November 2002 CTS Archive

  • The Sports Network: The 2002 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Season – A Year in Review by Steve Schwarz(11-29-2002)
  • Kvapil in the #16 for 2003: Travis Kvapil, the 2001 Raybestos Rookie of the Year in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, will drive for the 2002 series Champions – IWX Racing – next season. The seat opened when Mike Bliss announced this week that he would be joining the [#20] BGN team at Joe Gibbs Racing. “This season has been what everyone on our program needed,” said team manager, Dave Fuge. “Mike was looking to have his career revitalized and we were looking to prove that we were a good, solid team. Our arrangement from day-one was for one year and we wish Mike the best with Joe Gibbs Racing. The opportunity to drive for a team that has won two Winston Cup Championships in the past three years is what a good driver like Mike deserves. For us, we always believed that our in-house chassis program and everything that we have been doing here has meant fast and durable trucks. We proved that this year with Mike and I really felt good at Homestead when a Champion like Ron Hornaday jumped into one of our trucks and won the race.” It was an impressive season for IWX Racing. In 23 starts, the team won 4 poles, 6 races, had 14 top-fives and 19 top-10s. The team completed 98.2 percent of the laps run (3,784 of 3,851) and finished on the lead lap in each of the last 17 races. “I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished,” continued Fuge. “Our guys have worked very hard and we are looking forward to getting started next season. We’re happy that IWX Motor Freight has returned as our sponsor. They have been very good to us; and winning the 2002 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Championship really has them excited. We look forward to working with Travis next year. He’s a good young racer and we’ve been very impressed watching him this season.” Kvapil, 26, spent the past two seasons in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series [#60 Team] after graduating from the NASCAR Re/Max Challenge Series and the short tracks in the upper Midwest. In 46 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races, Kvapil has 2 wins, 21 top-five finishes and 32 top-10s. He has finished in the top 10 in points both seasons. “All I want to do is run up front and win races,” said Kvapil, a native of Janesville, Wis. “The chance to get with a Championship-winning team is a tremendous opportunity. Dave and everyone there have really put together a strong team and I’m hoping we can pick up where they left off this season.”(IWX Racing PR)(11-21-2002)
  • Melling CTS team? Stacy Compton’s sponsorship for 2003 is shaping up so he and Darrell Waltrip would run four trucks races apiece in the Dodge owned by Lynchburg businessman Jim Harris. “I’ve talked with Jim Harris and Mark Melling is certainly looking to somebody in the truck for a full season,” Compton said. “If the opportunity comes up where Mark Melling gets a Winston Cup deal to run Daytona, we’ll run it.”(News and Advance)(11-21-2002)
  • More Toyota News: Toyota will be a player in Craftsman Trucks perhaps as early as 2003. The basic vehicle sure to be either its Tundra or Tacoma pick-ups, but what about the engine? No pushrod V8s are in the Toyota inventory. Will NASCAR relent and permit an overhead cam engine into the game? Highly unlikely. Will Toyota build a fresh new pushrod V8 just for the series, much as Mercedes-Benz craftily did with Ilmor and Penske in 1994 to win the Indianapolis 500? The tactics are unclear but the strategy is simple—to get Toyota into big-time NASCAR with an eye toward Winston Cup.(Speed Channel)(11-19-2002)
  • Martinsville 2nd CTS race gets sponsor: Advance Auto Parts, which has sponsored the spring CTS race at Martinsville Speedway for the past two seasons, has stepped up to sponsor the new fall race. The fall event, scheduled for October 18 in 2003, will be the Advance Auto Parts 200. The spring truck race at Martinsville, set for April 12 in 2003, will remain the Advance Auto Parts 250.. Action returns to Martinsville Speedway the weekend of April 11-13, 2003. MW Windows Pole Day is scheduled for Friday, April 11, while the Advance Auto Parts 250 is set for Saturday, April 12. The weekend culminates with the Virginia 500 NASCAR Winston Cup Series race on Sunday, April 13. Tickets for the Virginia 500 are on sale, and may be purchased by calling 1-877-RACE-TIX or visiting Speedway PR)(11-19-2002)
