New Hampshire 200 News and Notes
New Hampshire 200 News and Notes
New Hampshire 200 at New Hampshire Int'l Speedway Preview
David Green (No. 1 RFMS/Red Horse Racing Toyota) has a unique opportunity Saturday at New Hampshire. The former NASCAR Busch Series champion has one New Hampshire victory in that series (2003) and is expected to be the only entrant in Saturday's event with such a distinction, which means Green could become the first driver to win both a NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event at New Hampshire.
Kurt Busch is the only competitor who has won NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events at New Hampshire.
Whelen Modified Tour standings leader Donny Lia will attempt to qualify a fourth truck for Bill Davis Racing this weekend at New Hampshire.
Manufacturers' Standings: Chevrolet Has The Statistical Edge
2007 Point Standings
Toyota - 123
Chevrolet - 102
Ford - 97
Dodge - 52
Anyone looking for clues for the winning manufacturer this weekend should glance at Chevrolet, which won the series' first three races there in 1996, '97 and '98 - and is the top winning manufacturer with four New Hampshire victories. Chevrolet's last win there came in 2001, with Jack Sprague. Meanwhile, Toyota has won two of the past three races at New Hampshire. Travis Kvapil's 2004 win was the manufacturer's second and final victory of its inaugural season. Toyota also is the defending champion of Saturday's event, thanks to Johnny Benson's triumph last September.
Raybestos Rookie of the Year Standings
Driver - Points
1. Tim Sauter - 129
2. Willie Allen - 127
3. Blake Bjorklund - 110
4. Joey Clanton - 109
5. Jason White - 95
This Week's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Leaders
(Through 17 races of the 25-race season)
Points leader - Ron Hornaday Jr. (2,769)
Driver Rating - Mike Skinner (122.2)
Winnings - Mike Skinner ($552,700)
Laps led - Mike Skinner (9943)
Victories - Mike Skinner (4)
Bud Poles - Mike Skinner (9)
Top-five finishes - Mike Skinner (12)
Top-10 finishes - Ron Hornaday Jr. (15)
Raybestos Rookie Leader - Tim Sauter (2 points over Willie Allen)
Races led - Mike Skinner (16)
Weeks in Top 10 - Nine drivers tied with 17
On Deck: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Next stop for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series: The annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas Motor Speedway and the Smith's Las Vegas 350 on Sept. 22. Mike Skinner beat Ted Musgrave by 0.309 seconds to secure his first victory of 2006 and the 19th of his NASAR Craftsman Truck Series career. It was the first NASCAR event held on Las Vegas' newly-recontructed track - a 1.5-mile venue that also received a complete infield reconstruction with new garage, fan and media facilities. Todd Bodine, then en route to his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series title, finished 12th at Las Vegas and remained the standings leader, by 91 points over Johnny Benson.
Mike Skinner To Host Second Annual Charity Event - "Rounding Up" For A Good Cause
Mike Skinner and his wife Angie are set for the second annual "Toyota Tundra Skinner Round Up" on Sept. 27-28 in Daytona Beach, Fla. It's a charity fundraiser the Skinners co-host with Toyota, and newly expanded to two days this year, thanks to the success of last year's inaugural event. The schedule begins Thursday, Sept. 27 with the "Hoe Down Bash" at Daytona International Speedway's Boardwalk Pavilion, which includes displays, live and silent autions and live music. On Friday, Sept. 28, expect star-studded golf and poker tournaments hosted by Spruce Creek Country Club. Participants include recording artists Edwin McCain, Stacy Mitchart, Eddie Money and Bo Bice; drivers Ron Hornaday Jr., Rick Crawford and Steve Park; NHRA drivers Matt Smith and Scott Kelley; NASCAR Assistant Secretary & International Community Relations Director Betty Jane France and World Series of Poker champion Brian Wilson. Last year's Round Up raised more than $104,000 for myriad Daytona Beach-area charities; this year's goal is $125,000.
For more information visit www.mikeskinner.com.
Key Motorsports team owner Curtis W. Key Sr. announced Monday that Chad Chaffin will replace rookie Brandon Miller in the No. 40 Chevrolet for the final eight races on the 2007 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series schedule. Chaffin drove the first six races of the 2006 season for Key Motorsports, in the team's first attempt to run the full 25-race schedule. He remained in contact with Key and returns for a second tenure. "This team has come a long way since I last drove for it," said Chaffin, 39, a two-tiime series winner. "And has now qualified for and competed in the last 35 races run over the last two seasons, so I know that I am coming back to a much different situation." Key said Miller has the opportunity to remain with the team. "Brandon can learn a lot by watching and listening to a veteran like Chad," Key said, "and if he believes that this can help his own driving career, then he will be with us at the next few races."
Next Race: New Hampshire 200
The Place: New Hampshire International Speedway
The Date: Sept. 151
The Time: 3:00 p.m. (ET)
TV: SPEED 2:30 p.m. (ET)
Track Layout: 1.058-mile oval
Race Purse: $558,210
2006 Winner: Johnny Benson
2006 Pole: Mike Skinner
No. Driver - Points
1. Hornaday Jr. - 2,769
2. Skinner - 2,765
3. Kvapil - 2,575
4. Bodine - 2,506
5. Benson - 2,349
6. Crawford - 2,326
7. Musgrave - 2,122
8. Sprague - 2,094
9. Crafton - 2,087
10. Darnell - 2,021
Friday - Practice 9:40-10:50 a.m.; Rookie practice 11:20-11:50; Final practice 1:45 p.m.-3 p.m.
