When the Craftsman Truck Series takes the green flag Saturday evening at Gateway International Raceway, Kenny Wallace will make his return to the series after an 11-year absence. Wallace, set to run the No. 51 Flanders Provisions Co. Chevrolet for Billy Ballew, is the youngest of the Wallace brothers; one of just four families in series history to have three brothers compete. The Wallaces, the Greens, the Sauters and the Bodines have all left their mark on the series over time.
The Wallace family, originally from St. Louis, calls Gateway their home track. Kenny was the first of the brothers to make his Truck Series debut. He started 36th and finished fourth in the Goody’s 150 at Martinsville Speedway in 1995. He made two more starts in the No. 90 Red Dog Ford in 1995; one at North Wilkesboro Speedway and one at Phoenix International Raceway. Kenny ran just six more races in the series in 1996, his most recent at Phoenix in the GM Goodwrench/AC Delco 300; he finished 12th.
“I have some unfinished business with Mike,” said Wallace. “He may have more starts there in a truck, but I’ve had some good runs in Busch and I look forward to this opportunity to get a good top-five run in our hometown.”
Mike Wallace made his Craftsman Truck Series debut at North Wilkesboro Speedway in 1995. With just 46 laps remaining, his engine let go, and he was relegated to a 29th-place finish. He ran three full seasons in the series from 1998 to 2000. He has four career wins in the series, winning two races in both 1999 and 2000. Mike made his most recent start in the series at Daytona to begin the 2007 season when he was involved in a lap 1 crash that took his No. 46 DirecTV Hot Pass Chevrolet out of the race. Rusty Wallace has made just one start in the truck series in the No. 22 Miller Racing F-150. He started seventh and finished ninth in the DeVilbiss Superfinish 200 at Nazareth Speedway in 1996.
The Green family, originally from Owensboro, Kentucky, has seen brothers Mark, David and Jeff compete. Mark Green ran just two races in the 1997 season. He had two top-10 starts and finished 12th at Milwaukee and 11th at O’Reilly Raceway Park, formerly Indianapolis Raceway Park. Jeff Green has run just one race in the series. He started 16th and finished 33rd at Richmond after completing just 47 laps due to handling problems. David Green has run the most races of the Green brothers in the series. He made one start in 1995 and 1996 and two starts in 1997. David has run four races so far this season in the No. 1 RFMS/Red Horse Racing Toyota, with his best finish of fifth coming at Kentucky in the 13th race of the season.
Originally from West Salem, Wisc., the Sauter brothers, Jay, Johnny and Tim have a combined 119 starts. Jay Sauter makes up 90 of the Sauter brothers’ starts in the Truck Series. He ran three full seasons from 1997 to 1999, scoring four wins, 25 top fives and 45 top-10 finishes. Most recently Jay ran four races in the 2004 season. His best finish was 15th at Bristol in the No. 06 MRD Motorsports Chevrolet.
Johnny Sauter has just 10 starts in the series; his best finish was in 2004 when he finished runner-up to Chad Chaffin in the Power Stroke Diesel 200 at O’Reilly Raceway Park. Tim is currently running the full season in the series and is in a tight race for Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors. The driver of the No. 07 Lester Buildings Chevrolet currently leads Willie Allen by just five points heading into the 17th race of the 2007 season.
The Bodine brothers, Brett, Geoffrey and Todd, from Chemung, N.Y., share 14 wins. Brett Bodine started in just three races in the series in 1998. He failed to finish any of the races and completed a meager 282 of 654 laps. Todd Bodine made his Truck Series debut in 1995 when he ran five races, finishing in the top five each time. He ran 10 races in 2004, before returning to the series full-time in 2005. He won the championship in 2006 and is currently fourth in points.
Geoffrey Bodine ran 10 races in 1995; his best finish was a pair of seconds in the only Truck Series race at Saugus Speedway and Richmond International Raceway. He competed in only 21 races across five years ranging from 1995-2004, most notably at Daytona in 2000, where he was involved in a horrific crash that anyone who saw it will still remember to this day. His truck went airborne, hit the catchfence and was hit several more times by other trucks on the track before finally coming to a stop on its roof. Amazingly, Bodine survived the accident but suffered a concussion and broke his right wrist, right cheekbone, right ankle and vertebrae in his back. He returned to the track in the Truck Series six more times; once in 2003 and five times in 2004. In his 21 starts in the series, Geoffrey started on the pole once and finished in the top 10 nine times.
It’s all in the family when the Craftsman Truck Series heads to Gateway International Raceway with each family having a representative in the race this weekend; Todd Bodine, David Green, Tim Sauter and Kenny Wallace. Bodine is the only one that has a prior win at Gateway.
Did You Know?
- Ted Musgrave has gone winless since the series visited Gateway International Raceway in 2005? He finished second to teammate Todd Bodine at Gateway in 2006. Interestingly enough, Musgrave is the only driver with multiple wins at the 1.25-mile track; he won in 2001 and 2005. His winless streak is the third longest of active drivers. Ken Schrader hasn’t won since 1995, and Brendan Gaughan has gone winless since he won at Texas Motor Speedway in November, 2005. “As far as winless streaks go, we’ve had opportunities to win,” said Musgrave. “It’s just that we haven’t been able to capitalize. That St. Louis was the place of my last win doesn’t enter my mind. We’ve had much success at the track, in just about every race we’ve run well there. We ran second last year with a shot to win. We want the team to run that well again.”
- The 2007 points race is the closest it’s been at this point in the last four seasons? Prior to this year, 2004 was the points race closest when Bobby Hamilton led Dennis Setzer by 96 points. Hamilton went on to win the championship by 46 points over Setzer.
- Gateway International Raceway has never produced a first-time winner. The highest finishing Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate was Carl Edwards, who finished fourth at the track in 2003.