October 2003 Truck Series News Archive
- Harvick wins at Phoenix: #6-Kevin Harvick was able to hold off #1-Ted Musgrave for the victory in Friday’s Chevy Silverado 150 at Phoenix International Raceway. NASCAR Truck series points leader Brendan Gaughan was able to keep from blowing up. While Harvick cruised to his second consecutive series victory at Phoenix and first of the season, Gaughan began experiencing engine problems in his #62 Dodge as the final laps wound down. Gaughan dropped from the top five to 12th by the time the checkered flag flew, but still holds the points lead, even if just barely. Entering the Nov. 14 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Gaughan leads Musgrave by 26 points. Only 39 points separate the top-four drivers. #46-Dennis Setzer finished third, #99-Carl Edwards fourth and #4-Bobby Hamilton completed the top five. The race was slowed three times by caution for 15 laps and there were nine lead changes among four drivers.(ThatsRacin.com)
For results see ThatsRacin.com, Truckseries.com, Motorsports One or NASCAR.com.(10-31-2003)
- Starr Renews Contract With Spears For 2004: David Starr, driver of the #75 Spears Manufacturing Chevrolet in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck series has renewed his contract with the Mooresville, North Carolina-based team. Spears Motorsports has fielded a truck in all but two events since the inception of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 1995. The team is owned by Wayne and Connie Spears and sponsored by Spears Manufacturing, the nation’s leading manufacturer of plastic pipe-fittings and valves. “We are very pleased to announce David Starr will be returning as our driver for the 2004 season,” remarked owner, Wayne Spears. “We have a great deal of confidence in his driving abilities and believe that by retaining him for the 2004 season, we are putting the team in the best possible position to win races and compete for the championship.” The Spears team experienced their most successful season in 2002 with Starr behind the wheel. It was Starr’s first full season in the Craftsman Truck Series. “I had a great season with the Spears team in 2002,” said Starr. “We finished fifth in the points, won our first race, won two poles and were competitive all year long. This year we got off to a bad start at Daytona and then I got injured. We’ve had some good races this year including a couple I thought we could have won. It’s been an up and down season, so I look forward to putting this season behind us and starting a new season with the Spears Motorsports team in 2004.” Crew chief, Dave McCarty is also looking forward to the opportunity to prove just what kind of team Spears Motorsports is next year. “We all know we’re better than the season we’ve had this year,” said McCarty. “We had a lot of momentum coming off the 2002 season and were looking to be championship contenders this year. Call it bad luck or whatever you want, but this year is not a good reflection of what this team is capable of accomplishing. I think it will be highly advantageous for us to have Starr behind the wheel next season. The continuity will be an asset and an excellent foundation upon which to build a successful season and contend for the championship. I am confident in his driving ability and I know that he gives this team everything he’s got out on that racetrack. I am looking forward to 2004 and the opportunity show what this team can do.” Starr shares McCarty’s enthusiasm and confidence in the Spears team, thereby making the decision to stay an easy one.
“What it comes down to is that Wayne and Connie Spears gave me my first opportunity in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and gave me the dream that I’ve lived for,” said Starr. “They’ve been good to me and they give me a awesome race truck week in and week out. They give this team the best of everything we need to be winners on the racetrack. Why would I want to leave that? I love working with Dave McCarty and all the guys on our team. We’ve got a great team and we’ve got a lot of momentum going into next year. We just want to get back on top and be part of the chase for the championship. With the way the common templates are going to be next year and the new Chevrolet body style, it just makes me really excited about next year. I believe in this team and I’m excited to be driving the No. 75 Spears Manufacturing Chevrolet for the 2004 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season, in fact, I can’t wait.”(Spears Motorsports PR)(10-31-2003)
- Musgrave wins Phoenix Pole: #1-Ted Musgrave, 3rd in the drivers points, won the pole for the Chevy Silverado 150 at Phoenix International Raceway breaking the track record with a speed of 129.427mph, beating Joe Ruttman’s 2000 record of 129.204. #6-Kevin Harvick will start 2nd, followed by #2-Andy Houston, #52-Ken Schrader and #14-Rick Crawford. 2nd in points, #16-Travis Kvapil starts 8th and Points Leader #62-Brendan Gaughan will start 14th.
See lineups at ThatsRacin.com, Truckseries.com or NASCAR.com.(10-29-2003)
- Some Phoenix Notes: #6-Kevin Harvick only Phoenix winner in field … The defending Chevy Silverado 150 champion is the only one of seven Phoenix winners expected to go to the post in Friday’s race. The track has seen more multiple winners – four – than any other series venue. Two drivers – Mike Skinner and Jack Sprague – captured the series’ first five stops at Phoenix but there have been five different winners in the most recent five races.
Bud Pole title up for grabs – between eight … There have been 10 different Bud Pole winners on the series in 2003 and eight of them still have a shot at the season Bud Pole Award, worth $10,000. Gaughan and Musgrave, with three poles each, lead the standings with two qualifying sessions remaining.
A top-10 finish by #46-Dennis Setzer – he has four at Phoenix – will be the driver’s 19th in succession, a figure that would match Ron Hornaday’s 1996 record … None of the five championship contenders has led a lap at Phoenix in 16 combined starts … Chevrolet has won eight of 12 races at Phoenix, however, Dodge and Ford also have a victory in the track’s past three events … Friday’s race marks the 13th appearance of the series at Phoenix, marking the most events at a single venue.
#1-Ted Musgrave yet to finish out of top six at Phoenix … Musgrave has the best record of any Phoenix non-winner, having posted finishes of second, fourth, fifth and sixth in his four series appearances.
