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Where in the world can you see Linda Vaughn (Miss Hurst) and David Pearson within 20 feet of each other? BRISTOL!

Bristol, TN 03/21/2009 Editorial by Jeff Kluss/SIT: Well it was a major weekend for the Bristol races, but what folks were sticking around for after the Nationwide Series Race on Saturday was much more significant to me and the other 100,000 fans which never left their seats. It only consisted of 35 laps and lasted for less than an hour including the driver introductions. Maybe it was the idea of getting to see a great event that may never occur again due to the aging Hall of Famers that participated. Possibly it was that these participants help shape and mold the sport of NASCAR. For me, it was the idea of seeing childhood heroes that raced like crazed men on a mission since it definitely wasn’t for the endorsement income since it didn’t exist when they competed.

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Cale Yarborough and Donnie Allison in the infield at Daytona in 1979

Photo courtesy of ISC Archives

I was a late bloomer since I didn’t start attending NASCAR races on a regular basis until 1978. But I definitely remember what happened in Daytona in 1979. It was all over the television when Donnie Allison and Cale Yarborough were battling down to the last lap…then it happened. They took each other out of the race, and Richard Petty took the win by default. But no one was paying attention to the King crossing the finish line since the spectacle was on the infield. Cale and Donnie were going at it while the crowd watched intently. 

_mg_9132-grpdrivermtg2Wayne Estes, Jack Ingram, Cale Yarborough, Sterling Marlin, Harry Gant, Phil Parsons at Driver’s Meeting.

calecompFirst Photo: Cale in the pits at Bristol. Second Photo: Cale coming out of turn 2 in his Late Model Busch sponsored car.

Those were the great days of NASCAR before fines and suspensions. All those memories and more came back in a flash with seeing all these great drivers back in a car, thanks to Wayne Estes and all the folks at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Special thanks to my second daddy Jack “Iron Man” Ingram for letting me tag along.  I was able to relive all the great memories of those bygone NASCAR days when big budgets and multiple team ownership were non-existent. It is still exhilarating to see fans recognize the 5 time Late Model Sportsman and Busch Series winner. And it was great to see a smile on his face when he got in his car once again. As we all know, heroes are a rare commodity today.

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Jack in his #11 Late Model before the race and then Jack “Iron Man” at Charlotte in 1974 with his Chevy Monte Carlo

What was very cool was listening in to all the conversations that were conducted left ear to left ear due to all these great drivers being mostly deaf in their right ears since there was very little or no ear protection in the old days.

jack-and-rusty-comp1Jack and Rusty discussing how the #2 car had an illegal B pillar and higher than legal rear spoiler..but the $200 thousand price tag for the car and wind tunnel testing for a Charitable race never came up…..or did it?

Of course the legends in attendance didn’t stop there. The Allison brothers showed up to see all the hoopla and to converse with all their former competitors.

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Bobby and Donnie Allison on the infield at Bristol, and of course Donnie’s Ford Torino at Daytona in 1969.

But another real treat was to see Robert “Junior” Johnson actually get in the car once again. Course Jimmy Spencer just had to tap him and spin him out before the race really got underway.

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Junior Johnson on the infield with David Green and of course Junior in his car at Daytona in 1964.

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Of course it was great seeing the two Skoal Bandit Drivers on the track once again…that is Harry Gant in the #33 and Jack Ingram in the #11.

It has been my privilege to go to more NASCAR races than I can begin to count, five Hall of Fame inductions where I sat at the table and told jokes with Jack, King Richard, and Benny Parsons. I’ve shared photographic stories with T. Taylor Warren (God bless you Taylor, you will be missed.) But actually getting an opportunity to see all my childhood heroes drive again was something that will never be forgotten. If you missed this one, you missed something really special. Wayne Estes and the folks at Bristol want to repeat this again, but it makes me wonder if this kind of magic can actually happen again? I hope so.

TALLADEGA, Ala. (Oct. 7, 2008) – The latest stop of the 2008 racing season at the Talladega Superspeedway for the Amp Energy 500 in Talladega, Ala. had stars and fans of the Sprint Cup Series experiencing heartburn.  From two “big ones” causing trouble on the track to a confusing ruling at the start/finish line, everyone from fans to big-name drivers experienced more than a few TUMSâ moments in Talladega.  Each weekend PRN lead anchor Doug Rice picks the Top 10 TUMS Moments from the weekend’s racing activities.