Saturday - Qualifying 10:05 a.m.
Re: New Hampshire 200 News and Notes
Setzer Out of No. 75 Chevy for Loudon
Dennis Setzer will not drive the No. 75 Spears Manufacturing Chevrolet in the New Hampshire 200 at New Hampshire International Speedway, team officials and the driver confirmed today. Setzer won the Ohio 250 earlier this year at Mansfield Motorsports Park driving for the Spears team, but has found frustration throughout the majority of the 2007 season.
"I spoke to Mr. Spears earlier in the week and was informed they were going to try someone else for the New Hampshire race," Setzer said. "It seems like every week we have been racing for 18th or 19th and the only way to make up any ground is if people ahead of us fall out. It's not from any lack of effort on the team's part. Everyone at the shop is working their tails off, and I am giving it all I can. For some reason, we just haven't had the results. Maybe this gives us all a chance to take a look at what else is out there and we get back together and use that momentum to go forward and get some solid runs before the end of the season."
Al Hoffman, team manager for Spears Motorsports, stressed that Setzer has not been released from the team.
"Dennis Setzer has not been released or fired as our driver," Hoffman said. "I can confirm that we will have another driver racing the No. 75 at New Hampshire, but as of right now it is just for that one race. Wayne (Spears, team owner) has already approved Dennis' request to find another ride for that race. We cannot confirm who our driver will be at this time, but that announcement will come in the next few days."
Setzer confirmed that he will attend the New Hampshire event with the Green Light Racing team.
Setzer joined the Spears team in 2007 after a successful tenure at Morgan-Dollar Motorsports. In six seasons with Morgan-Dollar, Setzer racked up 11 wins and finished second in the series championship standings in three consecutive years from 2003 through 2005.
Other than the victory at Mansfield in May Setzer only has one other top-ten finish this season, a seventh-place finish at Atlanta in March. Since the Mansfield win, Setzer's best finish was 13th in the Power Stroke Diesel 200 at O'Reilly Raceway Park in late July. All told, Setzer has 17 NCTS wins in a career that dates back to the series first season in 1995. He has started 218 consecutive series races dating back to the Gateway race in 1998.
Re: New Hampshire 200 News and Notes
Cup Veteran Makes Thrid Truck Start of the Season in the No. 2 Chevy at Loudon
Clint Bowyer will pilot the No. 2 Camping World Chevrolet in Saturday’s New Hampshire 200 at the 1.058-mile race track in Loudon (N.H.). Bowyer will make his third start of the season in the Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI), No. 2 Camping World Chevrolet. Bowyer is scheduled to drive the No. 2 truck in two more races this season for KHI at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway.
New Hampshire has not always been lucky for Clint Bowyer. In 2006, Bowyer drove the No. 46 truck for David Dollar in the Sylvania 200. He began the race from the fifth spot, led eight laps, and then had a disappointing 25th-place finish due to carburetor issues. Bowyer, not one to be easily dissuaded said, “I know that Charlie (Wilson), my Camping World team and all the guys at KHI give 110 percent. I know that they will give me a great truck for New Hampshire that is capable of going to victory lane.”
Bowyer will drive the same truck that Kevin Harvick previously finished eighth with at the Michigan International Speedway earlier this season. Ron Hornaday, the current Truck Series points leader, earned his second win of the season at the Dover (Del.) International Speedway driving chassis number 04 for KHI.
KHI’s No. 2 Truck Series team is running a partial schedule in 2007, and has featured four different drivers this season: Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Cale Gale and Daniel Pope. The KHI team has competed in 11 of 16 races so far this year, leading 17 laps and earning two top-five and five top-ten finishes.
Clint Bowyer Quotes: “The trucks are great to drive because you can put them in a bunch of different situations on the track that you can’t put a Cup car in.
“New Hampshire is a track I really like. I led laps there last year in the truck race, and I really felt like I had a shot to win. I’m looking forward to getting back in the Camping World truck and having the same experience this time around.”
Crew Chief Charlie Wilson Quote: “Our last truck race with Clint definitely did not go as planned (Clint was involved in a crash on the first lap of the race). We had the truck to beat that day, and we will have the truck to beat at New Hampshire as well. Clint knows how to make his way around this track. There is no reason to think he won’t go to victory lane this time.”
