Bernardino County 200 News and Notes
Bernardino County 200 News and Notes
NCTS : California Here We Come
Monday, 19 February 2007
This is the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series’ 13th season. The Feb. 23 San Bernardino County 200 at California Speedway is its 294th race. The race is the 25th (at four different tracks) for the series in the Golden State.
A record-matching seven former series champions boasting 10 titles and 120 victories will compete in this week’s race. They are Mike Skinner (1995), Ron Hornaday Jr. (1996, 98), Jack Sprague (1997, 99, 01), Mike Bliss (2002), Travis Kvapil (2003), Ted Musgrave (2005) and Todd Bodine (2006).
Six of those champions finished among the top 10 in last week’s 2007 opener at Daytona with Travis Kvapil, Mike Skinner, Todd Bodine, Ron Hornaday Jr. and Ted Musgrave following race winner Jack Sprague to the checkered flag.
Germain Racing, the defending series championship team, becomes the first to field a fulltime effort for two champions – Todd Bodine and Ted Musgrave.
Last season’s final top 10 saw series champions finish first, fifth, sixth, seventh and 10th.
Jack Sprague is the early season point leader by a margin of 190 to 175 over Johnny Benson and Travis Kvapil. The last time Sprague led the standings was at the conclusion of 2001 when the Michigan native won his third series title.
Jack Sprague is a two-time winner at California Speedway in 1998-99.
Ted Musgrave won three consecutive California Speedway starts from 2001-03 holding the single track consecutive victory record until Brendan Gaughan won four straight events at Texas Motor Speedway in 2002-03.
Five former California Speedway winners are expected to take the green flag in this week’s race: Jack Sprague, Ted Musgrave, Mike Bliss, Todd Bodine and last year’s winner Mark Martin.
The California race twice has been won from the Budweiser Pole but not since 2000. Steve Park, winner in 2005, started deepest in the field (25th). Since 2001, no winner has qualified among the top 10.
Kevin Harvick and Mark Martin, who finished one-two in Sunday’s Daytona 500, are among NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series regulars expected to compete in the San Bernardino County 200. Also in the field are Carl Edwards and Ken Schrader.
Several teams and drivers will extend records in the season’s second event. The race will be the 292nd for Spears Motorsports (Dennis Setzer) and 276th consecutive start for Roush Fenway Racing (Erik Darnell, Carl Edwards and Travis Kvapil). Rick Crawford and Jack Sprague will make their 249th starts while Terry Cook will compete in his 224th consecutive race in a streak that began Jan. 19, 1998 at Walt Disney World Speedway near Orlando, Fla.
Roush Fenway Racing and Spears Motorsports are the only two teams to participate in a 13th consecutive NASCAR Craftsman Truck season. Roush is the series leader in total starters with 528. The team’s all-time, driver roster of 22 competitors, is the series’ longest. Todd Bodine drove his Ford to a finish of fourth in the team’s July 29, 1995 debut at Heartland Park Topeka, a 1.8-mile road course. Spears is one of just two active teams to participate in the series inaugural race Feb. 5, 1995 at Phoenix International Raceway in which Bill Sedgwick finished eighth. It is the only team to pursue a full schedule in each of the series’ 12 previous seasons. Owners Wayne and Connie Spears reside in Agua Dulce, Calif. northeast of Los Angeles.
Ten drivers have registered to compete for Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors in 2007. Georgian Joey Clanton is the first-race leader after finishing sixth at Daytona. Los Angeles native and open wheel star Tyler Walker was the highest qualifying rookie candidate for last week’s event. Walker qualified sixth. Kurt Busch (2000) is the only rookie to win the San Bernardino County 200.
OF NOTE: Three of the series’ 10 fastest races have been run at California Speedway including the fourth quickest at 145.926 mph in 2003. … Ted Musgrave is the series’ leading money winner at the southern California track with $244,020 collected over a six-race span. … Terry Cook and Rick Crawford are the only drivers to have participated in all 10 series races at California Speedway. … Last year’s race saw a series track record high 26 finishers on the lead lap. … Mike Bliss led 93 of 100 laps in winning the series’ inaugural race in 1997. Winners Jack Sprague (1999) and Steve Park (2005) led only six laps. … SPEED will broadcast qualifying live at 4 p.m. ET followed by the San Bernardino County 200 at 8:30 p.m. ET.