This week’s Top 10 TUMS honors go to:

10.  Goodyear came under fire once again after at least four on-track incidents including two multi-car wrecks that were directly linked to tire problems.

9.  Mike Wallace had a competitive car that was capable of running up front but a tire failure doomed him to the role of an also-ran.

8.  David Ruitimann had a right rear tire explode and a spinning Ruitimann collected Jeff Gordon and shoved his Chevrolet into the wall.  The crash sealed any chance that Gordon had of staging a late season rally to grab his 5th title.

7.  It was another short day for the Alltel Dodge as its engine surrendered on lap 48 and Ryan Newman ended up finishing 43rd.

6.  Denny Hamlin suffered from yet another “tire incident” this time while he had the lead.  The resulting crash sent Hamlin to a nearby hospital for examination – definitely a TUMS worthy moment for the team.

5.  Brian Vickers suffered from the tire woes when his right front tire gave way.  The resulting crash swept up several cars including Martin Turex Jr., Kasey Kahne, David Gilliland and Mike Skinner to name a few.

4.  Dale Earnhardt Jr. saw his slim title hopes evaporate when he was a part of the second “big one” at Talladega.  The Amp sponsored car was unable to the finish the Amp Energy 500.

3.  Carl Edwards spent the entire day at the back of the pack trying his best to avoid trouble.  When Edwards finally made a move to the front, trouble found him in a big way.  While trying to push his teammate Greg Biffle to the front, Carl triggered a HUGE wreck that took out Chase contenders Greg Biffle, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick.

2.  The second big wreck of the day took a little of the drama out of the Chase with so many Chasers missing a chance to gain ground on Jimmie Johnson.

1.  For a few brief seconds Regan Smith thought he had won his first Sprint Cup Race as he edged by Tony Stewart at the start finish line.  In the end, the official ruling called Smith’s pass illegal and credited him with an 18th place finish, making Stewart the big winner for the day.  Smith was racing for a TUMS after that announcement.

Stay tuned each week for the Top 10 TUMS Moments to see which drivers and teams are most in need of TUMS fast relief.

RICHMOND, Va. (Sept. 10, 2008) – The latest stop of the 2008 racing season at the Richmond International Speedway for the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 in Richmond, Va. had stars and fans of the Sprint Cup Series experiencing heartburn.  From storms that pushed the race to a Sunday start and the anticipation from drivers who were about to make their last attempt at the Chase, everyone from fans to big-name drivers experienced more than a few TUMSâ moments.  Each weekend PRN lead anchor Doug Rice picks the Top 10 TUMS Moments from the weekend’s racing activities.

This week’s Top 10 TUMS honors go to:

10.  Hurricane Hanna managed to postpone the entire race weekend until Sunday, but attendees got lucky as Hurricane Hanna turned out to be mostly hype.

9.  Hurricane Hanna also delayed the debut of the much talked about Joey Lagano (or Slice Bread), who will have to stay on the shelf for another week.

8.  Clint Bowyer qualified for the Chase at Richmond, but spent a great deal of the race running outside the top 12 in points.  Talk about a driver who could have benefited from a few TUMS on Sunday.

7.  Dodge, whose cars won the season opener at Daytona, have to be disappointed as they failed to put a single car in the Chase.

6.  A disappointed Kasey Kahne was left wondering what went wrong – Kahne won the All-Star Race, the Coca-Cola 600 and Pocono, but couldn’t fight his way back into the top 12 in time for the Chase.

5.  Johnny Sauter brought out the yellow on lap 96 when his Hunt Brothers Pizza car pancaked the wall, proving once and for all that pancakes and pizza don’t go well together.

4. David Ragan appeared to be Chase bound but his late race contact with Clint Bowyer sealed his fate, and he is denied a spot in the Chase.

3.  The long drought continued for some of racing’s biggest names – now 26 races into the season, Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Greg Biffle and Kevin Harvick still don’t have checkered flag between them.

2. Even though David Reutimann led the most laps on Sunday, he let victory slip away and settled for a 9th place finish.

1.  Early in the race Dale Earnhardt Jr. made contact with race leader Kyle Busch, spinning him into the wall.   TUMS are in order when your car crashes, and almost everyone in the stands are cheering.

