The Quaker Steak & Lube 200 is the sixth race on the 25-race NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Schedule. The Truck Series will visit the 1.5-mile Lowe’s Motor Speedway only once in 2006, and drivers will race 134 laps for the checkered flag. The field will include 2005 pole sitter Mike Skinner. Race winner Kyle Busch is entered as well, but most qualify on time to make the field.
Qualifying itself is Friday afternoon at 4:15 EST. 41 teams will compete for 36 starting spots for Friday. Qualifying runs consist of two laps, with the fastest lap setting a team’s time and the Top 30 teams in owner standings locked into the field no matter what speed they run. The Craftsman Truck Series qualifying record at Lowe’s is 183.051 mph, set by Mike Skinner in the 2005.
What To Expect
Last season in this wreck-filled race, there were 10 cautions, and the race finished under a green-white-checkers. Even worse, there were only five lead changes throughout the full 200 miles, due to a new surface that eventually produced similar results for both the Busch and Nextel Cup series. Lowe’s has been repaved since then, and the track is much smoother and faster. The big wild card, as always when you have a repaving job, will be whether or not Goodyear brings a tough enough tire to handle the new track surface.
Who to Watch
The defending champion of this race, Kyle Busch, enters his first event of the NCTS season after winning 3 times in 11 starts last year. Still driving for the team he won last season, Billy Ballew Motorsports, he certainly finds himself one of the pre-race favorites. Meanwhile, Terry Cook finished runner-up to Kyle Busch in the 2005 race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Cook has had only one Top 5 and 7 Top 10s since that 2nd place finish. He’s looking to break through with his first win since the 2002 season.
Bill Lester finished 6th in the 2005 Quaker Steak and Lube 200 and is looking for his first career Craftsman Truck Series win. However, he’ll face a challenge this weekend as his team will be forced to qualify on time; the 22 truck sits 31st in owner points after some tough luck to start the year.
Todd Bodine and Ted Musgrave are separated by only 12 points in the race for the championship. In 2005 at Charlotte, Bodine (the current points leader) had a DNF while Ted Musgrave finished in the Top 5. That’s a familiar spot for Musgrave, who hasn’t finished outside the Top 5 at all in the five races of 2006, and will look to keep that streak going while looking to gain ground on his teammate and points rival. Look for a points shake up if either one struggles Friday night.
Did You Know…
- The Richard Petty Driving Experience is headquartered at Lowe’s Motor Speedway throughout the year.
- Between track events and track rentals, the track is also used more than 300 days per year outside the race weekend.
- Days of Thunder (starring Tom Cruise), Speedway (starring Elvis Presley), and Stroker Ace (starring Burt Reynolds) were filmed at Lowe’s along with the music video for Tracy Lawrence’s "If the Good Die Young."
- There are more than 160 flag poles on the speedway property.
- During race weekend, nearly 7,000 trash cans collect over 400 tons of trash all over the speedway.
You Don’t Say"¦
“I love racing at Charlotte, and there is nothing more that I want to do than win here in our own backyard. A win here would just be incredibly special since this is the home track for so many of these teams. Last week, our Wyler Racing Team had a great test at Chicago, and I think we made some pretty good gains on the race truck. I’m really confident that the Con-way Freight Toyota is going to be one of the top running trucks at Charlotte this Friday night.” Jack Sprague on racing at Lowe’s
“To win at Charlotte, you have to have a good handling truck and a lot of horsepower under the hood. NASCAR is such a team sport that to win, the driver has to be on top his game and the pit crew has to have good stops every time. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series has become so competitive that having a good pit stop has really become critical. If you can pick up two or three spots in the pits and not have to worry about making up positions on the track, it really helps. The Red Horse Racing crew has really been on top of their game this year, and that has been a huge asset to me.” David Starr on what it takes to win at Lowe’s
“I am looking forward to going to Lowe’s Motor Speedway for three reasons. One, I get to sleep in my bed every night we are at the race track. Two, I have had success there in all three NASCAR series and am confident in this team’s ability to get the job done. Finally, after our team’s test at Chicago, I know that we are going to be fast and hopefully be there at the end to contend for the win.” Rick Ren (Johnny Benson’s crew chief) on going to Lowe’s
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