skinner won the race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, crossing the finish line .711 seconds ahead of second-place Todd Bodine. The victory was the 21st of Skinner’s 132-race Craftsman Truck Series career. He scored the 10th victory in the series for Bill Davis Racing.(WIX PR)(3-17-2007)
  • Raybestos Rookie Notes following Atlanta: Joey Clanton [#09 Zaxby’s Ford) was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race at AMS. Clanton finished ninth; his second top-10 in four career Craftsman Truck Series starts. Kelly Bires finished ninth, his best effort in four career starts.(Raybestos PR)(3-17-2007)
  • Steve Park looking for a ride: Steve Park, whose last NASCAR race was in a Busch car at O’Reilly Raceway Park last August, was in the garage at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Friday knocking on doors in the hopes of finding a ride for 2007. “I’m here looking for a job,” Park said. “Atlanta is the first stop on the East Coast for a lot of these teams and I wanted to be here to talk to a few people about a ride in the truck or Busch series.” Park said he had a deal to get back in the Busch Series this season, but it fell apart a month before Daytona.(Yahoo! Sports)(3-17-2007)
  • New crew chief for Setzer: Tom Ackerman has replaced Dave McCarty as crew chief for the #75 Spears Mfg. Chevy driven by Dennis Setzer. It was reported that McCarty has assumed other duties at the Spears Racing shop.(SPEED/TV)(3-16-2007)
  • Cancer screening at AMS: With the recent passing of driver Bobby Hamilton from head and neck cancer, this terrible killer is all too relevant. Now Atlanta Motor Speedway is teaming with the Yul Brynner Foundation in honor of Bobby Hamilton to help race fans with free early screening for this devastating disease, which kills more than 15,000 people each year. Members of Bobby Hamilton Racing, including Lori Hamilton, wife of the late racer, will be joining the screening event to help communicate the importance of early detection. Bobby Hamilton announced during last spring’s Atlanta race that he was diagnosed with throat cancer and would begin his treatments. As Hamilton fought the disease, he became a strong advocate of early detection. It will be the second year for the screening at AMS, with six private screening rooms available in the corporate display area in front of Atlanta Motor Speedway. The screening rooms will be open Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will be manned by doctors and nurses. Last year, head and neck specialists screened more than 200 race fans at AMS, catching many pre-malignant lesions and even some early cancers. (Atlanta Motor Speedway PR)(3-16-2007)
  • Shepherd to drive the #44 at AMS: Morgan Shepherd’s on-again, off-again race weekend at the Atlanta Motor Speedway is apparently back on, Faith Motorsports announced March 16. Shepherd said around noon on Friday that he had been asked to drive the #44 Sile Stone USA Chevy truck for Key Motorsports in Friday night’s American Commercial Lines 200 at AMS. [Huffman listed as driver during practice session.](Morgan Shepherd PR)(3-16-2007)
  • Compton back in #16 at Atlanta: Mark Melling has announced that Melling Engine Parts and Melling Select Performance Parts will serve as the primary sponsor for his friend, ESPN NASCAR Now Analyst Stacy Compton in Atlanta. Stacy will be driving Dave Fuge’s Xpress Motorsports #16 Ford Truck Friday night March 16th. Compton drove the Xpress Motorsports Melling sponsored Ford at the season opening event in Daytona placing 17th. He had a commitment with the Wood Brothers team and sponsor Zaxby’s at the California Speedway where he posted a 12th place finish two weeks ago. After 2 great runs, Stacy sits 12th in the 2007 Truck Series Driver Points and is seeking to schedule himself to race the full season if sponsorship permits.(Melling PR)(3-14-2007)
  • Lumber Liquidators & Bodine celebrate 1-year anniversary: To promote the one-year anniversary of Lumber Liquidators signing on with the #30 Germain Racing team, Bodine and the #30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota Tundra will make an appearance at the Lumber Liquidators store in Conyers, Ga on Thursday, March 15. The truck will be available from noon through 6:00pm, while Bodine will meet with Lumber Liquidators employees, customers and race fans from 4:00-5:00pm.(Germain Racing PR)(3-14-2007)