Partnership allows for sharing of resources with NASCAR

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 4, 2008) NASCAR Holdings today announced an agreement to acquire the Grand-Am Road Racing (Grand-Am). The future move will allow for resource sharing between Grand-Am and NASCAR while both organizations continue to operate independently. NASCAR Holdings is the legal operating entity that includes the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and many of its subsidiaries.

Grand-Am, one of the world’s most competitive road racing organizations, and NASCAR, the No. 1 spectator sport in the U.S., will combine marketing and communications efforts to include brand management, research, marketing and public relations.

Grand-Am consists of six racing series, including the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series and the Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series, which has millions of loyal fans.

“This combination of resources will benefit Grand-Am and NASCAR, their competitors and fans, as the two companies work together to enhance the two sports,” said Jim France, NASCAR Vice Chairman and Grand-Am founder.

The two racing brands will continue to independently sanction and officiate race events for their own series and there will be no change in management. Roger Edmondson will continue to serve as president of Grand-Am.

There has been a rise in crossover drivers and team owners between Grand-Am and NASCAR in recent years. NASCAR drivers such as Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Kyle Petty, Bobby Labonte, Juan Pablo Montoya, Kurt Busch and Jeff Gordon have raced in the Grand-Am Rolex Series. Full time driver and 2008 Grand-Am Daytona Prototype team champion Scott Pruett has driven in many NASCAR events. Chip Ganassi and Richard Childress own teams in both sports.

The Grand-American Road Racing Association was established in 1999 and is based in Daytona Beach, Fla. The 2008 schedule includes 15 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series events and 11 Grand-Am KONI Challenge events. Other Grand-Am racing series include Ferrari Challenge; Ford Racing Mustang Challenge; Skip Barber Racing Series; and the SunTrust MOTO-ST Series.

BRISTOL, Tenn. (August 26, 2008 ) – The latest stop of the 2008 racing season at Bristol Motor Speedway for the Sharpie 500 in Bristol, Tenn. had stars and fans of the Sprint Cup Series experiencing heartburn.  From wrecks that took out unsuspecting drivers to another weekend win for Carl Edwards (marking his sixth win in the Sprint Cup Series this season), big-name drivers experienced more than a few TUMSâ moments in Bristol.  Each weekend PRN lead anchor Doug Rice picks the Top 10 TUMS Moments from the weekend’s racing activities.

This week’s Top 10 TUMS honors go to:

10. After young David Ragan crashed during qualifying, and started at the rear of the pack, he managed to pull off a top ten finish and will stay in contention to make the Chase.

9.   Jeff Burton’s hope for winning back-to-back races at Bristol disappeared when he was a casualty in a wreck involving several other drivers.  Despite trouble at Bristol, Burton still looks like a lock to make the Chase.

8.   A loose seat belt sidelined Elliott Sadler for eight laps and cost Elliott any chance of a decent finish.

7.   Dale Earnhardt Jr. was penalized at the start of the race for passing right before the start/finish line.  He spent the entire race trying to get back on the lead lap, a goal he was unable to accomplish.

6.   Jimmie Johnson never got to contend for the win as he and Sterling Marlin got together early and Johnson immediately found himself 10 laps down to the leaders.

5.   Chase contender Kasey Kahne crashed out of the race and fell out of the top twelve.  Kahne needs to race to exceptional finishes at California and Richmond if he wants to regain a position in the Chase.

4.   The TUMS Wave set a Guinness World Record™ for the world’s largest audience wave.  In the spirit of the TUMS, the wave made it around the track fast.  So fast that the crowd kicked into over-time and turned the two-lap event into an exercise routine that continued for five laps around the bowl at Bristol Motor Speedway.

3.   For the second week in row Dave Blaney crashed out due to no fault of his own.  It’s been a tough season for the former World of Outlaw Champion.

2.   Bill Elliott excited longtime fans by qualifying fifth on Friday and ran in the top ten for the first 200 laps.  The Awesome One eventually faded and came home in 26th.

1.   Kyle Busch absolutely dominated the race by leading 415 straight laps but gave up the lead and the win when Carl Edwards administered a bump and run on lap 469.  It should be noted that with eight wins this season, Kyle has seldom appeared on this list.

Stay tuned each week for the Top 10 TUMS Moments to see which drivers and teams are most in need of TUMS fast relief.