#14-Rick Crawford has led three races at Phoenix for a combined 85 laps, tops among drivers expected to compete in the Chevy Silverado 150. Crawford claimed last year’s Bud Pole by .001 second (over Lester) in one of the series’ closest qualifying decisions. The Chevy Silverado 150 will be Crawford’s 172nd series start, most by a competitor in series history, breaking the record he shares with Sprague.
Phoenix International Raceway definitely is a proving ground for NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champions. Each of the five NASCAR Craftsman Truck champions have won there. Skinner, Sprague and Ron Hornaday Jr. count a Phoenix victory in title seasons – 1995, 1997 and 1998, respectively.(NASCAR PR)(10-28-2003)
- Mike Wallace to run the #31 at Phoenix: The #31 Brevak Racing Dodge will be dressed in familiar colors, with that of 3M Scotch Transparent Duct Tape. A new addition, however, to the seat of the #31 will be NASCAR veteran Mike Wallace. Wallace, who has been extremely successful in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, as well as the Busch Series and the Winston Cup Series, will pilot the Brevak Racing Dodge in the Chevy Silverado 150 at Phoenix International Raceway. Kevin Cram will serve as crew chief. Kevin comes with a successful background in the truck series (as crew chief for Ron Hornaday and Stacy Compton). Cram was also crew chief for Bill Elliot, Jason Leffler and Casey Atwood in the Winston Cup Series. Team #31, with Wallace at the helm, will be backed by Maurice Petty & Associates horsepower and the Brevaks are fully confident in what is going beneath the hood of their #31 Dodge. “The Petty’s have done an outstanding job for us all year long and we’re certain they’ll do the same when Phoenix rolls around. We can’t express our appreciation enough. They’ve (Maurice Petty & Associates) really put together a solid engine program for us all year,” said Shelly Brevak. Mike Wallace has won a Truck Series race at Phoenix. The Retail Automotive & Electrical branch of 3M stepped up to the plate to promote one of their latest cutting-edge products in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series- transparent duct tape. Brevak Racing is also supported by the fine people at Microtel Inns & Suites from coast to coast. Shelly & Bob Brevak were recently informed that Tina Gordon has elected to exercise her option to terminate her multi-year agreement with the team. “As an owner, it is always disappointing at any time to have to deal with unexpected change when you are working hard to build your program”, said Shelly Brevak, “let alone so close to the end of the season when 2004 plans appeared to be falling nicely into place. We do wish Tina well in her racing pursuit.” At this time the team plans to run Phoenix with veteran driver Mike Wallace in the seat. They are exploring all options for Homestead and for the team in 2004 including drivers, sponsors, and manufacturers. All interested parties can contact Shelly or Bob Brevak at 715-682-9399 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Driver resumes can be mailed to Rt. 2 Box 261 Ashland, WI 54806 or faxed to 715-682-9350.(Brevak Racing PR)(10-28-2003)
- Ninety-Nine Racing Goes Trucking: The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will have a new entry for the upcoming Phoenix and Homestead-Miami events as the driver of Ninety-Nine Racing LLC, Gilbert King, continues to follow his racing dreams. King will pilot the Chesterfield, SC-based #82 Chevrolet truck for these two races at the end of the 2003 season to gain experience in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and to attract the attention of potential sponsors for next season. Phoenix and Homestead-Miami will be his second and third attempts in the exciting NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series after an impressive 6th place practice time at South Boston earlier this month attracted the attention of some of the circuit’s veterans. Qualifying 26th for his first truck race, King finished a disappointing 29th after experiencing mechanical problems early in the race, but gained valuable experience in this new venue for him and his team. Gilbert King is not a novice to racing. In the 1980s, he assisted the late J.D. McDuffie with his NASCAR Winston Cup efforts. Since purchasing his first race car in 1992, King has been on his way up. In 1993, Gilbert King won the track championship at Florence (SC) Motor Speedway, and over the next six years drove in the NASCAR Late Model Stock Division and at numerous tracks on the east coast.(Ninety-Nine Racing PR)(10-28-2003)
- Huffman wins Dash Series Title..then to the Trucks? Robert Huffman’s fifth-place finish in Friday night’s NASCAR Dash series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway – won by Justin Hobgood – clinched his fifth and final series championship. NASCAR is no longer sanctioning the series after this season and Huffman, who has so far driven Toyota’s only entry in a NASCAR series, will move to the Truck Series next season, where he will debut in one of Toyota’s Tundras. “To be involved in the Craftsman Truck series with Toyota is a lifelong dream. I want to be able to race for a living as long as I can race and Toyota has given me the opportunity to do that, recently in the Dash series and moving to Trucks,” said Huffman, of Claremont, NC. “It’s been fun for me to help Toyota get their program started and to see where it’s at now. It’s great. Toyota doesn’t owe me anything, but it’s great for me that they feel like they do.” Huffman declined to name the team he will drive for in 2004, but he is expected to be one of seven Toyota drivers running in the series next season.(ThatsRacin.com)(10-26-2003)