  • Dodge Truck Test The Dodge trucks will have a two day test at Talladega Superspeedway. The test, which will take place on Dec. 16th and 17th, will allow the Dodge truck teams to see where their “freshened” Ram truck falls after changes were made for the 2003 season.(Ford Racing)(11-17-2002)
  • Power Stroke Diesel returns as sponsor of the #29 and Cook for 2003: International Truck and Engine Corporation, designer and manufacturer of the popular Power Stroke Diesel engine for Ford Motor Company, announced they will return as primary sponsor for Terry Cook and the #29 Power Stroke Diesel Ford in 2003. Power Stroke Diesel entered the NASCAR marketing arena supporting Cook and the #29 K-Automotive Ford for 12 races in 2001. The partnership was accelerated to a full-time deal this year and the primary sponsorship association has allowed International to leverage the overlap of truck owners and NASCAR fans increasing awareness and sales of the most popular diesel engine in America. Power Stroke Diesel is available in Ford Super Duty Trucks, Vans and Sport Utility Vehicles. The association with Cook, a former diesel mechanic, is also natural for Power Stroke Diesel. The Indianapolis resident grew up working on diesel engines in his father’s automotive repair shop and his mechanical knowledge allows Cook to deliver the Power Stroke Diesel message of power performance, and fun to drive to NASCAR fans everywhere. Cook knows first hand since he drives a Ford Power Stroke Diesel.(Motorsports Management Group PR)(11-16-2002)
  • Starr to stay in CTS: David Starr said he plans to stay in the Craftsman Truck Series next season as driver of the #75 Spears Manufacturing Chevy. Starr, who finished fifth in the season standings after his eighth-place finish Friday, said he had offers to move to Winston Cup next year. “I feel like the best thing for me to do is spend one more year in the truck series and see if we can win the championship,” Starr said.(Dallas Morning News)(11-16-2002)
  • Gibbs to drop McLaughlin UPDATE 4 Bliss or Kvapil? Joe Gibbs Racing is expected to announce today that Mike McLaughlin, driver of the team’s #18 MBNA Pontiac in the BGN, won’t be returning to the team next year, NASCAR Winston Cup Scene reporter Rick Houston has learned. No replacement driver is expected to be named. McLaughlin, who has six top-five finishes in this year’s first 28 races, is fifth in the Busch Series championship standings.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(10-4-2002)
    UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing announced today that Mike McLaughlin will not return to the organization for the 2003 BGN season. McLaughlin, a Waterloo, NY, native, has driven for the Joe Gibbs Racing organization for the past two seasons and currently sits in the fifth position in the BGN Championship points race. Joe Gibbs Racing announced earlier that Coy Gibbs would move up from the CTS with his current sponsor MBNA and race the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Busch Series car. Those plans remain in effect and a driver will be named in the near future to replace McLaughlin in the #20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet. “Mike has been a tremendous asset to Joe Gibbs Racing over the past two seasons,” said JD Gibbs, President of Joe Gibbs Racing. “His personality and competitive spirit have helped our team and sponsor, MBNA, have success on and off the track. A tough decision has been made by Rockwell Automation and Joe Gibbs Racing to go another direction in 2003. We know Mike will be successful in the future and we wish him the best.”
    “I want to thank Joe Gibbs Racing and MBNA for giving me the opportunity to compete over the last two years,” McLaughlin said. I have enjoyed working with Tim Shutt (crew chief) and all the guys on this racing team. We have accomplished a lot and built this team into a top Busch Series Racing team.” McLaughlin added, “I know I am capable of winning a Busch Series Championship, now I have to find the right organization to accomplish that goal.” McLaughlin will remain behind the wheel of the MBNA Pontiac for the remaining six races in 2002.(PR)(10-5-2002)
    UPDATE 2: CTS drivers Mike Bliss and Travis Kvapil are supposedly the two leading canadidates to drive the #20 Rockwell Automation Chevy in 2003. Bliss’ CTS owner, Steve Coulter says the #16 CTS team will return in 2003 but they are looking for a sponsor.(Winston Cup Scene need to sub to real online)(10-10-2002)
    UPDATE 3: Hearing Mike Bliss has already signed with Joe Gibbs Racing to run the #20 Rockwell Automation Chevy and is not planning on returning to the #16 XPRESS Motorsports truck in the CTS.(10-15-2002)
