Beth Lunkenheimer · Thursday April 27, 2006
The Missouri/Illinois Dodge Dealers Ram Tough 200 is the fifth race on the 25-race NASCAR Crafstman Truck Series Schedule. The Truck Series will visit the 1.25-mile Gateway International Raceway just once in 2006. Gateway is hosting their ninth Craftsman Truck Series Race and has hosted an event every year since 1997. The unusual oval shape of Gateway makes the track different than any other on the circuit. Drivers will race 160 laps for the checkered flag. The field will include 2005 polesitter and race winner Ted Musgrave.
39 teams will compete for 36 starting spots for Saturday. Qualifying runs consist of two laps, with the fastest lap setting a team’s time. The Craftsman Truck Series qualifying record at Gateway is 135.159 mph, set by Ted Musgrave in the spring of 2005.
What To Expect
After a four week hiatus, the drivers should be well rested and ready to race. In 2005, there were only 3 leaders and 4 lead changes in this event, so it’s the type of place where someone can get to the front and run away from the field. Points leader Mark Martin will not be racing this weekend, opening the door for Ted Musgrave or Todd Bodine to take the points lead. The biggest problem for these teams could be simply getting the race in, though; the weather forecast is calling for showers and thunderstorms to occur Saturday through Monday.
Who to Watch
Ted Musgrave started on the pole and led all but 2 laps in the 2005 Dodge Ram Tough 200, scoring his second career victory at Gateway. Musgrave’s 2 career wins at Gateway, in fact, both came from starting on the pole. With an average start of 4.0 and an average finish of 4.8 in five career starts at Gateway, he should be the man to beat. Not only that, but Musgrave comes into the event hot: he may be winless, but he has not finished outside the Top 5 at all this season in four races.
Todd Bodine, meanwhile, already has one win this season and finished seventh in his first and only start at Gateway last season. Terry Cook and Jack Sprague both have victories along with 4 Top 10s at Gateway, and both are seeking their first win of 2006. Also, David Ragan will be taking over the red-hot #6 Scott’s Ford F-150. This event marks the first of 18 races that Ragan will be driving the Roush Racing truck. With Mark Martin beginning the season with 2 wins and finishing 2nd and 4th the other two races of the season, all eyes will be on Ragan to see what he can do with the #6. Ragan has started 12 races since 2004, and he has 7 DNF’s.
Did You Know…
- Gateway will be celebrating its 10th anniversary this weekend.
- Gateway is owned by Dover Motorsports, a group that also owns Memphis Motorsports Park, Dover International Speedway, and Nashville Speedway.
You Don’t Say"¦
“I do like racetracks that are quite a bit different than your standard oval—and St. Louis is like that. Turns 1 and 2 are tight with a little banking, and down in Turns 3 and 4 it’s flat, wide, and a momentum-type corner. That makes every part of the racetrack different and challenging.” Ted Musgrave on racing at Gateway
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