The Frontstretch: Tearing Apart the Trucks : Heading Back East by Beth Lunkenheimer -- Friday March 28, 2008

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Tearing Apart the Trucks : Heading Back East

Beth Lunkenheimer · Friday March 28, 2008

 

As the drivers of the Craftsman Truck Series roll into Martinsville, VA, for the fourth race of the season it will mark the first time since the season opener at Daytona International Speedway that the truck series will have a full field for Saturday’s Kroger 250. The San Bernardino County 200 at Auto Club Speedway had a field of 35, just one short of a full field, but the American Commercial Lines 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway saw a field of only 32. Currently, there are 38 drivers entered for a field of 36 at the Virginia short track.

Mike Skinner Attempts to Break Another Record

Mike Skinner will attempt to win three consecutive races at the famed Martinsville Speedway this weekend.

Never before in the history of the Craftsman Truck Series has a driver won three consecutive short track races on the same track. Mike Skinner won both races at Martinsville Speedway in 2007 and hopes to make it three in a row this weekend. Most recently, Dennis Setzer won back to back races in 2002 and 2003 at Martinsville. He came close to making it three in a row but ended up finishing second to Rick Crawford.

A win this weekend would be just what Mike Skinner and the No. 5 team need. They currently sit 162 points behind series leader Kyle Busch in seventh. Skinner started the season in the hole with a 29th place finish at Daytona International Speedway after being involved in a wreck caused by Kyle Busch.

Since then, the driver of the No. 5 Toyota Tundra has strung together two Top 10 finishes to propel him up 22 spots in the standings. Skinner would like to win this weekend but ultimately will keep his focus on the points battle.

"Our goal this weekend is to definitely win, but we will take what we can get," Skinner said. We've got to catch back up in the points and this would be a good weekend to do it.”

Chrissy Wallace Set to Make Debut

Chrissy Wallace, daughter of driver Mike Wallace, anticipates making her Craftsman Truck Series debut this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. Wallace tested the No. 03 Toyota Tundra at Martinsville for Germain Racing, posting an 11th quickest lap time of 20.215 seconds and is required to qualify on time to make the field.

The 19-year-old driver has always wanted to “be the first successful female driver” from an early age. At the age of 9, Chrissy became the first female to win a Bandalero race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Since then, she has raced legend cars, thunder roadsters, go-karts, arena cars and late models.

"Obviously, this is a big opportunity for me. I have to thank the Germains, Mike Hillman and Toyota for putting this deal together," Chrissy Wallace said. "Our goal is to go out there and run a smart race and finish."

Mike Wallace, who has helped support Chrissy’s dream since she was very young, spoke as the proud father.

"When I got the call from Chrissy after the test, it was very nice. She just wanted to tell me ‘thank you,'" said Wallace. "She said everything I told her on the radio made her run faster and she said she realized I really did know what I was talking about. She asked me to spot for her."

Chrissy Wallace plans to run five truck races and five ARCA races and will continue to run Late Model races as well. If Wallace qualifies for the Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway , she’ll join her dad in making her debut at the half mile track and become the ninth female to start a race in the Craftsman Truck Series.

Did You Know…

  • In 18 starts, no rookie has ever won a race at Martinsville Speedway? Three times rookies have finished in the runner up position. Travis Kvapil did it in 2001, Carl Edwards in 2003 and Todd Kleuver in 2005.
  • Martinsville Speedway is one of just four tracks the truck series has visited every year? The Milwaukee Mile, O’Reilly Raceway Park and Phoenix Raceway are the other three.
  • Kyle Busch has an average finish of 1.33 in three races this season? He finished second to Todd Bodine at Daytona and won at California Motor Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway.
  • Denny Hamlin will run the No. 15 Toyota Tundra alongside Sprint Cup teammate Kyle Busch for Billy Ballew Motorsports? Both trucks will have Miccosukee Resorts as their primary sponsor.

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