Re: New Hampshire 200 News and Notes
ENTRY LIST: New Hampshire 200 at New Hampshire Int'l Raceway
00 AJ Allmendinger
1 David Green
2 Clint Bowyer
03 Sean Caisse
4 Mike Bliss
5 Mike Skinner
6 Travis Kvapil
7 Jason White
07 Tim Sauter
8 Chad McCumbee
08 Dennis Setzer
9 Ted Musgrave
09 Stacy Compton
10 David Starr
13 Willie Allen
14 Rick Crawford
15 Shane Sieg
16 Brian Scott
18 Ken Schrader
21 Jon Wood
22 Ryan Mathews
23 Johnny Benson
29 Scott Lynch
30 Todd Bodine
33 Ron Hornaday Jr.
36 Donny Lia
40 Chad Chaffin
47 Aric Almirola
50 T.J. Bell
51 Kyle Busch
59 Terry Cook
60 Jack Sprague
75 Clay Rogers
77 Brendan Gaughan
88 Matt Crafton
91 J.C. Stout
99 Erik Darnell
Re: New Hampshire 200 News and Notes
NASCAR NCTS - SERIES NOTES
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 10, 2007) – Eight, and four.
Those are the numbers to remember this week as the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series embarks on its 2007 stretch run.
Eight races remain; only four points separate standings leader Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 33 Camping World Chevrolet), from second-place Mike Skinner (No. 5 XM/Toyota Tundra Toyota).
And if that weren’t drama enough, Johnny Benson (No. 23 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Toyota) – currently fifth in the series standings – is aiming for his third consecutive victory.
He’ll attempt the feat in Saturday’s New Hampshire 200 at New Hampshire International Speedway, and if successful, will duplicate Skinner’s trio of consecutive wins posted earlier this season at California Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway and Martinsville Speedway.
Back to the standings battle: It’s the series’ second-closest margin after 17 events. Hornaday leads the standings for the first time since 1999 – the third leader of ’07 – following Jack Sprague (No. 60 Con-way Freight Toyota) and Skinner.
And with Skinner seeking to re-gain the series lead he lost last week at Gateway International Raceway, and Benson’s bid for three consective victories, consider that Skinner finished second in this event last September – to Benson. The two also started last year’s event one-two: Skinner with the pole, Benson with the outside pole.
The “Champions” May Have It At New Hampshire
A NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series title isn’t necessary for success at New Hampshire International Speedway, but statistics show it certainly doesn’t hurt.
Nor is it a lucky charm.
Seven former series champions are scheduled to compete in Saturday’s New Hampshire 200. They are Mike Skinner, Ron Hornaday Jr., Jack Sprague, Mike Bliss (No. 4 Open Joist Dodge), Travis Kvapil (No. 6 K&N Filters Ford), Ted Musgrave (No. 9 Team ASE Toyota) and Todd Bodine (No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota).
Hornaday, Kvapil and Sprague are the only former champions with New Hampshire victories.
However, former series champions have won 12 of 17 events thus far in 2007, and they rank first through fourth in the current standings – Hornaday, Skinner, Kvapil and Bodine.
Hornaday’s New Hampshire victory came in 1996. Skinner’s best finish there was his runner-up effort last September. Kvapil won at New Hampshire in 2004. Bodine’s top New Hampshire finish was fourth place last September.
Johnny Benson, who’s fifth in the current standings, is the defending champion of Saturday’s New Hampshire 200.
Close Calls: Down-To-Wire Finishes A New Hampshire Norm
If history holds, expect a tight finish in Saturday’s New Hampshire 200.
Also expect the possibility of a fresh face in Victory Lane.
Saturday’s event is the 12th NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at New Hampshire, where two statistics deserve a second look.
First, no driver has repeated as a New Hampshire winner.
Second, the largest margin of victory in a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event there is 0.691 seconds, in 2006.
That was the distance between Johnny Benson, last year’s New Hampshire winner, and second-place finisher Mike Skinner.
The total margin of victory in 10 races is 4.633 seconds, an average of 0.463 seconds (the 2004 event ended under caution).
The tightest New Hampshire finish? The 2002 event – only 0.189 seconds separated winner Terry Cook (No. 59 Harris Trucking Toyota) from second-place finisher Dennis Setzer (No. 08 People Against Drugs Chevrolet).
Twice, this race has been won from the pole – Jack Sprague in 2001 ; Jimmy Spencer in 2003
Five Closest New Hampshire Finishes
Margin Year Winner Second 0.189 2002 Terry Cook Dennis Setzer 0.221 2005 Rick Crawford Dennis Setzer 0.322 1996 R. Hornaday Jr. Jack Sprague 0.333 2000 Kurt Busch Mike Wallace 0.355 1999 Dennis Setzer Mke Wallace
Manufacturers’ Standings: Chevrolet Has The Statistical Edge
Manufacturers' Championship 2007 Point Standings Toyota 123 Chevrolet 102 Ford 97 Dodge 52
Anyone looking for clues for the winning manufacturer this weekend should glance at Chevrolet, which won the series’ first three races there in 1996, ’97 and ‘98 – and is the top winning manufacturer with four New Hampshire victories.
Chevrolet’s last win there came in 2001, with Jack Sprague.
Meanwhile, Toyota has won two of the past three races at New Hampshire. Travis Kvapil's 2004 win was the manufacturer's second and final victory of its inaugural season.
Toyota also is the defending champion of Saturday’s event, thanks to Johnny Benson’s triumph last September.
In The Loop: Hornaday Jr. Excels At New Hampshire
Mike Skinner’s standings lead disappeared two weeks ago at Gateway, and now the 1995 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion finds himself in unfamiliar territory this season – second place.
