Mike Skinner is on pole at the Las Vegas 350 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with a lap of 32.676secs. This is his second consecutive LVMS pole position, his fifth Bud Pole this season, and the 22nd in his Truck career.
One of Skinner's two Toyota team-mates at Bill Davis Racing, BILL LESTER, is also on the front row. Third and fourth starters are TODD BODINE and DAVID REUTIMANN. Fifth is TED MUSGRAVE. TODD KLUEVER is the top rookie, starting tenth. Series point leader, DENNIS SETZER/Chevrolet Silverado Chevrolet starts 22nd.
This is the tenth year of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and it's celebratory slogan is '10 Years Tough'. More than 600 drivers have raced a truck at one time or another, including KURT BUSCH, who went on to become the 2004 Nextel Cup champion. Both 2000 Truck champion GREG BIFFLE and KEVIN HARVICK graduated from the series to the Busch Series, where they each won a championship - Harvick in 2001 and Biffle in 2002. If Biffle wins this year's Nextel Cup championship, he will become the only driver to win the championship in all three of NASCAR's top tier series. Going into this weekend's Dover Cup race, Biffle is second in the points and will start 18th. RYAN NEWMAN has the pole in both Nextel Cup and Busch Series at Dover International Speedway.
Eighty different drivers have run a Truck race this season, running with four different manufacturers - Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford and Toyota. The series has 25 races on 22 tracks, with twelve different race winners in 19 races so far this year, and 13 different drivers starting on pole. Three drivers are competing for Raybestos Rookie of the year, with Kluever leading the standings.
The Las Vegas race will be round 262, and of those races, two drivers have run 216 of them - JACK SPRAGUE with 25 wins and 27 poles; and RICK CRAWFORD, who has three poles and four victories, including last weekend's race at New Hampshire International Speedway. Crawford had been the all time leader, one race ahead of Sprague, but Crawford had to sit out the Kentucky round in July when NASCAR grounded him after his severe crash in qualifying which rendered him unconscious.
Among the 36 drivers racing this weekend are four Truck champions - Skinner (1995), RON HORNADAY (1996 and 1998), BOBBY HAMILTON (2004) and Sprague (1997, 1999, 2001).
Longevity is one of the strong suits in the Truck series. Series title sponsor Craftsman has been with the Truck series all ten years and has just extended for another five years. OWEN KEARNS, manager of communications, not only has been to every Truck race, but all of the Winter Heat races before the first season started and two of the four 'exhibition' races in 1994 after the series was announced.
CHRIS SHOWALTER, crew chief for Sprague, went with his father, GARY SHOWALTER, to one of the Winter Heat races, and they both decided this was the place for them. Chris has been at every points race and his father has been to all but two. Series director WAYNE AUTON has been with Trucks since the Milwaukee race in June of the first year - 1995. Two other race officials have been with the series since the beginning - registrar LISA SHORT and chief scorer BETSY TYLER. Pace truck driver RANDY KISER has been with the series since 1995, with a one year sabbatical in 1999. Photographer NATE MECCHA of High Sierra Photography has been to every Truck race.
JIMMY SMITH, owner of the two-car Ultra Dodge team with TED MUSGRAVE and JIMMY SPENCER is the only one of the four founding fathers of the Truck Series to still be involved, and has run a truck in every one of the 262 races. Two other team owners have been with the series since the first year and have run every season - BOB and KAY KESELOWSKI's K Automotive Motorsports, and WAYNE SPEARS of Spears Motorsports, the team which launched Harvick.