Starr Expects Competitive NCTS Pattern to Continue at Kentucky Speedway
Kentucky Speedway's previous three NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races have been decided by an average of 0.338 of a second at the finish line and Circle Bar Racing driver David Starr predicts the competitive series pattern will continue at the track July 14 when drivers face off in the "Built Ford Tough 225 Presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers."
"We always put on a heck of a show here," Starr said today during a media preview of the upcoming event. "The way this race track is laid out, it's so fast and so smooth. The preferred line is probably the bottom, but, over the years, the line has moved up so you can race on the bottom and in the second groove. Kentucky Speedway is fun because it's smooth, it's wide and multi-groove. You know when you come here there's plenty of room to race."
The eight-year series veteran will explore the 1.5-mile tri-oval's race grooves in a Ford F-150 for the first time this season after joining the team headlined by perennial series championship contender Rick Crawford.
Starr, who competed with Toyota and Chevrolet in previous seasons, began the week 14th in the series standings after posting his only top-five and top-10 finishes of the season with a fifth-place run at Texas Motor Speedway June 8 and a 10th-place showing on The Milwaukee Mile June 22.
"We're getting the corner turned," he said. "We announced this team one day before the Daytona test and didn't have it all put together when we arrived at the first race. It's been very challenging. We've been really going through some growing pains. I don't think any of the guys that were on the team in Daytona are with us today.
"We're trying to make this team stronger and stronger, but we're racing against people that have been together for three, four, five years. It's hard to compete and we've had to do a lot of catch up in a short period of time. I'm also racing with a teammate for the first time. What's neat about it is that I rely on Rick Crawford and his team to bring us up to speed quicker."
One element of the 2007 season Starr is familiar with is the solid talent level in his series. Currently, five of the Top Six drivers in the standings such as leader Mike Skinner are previous series champions.
"One neat thing about the series is the depth of talent," he said. "You look at the Top Five in our series. Mike Skinner used to be a teammate with Dale Earnhardt and drove for Richard Childress forever. Johnny Benson is a former Cup driver, Todd Bodine a former Cup driver and the list goes on and on and on.
"You look at Erik Darnell, he's a future star in the NEXTEL Cup Series, and you have other young guns coming up. It creates a great series with past champions, former NEXTEL Cup stars and future stars. It's a big mesh of talent and that's what makes it so competitive and so challenging."
Starr, a 39-year-old driver from Houston, Tex., will attempt to extend his top-10 NCTS Kentucky Speedway finish streak to five when drivers take the green flag for the "Built Ford Tough 225 Presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers at 8:00 p.m., July 14. Ron Hornaday, Jr., will be the defending race champion. Current NASCAR Busch Series driver Marcos Ambrose started the 2006 race from the pole position in a Roush-Fenway Racing entry. The field will contain four previous Kentucky Speedway race winners such as Darnell, who took an ARCA RE/MAX Series win at the track earlier this season May 12.
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will join the ARCA RE/MAX Series at Kentucky Speedway for the fourth of five 2007 event weekends July 13-14. Speedway gates open at 4:30 p.m., Friday with ARCA RE/MAX "Channel 5-150" qualifying. NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series final practice will follow at 6:30 p.m., and the ARCA RE/MAX Series returns to the track for its 15th all-time appearance at the track at 8:00 p.m.
The weekend continues Saturday when speedway gates open at 3:00 p.m. The first 20,000 fans entering the gates will receive a free race-edition deck of playing cards compliments of U.S. Playing Card. NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series "Built Ford Tough 225 Presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers" qualifying begins at 4:00 p.m., and 2006 American Idol champion Taylor Hicks will be in concert on the Turn 1 concourse at 6:30 p.m., before the "Built Ford Tough 225 Presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers."
Tickets for both days' events are available and can be reserved online at http://www.kentuckyspeedway.com, by phone at 888-652-RACE (7223), through Tickets.com outlets such as Meijer stores and at the speedway ticket offices located at 400 Buttermilk Pike., Suite 100, in Ft. Mitchell, Ky., or the Sparta, Ky., Fan Center located off of Interstate 71 Exit 57 and Ky. Hwy. 35 N.
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series travels to Memphis Motorsports Park for its next event June 30. Coverage begins at 8:30 p.m., on SPEED Channel, the Motor Racing Radio Network and Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 128.
The Top Six in the series standings entering the Memphis race are: 2005 series champion Skinner (Leader, Toyota, 1,878 points), 1998 and 1996 series champion Hornaday, Jr., (Second, Chevrolet, -108), defending series champion Todd Bodine (Third, Toyota, -205 points), 2003 series title holder Travis Kvapil (Fourth, Ford, -293), Crawford (Fifth, Ford, -299) and 2005 series champion Ted Musgrave (Sixth, Toyota, -397).
Story by Mike Schmaltz
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