Skinner took the standings lead after the second race of the season, and saw his point total grow to a maximum of 164 after his win in Kentucky. Now, after a 28th-place finish at Gateway, Skinner trails new leader Ron Hornaday Jr. by four points.
And this weekend at New Hampshire International Speedway might be where the fun starts for Hornaday.
If Skinner’s not careful, Hornaday’s lead could balloon. Hornaday has a win there, and recently, he’s been more consistent at New Hampshire than Skinner.
Over the last two New Hampshire races, Hornday has the top Average Running Position (5.3), the second-best Driver Rating (114.7) and has spent all but one of the 400 Laps in the Top 15. He has finishes of fifth and sixth over that span.
Skinner, with finishes of 24th and second over the past two years, has a Driver Rating of 106.6 (sixth-best), an Average Running Position of 7.7 (fifth-best) and 38 Fastest Laps Run (second-most).
Also watch for NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series mainstay Rick Crawford (No. 14 Power Stroke by International Ford). He won there in 2005, and over the past two years has accumulated some of the best stats on the series.
Crawford has the top Driver Rating at 117.8, the third-best Average Running Position (5.8) and has spent all but three of his laps over the past two years in the top 15.
On Deck: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Next stop for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series: The annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas Motor Speedway and the Smith’s Las Vegas 350 on Sept. 22.
Mike Skinner beat Ted Musgrave by 0.309 seconds to secure his first victory of 2006 and the 19th of his NASAR Craftsman Truck Series career.
It was the first NASCAR event held on Las Vegas’ newly-recontructed track – a 1.5-mile venue that also received a complete infield reconstruction with new garage, fan and media facilities.
Todd Bodine, then en route to his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series title, finished 12th at Las Vegas and remained the standings leader, by 91 points over Johnny Benson.
Re: New Hampshire 200 News and Notes
Driver to win Craftsman Truck New Hampshire 200
Kyle Busch +350
Ron Hornaday +450
Mike Skinner +450
Johnny Benson +600
Clint Bowyer +700
Todd Bodine +1600
Ted Musgrave +1800
Rick Crawford +2000
Matt Crafton +2000
Erik Darnell +2000
Aric Amarola +2000
Brendan Gaughan +2500
Mike Bliss +2500
Jon Wood +3000
David Green +3500
Terry Cook +4000
David Starr +4000
Re: New Hampshire 200 News and Notes
NASCAR - Craftsman Truck - New Hampshire 200 Preview
The Sports Network
Date: Saturday, September 15th
Start Time: 3 p.m. (et)
Site: New Hampshire International Speedway, Loudon, New Hampshire
Track: 1.058-mile banked paved oval
On TV: SpeedChannel
Race record: 109.244 m.p.h. (Jack Sprague, 2001)
Qualifying record: 129.626 m.p.h. (Mike Skinner, 2006)
Defending champion: Johnny Benson
Runner up: Mike Skinner
Pole winner: Mike Skinner (129.626 m.p.h.)
1. Johnny Benson (Start: 2)
2. Mike Skinner (1)
3. Kyle Busch (9)
4. Todd Bodine (7)
5. David Starr (26)
6. Ron Hornaday Jr. (18)
7. Rick Crawford (12)
8. Matt Crafton (17)
9. Erik Darnell (23)
10. Mark Martin (16)
Average speed: 92.323 m.p.h.
Time of race: 2 hours, 17 minutes, 31 seconds
Margin of victory: 0.691 second
Caution flags: 12 for 50 laps
Lead changes: 8 among 4 drivers
Last season, Johnny Benson crossed the finish line 0.691 of a second ahead of Mike Skinner for his fourth career Craftsman Series title. Benson, who started second on the grid, dominated the race, leading four times for a race-high 145 laps. Skinner, who started on the pole, failed to lead a single lap. Kyle Busch led for 46 laps and placed third.
In 2005, Rick Crawford edged out Dennis Setzer for the checkered flag, as he won for the first time in 2005 and the fourth time in his Craftsman Truck Series career. Crawford led three times for a total of 26 laps, while Ron Hornaday Jr led five times for 56 laps. Pole sitter Matt Crafton failed to finish the race due to an accident after leading the first 18 laps.
In 11 years, there has never been a multiple champion of this race. Six of New Hampshire's 11 series winners are expected to compete this week. They are Ron Hornaday Jr (1996), Dennis Setzer (1999), Jack Sprague (2001), Terry Cook (2002), Jimmy Spencer (2003) and Benson (2006).
With only eight races remaining, just four points separate Ron Hornaday Jr and Mike Skinner for the Truck Series title. Fifth in the standings is defending champion Johnny Benson, who is seeking his third consecutive victory. It's the series' second-closest margin after 17 events. Hornaday leads the standings for the first time since 1999 - the third leader of '07, following Jack Sprague and Skinner.
David Green is attempting to become the first driver to win both Busch Series and Truck Series event at New Hampshire. Green's one New Hampshire victory came during his Busch days in 2003.
The next race in the Craftsman Truck Series championship, the Smith's Las Vegas 350 from Nevada is scheduled for September 22nd, as Skinner defends his title.
