Crawford, Starr Pairing Finally Hitting On All 16 Cylinders

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 18, 2007) ? For all of his lengthy racing career, Rick Crawford (No. 14 Power Stroke Diesel by International Ford) has reveled in being a ?lone wolf? competitor.

In 2007, however, his Circle Bar Racing team expanded to a pair of entries adding veteran David Starr (No. 10 International/MAXXForce Ford) to the stable.

The change hardly affected Crawford, whose eight top-10 finishes place the Alabama native solidly among the top five championship contenders.

Getting the second truck up to speed was a bit more of a challenge but the results are beginning to show as the season nears its mid-point.

Crawford and Starr recently finished third and fifth at Texas Motor Speedway marking the first time the drivers snagged simultaneous top-five finishes.

?I?ve seen the potential from Daytona on,? said Crawford. ?There weren?t really problems; just pieces of the puzzle that were missing.?

?I?m excited,? said Starr, who has moved from 24th to 14th in the standings in six races. ?Over the last month we?ve had big results in a positive direction.?

Truckin? To Milwaukee: Beer, Brats And The Historic Mile
Six natives of the Badger State are expected to be in the field for Friday night?s 13th annual Toyota Tundra Milwaukee 200.

One of them ? Ted Musgrave (No. 9 Team ASE Racing Toyota) ? is the track?s only two-time winner having visited Victory Lane in 2001 and 2004.

?Milwaukee really puts the emphasis on working hard because that?s back home, in front of friends and family and people that followed your career,? said Musgrave, who?s returning to The Milwaukee Mile after finishing fifth in Michigan. ?You put a little extra effort into it; I know the crew does, too.?

Kelly Bires (No. 21 Wood Bros./JTG Ford); Travis Kvapil (No. 6 K&N Engineering Ford); Ryan Mathews (No. 36 Bill Davis Racing Toyota); Tim Sauter (No. 07 Lester Buildings Chevrolet) and Josh Wise (No. 00 Aaron?s Lucky Dog Toyota) also will compete.

Veteran Crew Chief Mike Beam, Travis Kvapil Back On Top In Michigan
Mike Beam has been in NASCAR long enough to know that peaks frequently are followed by valleys ? and not always those of your own making.

Beam, a longtime crew chief, directed Roush Fenway Racing?s Mark Martin to six victories in 2006 and nearly pulled off an owner championship with multiple drivers.

The No. 6 K&N Engineering Ford team finished second, just 30 points behind Germain Motorsports and champion Todd Bodine (No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota).

The current season hasn?t been so kind ? at least until last Saturday when Travis Kvapil cashed in at Michigan International Speedway after a ferocious, final-laps battle with Kyle Busch (No. 51 Flanders Beef Patties Chevrolet).

Kvapil?s previous best finishes had been a pair of thirds, including Daytona, a race he lost in the final few yards. The team endured a five-race stretch in which it failed to finish higher than 13th.

?We got this ?07 nose and some of the things we did over the winter we thought were going to be better, but once we ran a couple of races we decided we needed to (completely) redo our program,? Beam said.

?So everyone?s worked hard and Travis has done a great job on his feedback and given us a direction to go in.?

Kvapil, the 2003 series champion and winner in three makes of trucks, believes most of the credit should go to Beam.

?Mike and the guys here really figured out what we needed to do to make the trucks to where I could drive them fast,? he said.

Kvapil became the second Roush Fenway driver to score multiple victories at MIS, adding to his 2004 win for Toyota. Greg Biffle won back-to-back in 1999-2000.

The win was Roush Fenway?s 45th.

NCTS Etc.:

Terry Cook (No. 59 Harris Trucking Dodge) celebrated his 250th start with a solid 11th-place finish in the Michigan 200. Cook and crew chief Danny Rollins have made the Martinsville, Va.-based squad a contending team with Cook?s latest performance moving HT Motorsports to within 15 points of the top 10. ?We came from 26th up to 11th there on that last stretch and I?m really proud of that,? said the 38-year-old Cook, a native of nearby Toledo, Ohio.

The Michigan 200 was the 300th start for Spears Motorsports, the Wayne and Connie Spears-owned team that has competed in all but two NASCAR Craftsman Truck races. ?Being able to compete against some of the greatest owners in NASCAR ? such as Jack Roush, Rick Hendrick, Richard Childress and Dale Earnhardt Sr. ? is something us west coast racers could only have dreamed about before this series was created,? said Spears, a Los Angeles area businessman. ?We remain a family-oriented team and I wouldn?t have it any other way.?

Standings leader Mike Skinner (No. 5 Toyota Tundra Toyota) stayed perfect by leading his 10th race of the 2007 season. The 1995 series champion has led 535 laps/536.076 miles in building a 113-point lead over Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 33 Camping World Chevrolet), the Michigan 200?s 10th-place finisher. Skinner also posted his eighth top-five and 10th top-10 finish. ?I guess it was an exciting day,? he said after finishing fourth. ?Not really my style of racing but that?s okay because we had a good (points) day.?

The Milwaukee Mile, host of this Friday night?s Toyota Tundra Milwaukee 200, is one of just four tracks to have scheduled the series in all 13 seasons of its existence. The others are Martinsville Speedway, O?Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis and Phoenix International Raceway. Two drivers have won at least once at each track: Skinner and Jack Sprague (No. 60 Con-way Freight Toyota).