- Lester to Busch? Craftsman Truck Series driver Bill Lester, the only black driver in any of NASCAR’s top three divisions, hinted that he may be in line for a Busch Series car. He is losing his ride in the truck series because his sponsor, Dodge, is dropping the diversity program that has funded his No. 8 truck for the past two seasons. “I’m here beating the pavement,” Lester said Friday at AMS. “I’m optimistic that I may be able to find a quality ride, and it may not necessarily be in the truck. It might be in Busch. “I’m just looking at the best opportunity to be competitive and successful, and I’ve had some good discussions.” Lester’s ultimate goal is to race in the Winston Cup Series, and he knows that at age 42 his time is running short. “I hope to be there in 2005, but it is very much a function of how successful I am on the track next year,” he said.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(10-25-2003)
- Dash Driver to the Trucks: Goody’s Dash Series driver, Robert Huffman, will be driving a factory-backed truck for Toyota. Huffman’s career has brought 41 Dash Series victories and championships in 1994, 1998, 1999 and 2000. Many think Huffman will excel in the Craftsman Truck Series as well, including those in charge of Toyota Racing Development. And they should know. They brought Huffman on board in 2001 to assist a struggling Goody’s Dash Series program and he’ll clinch Toyota’s first NASCAR championship simply by starting the Oct. 24 race in Atlanta. Huffman said. “I’d like to be the guy who brings Toyota their first Craftsman Truck Series Championship, too.”(Daily Herald)(10-23-2003)
- Notes: With two races remaining, four drivers are within 72 points – the closest margin at this stage of the season – of winning their first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship. Last year, the worst finish any of these teams had at the final two tracks – Phoenix International Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway – was 13th. Current points leader #62-Brendan Gaughan was the only driver among the current top four in points to wind up outside the top 10 at either race last year, finishing 11th and 13th respectively. To prepare, crew chief Shane Wilson is taking the team’s two best trucks, which won at Las Vegas and Texas, to the wind tunnel in Detroit to make sure they are comfortable with their aero package in preparation for the Ford 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 14. He believes Phoenix will take care of itself since the team’s NASCAR Grand National Division, Winston West Series driver Scott Lynch won at Phoenix on Oct. 12. Fourth-place #46-Dennis Setzer’s team has a wind tunnel date to look at their spoiler options for Homestead-Miami Speedway, where NASCAR will require the teams to run the same spoiler package as Daytona, Texas and Charlotte.(NASCAR PR)(10-23-2003)
- Wanke to crew chief the #59: been told that Fred Wanke will finish out the season as crew chief with the #59 Dodge Truck team owned by Jim Harris with driver Robert Pressley. Greg Conner was the crew chief but left to thake the #14 Foyt Racing crew chief job in Cup.(10-23-2003)
- Toyoya Teams Named; Bill Davis Racing the East Coast base: Toyota, firming up its Craftsman Truck roster for the company’s NASCAR launch next February, will have seven teams next season, although the driver list is incomplete. Three owners will have two teams each, and one owner will have one. Bill Davis Racing, which has been Toyota’s behind-the-scenes leader in the Truck program, will have two teams, with drivers to be determined. TV announcer Larry McReynolds will front a two-Truck operation for money man Alex Meshkin, a young software millionaire from northern Virginia. Skinner like will drive one of the Trucks. Long-time Busch operator George deBidart also will have two Trucks, drivers TBD. The seventh player is Darrell Waltrip, working out of his brother Michael’s Busch shops, who will field a Truck for a driver not yet named. Toyota insiders say the company’s NASCAR V8 has not yet been track-tested but will be ready in time for official testing in January. The engines will be assembled and shipped from Davis’ High Point, N.C., plant, which has become Toyota’s East Coast base.(Speed Channel)(10-23-2003)
- NASCAR Levies Fine: NASCAR officials have fined Earl Ramey, crew chief of the #95 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series team driven by Wayne Edwards, $250. The infraction was in violation of 12-4-A: Actions detrimental to stock truck racing. Section 12-4-W: Improperly attached weight. The infraction occurred during pre-qualifying inspection for last Saturday’s Advance Auto Parts 200 at Martinsville Speedway.(NASCAR PR)(10-22-2003)
- Wood wins at Martinsville: #50-John Wood won the Advance Auto Parts 200 at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday, beating pole sitter and teammate, #99-Carl Edwards. Rounding out the top five were #46-Dennis Setzer, #14-Rick Crawford and #4-Bobby Hamilton. #17-Darrell Waltrip finished 7th, points leader #62-Brandan Gaughan finished 11th, increasing his points lead over #16-Travis Kvapil to 45, Kvapil finished 16th.