Re: New Hampshire 200 News and Notes
Who to Watch: New Hampshire
From the time the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series left California Speedway in Fontana, Calif. back in February, Mike Skinner has had a stranglehold on the championship point standings. Skinner vaulted to a large lead in the standings based on a streak of three consecutive wins at California, Atlanta, and Martinsville. Through the first 13 races of the year, Skinner had thoroughly dominated. He picked up his fourth win of the season in that race at Kentucky, and to that point had just two finishes outside the top-five and both of those were seventh and eighth place finishes.
Skinner's first road bump of the season was a 20th at Indianapolis, but he rebounded with two more top five runs at Nashville and Bristol. But Skinner faced his second hurdle of the season in the last race at Gateway when a flat tire and resultant crash left him 28th. More importantly, for the first time since the first race of the season at Daytona, Skinner is chasing someone in the championship standings.
Ron Hornaday has lurked in Skinner's shadow since he scored his first win of the season at Charlotte in May. While Skinner was dominant in the early stages of the season, Hornaday was consistent and waiting in the wings. Despite not getting that first checkered flag until May, Hornaday had scored top ten runs in every race but one, and that was an eleventh place run at Atlanta.
Hornaday backed up his Charlotte win with others at Dover and Indianapolis, and runner-up finishes at Milwaukee and Nashville. And, just when he needed it most, he scored another second place finish at Gateway when Skinner was dealing with crash damage.
Now, just like the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series will be doing this weekend as well, the chase for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship will begin in earnest in the New Hampshire 200 at New Hampshire International Speedway. Hornaday leads Skinner by four points, with Travis Kvapil sitting back in third 194 points out of the lead. Any trouble by the front two makes this a three horse race heading to Homestead in November.
Here are our driver capsules for the New Hampshire 200, round 18 of the 2007 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season:
A.J. Allmendinger, No. 00 Aaron's Lucky Dog Toyota: Allmendinger has had an up and down season in all three of NASCAR's top divisions. A rookie mistake keyed one of the biggest crashes of the season two weeks ago at California, but he backed it up with his strongest performance of the season the following day in the Cup car. Allmendinger made his NASCAR debut here in the Truck Series last year, and after crashing in qualifying, came back and finished an impressive 13th.
David Green, No. 1 Red Horse Racing/RFMS Toyota: Green is a former Busch Series winner at New Hampshire, going to the winner's circle in 2003. Green nearly had the Red Horse Racing team back on track at Gateway but a late-race flat tire put him in the wall and dropped him to 20th at the end. But his performance was back, and if the team can give him a similarly performing truck this weekend and it lasts all 200 laps he should be back in the top ten at the end of the day.
Clint Bowyer, No. 2 Camping World Chevrolet: Bowyer makes his first NCTS start since Dover in June. There, Bowyer qualified on the front row but didn't make it off turn two as he was tangled in a massive crash. Bowyer has run up front at NHIS in the past in the Truck Series, but has had miserable luck. He should be near the front, lead some laps, and maybe even be in position to win. That is if luck stays on his side.
Sean Caisse, No. 03 Cassella Waste Systems Toyota: Caisse is one of the strongest competitors in the NASCAR Busch East Series, and nearly won the NBES race at Loudon in 2006 but was passed on the final lap and was dropped to second at the end. Making his series debut with the Gemain team will get him on the radar, and a strong run could put him on the short list for one of this team's open seats in 2008.
Mike Bliss, No. 4 Dodge Motorsports/Open Joist Dodge: It's been a roller coaster for Bliss at NHIS over the years. In six starts, he's picked up three top ten finishes with one of them being a third-place in 1996. In the three races he's finished outside the top ten, he's never been lower than 17th. Bliss was caught up in someone else's mess at Gateway and destroyed a new truck. If the team rebounds strongly, he could pick up another solid finish.
Mike Skinner, No. 5 Toyota Tundra Toyota: After a strong start, Skinner has two finishes of 20th or worse in the last four races. He now sits second in the championship with eight races remaining. Skinner has been on the pole twice at Loudon, including last year when he went on to finish second. He needs another run like that to solidify his season and maintain his chances for the series championship.
Travis Kvapil, No. 6 K&N Filters Ford: What will Kvapil's 2008 plans mean to his chances for the 2007 NCTS title? We'll start to find out this week. Kvapil has been strongest over the summer stretch, but he'll need to not only maintain that strength but hope his two rivals in the standings have a little bit of bad luck too. Kvapil has four starts and never finished lower than seventh at NHIS, and the last time he raced a Truck at Loudon he ended up in Victory Lane. Look for another strong run from Kvapil and crew.
Jason White, No. 7 Hooter's Energy Drink Dodge: White has two previous Busch Series starts at Loudon and has a respectable 22nd-place finish as his best, that coming in 2003. In the previous six races, White has three DNF's - each coming in an every-other-race pattern. If that pattern holds, he will be on the sidelines when the checkered flag waves.
Tim Sauter, No. 07 Lester Buildings Chevrolet: Sauter had a season-best run going at Gateway before mechanical troubles sent him to the sidelines early. Loudon has been a good track for him in the past as he has three top-20 runs in four Busch Series starts with a best finish of 12th in 2002. This team has performed well above it's finishes have shown, and if they can make it to the end they could pick up their first top-ten of the season this weekend.