  • Hamilton Jr. wants to sell: Bobby Hamilton Jr. said he wants stepmother Lori Hamilton – or whoever is in charge of Bobby Hamilton Racing – to buy his share of his late father’s team. “I’m trying to get her to buy me out,” said Hamilton Jr., who contends that he, infant daughter Haylie and Lori Hamilton own equal parts of the Mt. Juliet-based race team that competes in the Craftsman Truck Series. “I’m through with it,” he said. “I just want out.” Hamilton Jr., who drove for the team last year during his father’s battle with cancer, returned to the NASCAR Busch Series this season. As for parting with the team his father founded in 2000, he said: “It’s not hard to walk away. This is not the same team that it was when my dad was there.” Hamilton Jr. said he was unsure who to talk to about selling his share of the team because he is “totally confused” about who is running it. Lori Hamilton, a one-time public relations director who married the senior Hamilton a few months before his death in January, apparently is in charge. But Lois Vance, a Lebanon banker who is trustee of the team, said in an interview in February that she is the “acting owner” and makes the business decisions at BHR. “It’s all messed up and I don’t have time to bother with it,” said Hamilton Jr., a White House resident who owns a restaurant in Springfield and a sports bar in Rivergate. “I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t want any part of it. I hope they’ll buy me and Haylie out.”(See full story at Tennessean)(3-14-2007)
  • Memphis race to be dedicated to Bobby Hamilton: The O’Reilly 200 Craftsman Truck Series race at Memphis Motorsports Park on June 30 will be dedicated to NASCAR great Bobby Hamilton, who died earlier this year of complications from cancer. In celebration of his life, his Tennessee roots and his commitment to the sport, the Bobby Hamilton Racing team – including his wife Lori and crew members of both the #4 and #18 trucks – will be honored and recognized as Grand Marshals of the race. Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen has also signed a certificate recognizing June 30 as “Bobby Hamilton Day” at Memphis Motorsports Park. And track officials will unveil a new street name on the property in tribute to Hamilton. All of the Craftsman Truck Series competitors will carry a special memorial decal through the O’Reilly 200 weekend to remember the 2004 series champion.(Memphis Motorsports Park PR)(3-13-2007)
  • K&N Filters extends sponsorship of #6 for three more races: Roush Fenway Racing has announced that K&N Filters will continue its sponsorship of the #6 Ford and driver Travis Kvapil for an additional three races. Kvapil will drive the K&N Filters Ford this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, on March 31 at Martinsville Speedway and April 28 at Kansas Speedway.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(3-13-2007)
  • T.J. Bell & Heathcliff Cat Litter to #50: UPDATE: Roush Fenway Racing has announced that Heathcliff Cat Litter and driver T.J. Bell have struck a deal that will put the 26-year old driver from Reno, Nevada behind the wheel of the #50 Ford in the Craftsman Truck Series for 15 races during the 2007 season. The program will begin with the March 16 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Bell is scheduled to be behind the wheel of the #50 Heathcliff Cat Litter Ford on March 16 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, March 31 at Martinsville Speedway, April 28 at Kansas Speedway, May 18 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, May 26 at Mansfield Motorsports Speedway, June 1 at Dover International Speedway, June 8 at Texas Motor Speedway, June 16 at Michigan International Speedway, June 22 at The Milwaukee Mile, June 30 at Memphis Motorsports Park, July 14 at Kentucky Speedway, July 27 at O’Reilly Raceway Park, August 11 at Nashville Superspeedway, August 22 at Bristol Motor Speedway and September 22 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(3-5-2007)
    UPDATE: This weekend’s event will be Bell’s first start at the 1.5 mile Atlanta Motor Speedway.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(3-13-2007)
  • Raybestos Rookie News & Notes: Aaron Fike was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race San Bernardino County 200 February 23 at California Speedway. Fike posted an 18th-place finish on his way to collecting Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the first time this season. He is 15th in the Craftsman Truck Series championship standings, best of any Raybestos Rookie. Fike used his finish at California Speedway to grab the lead in the Raybestos Rookie standings. He holds a five-point edge (21-16) over Willie Allen entering the March 16 American Commercial Lines 200 at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway. Erik Darnell