The drivers of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series are trading in their driving gloves for baseball gloves as they move from the racing oval to the baseball diamond this Thursday in Kentucky to do battle with their counterparts from Speed Channel.

The annual softball challenge will be held at the new Champion Window Field, home of the Frontier League's Florence Freedom in Florence on Thursday, July 8 at 5:30 p.m.

Last year's game was cancelled due to rain, so the competitors are especially eager to break the series tie of one game apiece.

Fans are invited to come out and cheer for their favorite NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver, and stay to watch the Florence Freedom play the Kalamazoo Kings. Admission to Champion Window Field is $6 for red seats and $9 for VIP seats. Gates open at 5:15 p.m.

Drivers scheduled to play include Jack Sprague, Ted Musgrave, Robert Huffman, David Starr, Shane Hmiel, Kelly Sutton, Tracy Hines, Rick Crawford (coach) and more.

The game kicks off the weekend's events at Kentucky Speedway, where the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will race in the Built Ford Tough 225 on Sat., July 11 at 8 p.m.

"I came into this NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season with a whole new attitude, and I'm going to carry that new 'Mad Dog' image on to the softball field at Kentucky so SPEED Channel better watch out," said Ted Musgrave, driver of the No. 1 Mopar Dodge and race winner at The Milwaukee Mile. "I'm here to win, period - and so is every other driver on that field. Although we drivers beat and bang on each other on the race track, I'm confident that we're going to pull together as a team and beat SPEED Channel."

But SPEED Channel has different ideas on how the game will play out.

"The softball game in Kentucky will show what better athletes SPEED Channel has as compared to the drivers in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series," said Rick Allen, lead announcer for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series on SPEED. "We are a well-oiled machine, and we're just waiting for the proper venue to showcase our talents."

Following the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers/SPEED Channel challenge, the Frontier League's Florence Freedom will take the field against the Kalamazoo Kings. NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Rick Crawford - who will not play in the challenge game due to an injured foot but will coach the drivers' team - will throw the game's ceremonial first pitch.

"If there's one thing I know how to do, it's to go fast," said Crawford, the driver of the No. 14 Circle Bar Motel & RV Park Ford and currently sits fourth in the points standings. "Don't expect me to bounce the ball across home plate - I'm going to bring the heat in that first pitch."

"It will be an honor for me to get to throw out the first pitch after I coach the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series to a win over SPEED Channel."

Craftsman, the Official Tools of NASCAR, has sponsored the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series since it began in 1995. According to a 2004 EquiTrend survey, Craftsman is rated the No. 1 brand in the nation for overall quality. Sears sells more than 1,600 Craftsman hand tools that are guaranteed forever. If any Craftsman hand tool ever fails to give complete satisfaction, return it for free repair or replacement.

Sears offers Craftsman tools, merchandise and related services nationwide through its Full-line stores, Sears Hardware stores, Sears Dealer stores and Orchard Supply Hardware stores, as well as through specialty catalogs and online at www.sears.com and www.craftsman.com.