BRISTOL, Tenn. (August 27, 2008) – A record-setting 157,574 fans rose to the occasion at this year’s Sharpie 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tenn. on Saturday, August 23, as TUMS challenged race attendees to set the Guinness World Record. for the world’s Largest Audience Wave.  A minimum of 110,000 fans were required to participate in the TUMS Wave at Bristol Motor Speedway in order to set the new Guinness World Record.

In addition to setting the record for the most people completing the wave, The TUMS Wave at Bristol Motor Speedway traveled around the stadium grandstands in a record time of 58.07 seconds.  While Bristol Motor Speedway is the fastest half-mile  track on the Sprint Cup circuit, the newest TUMS product, the TUMS QuikPak instant dissolve powder, goes to work faster than a lap at Bristol or the world record-setting fan wave.

“The TUMS Wave was a great way to show race fans just how quickly TUMS and the TUMS QuikPak can provide speedy heartburn relief,” said Brenda Kale, Senior Consumer Promotions Manager at GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare. “TUMS is committed to ensuring NASCAR fans enjoy their race experience to the fullest and participating in the Guinness World Record attempt guaranteed a memorable day at the race track.”

To add to the excitement, TUMS enlisted Jeff Byrd, President and General Manager of Bristol Motor Speedway to give the green flag and lead 157,574 fans in the Guinness World Record-setting wave just before the start of the Sharpie 500.  TUMS and its dedicated fans are now record holders alongside notable NASCAR drivers such as Richard Petty (most wins at the Daytona 500), Bobby and Davey Allison (first father/son duo to finish first/second in a race), Kevin Harvick (closest margin of victory at the Daytona 500) and Brendan Gaughn (driver of the world’s fastest production truck, the Dodge Ram SRT-10).

BROOKLYN, Mich. (August 19, 2008 ) – The latest stop of the 2008 racing season at Michigan International Speedway for the 3M Performance 400 in Brooklyn, Mich. had the stars and fans of the Sprint Cup Series experiencing heartburn.  From the Gibbs team’s racing controversy to a weekend sweep for Carl Edwards (marking his fifth win in the Sprint Cup Series this season), big-name drivers experienced more than a few TUMSâ moments in Brooklyn.  Each weekend PRN lead anchor Doug Rice picks the Top 10 TUMS Moments from the weekend’s racing activities.

This week’s Top 10 TUMS honors go to:

#10 J.D. Gibbs and company were feeling the burn as they faced the media to discuss allegations of the team’s Nationwide Series cars being tampered with to under-perform on the dyno.  Gibbs’ “meet the media” session may become a pleasant memory after their sanctions are decided.

#9 Tony Stewart and crew kept their winless streak alive, stretching it to 38 races after failing to win at Michigan.

#8 Loyal Michigan fans could use some TUMS after a group of media paraded around Ann Arbor in Appalachian State University gear.  Michigan’s Wolverine fans are still trying to forget the football team’s monumental upset to ASU last year.

#7 Last week Marcos Ambrose was a true Cinderella story, finishing 3rd at Watkins Glen.  It was back to reality this week as he staged an early exit and a 43rd-place finish.

#6 Brad Coleman’s Sprint Cup debut was less than sensational as he finishes 38th, three laps down for Hall of Fame Racing.

#5 Ryan Newman got into Dave Blaney sending the Caterpillar Toyota into the backstretch wall.

#4 Chase hopeful Kasey Kahne had a rough day in the Budweiser Dodge as engine troubles relegate him to 40th and he drops two spots in the Chase standing.  As a result of a disastrous weekend, Kahne will be loading up on TUMS as the Chase nears.

#3 With just six laps remaining, the motor in Denny Hamlin’s Toyota erupts.  A disappointed Hamlin expressed his less than optimistic opinion about making the Chase to the media, causing heartburn for his teammates.

#2 Dale Earnhardt Jr. looked like a lock for a top-ten finish, but got into the wall late and limps the number 88 home in 23rd place.

#1 Jeff Gordon, who hasn’t won a race this season, crashed after running into his own teammate, Jimmie Johnson.  After the Johnson and Gordon rub on lap 90, Johnson immediately goes to the pits with a flat tire and eight laps later, Gordon crashes when a right front tire gives way.  Gordon dropped three positions in the Chase and is now ninth in standing.