was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the 2006 American Commercial Lines 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Darnell finished eighth, the only first-year driver to crack the top-10. Darnell and David Reutimann share the best finish by a Raybestos Rookie in five races at Atlanta. Darnell placed third in the EasyCare 200 last October while Reutimann finished third in the spring race in 2004. Reutimann and Robert Huffman made history in 2004 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Reutimann won the pole and Huffman grabbed the second starting spot, securing the first all-Raybestos Rookie front row in the history of the Craftsman Truck Series. The best finish by a Raybestos Rookie in the spring race at Atlanta is third by Reutimann in 2004. He also led the race twice for eight laps.(Raybestos PR)(3-12-2007)
  • Keselowski to drive the #7 Hooters Energy Drink Chevy: Brad Keselowski is scheduled to drive the #7 Pennington Motorsports entry in the American Commercial Lines 200 Craftsman Truck Series event at Atlanta Motor Speedway this Friday night. Keselowski, 23, will be making his first NCTS start of 2007. The Rochester Hills, MI driver has 39 Truck Series starts to his credit, with one top ten finish. Keselowski has been a regular in the Busch Series this season, driving for Keith Coleman Racing.(Pennington Motorsports PR)(3-12-2007)
  • Fike to make first Truck Series start at Atlanta: Aaron Fike [#1 Toyota] will make his third career start in the Craftsman Truck Series and first in a truck at Atlanta Motor. Although Aaron Fike has never competed in a Toyota truck at Atlanta Motor Speedway, he does have laps under his belt at the 1.54-mile oval in a NASCAR Busch Series car. Fike last competed at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 2006 when he started 19th and finished 26th.(Red Horse Racing PR)(3-12-2007)
  • Power Stroke team to run special paint scheme for Crawford’s 250th start: This weekend in the American Commercial Lines 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Rick Crawford will reach another milestone in his Craftsman Truck Series career with his 250th start. While other teams and drivers have come and gone Crawford and his long time owner Tom Mitchell have been committed to the Craftsman Truck Series. To commemorate their 250th start the Circle Bar/Power Stroke Diesel Ford F-150 will carry a special hood logo in Atlanta.(Circle Bar PR)(3-12-2007)
  • Bowyer next up for the #2 Camping World Chevy: UPDATE: Clint Bowyer will make his debut in the #2 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway March 16, 2007. Atlanta marks Bowyer’s first of four races for Kevin Harvick Inc. this season; he will also compete at New Hampshire International Speedway, Martinsville Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway.(KHI PR)(2-26-2007)
    UPDATE: The last time Bowyer was behind the wheel of a truck was in 2006 where he started on the pole at the Texas Motor Speedway. With only three previous starts in the Truck Series, Bowyer has amassed one pole, one win, one top-five and two top-10 finishes. (KHI PR)(3-12-2007)
  • Bires in the #21 Bush’s Baked Beans Ford at AMS: Kelly Bires will be making his fourth career start in the Craftsman Truck Series this Friday night in the American Commercial Lines 200 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Bires is sharing the driving duties on the #21 Bush’s Baked Beans Ford F-150 this year with Mark Martin.(Wood Bros./JTG Racing PR)(3-12-2007)
  • Sprague and Crawford to Call-In to the SpeedZone tonight: Jack Sprague [#60 Con-Way Freight Toyota] and Rick Crawford [#14 Power Stroke Diesel by Int’l Ford], who will both be making their 250th career starts in the Craftsman Truck Series at Atlanta Motor Speedway, will participate in the Chevy SpeedZone on SportsRadio 790 the Zone with host, Mike Bell on Monday, March 12th. The show, which is broadcast live from Atlanta, Ga., takes place every Monday between 7 and 9 p.m. ET. Sprague and Crawford are both scheduled to call-in at 8:05 p.m. ET. You can listen live to The Zone by logging on to www.790theZone.com and clicking on “Listen LIVE” on the main page.(Wyler Racing PR)(3-12-2007)
  • Clanton back in #09: Clanton, who is sharing the driving duties in the #09 Zaxby’s Ford F-150 with Stacy Compton, is happy to be coming home to Atlanta for Friday night’s American Commercial Lines 200. The speedway is just a few minutes from his home in nearby Tyrone. The two-driver approach for the #09 Zaxby’s has resulted in an eighth-place position in the car owner standings for Wood Brothers/JTG Racing.(Wood Bros/JTG Racing PR)(3-12-2007)

