NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers Terry Cook and Steve Portenga joined ARCA RE/MAX Series driver A.J. Henricksen to give Tri-State media a preview of the upcoming NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series "Kroger 225" and ARCA RE/MAX Series "Blue Grass Quality Meats 200"at Kentucky Speedway July 12-13.

Cook, pilot of the No. 29 Power Stroke Diesel Ford, enters the week ninth in points after finishing second in Memphis on June 22. Cook also brought home a win in St. Louis earlier this season. He finished ninth in the 2001 "Kroger 225" and said he looks forward to building on that strong showing in 2002. He predicted a competitive "Kroger 225."

"The Craftsman Truck Series always enjoys coming to Kentucky Speedway, it's a world-class facility. This is a track I really enjoy. You talk about these 'cookie-cutter' mile-and-half tracks and this isn't one of them. This is a track where the progression in Turn 3 is different than the cookie-cutter tracks." Cook said. "I'm seeing three-wide and four-wide racing into the corners and five-wide racing down through the tri-oval.

"We earmark races each year we want to win and one of the tracks is Kentucky. The speedway always puts up a good purse, so to win here is a good payday," he added.

Portenga, owner and driver of the No. 39 Roto-Rooter Chevrolet, recently moved his operation from Bakersfield, Calif., to Cincinnati. He is competing in the series for the second time in 2002 after racing in the inaugural series in 1995. He raced with Roto-Rooter in the NASCAR Winston West Series from 1999-2001 and made three consecutive top-five title runs. He's found success early in his second NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series by taking a eighth-place finish at Pikes Peak.

He said he looked forward to his first start at his new "hometown" track in "The Kroger 225."

"Kentucky is definitely one of the races circled on our calendar. It's going to be big for (Cincinnati-based) Roto-Rooter and for us," he said. "Roto-Rooter has made it possible for me to come back to the series. They're giving me the tools to everything and we're just hoping to capitalize and start getting some solid top-10 finishes. It's been a tough transition for us, but we're learning more with every lap and practice session. I'm not giving up by any means. We're going to be a team that runs as well as the Power Stroke Diesel Team eventually."

Henriksen, who enters the week with three top-five and four top-10 finishes in just four ARCA RE/MAX Series starts this season, said he is ready to continue his recent success at Kentucky in the No. 17 Fastenal -Engineered Components Chevrolet. Through five starts at Kentucky, his best finishes have come in "The Blue Grass Quality Meats 200." He was third in 2000 and sixth in 2001.

"Our season so far has been really good. We keep putting ourselves in a position to win and we're going to get one pretty soon. I wish we had more races here, I love this place." Henricksen said.

Henricksen, along with the rest of the series drivers, will be gunning for veteran Frank Kimmel, who has won the last three series events at Kentucky. Kimmel enters the week second in the points standings after driving to five wins through 10 series events. His most recent was June 23 at Toledo.

"He (Kimmel) has a lot of experience. He's dabbled a little bit with truck races, Busch races and Cup races, so he's kind of on the next level," Henricksen said. "Obviously he has a really strong team and he's one step ahead of us right now. The guys he has working with him have been together about seven years now and that makes a big difference." Kentucky Speedway's third race weekend will carry an All-American theme. Country superstar Lee Greenwood will perform a pre-race concert on the B-105 Country Sound Stage in the speedway's Turn 1 Concourse on Saturday, July 13, and the United States Cowboy Tour will hold rodeo competitions at 6:00 p.m. on July 12 and 2:00 p.m. on July 13. The speedway also will honor all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces during the weekend and stage a fireworks show.

Tickets for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series "Kroger 225" and ARCA RE/MAX Series "Bluegrass Quality Meats 200" are on sale now and can be purchased in five easy ways:

  • By phone at 1-888-652-RACE
  • On the World Wide Web at www.kentuckyspeedway.com
  • In person at either the speedway's Ft. Mitchell ticket office or at the Kentucky Speedway Fan Center off Ky. Hwy. 35 in Sparta, Ky.
  • At Tickets.com and all Tickets.com retail outlets located in Greater Cincinnati area Meijer Hader Hardware and Play-It-Again Sports stores.
  • In person at all Greater Cincinnati AAA locations.