Former NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series champion Scott Lynch enters this week?s race with a new team owned by his father, James Lynch. Veteran west coast crew chief Larry Prior will oversee preparation of the No. 29 Jasper Engines & Transmission Dodge. Lynch has finished 12th twice in a dozen series starts.

Ford Joins Toyota, Chevrolet As Multiple Winners
Travis Kvapil?s Michigan victory makes Ford the third different manufacturer to score multiple wins in 2007.
Toyota, which opened the season with four consecutive wins, has been shut out since Mike Skinner?s victory at Martinsville Speedway on March 31.

Since then, Chevrolet has collected three wins and Ford has won twice.

Toyota continues to lead the Manufacturers? Championship by 10 points over Chevrolet with Ford another four back.

Dodge?s ?mini streak? of three races with top-10 finishes ended at Michigan. Bobby Labonte (No. 4 Open Joist Dodge) ran as high as ninth but faded over the final 20 laps to finish 17th.

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Manufacturers’ Championship
Toyota 71
Chevrolet 61
Ford 57
Dodge 31

In The Loop: Hornaday Poised To Gain Ground At Milwaukee
At 113 points behind leader Mike Skinner, Ron Hornaday Jr. sits in striking distance.

Now, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series heads to The Milwaukee Mile, which is more good news for Hornaday. If he can continue his past success, he could gain some ground on the thus-far dominant Skinner.

In seven starts at Milwaukee, Hornaday has finished outside the top five only once ? and that was a seventh-place finish in 1999. He won there in 1997 and has finished fourth and third the past two years.

His Loop Data stats are likewise impressive. Over the past two years, Hornaday has the top Driver Rating at Milwaukee at 126.0, the second-best Average Running Position (3.243), 37 Fastest Laps Run (fourth-most) and 400 Laps in the Top 15, which makes him the only driver to run every lap in the Top 15 over the past two years.

Also look for Jack Sprague to run up front. Sprague finished second there in 2005 and fourth in 2006, and racked up impressive stats in the process. Sprague has the second-best Driver Rating (124.5), the top Average Running Position (2.675), the second-most Fastest Laps Run (53), and the second-most Laps in the top 15 (396).

Skinner, on the other hand, has struggled in recent years at Milwaukee. With finishes of 16th and 11th over the past two year, Skinner has just the 18th-ranked Driver Rating at 87.5.

Raybestos Rookie of the Year Standings

Leader Aaron Fike (No. 1 RFMS/Red Horse Racing Toyota), stands eighth in the series standings in addition to adding to his Raybestos Rookie lead. Fike entered last weekend?s 10th race of the season ranked ninth overall and qualified 12th. ?My pit crew did a great job. I think they picked up six spots on pit road and that is a testament to the training that they get at Pit Instruction and Training in Mooresville, N.C.,? he said after finishing 17th at MIS.

Driver Points
1. Aaron Fike 112
2. Tim Sauter 79
3. Willie Allen 79
4. Blake Bjorklund 75
5. Joey Clanton 59
6. Tyler Walker 51
7. Kelly Bires 44
8. Jason White 40
9. Kevin Hamlin 18
10. Casey Kingsland 5
11. Brian Sockwell 1

This Week?s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Leaders
(Through 10 races of the 25-race season)

Points leader ? Mike Skinner (1,708)
Driver Rating ? Mike Skinner (123.0)
Winnings ? Mike Skinner ($350,600)
Laps led ? Mike Skinner (535)
Victories ? Mike Skinner (3)
Bud Poles ? Mike Skinner (6)
Top-five finishes ? Mike Skinner (8)
Top-10 finishes ? Mike Skinner (10)
Raybestos Rookie Leader ? Aaron Fike (33 over two drivers)
Races led ? Mike Skinner (10)
Weeks in Top 10 ? 9 drivers tied with 10

Up Next: O?Reilly 200
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series makes its annual pilgrimage to Memphis Motorsports Park and the home of the blues ? Beale Street ? not to mention Graceland, the home of The King, Elvis Pressley.

Saturday night?s O?Reilly 200 is the 10th series race to be hosted by the .75-mile oval and first of three NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events in the state of Tennessee in 2007.

Three-time series champion Jack Sprague won last year?s O?Reilly 200 after qualifying on the Bud Pole. Sprague, who also won in 2000, is the only competitor to visit Victory Lane in the nine previous events at Memphis Motorsports Park.

Next Race: Toyota Tundra Milwaukee 200
The Place: The Milwaukee Mile
The Date: June 22
The Time: 99 p.m. (ET)
TV: SPEED, 8:30 p.m. (ET)
Track Layout: 1-mile oval
Race Purse: $539,930
2006 Winner: Johnny Benson
2006 Pole: Mike Skinner

No. Driver Pts
1 Skinner 1,708
2 Hornaday Jr. 1,595
3 Bodine 1,508
4 Kvapil 1,443
5 Crawford 1,424
6 Musgrave 1,420
7 Benson 1,264
8 Fike 1,232
9 Sprague 1,205
10 Crafton 1,184

Schedule: Friday ? Practice 11 a.m. ? 12:00 noon; 12:30 p.m. ? 1:00 p.m. (rookies) and 1:00 p.m. ? 2:00 p.m. Qualifying 5:30 p.m.

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