    Walker’s first time at Atlanta: This weekend will mark Tyler Walker’s [#36 OTC Toyota] first career attempt to start at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Walker and his 360 OTC racing team, along with BDR teammate [#23] Johnny Benson, spent last Friday testing at Rockingham Motor Speedway, and BDR is also bringing a brand new truck for the #36 team this weekend.(BDR PR)(3-12-2007)

  • Bliss & Dodson to meet race fans in Atlanta: 2002 Truck Series champion Mike Bliss and veteran crew chief and race commentator Barry Dodson are scheduled to meet race fans at the Finish Line Sports Bar in the Hilton Atlanta Airport Hotel on Thursday night, March 15, from 8 to 9 p.m. Bliss and Dodson reunited this season with Bliss driving the #40 Key Motorsports Chevy for selected NCTS races. The popular duo will sign autographs and answer questions for fans during the one hour Meet & Greet event.(Key Motorsports PR)(3-9-2007)
  • Green Light and SS Racing link up for seven races: Lester Buildings and Green Light Racing are pleased to announce an alliance with SS Racing for seven races in the Craftsman Truck Series. The first race in the partnership will be March 16th at the American Commercial Lines 200 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Veteran driver Tim Sauter will pilot the #07 Lester Buildings Chevy along with various sponsors all interconnected through the building construction industry. Joining Lester Buildings at Atlanta will be ASI Limited, TSG Industries, Spectrum Metal Finishing, Akzo Nobel and Aluminum Shapes. Atlanta will be the first of seven races for the new partnership with SS Racing. The current schedule has the alliance continuing at the following CTS venues: Lowes Motor Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, O’Reilly Raceway Park, Talladega and Texas Speedway.(Greenlight Racing PR)(3-8-2007)
  • Bodine, Skinner among drivers for Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race: An unprecedented number of female stars of film, television and sports will be donning their helmets and strapping their seatbelts in race-ready Toyota Scion tCs for this year’s Toyota/Pro Celebrity Race on Saturday, April 14, as part of the 33rd Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. As the winner of the 2006 Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, professional skateboarder and X Games Gold Medalist Bucky Lasek returns in the “Pro” category in 2007. Lasek joins three other drivers in the “Pro” category including NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Pro Champions Mike Skinner and Todd Bodine and NHRA Champion Scott Kelley. Toyota will donate $5,000 to “Racing for Kids” in the name of each celebrity racer, and another $5,000 to the winning racer’s charity of choice. Racing for Kids is a non-profit program benefiting children’s hospitals in Long Beach and Orange County, Calif. Finally, a $15,000 donation is made in conjunction with the annual “PEOPLE Pole Award.” Sponsored by PEOPLE magazine, the award honors the pole-position winner of the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race qualifying session on Friday, April 13.(Earth Times)(3-6-2007)
  • MDM & Kinser participate in unique Career Day: Morgan-Dollar Motorsports team members and Kraig Kinser, driver of the #47 Ginn Resorts Chevy, participated in a once-in-a-lifetime experience on March 5 at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Brunswick, GA. FLETC serves as a training facility for over 80 Federal agencies, including the Secret Service, U.S. Air Marshals, Federal Aviation Administration and the Central Intelligence Agency. Pit crew members were able to demonstrate pit stops for the Department of Homeland Security employees and then let individuals try their hand. The experience gave team members and Kinser a different perspective on government training, and also allowed DHS employees the opportunity to see the process and choreography that goes into a pit stop. (Morgan-Dollar Motorsports PR)(3-9-2007)
  • Gaughan to Mexico for the Baja 250: Brendan Gaughan will be testing his racing abilities in the desert. Gaughan will be racing in the Baja 250 in his SCORE Class 1 Buggy on Saturday in Ensenada, Mexico. This will be Gaughan’s second SCORE race of the 2007 season. He had problems with the transmission in his Kreger Class 1 Buggy at the Laughlin Desert Challenge in January. Gaughan, who starts 18th in Saturday’s off-road race, hopes those issues are resolved.(Brendan Gaughan PR)(3-8-2007)
  • Chrissy Wallace looking for Truck ride? It was reported during a taped news comment from veteran driver, Mike Wallace on Sirius Radio that his daughter, Chrissy Wallace was looking to move into the Truck Series. Wallace said that they were in the process of looking for sponsorship and toward a short-track race. Sirius reported that the Wallace’s have been talking to Morgan-Dollar Motorsports about that ride.(3-7-2007)
  • News & Notes – Part I:
    It’s déjà vu all over again for the Craftsman Truck Series’ “original” champions. Jack Sprague (#60 Con-way Freight Toyota), Mike Skinner (#5 Toyota Tundra Toyota) and Ron Hornaday Jr. (#33 AES HR Solutions Chevy) occupy three of the top four positions in the standings heading into the March 16 American Commercial Lines 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Is there another title in one of their futures? Right now, the answer would seem to be yes. Hornaday, in particular, is far ahead of his two-race performances of both 2005 and 2006 when the California native rebounded with top-10 title efforts. Atlanta was the key to Hornaday’s resurgence two years ago as he edged Bobby Labonte in the series’ closest superspeedway finish. Hornaday has a new crew chief, 11-time winner Rick Ren, and a partner operation at Kevin Harvick Inc. The #2 Camping World Chevy will be driven at Atlanta by Clint Bowyer. “With having the second truck, it is really going to make our team shine this year. It’s 10 times better than the start of last year,” Hornaday said. “Now here we are in the top five in points. It gives us so much more of a head start than last year.”

