The Frontstretch: Second Fiddle: Around the Busch and Craftsman Truck Series by Toni Montgomery -- Thursday August 18, 2005

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Second Fiddle: Around the Busch and Craftsman Truck Series

Toni Montgomery · Thursday August 18, 2005


Welcome to another edition of random thoughts of a Craftsman Truck Series fan. These are the sorts of things that just pop in to my head, usually in the middle of a truck race, and won't go away. These are the sorts of things that keep me awake at night. Well okay, maybe they don't actually keep me awake at night. The only things that really do that are Stephen King novels. Not because they are scary but because once I get into them I can't put them down. They should all be called "Insomnia." But I digress so it's back to the truck series.

During last week's race, it was revealed that Todd Bodine is apparently known as "Onion." By the way it was revealed, as a joke during a tool segment by Ray Dunlap, I got the impression that I was supposed to know this already. I must have missed class that day and not gotten the memo because it was the first I heard of it. Now that I am aware I will make note of it so the next time I hear it I won't think they're talking about making dinner.

I just have to ask though. Why Onion? Nicknames are something I enjoy and have fun with and I like to try to figure out the logic involved, although it's not always obvious. Rick Carelli as the "High Plains Drifter" makes some sense because he has always been somewhat of a journeyman driver. Tony "Rambo" Liberati is easily explained if you've ever seen him for more than about 30 seconds. Everyone knows who Mr. Excitement is and everyone knows why. Some nicknames require a story for explanation and I think Onion might be one of those.

If I were to look at Bodine and try to guess, the only physical attribute I can see that could contribute to a nickname is the obvious lack of hair. I guess it's possible someone else looked at him and decided his head bears some resemblance to an onion. I personally thought Dale Jr. already had that covered after he basically called Bodine a cue ball a few years back in the Busch Series. Incidentally, every time I see Bodine, I think of that comment and it runs through my mind in Jr.'s voice. Most nicknames that become common knowledge are eventually explained if they aren't obvious, so I will just have to wait until that explanation comes.

I want to back up a little and return to Ray Dunlap for a moment. What on earth is going on with him? Is it my imagination or has he gotten a bit strange lately? Besides running a buffer over Todd Bodine's head for his onion joke, he chased some of Dennis Setzer's pit crew guys out of his way during one report, and called Darrell Waltrip back from the booth in quite the odd manner last weekend. The response to that last bit was absolute silence from everyone in the booth, even Waltrip, for a moment while they figured out what he was talking about. Has he always been this way and I didn't notice?

On to a new subject. First and second place in the points standings belong to Dennis Setzer and Ted Musgrave, two seasoned truck series veterans who have been in this fight before although neither came away with a championship to show for it. Both have come tantalizingly close on more than one occasion. Both are deserving in my opinion, if for no other reason than that they have remained challengers for the title as other drivers have come and gone or slumped to less stellar seasons around them. You can almost count on seeing them as part of the picture as the season draws to a close each and every year.

Given all of this, even if it does come down to these two for the title, only one will walk away with the big trophy. While neither of them is "my" driver, I wouldn't mind seeing either one of them finally get the reward they deserve. The question is, which one? I'm torn and can't possibly decide which one deserves to win and which one deserves to have to wait at least one more year for it. Perhaps saying either deserve to wait one more year isn't the right way to put it because neither does, but at least one will have to. Or maybe, with just nine races remaining, someone will pull a miracle charge and pass them both. Bobby Hamilton is the next closest guy back, trailing Setzer by 212 points in third, but stranger things have happened and I wouldn't put anything past Hambone. He is one of the slyest drivers in the series and while Setzer has some breathing room on him, Musgrave has only a 34 point margin.

One final random thought for now. Why is there no "CTS 24/7" on Speed Channel? As the home of the Craftsman Truck Series, that really is surprising if you think about it. Surely they could squeeze a half hour per week in there somewhere and it would help to promote the series, which could bring them even better ratings. It's a way to get the fans involved. While I still think Speed has done a better job of broadcasting the races than the previous network, I'm feeling like the effort on the series promotion end has dwindled. The frequent truck series promos that were shown during Speed's other NASCAR programming have been mostly replaced by Texas Hardtails, Pinks, and other new Speed Channel shows. The race ratings have grown, thanks in large part to new fans discovering the series either as a result of the promotion or because they have followed their favorite drivers from other series, but that doesn't mean promotion efforts are no longer needed. Since NBS 24/7 is back for a second season, I can't understand why CTS 24/7 hasn't at least been tried.

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