Stay tuned each week for the Top 10 TUMS Moments to see which drivers and teams are most in need of TUMS fast relief.

Watkins Glen, N.Y. (August 11, 2008 ) – The latest stop of the 2008 racing season at the Centurion Boats at the Glen at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, N.Y. had the stars and fans of the Sprint Cup Series experiencing severe heartburn.  From a nine car pileup and the resulting 40-minute lull in action to finishes that affected the Chase for the Championship, big-name drivers experienced more than a few TUMSâ moments at the Glen.  Each weekend PRN lead anchor Doug Rice picks the Top 10 TUMS Moments from the weekend’s racing activities.

This week’s Top 10 TUMS honors go to:

10. Jeff Gordon was looking to find his way back to the winner’s circle at one of his top tracks but instead the DuPount Chevy wound up finishing 29th after starting 6th.

9.   A curious pit strategy took Dale Earnhardt Jr. out of contention for the win.  The number 88 car led 28 of the first 29 laps but eventually finished 22.

8.   Ryan Neman saw his remote hopes for making the Chase vanish at the Glen after his Dodge placed 26th after suffering multiple mishaps.

7.   Clint Bowyer started the day in 12th, clinging to the final place in the Chase.  After finishing 23rd he slipped to 13th in points and is temporarily out of the top 12 with only four races remaining before the cut-off day.

6.   It was an all day struggle for David Ragan, another driver battling to find a spot in the Chase. Ragan started at the back of the pack in a back up car and most likely dropped out of Chase contention after a 30th-place finish.

5.   Robby Gordon, a perpetual road course favorite, struggled at the Glen and spent most of the race trying to get back on the lead lap.  At the end of the day 27th was the best he was able to do.

4.   Bobby Labonte was involved in a nine car crash with just seven laps remaining.  Labonte’s car was destroyed and he was flown to a nearby hospital, where he was treated and released.

3.  The race fans had to endure a 40-minute lull in the action while track workers cleaned and repaired the track after the big wreck.  This was almost like waiting 40 minutes for a pitching change at the ball bark.

2.   David Gilliland and Michael McDowell were called to the NASCAR trailer after their on-track altercation triggers the “big one”.

1.   All of the drivers who thought they might catch Kyle Busch are in serious need of TUMS.  Busch’s win at the Glen guarantees him the number one seed when the Chase begins in just four weeks.

Stay tuned each week for the Top 10 TUMS Moments to see which drivers and teams are most in need of TUMS fast relief.

TUMS Announces Guinness World Record Attempt by Fans at World’s Fastest Half-Mile Track

BRISTOL, Tenn. (August 5, 2008 ) – Fans will rise for more than just the National Anthem at this year’s Sharpie 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tenn. on Saturday, August 23, as TUMS attempts to break the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest audience wave. TUMS, one of the most trusted and enduring brands for indigestion and heartburn relief, and its newest product, the TUMS QuikPak instant dissolve powder, will bring its fastest relief ever to Bristol Motor Speedway and attempt to set a new world record.

“TUMS and the TUMS QuikPak are committed to race fans and wanted to do something special for the dedicated fans at Bristol Motor Speedway,” said Brenda Kale, Senior Consumer Promotions Manager at GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare. “We are helping fans break the world record for the largest audience wave and highlighting the TUMS QuikPak’s ability to go to work faster than it takes for drivers to go one lap at the fastest track on the circuit!”

TUMS will wave the green flag and help get Bristol fans involved in the record-breaking attempt at the world’s largest audience wave record. The Sharpie 500 will be the 53rd straight sell-out race at Bristol Motor Speedway – one of the hardest tickets to attain in sports – and host to more than 158,000 fans.

TUMS is thrilled by the chance to put race fans in the record books, alongside some of their favorite drivers. Notable drivers who also hold Guinness World Records include Richard Petty (most wins at the Daytona 500), Bobby and Davey Allison (first father/son duo to finish first/second in a race), Kevin Harvick (closest margin of victory at the Daytona 500) and Brendan Gaughn (driver of the world’s fastest production truck, the Dodge Ram SRT-10).

TUMS Goes Racing

In addition to the Guinness World Record attempt, Reed Sorenson’s No. 41 Dodge Charger will carry a special TUMS QuikPak paint scheme for the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. TUMS is an associate sponsor on the No. 41 Dodge from Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) throughout the 2008 season.