    UPDATE 4: 2002 CTS Champ Mike Bliss may be leaving the CTS. The announcement may come as early as Monday. Bliss is reportedly headed to the Busch Series to drive for Joe Gibbs Racing. Word has it that he will take over the Rockwell-sponsored car as a teammate to Coy Gibbs, who is also leaving the CTS for the BGN. When asked about his future plans on Friday after clinching, Bliss said, “Well, I guess you’ll just have to wait until Monday and see what happens.”(
    AND on Speed Vision’s Trackside, Bliss mentioned there would be an announcment Monday concerning his 2003 plans and he would probably not be back in the #16 truck.(11-16-2002)
  • Wood Grand Marshal of Army-Navy rally: NASCAR truck driver Jon Wood will be grand marshal in this year’s Army-Navy Pep Rally and Parade scheduled for Dec. 6. Wood’s visit will add to the festivities as employees show off their Blue and Gold spirit during Pax River’s third annual event celebrating the Army-Navy Game. The Midshipmen of the Naval Academy take on the Black Knights of the U.S. Military Academy at the Meadowlands [NJ] on Dec. 7 at noon, in the 103rd meeting of these historic rivals.(
  • Hornaday wins race, Bliss wins championship: There was plenty to celebrate for #16-Mike Bliss and his IWX Racing team on Friday. Bliss won his first CTS championship, clinching it with his fifth-place finish in Friday’s Ford 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. But his team got another surprise, as former series champion #11-Ron Hornaday, running a one-race deal as a teammate to Bliss, ended up in Victory Lane. Hornaday held off Ted Musgrave by 1.796 seconds for his first series win since 1999 in Monroe, Wash. Bliss returned to the Truck series this season after two sub-par years in Winston Cup. He becomes the series’ fifth different champion since its inception in 1995. #14-Rick Crawford finished seventh in the race and second in points, 46 behind Bliss. Musgrave ended up third in points, 51 back. Top three were: #16-Mike Bliss, 3,359; #14-Rick Crawford, 3,313; #1-Ted Musgrave, 3,308;(
    For results see
  • Bliss on the pole at Homestead: CTS points leader, #16-Mike Bliss, won the pole for the Ford 200 with a speed of 147.111mph, with 3rd in points #1-Ted Musgrave qualifying 2nd at 146.991 and 2nd in points #14-Rick Crawford qualifying 4th at 145.447. #2-Jason Leffler will start 3rd at 146.171 and #11-Ron Hornaday Jr will start 5th at 145.447. #18-Robert Pressley was to start 4th [145.918] but the truck was found to have an unapproved spring was found in post-qualifying inspection and he’ll move his truck to the rear of the field.
    See starting lineup at or
  • Crew Chief Fined: NASCAR officials announced that CTS crew chief Kevin Cram has been fined for an infraction found during initial inspection for the Nov. 8 Chevy Silverado 150 at Phoenix International Raceway. Cram, crew chief for the #98 Chevy [driven by Cory Kruseman], was fined $250 for actions detrimental to stock car racing, specifically under Sections 12-4-A, 12-4-Q and 20B-12.1-A(3) of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Rule Book: use of parts that do not conform to NASCAR rules. The #98 was found to have unapproved front jacking bolts.(NASCAR PR)(11-14-2002)
  • English driver to make attempt: The United Kingdom’s John Mickel will attempt to become the first Englishman to compete in a truck event at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Mickel failed to qualify for the Nov. 8 Chevy Silverado 150 at Phoenix International Raceway. The Ford 200 entry list is international with drivers from the UK (Mickel), Australia (Adam Clark), Canada (Randy MacDonald) and Mexico (Carlos Contreras).(Daytona Beach News Journal)(11-14-2002)
  • Crawford sponsor for Homestead: Milwaukee Electric Tool of Brookfield,Wi will be a major associate sponsor for Rick Crawford and Circle Bar Racing this week in Homestead. Milwaukee Electric Tool was Rick Crawford’s primary sponsor during the 2000 and 2001 seasons.(11-13-2002)
  • Hornaday to run Homestead race: ESPN2’s RPM 2 Night reported Tuesday that Ron Hornaday would run the #11 team truck to #16-Mike Bliss, hoping that Hornaday would run well enough to lead some laps and run upfront.(11-13-2002)
  • Sprint Car driver to make CTS debut? UPDATE 3 and Homestead: hearing that sprint car driver Cory Kruseman is going to be competing in the Phoenix CTS race with Sealmaster Racing in the #99 truck with AGROMIN as a sponsor.(10-28-2002)
    UPDATE: An announcement concerning a CTS effort for driver Cory Kruseman is scheduled for Friday, November 1 at the California Speedway at 2:00pm/et.(10-31-2002)