For results see ThatsRacin.com, Truckseries.com or NASCAR.com.(10-18-2003)
- New Team: it was reported after the Nashville Truck race that a big announcement was forthcoming about a new team to be owned by a former basketball player from Michigan State, who played in the NBA…and while his number was not revealed the camera floated over and focused on the #32. Sounds like Magic Johnson to me….(8-8-2003)
UPDATE:Bill Lester, the only African-American driver regularly competing in any of NASCAR’s top three divisions, is losing his Dodge-backed ride in the Craftsman Truck Series, but he could resurface next season in a truck owned by basketball legend Magic Johnson. Johnson and an Atlanta-based company, Grupo Mundo, are expected to announce next week that they’re purchasing the truck series team owned by Georgia businessman Billy Ballew [#9 and #15 teams]. Team members say Johnson and Grupo Mundo want a minority driver in their truck, and Lester, who has run well and won a pole at Charlotte while driving the #8 Dodge for Bobby Hamilton, is a likely choice. “I’ve held preliminary discussions with them,” Lester said Friday, adding that he believes Johnson could have a big impact on the sport of NASCAR racing. “If the whole situation is handled properly, it will be huge,” he said. “My hope is that Magic can use what he’s learned in athletics and business and take full advantage of what NASCAR has to offer.” Ballew currently fields the #9 Ford driven by Kenny Hendrick and the #15 driven by Rich Bickle. Lester said the new team is one of the options he’s exploring now that Dodge is dropping the diversity program that has backed his #8 the past two seasons. Lester also has been mentioned as a possible driver for one of the Toyota teams that will compete next year. Johnson apparently will use his new team to promote opportunities for minorities to participate in racing, with the goal being to one day move the team to the Winston Cup circuit. Grupo Mundo and its representative, Michael Warmack, already have been involved with Ballew and his team. They were responsible for putting together a deal in which hip-hop star Nelly and the musician’s clothing line, Vokal, sponsored Ballew’s truck for several races this season. Ballew wouldn’t reveal any details of the upcoming sale of his team other than to say he is in negotiations and expects to make an announcement soon.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(10-18-2003)
- Gaughan Reiterates; he is staying in the Truck Series in 2004: Gaughan’s name has come up in connection with rumors in the Winston Cup garage in recent weeks, but he reiterated Friday that he plans to return to the Truck Series next year with his Las Vegas-based team that is sponsored by the hotel-casino, The Orleans, owned by his father, Michael. “These guys have given their lives to this team and it would not be fair for me to say, ‘Thanks guys, see you later,'” Gaughan said. Gaughan said that before he moved up to Cup he’d have to be sure it was the right opportunity for him and also would have a sponsor lined up to keep the Truck Series team going for the guys who’ve been working with him. “I am 28 years old, I am not 18,” Gaughan said. “I am only going to get one shot at it. I have to make sure I take it with the best. …I can walk through the Cup garage and nobody looks at me. My phone hasn’t been ringing as much as everybody thinks, but I am glad people are talking. If I had a sponsor and the right team I would be ready to go. But to get me to leave right now, it would take the moon wrapped up in a brown paper bag and delivered to my doorstep.”(ThatsRacin.com)(10-17-2003)
AND Gaughan said Friday that Dodge Motorsports has signed a multi-year contract with his team, and that the manufacturer has aspirations of entering Gaughan in at least two Nextel Cup Series races and two NASCAR Busch Series races in 2004.(NASCAR.com)(10-18-2003)
- Graham ends bid for presidency UPDATE: Bob Graham, a political veteran whose low-key style failed to gain traction in the crowded Democratic presidential race, said Monday night he was ending his campaign. “I’m leaving because I have made the judgment that I can not be elected president of the United States,” Graham said in announcing his exit from the race. Graham’s campaign strategy focused on courting conservative, rural voters — so-called NASCAR Democrats who normally don’t vote in large numbers. He even sponsored “Bob Graham for President” Ford truck, #50, which completes in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.(MSNBC), no word on how this effects the sponsorship of the #50 Roush Racing Ford and driver Jon Wood, but would assume it will not continue.(10-7-2003)
UPDATE: The “Bob Graham for President” sponsorship on the sides of Jon Wood’s #50 Ford truck outlasted the Florida Senator’s campaign for the White House — but not by much. The third-term senator was one of nine declared candidates for the 2004 Democratic nomination for president until he dropped out Oct. 6. But his campaign logo was still on the #50 Ford truck on Friday at Martinsville Speedway when Wood was second to teammate Carl Edwards in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series qualifying. Roush Racing spokesperson Lori Halbeisen said the team had simply been waiting to conclude negotiations on ending the contract and that the decals would be removed from the truck before Saturday’s Advance Auto Parts 200. Graham’s campaign signed the deal to sponsor a racing team in July in a bid to reach rural voters who flock to auto races. He is the first presidential candidate to have his campaign logo emblazoned on a NASCAR vehicle.(CNNSI/AP)(10-18-2003)
- TV from Texas: The Silverado 350, the Truck Series race held last Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway and televised by SPEED Channel, enjoyed a 200% national ratings increase over 2002’s event held on the same weekend. An average of 199,000 households tuned into the 2003 Silverado 350, a 58% increase over last year’s event that was held on the same weekend (at Las Vegas Motor Speedway). An average of 297,000 viewers tuned in to the 2003 Silverado 350, a 21% increase over last season’s event. The UAW-GM Quality 500, the NASCAR Winston Cup Series race held last Saturday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and televised by NBC, was watched by an average of 4,667,000 households, and an average of 7,479,000 viewers tuned in. The UAW-GM Quality 500 competed directly against baseball’s Game 4 of the National League Championship Series (Chicago Cubs vs. Florida Marlins). It also competed directly against three key college football match-ups – Georgia vs. Tennessee, Ohio State vs. Wisconsin and Notre Dame vs. Pittsburgh. NBC used 59 cameras to cover the primetime UAW-GM Quality 500, including 30 in-car cameras (10 cars equipped with three cameras) and “Squash Cam,”the remote unit buried just inside Lowe’s Motor Speedway’s tri-oval grass.(Figures compiled by Nielsen Media Research.)(NASCAR PR)(10-18-2003)
