NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Tracking the Trucks: 2007 New Hampshire 200 at Loudon

Ron Hornaday Jr. became the first repeat winner Saturday when he took the checkered flag over Erik Darnell, who charged past Mike Skinner and Todd Bodine in the final 30 laps. The New Hampshire 200 had just four cautions, allowing Hornaday, Jr. to open up a lead that, at times, was more than six seconds. He finished 4.211 seconds ahead of Darnell. Mike Bliss rounded out the top five.

Rick Crawford Driver Diary: Drag Racing, Sweet Trucks & Toyota’s Secret

I’ve gotten to be pretty good friends with John Force and his team. We’re all part of the Ford camp. They race Ford Mustangs in the NHRA Funny Car ranks while we race Ford F-150s, the F-series pickups, in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. We had an event where we were trying out some new 2008 vehicles in Dearborn at the Ford test facility and I was able to give Ashley Force a ride in a new Edge on the road course. I think she enjoyed it, especially letting a round track guy do the driving. John told her before we went out, “Honey, you’ve got to let these round track guys give you a ride on this road course because they like turning left and right.” John was pretty animated about that and it was a lot of fun and I think they really enjoyed it.

Tearing Apart the Trucks: A Championship That’s Far From Decided

As the Craftsman Truck Series rolls into New Hampshire International Speedway for the 18th race of the season, Ron Hornaday Jr. finds himself leading the points for the first time since 1999. Mike Skinner had led the championship standings since he won the second race of the year at the California Speedway and found himself tied with Jack Sprague for the top spot. The combination of a 28th-place finish for Skinner after a cut tire and a second-place finish for Hornaday in the last race at St. Louis, put the driver of the No. 33 Camping World Chevy ahead by just four points, the second-closest points margin in series history at this point in the season.

Mirror Driving: Is Junior’s Situation Bad? Chase Changes: Did They Make You Mad? & Is Toyota Feeling Rad?

If Dale Earnhardt Jr. doesn’t make the Chase – and right now, it certainly isn’t looking good – how will the No. 8 team perform the rest of the season?

10 Points to Ponder… After the 2007 Sharp Aquos 500 at Fontana

1. Lowe’s High – For weeks now I’ve been wondering why everyone was depicting the Chase as a duel between Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart. “Wait!” – I shouted, what about Jimmie Johnson? Heading into Fontana, Johnson was tied with Gordon for bonus points, 10 ahead of Stewart when the Chase starts, and tonight’s win moves him ahead of both Gordon and Stewart with 50 bonus points. Johnson’s team typically slumps in the summer but they turn it on when it counts. Don’t hand that Nextel Cup trophy to anyone else just yet. It’s also worth noting that Johnson and Matt Kenseth are now the only drivers to make the Chase all four seasons since its inception in 2004.

Tracking the Trucks: 2007 Missouri/Illinois Dodge Dealers Ram Tough 200 at Gateway

Johnny Benson took the checkered flag ahead of Ron Hornaday Jr. under caution for his second consecutive win during the Missouri/Illinois Dodge Dealers Ram Tough 200 Saturday night at Gateway International Raceway. Midway through the race, Benson found himself in 20th after running near the front most of the race, but a strong truck allowed him to race through the field for the win. Defending race winner, Ted Musgrave finished third. Todd Bodine and Regan Smith rounded out the top five.

David Starr Driver Diary: Safe Racing and SafeLight

Last week was the first race for NASCAR on the new Bristol surface. I have to say, it was really fun. We had our Ford F150 running really good in practice, but we got loose when we qualified. I went out second and I wish I could have went out later, after I figured out you had to move up a little bit to go faster. In the race we had a great truck and we were coming forward before I got bumped and lost six or seven spots. I used my truck up trying to get some of those spots back, and by the time the caution came out we had already earned about four or five positions. We pitted for tires and again I started making my way back up to the front, but a right-front flat pretty much killed us.

Racing’s All in the Family at Gateway

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.

Mirror Driving: No Bristol Bumps, Villeneuve Takes His Lumps & Can AT&T Get Back Over The Hump?

With the Chase drama all but played out with two races to go, were drivers at Bristol playing it a little too conservative? Rate how you felt the track did in its first Cup effort since the repaving, and whether we’ll actually have any drama left in the regular season come Richmond.

Tracking the Trucks: 2007 O’Reilly 200 at Bristol

Johnny Benson scored his first career win at Bristol Motor Speedway Wednesday night, taking the checkered flag 0.790 seconds ahead of the newly married Brendan Gaughan. Benson benefited from a two-car crash on lap 180, when Travis Kvapil and Kyle Busch made contact and spun while battling for the lead. As the smoke cleared coming out of turn 4, it was Benson who found his way back out front, and he held off all challengers over the final 21 laps to take the victory.

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