Chad McCumbee, No. 8 TheGPSStore.com/Garmin Chevrolet: McCumbee's luck has followed him from Green Light Racing to MRD Motorsports, but for once it didn't leave him on the sidelines at Gateway. He brought the truck home in one piece and on the lead lap with a respectable 15th-place finish in the bag. It's just one step, but even the longest of journeys start that way. McCumbee is hoping it's the first step towards his first top ten of the season. He was 20th in his only Loudon start last year.
Dennis Setzer, No. 08 People Against Drugs Chevrolet: Setzer steps out of the Spears Motorsports ride and slides over to Green Light Racing for what is apparently a one-race deal. Setzer won his first Truck Series start at Loudon in 1999. All told, he has five top-fives and six top tens in eight starts. His only DNF was a hard crash in 2000 that left him with a broken shoulder. Setzer could give Green Light one of it's best runs if they have the funding to go race.
Ted Musgrave, No. 9 Team ASE Toyota: Musgrave enjoys Loudon, but didn't enjoy it last year as he was tangled in a crash with Rick Crawford and was parked for the remainder of the race for an on-track retaliation. Musgrave has three top five runs at Loudon, including a third in 2005. Musgrave would like to race back into contention for a top five finish in the season championship, and another strong run at NHIS will help that cause.
Stacy Compton, No. 09 Zaxby's Ford: Compton has four NHIS starts in the Truck Series but none since 2001. His final three NCTS starts at Loudon have resulted in top ten finishes, including a third in 1999. Compton has been out of the seat since Indianapolis, and this team needs to recover with a good finish after a crash left them out early at Gateway.
David Starr, No. 10 International MaxxForce Diesel Ford: Starr has four top tens and two top fives in six NHIS starts. It seems every week Starr is poised for a good finish but trouble strikes or some other reason prevents him from getting the finish he deserves.
Willie Allen, No. 13 ThorSport Chevrolet: A solid 12th at Gateway shows this team is still working hard and knocking on the door for that first top ten of the season. Allen can benefit greatly now that Danny Gill has signed on to assist the ThorSport team for the rest of the 2007 season. The only thing left to chance is reliability, and this team has fought it all season long. If the mechanical gremlins stay away, Allen could better his Gateway finish.
Rick Crawford, No. 14 Power Stroke Diesel by International Ford: It seems like Crawford's luck this year only allows him a few races in a row before trouble strikes. It's been four races since back-to-back finishes of 28th and 30th at Memphis and Kentucky, so this team has to be wondering if and when Lady Luck will jump up and strike. Crawford won at Loudon in 2005 in one of the most exciting finishes in the track's history.
Shane Sieg, No. 15 Flanders Provisions Co. Chevrolet: Sieg steps into the potent No. 15 this week, which immediately gives him a solid chance of racing to his second career top ten finish. Sieg was 23rd in his only other Loudon appearance in 2004.
Brian Scott, No. 16 Xpress Motorsports Ford: Scott has raced in the Hooters Pro Cup Series this season, and has looked competitive. He makes the big leap to the big time with one of the most storied teams in the series. It might take time to rebuild the team, but if anyone can do it, Dave Fuge can.
Ken Schrader, No. 18 Fastenal Dodge: Schrader will do double duty this weekend as he gets the call to jump back into the No. 21 car for the Wood Bros. in the Cup Series too. Schrader raced in six straight Loudon Truck races starting in 2000, but sat out the 2006 race. He led 59 laps in 2000, and scored two top tens in his first two starts. His best since was 11th in 2003.
Jon Wood, No. 21 Wood/jtg Racing Ford: Wood has four previous NCTS starts at Loudon, with a best finish of 9th in 2003. The No. 21 team has performed as well as any other in 2007 but has fallen short of victory so far. It might be a stretch to get that win this week, but Wood should be in contention for a solid finish.
Ryan Mathews, No. 22 Bill Davis Racing Toyota: Mathews will likely be making his final start of 2007 in the No. 22 as the team gets ready for Jacques Villeneuve at Las Vegas. The team is still very high on the young driver's talents and is working to put together a deal to keep him in a BDR truck in 2008. A top ten finish would be a nice was to go out for Mathews
Johnny Benson, No. 23 Exide Batteries Toyota: Benson comes in off two consecutive wins at Bristol and Gateway, and is the defending winner of the Loudon race to boot. The way this team has performed in recent weeks, they are the favorite going in. He might not have a realistic chance for the championship but Benson could rack up the most wins this season the way his team has been going lately.
Scott Lynch, No. 29 Jasper Engines Dodge: Lynch's family-owned team makes its first attempt since Milwaukee in June. It will be his debut at NHIS so he will need to learn the line and do it in a qualifying setup as his team needs to race his way in on speed in qualifying.
Todd Bodine, No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota: Loudon started off being one of Bodine's trickiest tracks. In his first two starts he was held to 34th in 2004 and 22nd in 2005. But he came back with a strong fourth last season, and should be among the mix for the win in the final 50 laps this weekend too.