- Kvapil to Toyota? IWX to stay with one team and Sprague: #16-Travis Kvapil is 30 points behind #62-Brendan Gaughan in the chase for the 2003 Championship and has posted 18 consecutive top-10 finishes. His consistency has put him in the hunt for a second title for Steve Coulter’s IWX Chevy team, and he will not return to drive that truck in 2004. Jack Sprague will take over the steering wheel of the #16, while Kvapil (who could be the defending Champion in a Chevrolet) will more than likely drive a Toyota next year.(Speed Channel), hearing Kvapil will be in one of /Innovative Motorsports trucks.(10-17-2003)
- Edwards wins pole at Martinsville; DW is 13th: #99-Carl Edwards and Jon Wood, rookie teammates for Roush Racing, locked up front-row starting spots Friday for the Advance Auto Parts 200 at Martinsville Speedway for a race Saturday that could play a key role in a tight battle for the NASCAR Truck Series championship. Edwards ran 91.549mph in his Ford, to edge a lap at 91.056mph by Wood, a third-generation member of the storied Wood Brothers racing family from nearby Stuart, VA. #62-Brendan Gaughan, the points leader, 30-points over #16-Travis Kvapil, will start fourth, #46-Dennis Setzer starts 3rd, and #15-Rich Bickle 5th. Kvapil starts 11th. #17-Darrell Waltrip will start 13th in today’s race, with Winston Cup regulars #52-Ken Schrader starting seventh, #2-Jimmy Spencer 15th and #84-Elliott Sadler 17th.(ThatsRacin.com)
Qualifying Results/Lineups at ThatsRacin.com, Truckseries.com or NASCAR.com.(10-17-2003)
- Starr to Toyota? Toyota officials are talking to Irving resident David Starr about being one of their drivers next year in the inaugural season for Toyota in the Truck Series. Starr met with Larry McReynolds Tuesday in Charlotte. McReynolds, a former Winston Cup crew chief and a color analyst for Fox, will be one of the team owners for Toyota. McReynolds will have a two-truck team. He already has signed Mike Skinner as one of his drivers. Starr drives the #75 Spears Manufacturing Chevy in the NCTS for team owner Wayne Spears. Starr feels a lot of loyalty to Spears, but McReynolds and Toyota may make him an offer he can’t refuse.(Dallas Morning News)(10-17-2003)
- Toyota Testing:Toyota will continue its preparation for 2004 with a track test at Martinsville next Monday and Tuesday.(Speed Channel)(10-17-2003)
- Davis to one team? Howard and Fuge will be one: Dave Fuge Jr., who left the IWX team prior to the Charlotte race in May, will also wear a Toyota uniform as a Crew Chief for Bill Davis racing. Shelby Howard, a three time ARCA Remax Series winner, recently signed with BDR to drive. Davis may only field one truck team.(Speed Channel)(10-17-2003)
- Tina Gordon looking at options for 2004 UPDATE to the #88? Tina Gordon is no longer affiliated with #31 Brevak Racing. “I appreciate the chance Bob and Shelly Brevak gave me to run in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series this year and I wish them the best of luck in the future,” said Gordon. Tina Gordon is currently looking at several options for the 2004 season and will be making an announcement as soon as her plans are finalized. She would also like to thank her fans for their support all year as well, and is looking forward to her return to the track.(Victory Lane Motorsports Management), BGNRacing.com reports that Gordon is looking at a new Busch team as a possibility.(10-16-2003)
UPDATE: With Matt Crafton’s departure from the Menards Chevy to Kevin Harvick’s team for “04, the official inquiry list at the #88 team now stands at 131. Tina Gordon will not return to Brevak racing and it is very likely that she will join the new driver of the #88 as a two truck team. PJ Jones has been spending time in the pit area watching Crafton’s crew and Marty Houston is also rumored to be in the running as a possible wheelman. Tracy Hines and Mark Green are also on the short list.(Speed Channel)(10-17-2003)
- Elliott Sadler to run #84 truck at Martinsville UPDATE Combos to sponsor: Long Brothers Racing is partnering with Virginia driver Elliott Sadler at Martinsville Speedway. The combination will be featured in the #84 Long Brothers Racing Ford during the Advance Auto Parts 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event Oct. 18 at 2:30pm/et. “We’re hoping that we can have some of the success we’ve had at Martinsville in the past,” said crew chief and co-owner Charlie Long. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to get Elliott qualified up front and have another good finish there.” Long Brothers Racing, co-owned by Robert Long, enjoyed a win at the .526-mile flat track just two weeks ago as their #2 Late Model car won the Taco Bell 300 – an event that typically sees more than 100 Late Model entries. “That was a big weekend for Long Brothers Racing,” Charlie Long said. “We had a top-15 finish in the truck race with Nick Woodward at South Boston and won the Late Model race just down the road at Martinsville. I wouldn’t mind seeing that victory lane again.” Sadler and Long Brothers Racing have teamed together twice before at Richmond International Raceway in 2000 and 2001. Both of those events resulted in early exits thanks to engine and brake failure, respectively. Long Brothers Racing also competes regularly in the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series with Woodward.(Keystone Marketing PR)(10-14-2003)
UPDATE: Elliott Sadler will sport the COMBOS logo as he competes in the Advance Auto Parts 250 Craftsman Truck Series race at the Martinsville Speedway this weekend. Earlier this season COMBOS made its debut on Sadler’s #38 M&M’S Ford Taurus under the lights at Bristol Motor Speedway in the Cup race. Sadler’s night ended early on the high banked half-mile oval at Bristol but he has high hopes his #84 Long Brothers Racing ride will fare better on the paper clip shaped half mile nestled his home state of Virginia. In addition to the Combos logos, Sadler’s truck ride will pay tribute to the Dale Jarrett Foundation, the Tia and Trey Dodson Memorial Golf Classic and feature the puzzle ribbons of the Autism Society of America.(Elevation Group PR)(10-17-2003)