Re: Bernardino County 200 News and Notes
Martin among 33 on California Truck entry list
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
San Bernadino County 200
00 A.J. Allmendinger
1 Aaron Fike
2 Kevin Harvick
4 Chase Miller
5 Mike Skinner
6 Travis Kvapil
7 Casey Kingsland
07 Tim Sauter
8 Blake Bjorklund
08 Chad Mccumbee
9 Ted Musgrave
09 Stacy Compton
10 David Starr
13 Willie Allen
14 Rick Crawford
15 Bill Lester
16 Kelly Bires
18 Ken Schrader
21 Mark Martin
23 Johnny Benson
30 Todd Bodine
33 Ron Hornaday
36 Tyler Walker
40 Mike Bliss
47 Kraig Kinser
50 Carl Edwards
59 Terry Cook
60 Jack Sprague
75 Dennis Setzer
77 Brendan Gaughan
88 Matt Crafton
99 Erik Darnell
Re: Bernardino County 200 News and Notes
Driver to win the San Bernadino 200
601 Kevin Harvick +450
602 Carl Edwards +550
603 Mark Martin +650
604 Travis Kvapil +650
605 Todd Bodine +700
606 Jack Sprague +800
607 Johnny Benson +1000
608 Mike Skinner +1000
609 Ted Musgrave +1500
610 Ron Hornaday +1800
611 Rick Crawford +2200
612 Erik Darnell +3500
613 Dennis Setzer +3500
614 AJ Allmendinger +4000
615 Brendan Gaughan +4000
616 Matt Crafton +5000
617 Field +1500
Re: Bernardino County 200 News and Notes
Who to Watch: California
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series comes to the ultra-fast and competitive California Speedway for round 2 of the 2007 season. The wide racing surface and sweeping banked turns provide ample racing room for two- and even three-wide racing. The 200-mile race should offer some great side-by-side racing, and will be the first glimpse at what we can expect the racing to be like at the intermediate tracks which make up a sizeable portion of the schedule.
Here is a look at who to watch and what to watch for at California Speedway:
A.J. Allmendinger, No. 00 Red Bull Toyota: Allmendinger had a rough week in Daytona, missing the field for the Daytona 500 and languishing mid-pack in the Truck Series race. He seemed to struggle in practice at California, and could find it a tough task to race into the top-15.
Aaron Fike, No. 1 RFMS/Red Horse Racing Toyota: Fike showed composure by running up front at Daytona, and carried that momentum to a solid performance in practice at California. The Toyotas have been strongest on intermediate tracks, and riding in a Tundra will help Fike. If things go the right way, a top ten could happen.
Kevin Harvick, No. 2 Camping World/RVs.com Chevrolet: For the first time ever, the Daytona 500 winner will make his next NASCAR start in the Truck Series. Even spending the afternoon in the back half of the field in practice Harvick's post-500 smile is still very much present. Look for this team to hit the combination come race time and be a contender.
Chase Miller, No. 4 Open Joist/Dodge Motorsports Dodge: Miller "tried to go through the wall" last week in Daytona, but is feeling no ill effects of his spectacular accident. Miller is as fast as anyone, but is learning where the edge is week after week. Fontana can be a little more forgiving than Daytona, but can still jump up and bite. If he doesn't go over the edge, Miller could be a contender for a top ten.
Mike Skinner, No. 5 Toyota Tundra Toyota: Skinner was near the front during practice, which means two things: he will be a serious threat for the pole in qualifying and he will be a threat to win the race. Crew chief Jeff Hensley is as aggressive with setups as Skinner is on the track, and it's bitten them here in the past. But if they hit on it, the field will have a hard time keeping Skinner in their sights.
Travis Kvapil, No. 6 RoushFenwayRacing.com Ford: Kvapil won the pole in his last Truck race here, but wrecked in happy hour after a tire went down and had to come from the back. He's with the team that won this race last year, so combined with his ability to get around here, Kvapil could again be the favorite to win.
Casey Kingsland, No. 7 Hooters Energy Drink Chevrolet: Kingsland has no previous experience at California, and spent the afternoon practice sessions getting the feel of the track. Crew chief Gary Showalter has been here for every previous Truck Series race at California Speedway, and if Kingsland is up to it Showalter will help him continuously improve throughout the weekend.
Blake Bjorklund, No. 8 MRD/Haas CNC Racing Chevrolet: Bjorklund ran a steady race last week before finding himself in the midst of someone else's problems. The wide California layout should allow him more racing room, and we'll start to see what last year's ARCA rookie of the year can do in a Truck.
Ted Musgrave, No. 9 Team ASE Toyota: Musgave won three consecutive Truck races at California from 2001 through 2003. He was quick in the final practice, and this could be the week when things finally fall into place and he scores his first win with Germain Racing.
David Starr, No. 10 MaxxForce Diesel Ford: Starr didn't get the start to the season that he wanted, but the persistent Starr smile is still there. He showed some speed in practice, and could be a factor come race time. He's seemed to gel with Dennis Connor and the entire Circle Bar team. Starr could be a solid top ten runner.
Willie Allen, No. 13 ThorSport Racing Chevrolet: Allen's team loves that they have a driver that gets up on the wheel. Allen was working that wheel big time in practice as the truck jumped loose on him and get scrubbed the wall. No significant damage, but the rain limited how much track time the Raybestos Rookie challenger got. If he finds his line, he could race his way to a top-15.