    What Johnny Benson’s Doing On His ‘Vacation: A two-week break in the 2007 schedule finds Craftsman Truck drivers taking time off – and not just in the United States. Johnny Benson (#23 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Toyota) and his wife Debbie flew to Switzerland to take in the sights and possibly test the ski slopes. Their children, Katelyn and Mikayla, stayed behind to attend school thus giving the Bensons some couple time that’s a rare commodity during the season. “She doesn’t get to come to the races because of the school hours,” said Benson, whose pair of top-10 finishes at Daytona and California has planted last year’s series runner-up a solid third. Some might say that with the season only two races old, why would a driver need rest? Racing, of course, is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Benson, his Bill Davis Racing teammates and the rest of the series competitors spent January testing non-stop. “I’m looking forward to the time off,” said Benson, whose summer is filled with races and activity at Berlin Speedway, a Grand Rapids, Mich., track his father owns. “Hopefully we can get some skiing in while we’re there,” he added, “but mostly we’ll just enjoy each other’s company.

    News & Notes – Part II:
    Driver, Crews Visit St. Jude’s…Bobby Hamilton Racing’s two teams and Chase Miller, driver of the #4 Open Joist Dodge, visited St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis this week. They also toured the facility’s Ronald McDonald House. Roush Fenway Names Driver and Sponsor…Roush Fenway Racing announced this week that Heathcliff Cat Litter and driver T.J. Bell have struck a deal that will put the 26-year old driver from Reno, Nev. behind the wheel of the #50 Ford for 15 races during the 2007 season. The program will begin next week at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Viewership goes up… with a rating of 1.1 according to Nielsen Media Research, the Feb. 23 San Bernardino 200 was SPEED’s most viewed Craftsman Truck non-Daytona race. The race also saw a 94 percent increase in viewer-ship among men 18- 34 vs. last year’s event. Family Reunion…Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate Kelly Bires recently enjoyed a visit with his parents, Jim and Debbie, who hadn’t seen their son in several years. The elder Bires was a Wisconsin short track star in the 1970s and 1980s, winning 72 of 90 features he entered at Wisconsin Dells and Lacrosse Fairgrounds speedways in 1984-85.