    UPDATE 2: One of the top open wheel racers in the country is set to try his hand at NASCAR racing. Cory Kruseman is scheduled to drive the #98 Chevy fielded by SealMaster Racing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at the Phoenix International Raceway November 8. “We’re delighted to be able to bring Cory Kruseman to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series,” said Duke Thorson, owner of SealMaster Racing. “He is an outstanding racer who we think can make a rapid and successful transition from open wheel cars to stock cars.” Kruseman, a Ventura, Calif. native, is the 2001 champion of the Sprint Car Racing Association (SCRA).. He claimed the title in the United States Auto Club’s (USAC) prestigious Valvoline Indiana Sprint Week Championship in 2002, winning four of eight races. Kruseman has claimed some of the top events in open wheel racing. He was the 2001 “Driver of the Year” in the National Sprint Car Poll. Kruseman claimed the Chili Bowl Nationals midget car event in 2000 and the Non-Winged World Championship for sprint cars in 1999. He has won 52 SCRA feature events since 1994. The 32-year-old Kruseman made his Indy Racing League debut in September, 2002 at the Texas Motor Speedway. More at Racing PR)(11-1-2002)
    UPDATE 3: hearing Cory Kruseman will attempt to make the race at Homstead after running Phoenix.(11-13-2002)
  • Bristol Truck Race: Following a three-year absence, the O’Reilly 200 presented by Valvoline MaxLife, set for Wednesday, August 20, 2003, will mark the return of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series to the high banks of Bristol Motor Speedway. Fan demand for the highly competitive truck racing helped fuel the series return. The O’Reilly 200 will be part of a Wednesday night doubleheader, which also will feature the NASCAR Goody’s Dash Series. O’Reilly Auto Parts, the official automotive parts supplier of Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway, joins the family of Bristol race sponsors and will back the truck event. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series last visited BMS in June 1999, when Jack Sprague won the 200-lap event en route to his second series title. In addition to Sprague, BMS truck race winners include Joe Ruttman (’95), Rick Carelli (’96) and Ron Hornaday (’97, ’98). All tickets for the O’Reilly 200 presented by Valvoline MaxLife will be general admission and will cost $25. Children under the age of 12 will be admitted free. Tickets may be purchased by calling 423/764-1161 or by visiting PR)(11-13-2002)
  • Fans Group helps Hooper: A fledgling fan based group will be an associate sponsor for Lance Hooper’s #86 truck at Phoenix and Homestead. Fans Motorsports has made some ambitious steps towards establishing a fan based race team by becoming involved with one of NASCAR’s top racing series only one month after its inception. The goal of Fans Motorsports is to build membership over the next few years and move up the racing ladder into the BGN or WC series. They have already begun to build a USAR Hooter’s Pro Cup team from membership based in 12 states and Canada. The cost of joining Fan Motorsports is $10. The first 50,000 members receive a lifetime membership in addition to a team newsletter and a membership certificate. Members will also be able to have a voice in team decisions and join the team in the pits at races. The organization, began by Mark Westrick, will also be awarding random prizes that include race tickets and team memorabilia. Westrick has experience organizing a race team from previous involvement with another fan based race team. Based on the response Fans Motorsports has already received, many fans share his belief and commitment to the concept of greater fan involvement in racing. Hooper also has been an advocate of fan based involvement, driving a BGN car for the former Big Fan Racing organization at Bristol and Dover. “I am excited that Mark is getting this concept off the ground, again. It is a great idea and we especially appreciate Fans Motorsports support of the 86 truck,” Hooper stated. For information on Fans Motorsports, visit their website at
  • Martin back in the BGN in 2003 UPDATE or/and the CTS?: during TNT coverage of the Rockingham Cup qualifying, it was mentioned that Mark Martin, driver of the #6-Viagra Ford in the Cup series and 2nd in the Drivers Point, will drive five(5) BGN races in 2003. No details given, like what car or a sponsor or which races he will drive in. Martin is the all time wins leader in the Busch series.(11-2-2002)