Ron Hornaday, No. 33 Camping World Chevrolet: Hornaday came out the victor in the first NHIS race in 1996 when the lead swapped hands a handful of times on the final lap alone. But it took him another three starts and nine more years before he picked up his second top five at Loudon in 2005. Hornaday has the pressure on his shoulders now as the championship leader.
Donny Lia, No. 36 Bill Davis Racing Toyota: Lia is a Modified Tour veteran with many laps at NHIS. He's making his Truck Series debut but should be comfortable at a track he knows like the back of his hand. He should qualify in on speed and run well all day on Saturday. Look for a solid performance and a finish at or near the top-15.
Chad Chaffin, No. 40 Westerman Companies Chevrolet: Chaffin makes his return to the series for the first time since the 2006 finale at Homestead. Chaffin scored two top tens at NHIS in 2003 and 2005, and since this is an odd-numbered year, Chaffin might be in the mix for another top ten this week.
Aric Almirola, No. 47 Ginn Resorts Chevrolet: Almirola has two starts at NHIS, his first in 2005 with Morgan-Dollar resulted in an eighth-place run. This team has stepped it up since the DEI/Ginn merger, and another top ten should be in the books at the end of the day on Saturday.
T.J. Bell, No. 50 Heathcliff's Cat Litter Ford: Bell will be making his second NHIS start this weekend. He ran for Green Light Racing here last year and almost came home in the top 20, missing it by one spot. He was taken out last week in a big crash, and a solid top-15 run would be a nice way to recover.
Kyle Busch, No. 51 Flanders Beef Patties Chevrolet: Busch has two previous NCTS starts at Loudon, and has top tens in both. He was third last year, and would like to join his brother Kurt as and NCTS winner at NHIS. He should be among the leaders all day long, and if he's near the front late in the going watch for him to go all out for the win.
Terry Cook, No. 59 Harris Trucking Co. Toyota: Cook won at NHIS in 2002 in the closest finish in the track's NCTS history. His HT Motorsports team had a solid piece under him at Gateway but was victimized by a rare Toyota engine failure. If they have a similarly performing truck at NHIS, Cook should be a factor.
Jack Sprague, No. 60 Con-way Freight Toyota: Sprague has three poles, one win, four top fives, and six top tens in nine NHIS starts. He hasn't been close to the top ten in his last two starts, and was 18th last year. The way Sprague's luck has been this year, coming back to a track where he was a little off last year should be a help. Look for Sprague to be back in the top ten this week.
Clay Rogers, No. 75 Spears Manufacturing Chevrolet: Rogers gets the call to step into the No. 75 this week, making the step up from the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series. Rogers has one previous Loudon start, a very impressive fourth back in 2005 with the defunct Glynn Motorsports team. Spears Motorsports has struggled this year, so a change of scenery was in order. A top 15 would be the best run for this team since Indy and only its second top-15 since Setzer won at Mansfield in May.
Brendan Gaughan, No. 77 South Point Hotel Chevrolet: NHIS has traditionally been a good track for Gaughan, last year's 34th-place finish notwithstanding. He was fifth in 2002 and 2003 and tenth in 2005. The South Point team has back-to-back top tens, and should make it three in a row this weekend.
Matt Crafton, No. 88 Menards/Turtle Wax Chevrolet: Crafton's only career pole came here in 2005, and he has three top ten finishes in six previous starts. Crafton's team has been solid all season, but has been just a tick off where they were in 2006. Danny Gill's arrival should help Crafton as much as his teammate. Look for a strong performance from the 88 team this weekend.
J.C. Stout, No. 91 Sterling Trucks Chevrolet: Stout will be attempting to make his third NHIS race. He's a good qualifier, and should be able to race his way in on speed. His independent team doesn't have a major sponsor, but does a lot with a little. If he can stay running all day long, he might be able to get up and race for a top-20 finish.
Erik Darnell, No. 99 Northern Tool + Equipment Ford: Darnell was ninth last year, but is coming back to Loudon after team owner Jack Roush swapped crews between Darnell's No. 99 and T.J. Bell's No. 50. If the chemistry is there, Darnell could be a contender right off the bat.
Looking to do better than six in the top ten this week, so here at my predictions:
Pole: Mike Skinner. He was off at Gateway, and this team is going to do everything to reassert its dominance.
Winner: Kyle Busch. Busch has been a solid contender at NHIS in two previous starts, and is hungry for redemption after a driver error at Bristol.
Rest of the top five behind the winner, in no particular order: Ron Hornaday, Johnny Benson, Matt Crafton, Travis Kvapil.
Rest of the top ten behind the top five, in no particular order: Aric Almirola, Todd Bodine, Brendan Gaughan, Rick Crawford, Mike Skinner.
Re: New Hampshire 200 News and Notes
Cook serves up truck series' fastest practice lap
LOUDON, N.H. - HT Motorsports' Terry Cook led the opening Craftsman Truck Series practice this morning at New Hampshire International Speedway.
Cook paced the field with a speed of 128.710 mph. Points leader Ron Hornaday was second fastest in his Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet. South Point Racing's Brendan Gaughan, Bobby Hamilton Racing's Mike Bliss and Morgan-Dollar Motorsports Aric Almirola rounded out the top five. J.C. Stout spun his No. 91 family-owned Chevrolet for the lone incident in the session.
