The Frontstretch: Race Trax: AAA Insurance 200 by Beth Lunkenheimer -- Thursday June 1, 2006

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Race Trax: AAA Insurance 200

Beth Lunkenheimer · Thursday June 1, 2006

 

On Track

The AAA Insurance 200 is the eighth race on the 25-race NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Schedule. The Truck Series will visit the mile-long Dover International Speedway only once in 2006, and drivers will race 200 laps for the checkered flag. The Craftsman Truck Series has been visiting Dover since 2000, when Kurt Busch won the inaugural race.

Qualifying is Friday morning, with the race running Friday afternoon at 4:45 EST and tape delayed on SPEED for air at 8:00 EST. Thirty-eight teams will compete for 36 starting spots. Qualifying runs consist of two laps, with the fastest lap setting a team’s time; however, the Top 30 teams in owner standings are locked into the field no matter what speed they run. The Craftsman Truck Series qualifying record at Dover is 157.577 mph, set by David Starr in the 2005 race. The field will potentially include defending race winner Kyle Busch, attempting to qualify in his #51 Billy Ballew Chevrolet.

What to Expect

Nicknamed the Monster Mile, this race track has a repuation for tearing up some serious sheet metal. Last season in this wreck-filled race, there were a record 11 cautions for 49 if the 200 laps. Only 13 of the 36 starters were even on the lead lap by the end of the race. Still, the one-mile concrete facility features some fantastic two groove racing, as evidenced last year when Kyle Busch held off Tony Stewart in a five lap green flag sprint to the finish.

Who to Watch

Coming off of a much needed win at Mansfield, Ron Hornaday carries a lot of momentum with him. Hornaday led 134 laps in last year’s MBNA Race Points 200, and could have won had he not needed a second pit stop with 50 laps to go because of a loose lug nut. He still managed to come home with a fourth place finish in his only CTS visit to Dover. Terry Cook finished third in last year’s race and has three top 10 finishes so far this season, including a second at Charlotte last month that has boosted his momentum.

David Starr has competed in only four races at Dover, but Starr came home with a Top 10 in each of those four starts. Coming off a strong third place finish at Mansfield, Starr has just the right momentum to get the win Friday. Starr will have his work cut out for him in his number 11 Toyota Tundra, though, as four of the last five CTS races at Dover were won by a Dodge.

Meanwhile, the story every week continues to be the race between teammates Todd Bodine and Ted Musgrave for the Truck Series championship. Bodine currently leads Musgrave by 20 points, but Musgrave has done better overall at Dover than Bodine. In five starts, Musgrave has two top 5’s, including one win in 2002. Bodine crashed out of his only CTS race at Dover last year with 15 laps remaining.

Did You Know:

* Dodge has won 67% (or two-thirds) of the Craftsman Truck Series races run at Dover. * The most lead changes in a CTS race at Dover is 10 (set during the inaugural race in 2000). * In 2004, Dover added the DuPont Monster Bridge, a one of a kind glass enclosed seating area that extends across the track in turn 3.
  • The least number of drivers to finish on the lead lap in a single race is eight, set in 2000 and then repeated in 2002.

You Don’t Say"¦

“In my opinion, Dover really owes me this time around. I’ve finished fourth, third, and had two more eighth-place finishes. Last year, we won the pole, and I think we had the truck to beat. We were running in fourth place early in the race, and we got involved in a little scuffle on the track. It knocked the crush panels out, and I ended up inhaling some fumes and getting a touch of carbon monoxide poisoning. It wasn’t how I envisioned the day going, to say the least. But the team didn’t give up on me, and I didn’t give up on them. We ended up finishing eighth, which was pretty good considering everything that happened to us. But Dover owes me, and I want to capitalize on that this weekend.” David Starr on racing at Dover

"I really think this Wyler Racing team is primed to have a good run at Dover International Speedway this weekend. I love racing at Dover "" there’s a wide racing groove, so there is plenty of room to pass, unlike last week. I almost won a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Dover in 2001, and I came close to winning in the Busch car twice. With this No. 60 Con-way Freight Toyota team coming off of a runner-up finish at Mansfield, I feel confident that it’s our turn to celebrate in Victory Lane." Jack Sprague on racing at Dover

“There was a ton of pressure on me. It was one of the most miserable races that I had ever run for the simple fact that I felt like I was under the microscope. We needed to perform and step up. I knew we needed to turn things around for the team. After finishing fifth at Dover, our season turned around and we ran well and finished well. We got our first win shortly after.” David Reutimann on last year’s race at Dover

"I’ve been fortunate in my career to reach many different milestones. We’ve been able to win a lot of races over the years, and be competitive. That is what is important to me, just to be competitive at this level of racing. I’ve been lucky to be involved with some very good teams, and although I don’t see myself making 200 more starts, I still love this series and plan on racing for a few more years to come." Dennis Setzer on making his 200th career start this weekend

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