    UPDATE: There’s been some talk of Mark Martin’s extra curricular driving in 2003, which has Martin doing some CTS races and BGN races. However, no firm schedule is in place because Roush Racing needs to find the financial support for the Martin’s limited schedule. Roush Racing’s President, Geoff Smith, told, today, that Martin wants to help with the truck entry that Kyle Busch will start driving fulltime in May of 2003. The offer for help is to run the truck in the companion Winston Cup events (gathering a few points on the truck) until Busch drives. The BGN talk is very preliminary. Smith said that once he heard of Martin’s interest he started placing a few calls looking funding for a four, five or six race schedule for Martin. Smith, who has had two formal and one informal talks with potential sponsors seems very optimistic about finding enough money to make the deal go.(Ford Racing)(11-10-2002)
  • Sockwell Announcement: Sockwell Motorsports, LLC, here, announces the recent addition of Morris Phifer as their first full-time Marketing Director. It’s the latest move towards the team’s goal of racing a full 2003 CTS season with Brian Sockwell at the wheel of the #54 Chevy. “I have a business to run,” noted Dennis Sockwell, Brian’s father and head of Sockwell Motorsports. “And Brian not only works on the trucks but he also works for me as an electrician,” Dennis, owner of Lowdermilk Electric, added. “We needed someone to concentrate on marketing, especially sponsor development. We were impressed by Morris’s advertising and public relations background as well as his love of racing.” Brian, who started his quest in go-carts, has run a limited truck schedule the last two years, concentrating on East Coast tracks the team could get to with limited time and budgets. In his last race at South Boston, Brian had scrapped his way from 29th to 12th before getting caught up in an early wreck of two trucks just ahead of him.. Ironically, it was an electrical short caused by the crash that generated his only DNF of this season.(Sockwell Motorsports PR)(11-9-2002)
  • Harvick wins at Phoenix: #6-Kevin Harvick won his first ever CTS race (in his 75th start), joining Mark Martin, Bobby Hamilton, Terry Labonte and Ken Schrader as the five drivers who have won races in the 3 major NASCAR divisions: Cup, BGN and CTS. #1-Ted Musgrave was 2nd, #14-Rick Crawford third, #60-Travis Kvapil fourth and #29-Terry Cook was fifth. #16-Bliss now leads Crawford by 32 points (3199 to 3167) and #1-Musgrave by 71. If Bliss finishes 5th or better at Homestead he wins. Chevy wins the manufacturers championship in the CTS, their first since 1998. Harvick is the 5th first time winners this year in the CTS, joining #18-Pressley, #75-Starr, #62-Gaughan and #33-Stewart. For results see
  • Crawford wins pole at Phoenix: #14-Rick Crawford won the Bud Pole Award at Phoenix International Raceway with a speed of 128.329mph, just beating #8-Bill Lester fpr the pole. Lester will start 2nd with a lap of 128.324. Coming into the second-to-last race of the season, Crawford trails points leader #16-Mike Bliss by 68 points. #6-Kevin Harvick was 3rd at 127.959 followed by #29-Terry Cook at 127.823 and #16-Mike Bliss at 127.705.
    See Lineup at or
  • Crew Chief fined: NASCAR officials announced that NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series crew chief Gary R. Showalter has been fined for an infraction found during initial inspection for the Nov. 2 American Racing Wheels 200 at California Speedway. Showalter, crew chief for the #15 Ford, was fined $250 for actions detrimental to stock car racing, specifically under Sections 12-4-A, 12-4-Q and 20B-12.1-A(3) of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Rule Book: “use of parts that do not conform to NASCAR rules.” The #15 Ford was found to have unapproved front jacking bolts.(NASCAR PR)(11-6-2002)
  • Musgrave wins at California: #1-Ted Musgrave came from the back of the field and pulled away to an easy victory Saturday in the American Racing Wheels 200 CTS race at California Speedway. #2-Jason Leffler was 2nd followed by #62-Brendan Gaughan, #60-Travis Kvapil and #14-Rick Crawford. Series leader #16-Mike Bliss started fourth, led once early in the race and wound up ninth. He leads Crawford by 68 points and Musgrave by 107 with two races remaining.(
  • Starr on the pole at California: #75-David Starr narrowly beat #20-Coy Gibbs on Friday to win the pole for Saturday’s American Racing Wheels 200 at California Speedway with a speed of 175.850mph, Gibbs ran 175.824. #8-Bill Lester will start 3rd at 175.627, #16-Mike Bliss grabbed the 4th spot at 175.571 and #18-Robert Pressley is 5th at 175.089. #4-Ryan Hemphill wrecked his truck in practice. A track spokesman said the 20-year-old driver was awake and alert before being transported to nearby Loma Linda University Medical Center for tests.(11-1-2002)

Born On Date: November 13, 2002

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