The Frontstretch: Second Fiddle: Around the Busch and Craftsman Truck Series by Toni Montgomery -- Thursday September 29, 2005

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Second Fiddle: Around the Busch and Craftsman Truck Series

Toni Montgomery · Thursday September 29, 2005

 

Where are we? Trucks this week? We’re hitting that late season ball of confusion where I start to lose track, but we are due for a Craftsman Truck Series piece this week indeed. Earlier this year I talked about the Ricky Craven effect on the ratings of the Craftsman Truck Series. At the time I was particularly looking forward to the impending arrival of Mark Martin in the series too. I figured that would be good for another really hefty ratings bump.

But alas, along with the mess that has become of the situation of trying to fill Martin’s No. 6 Ford in the Cup Series comes a delay on Martin’s full time arrival in trucks. He is scheduled to compete part time in the truck next season. Martin is planning on seven races with a partner doing the rest as the truck competes full time. In other words, he is on the Ken Schrader plan now. I’m not sure Schrader is still on that plan, but Martin apparently will be.

I guess maybe it could still draw in a few viewers when he does run next year, but likely no more than it does when any Cup favorites run. I still think we’ll need to wait until Martin is around full time to get any appreciable viewership difference out of it. Well, I guess me and the Craftsman Truck Series can hang in there one more year. After all, there’s still door to door, bumper to bumper racing and nail biting points battles to look forward to. It’s possible I guess that fans could catch on to that on their own.

Maybe it’s just a little piddly thing but I do find it really cool that Kevin Harvick, who from what I hear will be moving entirely to Busch next year with driver Ron Hornaday, is leaving his number six to Martin. Kind of how Ray Evernham and Jack Roush, who somehow ended up with each other’s numbers, are expected to swap the nine and the six for next season in the Busch Series. Never could figure out how it happened but that always confused me. I never realized how important number consistency could be but I sure see it now when I think of how much easier it would be to identify the Buschwhacker teams. As for the fans, well there is that little perk of not having to buy all new stuff because your driver still has the same number. Those currently wearing the six in support of Mark will appreciate that. This isn’t really trucks, or even Busch, but I would like to repeat what I just said for DEI’s benefit. See, although Mikey and Napa are leaving together, and they won’t be running a 15 car at all, DEI apparently refused requests from Michael to let him keep the number. His fans thank you for having to buy all new stuff now I’m sure because if the number isn’t correct it’s just plain outdated and will need to be replaced.

Now that I have that bee out of my bonnet, back to the trucks. Let me return for just a minute to Ron Hornaday. Although Hornaday did well in the Busch Series, I always enjoy him most in a truck. I’m sorry to see him leave the series again. I’d kind of hoped the old gang that had returned would stay around awhile. While I don’t see Sprague or Skinner leaving, it’s just not the same without Hornaday.

Where has Jack Sprague been? He’s been missing in action this season it seems. So was Rick Crawford but he made his presence known a few weeks ago. I’m assuming Sprague is definitely not having the season he was hoping for. Here we have a driver that was always a threat for a championship. We have a team that won championships themselves and was on top of the game. The combination together has not been nearly as much of a factor. Strange how that can happen sometimes.

Bear with me folks, it’s a slow week here. Next year at this time that shouldn’t really be a problem. Instead of facing an off weekend I’d think we’d be instead heading to Dega with the trucks. Since the Busch Series accompanies the Cup guys there in spring, I’m assuming the trucks will take up the fall weekend. In the meantime I guess we truck fans will just take an off weekend too and do those chores we’ve been putting off.

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