    Lester Part Of CIAA Tournament Week Festivities…Bill Lester (#15 Bowen Family Homes Chevy) attended the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association’s 2007 basketball tournament played in Charlotte last week by teams from historically black colleges. He was a guest on Steve Harvey’s national radio show, among other activities. Series Alums Score In Mexico…Craftsman Truck Series alumni grabbed seven of the top 15 finishing positions in Sunday’s telcel MOTOROLA 200 in Mexico City. New NASCAR Busch Series point leader Carl Edwards (fourth) led Jason Leffler (sixth), Marcos Ambrose (eighth), Jon Wood (10th), Todd Kluever (11th), David Reutimann (12th) and David Ragan (14th). Swamp Rat: Germain Racing’s Todd Bodine, the 2006 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion, was the honorary starter for the first race of the Budweiser Spring Classic event March 4 at the Florida Sports Park in Naples, Fla. Teammate Ted Musgrave attended as well. The pair took an easy tour of the race course in an actual swamp buggy but it wasn’t at a “get muddy and soaked” pace.

    Raybestos Rookie of the Year Standings:
    A year ago, Erik Darnell (#99 Northern Tool + Equipment Ford) finished eighth at Atlanta Motor Speedway and went on to claim Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors. Driver points: Aaron Fike, 21; Willie Allen, 16; Joey Clanton, 16; Kelly Bires, 15; Blake Bjorklund, 15; Tim Sauter, 15; Tyler Walker, 14; Casey Kingsland, 5; Josh White, 4.

    This Week’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Leaders: (through 2 races of the 25-race season)
    Points leader – Jack Sprague (355)
    Driver Rating – Mike Skinner (121.4)
    Winnings – Jack Sprague ($122,700)
    Laps led – Mike Skinner (52)
    Victories -Jack Sprague, Mike Skinner (1)
    Budweiser Poles – Jack Sprague, Carl Edwards (1)
    Top-five finishes -Jack Sprague, Mike Skinner (2)
    Top-10 finishes – Seven drivers tied with 1
    Raybestos Rookie Leader – Aaron Fike (5 over 2 drivers)
    Races led – Johnny Benson, Mike Skinner (2)
    Weeks in Top 10 – Seven drivers tied with 2

    Etc:
    Bittersweet move-in day as Crawford assumes ownership of Legend’s home. Who’s to say if Rick Crawford would be celebrating his 250th Craftsman Truck Series start next Friday in Atlanta had racing legend Benny Parsons not been so hospitable. Crawford moved his race team to Charlotte a decade ago and figured he’d be living out of a motel room for the foreseeable future. It didn’t happen – after Parsons learned of the Alabama native’s living arrangements. Parsons invited Crawford to stay at his house – and moved with his wife to their Florida home – until Crawford got settled. Turns out Crawford liked the home so well he offered to buy it when the Parsons decided to build near where the 1973 Nextel Cup champion grew up. The sale was consummated in November shortly before Parsons’ death and Crawford moved in this past weekend.