(O’Reilly Raceway Park, July 25,2008 )

Johnny Benson earned his third victory in the past four NCTS races when he took the checkered flag first at ORP Friday.

Photo by: Jeff Kluss/SIT

Johnny Beneson makes it to the winner circle again!

Still only 1 point ahead of Matt Crafton, and only 5 points ahead of Mike Skinner after the ORP race at Indianapolis, a joyous Johnny Benson takes the trophy once again.

How does it feel to win at ORP? “Man, it’s pretty cool.  I don’t know how many times I’ve run second here.  I was like, ‘man I do not want to run second.’  Ron (Hornaday, Jr) was doing the protective deal.  He was running where I was running, stuff like that.  I was laughing because I said, ‘he (Ron Hornaday, Jr) got by me without hitting me, that was cool.’  He’s a great racer and I love racing with him.  He started running my groove so I thought I’d try his groove in (turns) three and four.  That Toyota just stuck there.  I thank Vemma for coming on board this week, Toyota Certified Used Vehicles, Excide Batteries and everybody that does thing.  Triad puts bodies on these things and they’re awesome – great job on the engines.  I wasn’t real happy with the tire to start with but as the race got going the track got going, Goodyear brought a good tire.  We could pretty much run it all night.  It was a little slick and sliding but I think a lot of that was the tracks.  That was pretty cool to get us in victory lane.  We’re pretty happy obviously. This is way to cool.”

Can you talk about your battle with Ron Hornaday, Jr? “He ran a great race, he really did.  I was watching what he was doing, watching his line and trying not to heat up my Goodyears too bad.  I just waited and bided my time.  The minute I saw him run my line I thought I was going to be in trouble.  I was running the outside and trying to stay in clean air.  If he’d run the bottom, I’d run the top and if he ran the top, I’d run the bottom just keeping air on the nose.  He went to the top and I let her eat there through that one time and it stuck.  That’s all it took.  We were able to get in front and hold them off.  Everybody knows these restarts with Ron behind you are no fun.  It was a great day for us for sure.  Tripp Bruce (crew chief) and everybody at Bill Davis Racing does an awesome job every week.”

How was your night? “It was a pretty good race at least from where we stood.  We qualified eighth and we thought we’d be a little bit better but I heard someone say they always win this from further back than fifth so we’re pretty proud about that if that is a true fact.  We had a pretty good run there from the start.  We were running fourth and then worked on Bobby East who did a good job this weekend of sitting on the pole and running good.  I’m not sure what happened to him late but that was a shame as I would have liked to see him have a good run.  We got by him than I worked on (Jack) Sprague and it took me a long, long time.  We were trying to race him clean and race him hard – we did that.  Of course Ron (Hornaday, Jr) pretty much dominated the race but we got the trophy.  That’s the cool part about it.  It’s fun racing Ron.  We know he’s a tough competitor and we got by him on the pits and he got by us on the track and we were able to get back by him again.  It was a lot of fun racing with him.”

Photo by: Jeff Kluss/SIT

Is the driver’s championship within reach for you? “We’re hoping we’re one of the guys to beat but we no way have our hands around this thing.  We’ve been 50 points ahead and fell to fourth in one race.  It’s going to be a tough battle all the way to the end.  That’s one of the things that’s great about the Craftsman Truck Series is that.  The championship race isn’t going to be over until they throw the checkered flag down in Miami, that’s just how it is.  You can be dominant and have something happen and lose the race and the championship.  There’s no way anyone has their hands around it.  It’s probably going to be about four of five but nobody has their hands around it right now.”

What has your team grasped which is the reason that you’re having so much success this year? “I think we’ve been good all year we just hadn’t won a race.  We’ve been decent all season.  We had our little mishap at Atlanta and of course Martinsville those things there put us quite a bit behind.  We fell back in the points and we’ve been working hard to get back up there.  Our season has been good.  Trip Bruce (crew chief) has done a phenomenal job with all the guys on the race team.  It’s been a pleasure to race with them and race with these guys.  They have the confidence in to go and get the things we need to in order to go and be competitive.  I have all the confidence in them working on this Toyota Tundra.  It’s been a fun year but it’s also been a complicated year, too.  There are a lot of things you have to do to go right.  Maybe I haven’t had 100 percent of the race but when I needed it to be, things have been good.”

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