The truck series' final practice is scheduled for 1:45 p.m. EDT today with qualifying at 10:05 a.m. Saturday morning.
The New Hampshire 200 is scheduled for 3 p.m. tomorrow.
Re: New Hampshire 200 News and Notes
Rain Sets Loudon Lineup
Persistent morning showers forced the cancellation of qualifying for the New Hampshire 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at New Hampshire International Speedway, and with the field set by the NASCAR rule book current championship leader Ron Hornaday, Jr. will start from the pole. Hornaday will start alongside his championship rival Mike Skinner, who was the fast driver in yesterday's practice sessions. Skinner was just three hundredths of a second quicker than Hornaday in that final hour of practice.
Travis Kvapil will line up third, with Todd Bodine and defending race winner Johnny Benson rounding out the top five. Rick Crawford, Ted Musgrave, David Green, Jack Sprague and Matt Crafton will make up the remainder of the top ten starters.
Other notables include Brendan Gaughan in 14th, Clay Rogers - taking over the driving duties in the No. 75 Chevrolet for Dennis Setzer for this week - in 16th, Mike Bliss in 17th, and former NHIS winner Terry Cook in 20th. Rogers was eighth fastest in the final practice, while Cook led the field in the first hour of practice on Friday morning.
NASCAR was forced to cancel qualifying after a front moved in overnight, and the resultant showers dropped over a quarter inch of rain in the area. Locals and weather forecasters expect the rain to move out in the early afternoon, with partly sunny skies expected by the scheduled start time of the race at 3 P.M. Eastern.
Re: New Hampshire 200 News and Notes
Hornaday Jr. extends truck lead with win
September 15th, 2007
Loudon, NH (Sports Network) - Ron Hornaday Jr. dominated from start to finish, leading 174 of 200 laps and capturing Saturday afternoon's New Hampshire 200 Craftsman Truck Series race at the New Hampshire International Speedway. The No.33 Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet driver crossed the finish line 4.21 seconds ahead of Erik Darnell.
The victory was Hornaday Jr.'s fourth of the season and 33rd of his truck career.
"I have to thank everybody, what an awesome truck," said Hornaday Jr.
After rain cancelled qualifying, points leader Hornaday Jr. brought the field to the green flag for 200 laps of racing. He immediate took control and the lead the after 28 laps was already 1.694 seconds. Behind him were his primary championship rival, Mike Skinner (-4) and 2006 series champion Todd Bodine.
In the middle of the pack and moving up were two "Cup" drivers, Clint Bowyer and Kyle Busch. Both started at the back after qualifying was cancelled and were working their way through slower traffic.
Hornaday Jr.'s lead was a big as 3.342 seconds on lap 38 when a caution flag for debris slowed the race to a crawl. The No.33 KHI crew had a little problem on their stop and Hornaday Jr. came out in third place behind Skinner and Mike Bliss.
Hornaday Jr. made quick work of Bliss, but Skinner was a much tougher challenge. On lap 50 Hornaday Jr. got to the inside of Skinner, but the No.5 Toyota driver held him off and Hornaday Jr. had to tuck back in line behind Skinner.
Then Chad Chaffin spun to bring out a second caution flag and one of the drivers caught up in the wreck was Bowyer. His day was done.
Before the race reached lap 65 Hornaday Jr. retook the lead from Skinner. Bodine joined the pair at the top and the three paced the way as the field passed the 80-lap mark. But they were all looking in their rearview mirror at Busch who was up to seventh and still closing on the three leaders. Then as he tried to get by Darnell on lap 88 for sixth place, he got loose and slapped the outside wall. The splitter took some damage and Busch radioed that he had hurt the truck's handling.
At the mid-point Hornaday Jr. held a one-second lead on Bodine. By lap 113, the No.33 Chevrolet driver clinched the bonus for "most laps led." But Skinner wasn't done and on lap 114 went around Bodine for second place. He was still more than two second behind Hornaday Jr., but at least he could now see him.
Final pit stops began just past lap 130 and Hornaday Jr. beat Skinner back to the track. Meanwhile, Darnell held the lead until lap 136 hoping that a caution flag might show and drastically shuffle up the race. It didn't come out before Darnell pitted, but one did come out for a spin by Busch on lap 141 with Willie Allen leading and Hornaday Jr. in sixth place.
Those who hadn't pitted, including Allen, did so on the caution flag and Hornaday Jr., Bodine and Skinner were once again the race leaders. Hornaday Jr. built the lead to more than five seconds (over Darnell) with 30 laps remaining. From there Hornaday Jr. drove it to the checkered flag without a true challenge.
Skinner, Bodine and Mike Bliss completed the top-five. Hornaday Jr.'s win gives him a 29-point lead over Skinner heading to the next event. Travis Kvapil is third overall, but a distant 271 points behind Hornaday Jr.
"He put a whuppin' on us today, he just had the best truck and those guys are doing good job," said Skinner of Hornaday Jr.
The next race in the series is set for Saturday, September 22nd at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.