- 2004 Sched Out: The 2004 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series schedule will consist of 25 events and includes new races at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Mansfield (Ohio) Motorsports Speedway, NASCAR officials announced Thursday. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series’ 10th season will kick off Friday night, Feb. 13 at Daytona International Speedway as part of a national series tripleheader that also will include the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series and the NASCAR Busch Series. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck season will end Friday, Nov. 19, at Homestead-Miami Speedway as part of another tripleheader weekend. In next year’s schedule, the series will partner with the NASCAR Nextel Cup for 12 race weekends. The series will visit Atlanta Motor Speedway for the first time on Saturday, March 13. Darlington Raceway’s event moves from March to Friday, Nov. 12 and will be the first event run under the lights at the legendary “Track Too Tough To Tame.” The schedule again will feature two weekend events partnered with the NASCAR Busch Series, at The Milwaukee Mile on Saturday, June 26 and Indianapolis Raceway Park on Friday, Aug. 6. Eleven stand-alone events, including seven on short tracks (tracks less than a mile in length), complete the schedule. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will visit the State of Ohio for the first time on Sunday, May 16 for a 250-lap event at Mansfield Motorsports Speedway, a half-mile track. Two tracks, Martinsville Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway, will host two races in 2004. The schedule lists 23 different tracks in 19 states. The initial 2004 on-track preview of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series teams and drivers will begin with NASCAR Preseason Thunder, scheduled for Jan. 10-12 at Daytona International Speedway.(NASCAR.com), missing from the schedule are tracks that a race was run at 2003: South Boston Speedway and Mesa Marin Raceway.(10-16-2003)
- Irwindale to get a Truck Race – UPDATE NO: NASCAR is planning to add Irwindale Speedway to the 2004 Truck series schedule, ThatsRacin.com has learned. The series, which already has announced a new race at Atlanta Motor Speedway for 2004, is also expected to drop its race at Bakersfield, Calif., sources said. Irwindale is a fairly new half-mile banked track that features 6,500 permanent seats and 14 suites. The track is located in the heart of the San Gabriel Valley, less than 25 minutes from downtown Los Angeles.(ThatsRacin.com)(9-4-2003)
UPDATE: the 2004 Schedule is out and Irwindale is not on the race, nor is the race at Mesa Marin Raceway in Bakerfield.(10-16-2003)
- Lester out of a ride end of year: Bill Lester, the only African-American driver regularly competing in any of NASCAR’s top three divisions, is out looking for a new ride. Lester has been driving on the Craftsman Truck Series in a #8 Dodge owned by Bobby Hamilton and sponsored through a diversity program funded by Dodge. But Dodge is dropping the diversity program and Hamilton isn’t going to run the truck without a sponsor. Dodge spokesman Todd Goyer said the company started the diversity program three years ago with the hope that some other corporation would step in and pick up the program. That never happened, although in July, General Mills put Lester’s picture on boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios. “We started with a two-year program and extended it for a year,” Goyer said. “But the bottom line is that we can’t carry the flag alone.” Lester has been Dodge’s minority driver for the past two seasons and has shown promise. He runs best on superspeedways and won the pole at Charlotte earlier this year. He’s 13th in points heading into Saturday’s race at Martinsville and has an average start of 13th and an average finish of 18th (usually 36 or so drivers are in Craftsman fields). Goyer said the failure of Dodge’s diversity program shouldn’t be blamed on Lester. “Bill certainly represented us well,” Goyer said. While Lester said he’s unsure where he’ll be racing next year, NASCAR officials are certain he’ll be back behind the wheel of a competitive truck. “I feel confident that Bill Lester will be competing again next year,” said NASCAR vice president Jim Hunter. Lester said he’s appreciative of what Dodge’s program did for him but disappointed that other companies didn’t follow Dodge’s lead. “Everybody talks about diversity but very few step up and put their money where their mouth is,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that Dodge is dropping this program, but you can’t fault their position. No one else came forward.”(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(10-16-2003)
- Toyota to Sponsor Truck race: Toyota Motor Sales USA and the Nashville Superspeedway, a Dover Motorsports Inc. facility, have reached a multi-year sponsorship agreement in which Toyota will become the racetrack’s Official Vehicle and title sponsor of its NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race. The “Toyota Tundra 200” race weekend is the first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event sponsored by Toyota. “The relationship with Toyota will take our NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race to an entirely new level both in attendance and sponsorship,” Nashville Superspeedway Vice President & General Manger Cliff Hawks said. “We are extremely excited to have the opportunity to work closely with the Middle Tennessee Toyota Dealers and Toyota’s major manufacturing facilities.” The sponsorship agreement will include involvement with Toyota Manufacturing Facilities in Indiana, Kentucky, Alabama, and the new Toyota plant scheduled to open in Jackson, Tennessee in 2005. “Toyota is pleased to enter into this sponsorship agreement with the Nashville Superspeedway,” said Toyota National Motorsports Manager Les Unger. “This will afford an excellent opportunity to showcase the NASCAR Tundra trucks to tens of thousands of dedicated fans, Toyota associates and dealership personnel.” While the Toyota Tundra race trucks will make their NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut in 2004 at the Daytona International Speedway, Toyota has a 30 year history of involvement in motorsports. Toyota has sponsored the Dover Motorsports-owned Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, California, a CART event, since 1975 and sponsors two Indycar Series events including the Toyota Indy 300 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway and the Toyota Indy 400 at the California Speedway. “Team members at our Indiana truck plant were excited by the news earlier this year that our Tundra would enter the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series; and sponsoring the ‘Toyota Tundra 200’ adds to that excitement ,” Vice President of Administration and Manufacturing Planning at Toyota Manufacturing R.J. Reynolds said. “Having visited the Nashville track earlier this year, I came away feeling we could find no better place to be involved as the official vehicle and title sponsor of a race.”
