Kentucky Speedway will have its say in the 2002 NASCAR Craftsman Truck and ARCA RE/MAX series championship chases this weekend when it hosts both "The Kroger 225" on Saturday evening and "The Blue Grass Quality Meats 200" on Friday evening.

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is in the midst of its tightest points battle in the eight-year history of the series as only 80 points separate leader Ted Musgrave from the fifth-place Jason Leffler.

Series driver Mike Bliss became the latest driver to make his bid for the points lead by guiding his No. 16 IWX Motor Freight/Knights Inn Chevrolet to its second victory of 2002 at Kansas on July 6. He becomes the third multiple race winner in the series this season. The win also was Bliss' sixth top-five and seventh top-10 finish of 2002. He moves to second in the series points standings, just 61 points behind Musgrave.

Musgrave, who also owns two wins on the season, enters this week as a strong favorite to win the "Kroger 225" after finishing fifth in Kansas. He led 75 laps of last year's "Kroger 225" before a late race incident forced him behind the pit wall. Leffler also is considered a favorite as he takes over the No. 2 Team ASE Dodge driven to victory at Kentucky Speedway last year by Scott Riggs. Late race mechanical trouble forced Leffler to miss wins at both Milwaukee and Kansas earlier this season. The third-place David Starr (-73) (No. 75 Spears Manufacturing Chevrolet), and fourth-place Rick Crawford (-76) (No. 14 Circle Bar Racing Chevrolet) also are contending for top series honors.

Three-time ARCA RE/MAX Series Champion Frank Kimmel, who won the past three series events at Kentucky, is back atop the series points standings entering "The Blue Grass Quality Meats 200" after finishing second to NASCAR Winston Cup regular Kenny Schrader in South Boston, Va., on July 3. Kimmel found himself down 35 points to rookie Damon Lusk two weeks ago, but now leads the rookie by 45 points. Lusk finished 19th at South Boston. Kimmel also leads the series in victories with five this season. Lusk scored his 10th top-10 finish of the season when he finished ninth at Toledo and is the only other multiple series winner through 11 starts. He owns wins at both Michigan and Pocono, in addition to four additional top-five finishes.

Kentucky Speedway's All American race weekend begins Friday, July 12 with NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series qualifying on "The Cincinnati Enquirer and Post Pole Night." Gates open at 4:00 p.m. Qualifying begins at 5:30 p.m. NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series final practice begins at 7:15 p.m. and is followed by "The Blue Grass Quality Meats 200" at 9:00 p.m.

The green flag drops for "The Kroger 225" at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday. Saturday's events include a pre-race concert by country music superstar Lee Greenwood, a special pre-race show honoring American heroes and a fireworks show.

The weekend also will feature two U.S. Cowboy Tour rodeo performances. The best cowboys and cowgirls in the country will compete in a variety of events, including bull riding, beginning at 6:00 p.m. on July 12 and 2:00 p.m. on July 13. A separate ticket is required and a discount will be offered to speedway race ticket holders.

Tickets for both nights of racing and family entertainment are still available 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.