In motor racing, every driver from time to time needs to catch a break.
Saturday at the paved half-mile paper clip known as the Martinsville Speedway, some drivers in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will be hoping just to have brakes.
Germain Racing’s Todd Bodine and Ted Musgrave will be among those beatin’ and bangin’ in the Kroger 250, the fourth race of the 2007 season.
The green flag will drop at 3 p.m., with the lineup to be determined in Saturday-morning qualifying at 11. Attempting to repeat as the NCTS champ, Bodine goes into the event second in the points, 69 behind frontrunner Mike Skinner, a two-time winner already this season.
Musgrave, the 2005 truck champ, is fifth in the points and still looking for his first win as a member of the Germain operation he joined last year.
While Martinsville is known as a flat little bullring tough on the binders, Bodine doesn’t see it the way in the truck action.
“It’s not all about the brakes. At least I don’t think so,” says the 43-year-old from Chemung, N.Y. “There’s a certain technique to getting around Martinsville, and once you figure it out, it doesn’t seem that brakes are really an issue.”
“In the No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Tundra, it would be pretty strange for brakes to be a story, mostly because the truck series races are so much shorter than a Cup Series race. In 250 laps, there really shouldn’t be too many brake problems.”
Bodine is upbeat about Martinsville despite the track’s reputation for causing tempers to boil.
“It’s one of my favorite race tracks. I know some racers never love the place, but I do,” he said. “The Bodine family has a pretty rich tradition at Martinsville Speedway – when I get there, it’s like I’m home.”
In 27 career starts at Martinsville, Bodine has earned one pole in the Cup Series. In the NCTS, he has finished every lap of every race there.
In last fall’s Kroger 200 at Martinsville, Musgrave led the most laps and showed his Team ASE Tundra was one of the trucks to beat. Race winner Jack Sprague was Musgrave’s toughest competition, and he went on to win following Musgrave’s restart penalty late in the race.
Musgrave isn’t looking back.
“At Martinsville, there’s definitely no time to worry about how you did the last time you were there,” the 52-year-old Wisconsin native said. “You think about it when you strap in – you kind of rehearse how things played out and remember any lessons you need to remember, but that’s it. The green flag falls, and it’s all about each lap, each turn, each straightaway.”
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The Charlotte County Motorsports Park will host a 100-lapper Fast Late Model Series machines. The FastTrucks and FastKids will be on hand as well for the 6 p.m. card.
The night is being called “Camp Boggy Creek Night” and race fans will get a dollar off the price of admission with a donation of canned food.
In addition to those classes already mentioned, the Mini-Cup, Road Warriors, Thunder Trucks and sportsman cars will be on the track just south of the Charlotte County Airport on Piper Road.
Admission is $15 for adults, $13 for seniors and $5 for kids age 6 through 12. Those 11 and younger are free.
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The Immokalee Regional Raceway drag strip will be quivering again on April 14. That’s when the roaring Pro Mods hit the one-eighth-mile strip for the All-Star Truckers Pro Mod special that will pay $2,000 to the winner.
These are the cars than rip down the asphalt in about four seconds.
Tonight will feature the usual Friday Test-n-Tune and this Saturday will be the seventh points event of the 2007 season.
The strip is located at the Immokalee Regional Airport. Phone 800-826-1947 or 657-5954.
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After a brief layoff, the drivers of the Hooters ProCup Southern Division get back to business Saturday in Cecil, Ga. Naples’ Billy Bigley Jr. will be among those in the Glover 250 at the South Georgia Motorsports Park. The race is set for 7 p.m.
The race will be broadcast on the SPEED channel April 11 at 4 p.m. and April 20 at noon.