The “Toyota Tundra 200” NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race is scheduled for Saturday, August 14, 2004 and will also feature the ARCA RE/MAX Series and a major concert. Tickets will go on sale early 2004.(NashvilleSuperspeedway PR)(10-16-2003)
- Rumored now fact – Skinner to the trucks – back in the #3: Bang Racing announced today NASCAR Champion Mike Skinner will drive the #3 truck in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series for the 2004 through 2006 seasons. “Mike [Skinner] is a driver we know has the ability and the drive to win the championship for Bang Racing,” said Larry McReynolds, renowned NASCAR crew chief, FOX Sports analyst and most recently chief racing architect for Bang Racing. “He was deliberately hand-picked to be the winning edge, and we are anticipating a lot of action and excitement when Mike is on the track.”
Bang Racing is a subsidiary of Bang LLC, a global operating company that creates long term value by focusing on building and acquiring motorsports related companies and technology-related assets. On October 13, Bang’s founder and CEO Alex Meshkin said, “Bang Racing is excited about the opportunity of fielding two trucks in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. . . We are expecting the [Truck] Series to be very competitive next season and in anticipation of that, we have selected Mike Skinner as one of our drivers.”
“Driving for Bang Racing was a great opportunity for me to get hooked up again with Larry McReynolds,” said Skinner, who is not new to the Truck Series, having won the 1995 Championship. “With Alex’s business savvy, he will give us what we need to run up front, and with people like Larry and Crew Chief Rick [Ren] on the competition side, I feel like we can win a lot of races and contend for the championship.”
Bang Racing has brought together a history of success. The relationship between Mike [Skinner] and Larry [McReynolds] dates back to Skinner’s best runs in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. The #3, made famous in the truck series when Skinner won his championship, returns as part of the winning package and glory as Skinner, McReynolds and the #3 are reunited in 2004 to recreate the excitement and drama of history in the making. “The #3 is a very powerful number and evokes a lot of emotion for everyone,” said McReynolds. “We are honored to have the opportunity to place the #3 back onto the racetrack, and I feel strongly that every NASCAR fan will cheer when the #3 returns to the winners circle.”
“At Bang, I have the power to surround myself with a great package of talent, and if we have good people working with us, it will better our chances of running up front,” Skinner said. “My whole motivation in working with Bang is to run up front and contend for a championship, and I didn’t feel like those opportunities were available to me in Winston Cup.”
According to Meshkin, “Our integrated marketing vehicle gives sponsors direct interaction with fans and the ability to measure, modify and manage their marketing messages. This lets our sponsors leap frog over their competitors, not to mention energizing their fans. But we also mean to win on the field, by bringing the right combination of talent, chemistry, and the old fashioned drive to win. That’s why we chose Mike as one of our drivers and we chose Rick Ren as the Team Manager and Crew Chief. You might say our goal is to win the minds of sponsors and the heart of the fans that make it all possible.”
“This is an incredible opportunity for me,” said Rick [Ren], Skinner’s Crew Chief. “I believe being involved with Alex and Larry is the first step to winning a championship. This is a dream of mine – winning a championship has eluded me several times – but now I believe it’s going to happen. I have been involved with winning my whole career and won’t settle for anything less than a total effort from everyone involved to try and win every race.”
“Mike is loyal and dedicated and proven, and we expect to be with him in the winners circle to congratulate him on his achievements,” McReynolds said. “With Rick’s experience and knowledge, we have a premiere, winning team.”(Mike Skinner Site, see below for more on Bang Racing, the team is widely rumored to running Toyota.(10-16-2003)
- Crawford to run Cup races in 2004? hearing Truck Series driver Rick Crawford [#14 Circle Bar Motel and RV Park Ford] will be attempting some Cup races in 2004 with Yates possibly supplying the horsepower, probably Cup/Truck Series companion races.(10-15-2003)
- Carelli back full time in 2004: A familiar name in NASCAR Busch Series race team ownership history is returning to the NASCAR racing wars. Curtis Key, who for nine years in the 1990’s operated a Busch Series team that was based in both Virginia and North Carolina, has announced his return to NASCAR with the establishment of a new Craftsman truck team. A highly successful plumbing, heating, and air conditioning contractor in southeastern Virginia, Key has built a brand new, 10,500-square foot race shop here adjacent to his contracting business. The new race team will field Chevrolet Silverado’s and will compete in the full 2004 season.
“I have truly missed the competitiveness and challenges of NASCAR racing,” said Key, who last operated a full time Busch Series team in 1997. Everyone connected with this new program is excited. The team announces the return of Rick Carelli to the series. Carelli, a seasoned Craftsman Truck Series driver, ranks among the top drivers in the series in several categories: Starts (8th, with 134), Wins (11th, with 5), Top-10 (8th, with 60), and Top-5 finishes (16th,with 22).