    In The Loop:
    Last season, the standings battle came down to the last race with Todd Bodine barely fending off Johnny Benson. It was a battle between two drivers who couldn’t look any different. One – Bodine – could easily be mistaken for a New Jersey longshoreman. The other – Benson – could have doubled as your local tax accountant. But there was one characteristic that they both had in common. They could drive the wheels off a truck. And the change in season hasn’t made a difference in that regard. Both drivers are in the top five of the Craftsman Truck Series standings and both find their name near the top of numerous Loop Data categories. For instance, Benson has the third-best Driver Rating at 105.3. Bodine is fifth in the all-important category at 99.0. But it doesn’t stop there. One of the most telling categories calculated by the under-the-track scoring loops is the Average Running Position. And it’s a stat at which both Benson and Bodine excel. Bodine has an Average Running Position of 6.340, meaning you’ll rarely – if ever – see his truck outside the top 10. Benson ranks fifth in the category, running at an average of 7.525. The consistency the two show is the most impressive stat of all. Both rank among the leaders in Laps in the Top 15. Bodine has the third most Laps in the Top 15 with 192, while Benson has the fourth most at 188. Another key stat that has grown in importance and prestige is Quality Passes – passes of cars running in the Top 15 while under green. Benson has 122 Quality Passes, which is tied for fifth best. Bodine is one off of that pace with 121 Quality Passes.

    Three brands have won races in Atlanta: With Manufacturers’ championship runner-up Ford winless at Atlanta Motor Speedway, odds favor Toyota retaining or increasing its current lead in the standings. Ford got close a year ago when Todd Bodine edged Mark Martin’s F-150 truck to halt the latter’s two-race winning streak. Actually, Chevy is the favorite at AMS, having won three of the past four races. Bobby Hamilton’s Dodge was the race’s first winner in 2004.

    NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Manufacturers’ Championship:
    Toyota, 18
    Ford, 10
    Chevy, 10
    Dodge, 6
    (NASCAR PR)(3-6-2007)

  • Germain Racing to run some Busch races: UPDATE: up to 12 races: “We were going to run a few races with the new Car of Tomorrow, but in retrospect we felt we maybe ought to back down on that a little bit and run some Busch races instead,” [Ted] Musgrave said. “I think that’s where we’re leaning, try to get the Toyota flag flying there, but one thing’s for sure, we’re going to try to go for the championship in the Truck Series again.” [Tddd] Bodine will drive the Busch car, according to Germain, who explained that it was Toyota who came to his team and asked if they would hold off on the Car of Tomorrow and run a partial Busch schedule.(Naples Daily News)(2-12-2007)
    UPDATE: During “The Driver’s Seat” broadcast on Sirius Radio, Todd Bodine said that he and the Germain Racing Team would be running up to twelve races in the Busch Series this season. They are also looking at running Indianapolis in the Cup Series.(3-6-2007)
  • Colin Braun looking for Truck or Busch ride: NASCAR fans might not be interested in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race Saturday at Autodromo Hermano Rodrgiuez, but the guy starting on the pole likely will be in a NASCAR race by the end of the season. Colin Braun was one of the top drivers in Chevrolet’s racing combine last fall, and he said Friday that he had “lots of meetings” scheduled with NASCAR teams this weekend. That Braun put his Krohn Racing Pontiac on the pole for the Grand-Am race only boosts the interest in him. Braun said he hopes to run a full truck or Busch schedule next year.(SceneDaily.com)(3-2-2007)
  • Circle Bar wins Checkers/Rally’s Drive-Thru at Calif: Quick stops and quick thinking on pit road put the Circle Bar/Power Stroke Diesel Ford F-150 in the top 10 and earned the team the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive Through Challenge Award for the San Bernardino County 200 at California. Each week Checkers/Rally’s recognizes the pit crew that spent the least amount of time on pit road during the race. The Circle Bar over the wall crew kept their Power Stroke Diesel Ford F-150 in the hunt and allowed driver Rick Crawford to score his second top 10 of the season.(Circle Bar PR)(3-2-2007)
  • Krista Voda’s road to pit report/host: Krista Voda considers herself a storyteller in her roles as pit reporter for Fox’s NASCAR Nextel Cup broadcasts and pre-race studio host for Speed’s coverage of Craftsman Truck races. Voda’s own story is worth telling, too. Begin with her living in Cranberry Township, far from NASCAR’s Charlotte, NC [excerpt from a story about Voda]. For complete story visit Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.(3-2-2007)

 


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