The Frontstretch: Race Trax: Con-Way Freight 200 by Beth Lunkenheimer -- Thursday June 15, 2006

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Race Trax: Con-Way Freight 200

Beth Lunkenheimer · Thursday June 15, 2006

 

On Track

The Con-Way Freight 200 is the tenth race on the 25-race NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Schedule. The Craftsman Truck Series will visit the two-mile Michigan International Speedway only once in 2006; drivers will race 100 laps for the checkered flag. This is the seventh Truck race held at the Speedway; Greg Biffle won the first two Truck Series races held at Michigan in 1999 and 2000.

Qualifying is Saturday morning at 11:40 AM EST, with the race run shortly thereafter at 3:00 PM EST. 37 drivers will compete for 36 starting spots, with the Top 30 in 2006 car owner points “locked in” to the starting field. The qualifying record at Michigan is 181.612 MPH set last year by Kyle Busch. He is not entered in this year’s event, but the field will include defending race winner Dennis Setzer, as well as “Truckwhacker” Bobby Labonte, running in Bobby Hamilton’s number 4 Dodge Motorsports Dodge Ram.

What To Expect

With 18 degrees of banking in the turns, Michigan gives drivers three to four racing grooves. Because of this, there tends to be long green flag runs even though the facility often has three wide racing out on the track. On top of that, due to high speeds the draft has become very important at Michigan in order to complete the pass on another car, creating even higher speeds and more exciting racing.

There have been five different winners in six different Truck Series races at Michigan, so don’t necessarily expect Setzer to take the checkered flag on Sunday. Also, it should be noted that more than a quarter of last year’s race was run under caution, and it also finished under caution, so long green flag runs occasionally won’t carry the day.

Who to Watch

Jack Sprague returns to his home track this weekend where he has yet to post a win. In his career Sprague has won at 16 different tracks, but Michigan is not one of them. While Jack Sprague has posted only one top five and two top tens in 4 career starts at Michigan, he’s got his sponsor on his side. This race was won in 2004 by Travis Kvapil, whose main sponsor was also the sponsor of the race, just like Sprague’s this year.

With his win at Texas Motor Speedway last weekend, Todd Bodine has extended his lead on defending series champion Ted Musgrave to 115 points. David Reutimann is only 21 points behind Musgrave in 3rd place. Bodine’s only visit to Michigan last year brought home a Top 10 finish, and Reutimann has a Top 10 and a DNF in two starts. Musgrave, meanwhile, has two second place finishes and two DNFs in four starts at Michigan.

Did You Know"¦

  • Michigan International Speedway opened in 1968 with 25,000 seats, but today seats more than 137,000 people.
  • Steel and Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER) barriers were installed at Michigan in 2004.
  • The sky lounge area at Michigan holds 16 suites, a press box, the timing & scoring area, television and radio broadcast facilities, and race control for use by the sanctioning bodies.

You Don’t Say"¦

"For me, it’s really important for the No. 60 Toyota to be out front at Michigan this weekend because Con-Way is really blowing it out in a big way to celebrate their sponsorship of the Con-Way Freight 200. My sponsor (Con-Way Freight) is based about 45 minutes from the track in Ann Arbor and they are bringing a thousand or more employees and customers to celebrate their title sponsorship of the race and the No. 60 Toyota. I can’t tell you how badly I want to bring home the checkered flag for them as thanks for their support." Jack Sprague on the importance of running well this weekend

"I love racing at Michigan. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series always puts on a good show for the fans there, and I don’t think this weekend will be any different. To win there, everything will have to come together for me and the Red Horse Racing Team. You have to have a good handling truck when you go to Michigan, and I know that is something we will work a lot on in the practices to make sure we have a good balance. You also have to have lot of horsepower under the hood. The pit crew has to do an excellent job with pit stops, and the driver has to be on top of his game. And maybe most importantly, your truck has to draft well because there will be a lot of drafting going on at Michigan. If we draft well and have a balanced truck and use all that good Toyota power we have under the hood, we should have a good day in Michigan." David Starr on what it takes to win at Michigan

"Michigan is kind of like a homecoming for me. My sister and her family are there, and I love getting to spend some time with them. It is the home of the "˜Big Three’ manufacturers, and it would be terrific to put on a great show with our Toyota Tundra. Michigan is a track where the draft comes into effect, and I love to draft. [Crew chief] Doug Wolcott and the guys on this No. 22 team are working overtime to bring great trucks to the track, and I am confident they will bring a great truck to Michigan.” Bill Lester on racing at Michigan

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