The team remains very optimistic about sponsorship opportunities. “We are going to provide the sponsors with not just a team to sponsor but with an all-inclusive program that provides the company with support elements that when activated properly can create a definite return on their investment. We are not going to go out there and embarrass ourselves or our sponsors, so we will be sure to hire the best available people for the jobs we have to fill”. Key added. For updates and more info on Key Motorsports visit: www.ckeymotorsports.com.(On Track Marketing PR)(10-15-2003)
- McFarland to run Martinsvile: Mark McFarland, the 2003 NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Atlantic Region and National Champion is racing in the Truck Series race at Martinsville. He will be driving the #55 Dean Motorsports Dodge, sponsor TBA. Dean Motorports is McFarland’s team that helped him win the WRS championship this year.(10-15-2003)
- Surprise – Gaughan wins at Texas: #62- Brendan Gaughan came from the back of the pack and won Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway, becoming the first NASCAR truck driver to win four straight races at the same track. Gaughan was forced to drop to the back of the 36-truck field to start the Silverado 350 because of an engine change before he qualified seventh. He didn’t stay there long, even after having to repair some early fender damage. Gaughan beat #16-Travis Kvapil’s Chevrolet by 1.905 seconds with an average speed of 122.727 mph that was slowed by six cautions for 29 laps. He led three times for a race-high 60 laps, including the last 43 of the 146-lap race. It was the sixth win of the season for Gaughan, who extended his season points lead from 20 to 30 points over Kvapil with three races left. Half of Gaughan’s eight career wins are on the 1 1/2-mile Texas track. Kvapil, the last Texas winner other than Gaughan, had his 18th straight top-10 finish to match the record set by Ron Hornaday Jr. in 1996. #1-Ted Musgrave finished third in his Dodge. He remained third in points, but dropped from 58 to 73 points behind Gaughan. Jack Sprague was the only other truck driver to win three races at the same track, doing it at Phoenix from 1996-97. #99-Rookie Carl Edwards, the Texas runner-up in June, finished fourth and polesitter #2-Andy Houston was fifth. #50-Jon Wood, #29-Terry Cook, #46-Dennis Setzer, #14-Rick Crawford and #4-Bobby Hamilton completed the top 10.(ThatsRacin.com)
See results at: ThatsRacin.com, Truckseries.com, NASCAR.com or Motorsports One.(10-11-2003)
- Houston we have a pole…at Texas: #2-Andy Houston earned his fourth career pole, and first since May 21, 2000, with a lap of 181.531mph in his Dodge. #75-David Starr earned his fourth start on the outside of the first row at his home track with a speed of 180.385. #99-Carl Edwards, the runner-up to Gaughan in the last Texas race, will start third. #7-Tracy Hines and #50-Jon Wood, the third-place finisher in June, rounded out the top five qualifiers. Points leader #62-Brendan Gaughan will start at the back of the field in his attempt to become the first NASCAR truck driver to win four straight races at a track because he lost an engine in practice and had to make a change in his Dodge before qualifying Friday. #16-Travis Kvapil won at Texas in the fall 2001 race, the last one Gaughan didn’t win. Two drivers missed the race #04-Shane Wallace and #0-Loni Richardson.(ThatsRacin.com)
Starting Lineups at TruckSeries.com, and NASCAR.com.(10-10-2003)
- An Earnhardt in the Trucks? Kerry Earnhardt, who spent most of the Busch Series season with Fitz-Bradshaw Racing, said he recently reached a settlement with the team, which released him from his driving duties in the #12 Chevrolet in July. Earnhardt said he is exploring several options for next season, with the most likely one a move to the NASCAR Truck series. “I have gotten a few opportunities in the Trucks and if I jump into it, it will be some competitive equipment,” he said. “There have been a few things in Busch, too.” Earnhardt said his hands were tied somewhat in looking for a new job while he waited for his settlement to be completed with Fitz-Bradshaw. “I wasn’t going to do anything to mess things up. I decided when things were finally settled, I would start looking again.”(ThatsRacin.com)(10-9-2003)
- DW tests Truck at Hickory: Darrell Waltrip tested his brand new #17 Dream Machine pickup truck with the Three Stooges at Hickory Speedway on Tuesday. Jeff Hammond and Larry McReynolds were there to lend a hand. DW will run the truck at Martinsville Speedway on Oct 18th.(FoxSports)(10-8-2003)
- Edwards to run at I-70: #99-Carl Edwards will drive a different truck on Sunday, October 12. Edwards will compete in the World Cup 500 at I-70 Speedway in Odessa, Mo., in the Super Truck division. After Edwards races Saturday afternoon at Texas Motor Speedway, he will head home to Missouri to compete in Sunday’s 100-lap event on the half-mile track. The 100-lap Super Truck race begins at 3 p.m. (CDT) on Sunday, followed by a 300-lap late model feature. For more information, visit www.i70speedway.net.(Roush Racing PR)(10-8-2003)
- Setzer wins at South Boston: #46-Dennis Setzer won the John Boy & Billy 250 at South Boston. It is the 10th win of Setzer’ Truck Series career. The rest of the top five were #16-Travis Kvapil, #1-Ted Musgrave, #50-Jon Wood and #14-Rick Crawford. Points leader, #62-Brendan Gaughan ended up 15th.
Results at TruckSeries.com.(10-4-2003)
- Gaughan wins another pole, this time at South Boston: Truck Series points leader Brendan Gaughan continued his hot qualifying streak at Big Daddy’s South Boston Speedway Saturday as he won the Bud Pole for the John Boy & Billy 250 with a record average speed of 92.480mph, his third pole in a row and in his career. #50-Jon Wood was second at 92.754 followed by #1-Ted Musgrave, #16-Travis Kravpil and #46-Dennis Setzer. All 36 teams which made attempts qualified for today’s 250-lap race, set to begin at 4:30pm/et on Speed Channel, the affiliates of MRN and XM Satellite Radio.
For qualifying results/lineups see ThatsRacin.com,Truckseries.com or NASCAR.com.(10-4-2003)
- Kenny to the Truck Series? #23-Kenny Wallace will be back with Bill Davis next season, but apparently as the team’s new Toyota Truck tour driver rather than in Davis’ second Cup car.(Winston Salem Journal); have heard Stacker 2 will continue to sponsor Wallace, wearever he ends up.(10-4-2003)
- Trucks back to Fairgrounds? Joe Mattioli, the new president of Fairgrounds Speedway, may try to bring NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series racing back to the track. ”It’s something I’ll take a look at, at some point,” said Mattioli, who officially took control of the track yesterday. ”My first order of business will be to get our weekly racing series in order. We’ve got a lot of work to do between now and the time we open next spring,” he said.(Tennessean)(10-3-2003)
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