Gurney's Inn
May 03, 2006

Racing Reporter

Truex Makes It Three In A Row

Martin Truex Jr. showed why he is the 2005 Busch champ by holding off a pack of challengers with three laps to go to capture his third consecutive Busch Series Aaron's 312 at Talladega Superspeedway. The two-time NASCAR Busch Series champion — whose No. 8 Chevrolet carried the familiar black paint scheme of Dale Earnhardt on Dale Earnhardt Day — recorded his 13th career victory while becoming the only series driver to win in his first three starts at the 2.66-mile superspeedway.

Driving a car owned by Dale Earnhardt Inc., Truex celebrated what would have been The Intimidator's 55th birthday by giving the company yet another restrictor-plate victory. Earnhardt, who won 10 races at Talladega, was killed in a 2001 accident at Daytona.

"This is up there at the top of my wins," Truex said. "It's just a special day. Everybody at DEI, we kind of had this weekend penciled in our calendars."

The entire Talladega weekend was a tribute to Earnhardt, who was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame last Thursday night. DEI commemorated his birthday with a celebration at their shop in Mooresville, N.C., and all of the company cars are sporting a black paint scheme that resembles Earnhardt's old No. 3 Chevrolet. "It's just an honor to be associated with this whole thing," Truex said. "To be part of the company he started, and able to carry it on to more wins. All this stuff for me is like a bonus. He was my favorite driver before I ever raced a car."

Top-10 Busch Series drivers: 1. Harvick-1639, 2. Bowyer-1340, 3. Edwards-1267, 4. Hamlin-1247, 5. Yeley-1224, 6. Menard-1212, 7. Kyle Busch-1202, 8. Biffle-1154, 9. Wood-1143, 10. Sauter-1111

Bodine Gets Gateway Truck Win

Todd Bodine drove his Toyota Tundra to its second victory of the season and fifth in the last eight races to capture Saturday night's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Ram Tough 200 at Gateway International Raceway.

Bodine, who led three times for 66 laps, dropped from the lead to mid-pack, two-thirds of the way into the 200-mile, 160-lap race, following a pit stop for fuel and four tires. The strategy proved to be a winning one as Bodine roared back to the front with Germain Racing teammate Ted Musgrave right behind him.

He caught leader David Reutimann on lap 147, and then held off Musgrave's charge in a three-lap shootout. Bodine edged Musgrave by 0.433 seconds, or about two truck lengths.

Rookie Contenders

There are seven drivers contending for Raybestos Rookie of the Year in the Nextel Cup Series. Prior to this weekend's race at Talladega, Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 7 Jack Daniels, Richard Childress Chevrolet was the leader with 85 points.

Bowyer's hometown is Emporia, Kansas, and he earned two wins in the Busch Series while driving the RCR AC Delco No. 2. He made his cup debut April 23, 2005 at Phoenix. Bowyer has earned two Rookie of the Race awards in 2006, with an average finish of 17.1.

Denny Hamlin, driver of Joe Gibbs No. 11 was second with 77 points. He hails from Chesterfield, Virginia. His average finish in 2006 is 21.5. Martin Truex Jr., the 2005 Busch Series champion was tabbed as the top rookie in the preseason poll. Despite six Busch wins in 2005, Truex has yet to win a Cup race, and is third in rookie points with 74.

J. J. Yeley of Phoenix, Arizona is in his first full season of NASCAR competition. He finished 11th last season in the No. 18 Vigoro/Home Depot Busch Series Chevrolet of Joe Gibbs Racing. Yeley is fourth, with 70 rookie of the year points.

Reed Sorenson of Peachtree City, Georgia burst on to the Busch spotlight last season by winning his first race in only his 11th start. Sorenson was selected by Chip Ganassi Racing in July to drive the No. 41 Target Dodge. He has 66 points, and is fifth.

David Stremme, former Busch Series driver, who is now behind the wheel of the No. 40 Chip Ganassi Dodge, is sixth, with 55 points. "I was never pushed into racing," said Stremme. "I worked on the cars for my mom and dad and then started competing locally against them. I ran more against my mom than my dad. The first year she beat me a lot, but the second year, I beat her." Stremme is from South Bend, Indiana.

Weekend Racing

The Busch and Nextel Cup series have Friday and Saturday night races at Richmond, while the Craftsman Trucks have an off week.

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