Rick Crawford, No. 14 Ford Power Stroke Diesel by International Ford: Crawford already has his eye on the big picture. He won't be points racing any time soon, but running up front means points take care of themselves. Crawford's run well here in the past, and he looks solid again this week. Unless problems out of his control prevent it, Crawford should come away with a top ten.
Bill Lester, No. 15 Billy Ballew Motorsports Chevrolet: Lester wasn't at the top of the charts at Fontana, but he wasn't necessarily the quickest in Daytona either. Richie Wauters is never too far off the mark, look for this team to be closer to the front tomorrow evening.
Kelly Bires, No. 16 Melling Engine Parts Ford: With Mark Martin in his normal ride, Bires slides over to wheel for Dave Fuge and Xpress Motorsports. For a rookie still learning the ropes, even one race with a guy as experienced as Fuge will pay dividends.
Ken Schrader, No. 18 Fastenal Dodge: After a short night in Daytona, Schrader wants to get a good run under his belt to get momentum on his side and show everyone that even with all going on in their world, Bobby Hamilton Racing can still get it done.
Mark Martin, No. 21 Bad Boy Mowers Ford: Martin is the defending race winner, and although he's in a different truck he's again flexing his muscle. He led the final session and said he has a piece he can race with. The rest of the field might just be racing for second.
Johnny Benson, No. 23 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Toyota: After playing wingman on the final lap last week, Benson owes no one any favors here this week. He and Trip Bruce are still developing their frame of reference, but being in the top third of the field after practice again shows Benson might be a player at the checkered flag.
Todd Bodine, No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota: Bodine has run well here in the past, winning here in 2004. He and the No. 30 team were looking for speed throughout practice. If they find it, he could repeat his winning performance. If they miss it, they could find it tough to crack the top ten.
Ron Hornaday, No. 33 AES HR Solutions Chevrolet: This will be the first real chance for Hornaday and Rick Ren to show how well they will run this season. Hornaday was good on the intermediates last season. Ren should make him even more competitive, so look for Hornaday up front.
Tyler Walker, No. 36 360 OTC Toyota: Walker was swept up in someone else's problems last week, but was running strong when it happened. Walker needs a good finish to get his season back on track, and he has a solid shot to make it happen.
Mike Bliss, No. 40 Curtis Key Plumbing Chevrolet: Bliss ran well last week but was involved in a couple of incidents that eventually sidelined him early. Bliss and Barry Dodson have a history together and that history has continued into the present as the No. 40 looked like a top-15 truck in practice.
Morgan Shepherd, No. 44 Curtis Key Plumbing Chevrolet: Look for Shepherd to start but not stick around very long.
Kraig Kinser, No. 47 Ginn Resorts Chevrolet: Kinser was impressive in practice and looks to shake off a disappointing night in Daytona. Solid pit stops are needed to help keep track position, but it looks like he may have a truck that could help pick up spots if needed too.
Carl Edwards, No. 50 Roush Racing Ford: Edwards has never finished worse than sixth in a Cup car at California, so he should be strong in the Truck too. He looked good in practice and was all smiles in the garage afterwards. Edwards will factor in the race, and not just as a drafting partner like he was forced to be last week.
Terry Cook, No. 59 Harris Trucking Toyota: Cook made every highlight reel in the country last week with a fiery crash. Cook would be satisfied with a non-spectacular top ten, and it looks like his Danny Rollins-led crew has given him a truck that can do it. Getting on and off pit road will be key.
Jack Sprague, No. 60 Con-way Freight Toyota: Sprague is riding the highest of highs after a win in Daytona. In the previous 12 years, only one driver has ever opened the season by winning the first two races of the season; Sprague looks to match Mark Martin's feat from last year. If practice is any indication, and it often is, he has a good chance at making it happen.
Dennis Setzer, No. 75 Spears Manufacturing Chevrolet: Setzer has had some success on the intermediates in the past, winning in 2005 at Michigan which is the sister track to California. A win here would be a big deal for one of the series charter owners Wayne Spears.
Brendan Gaughan, No. 77 South Point Chevrolet: Gaughan and his team have changed everything but the number and the paint job after practice looking for speed. If their changes work, Gaughan could be a factor. If not, look for Gaughan to gamble and take chances to find a way to get to the front.
Matt Crafton, No. 88 Menards/Quaker State Chevrolet: Crafton is a California native and has run well in front of the home crowd in the past. The ThorSport intermediate program has been top-10 quality the past couple of years and he should be in the mix once again.
Wayne Edwards, No. 95 NRG Gasses Ford: Edwards has had a long week just getting here. Getting in the race is not in question this week. How long he lasts might be a question mark, but if he makes it to the end, attrition could help him break into the top 25.
Erik Darnell, No. 99 Northern Tool + Equipment Ford: Everyone is on the "when will Darnell win" watch. As strong as his team is, it could be any time. Darnell is as loose and relaxed as he's been, and when drivers reach that comfort level is when wins usually start to come. There could be three Roush trucks at the front, and Darnell's could very well be at the head of the pack.