Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Craftsman trucks headed for Ky. Speedway

By Patrick Crowley
Enquirer staff writer

SPARTA, Ky. - Carl Edwards was so elated after winning last year's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Kentucky Speedway, he literally flipped.

After winning the race, Edwards, 24, celebrated by stopping his truck, climbing onto the cab and doing a back flip to the ground.

"I learned it on a trampoline when I was a kid," Edwards said Tuesday during Media Day for the July 10 Built Ford Tough 225 NASCAR Craftsman truck race at Kentucky Speedway.

Midget and sprint car driver Sondi Eden began a push this week to gain Cincinnati-based sponsorship to drive in the July 9 ARCA/REMAX race at Kentucky Speedway.

Eden leads the Indianapolis Speedrome Midget Car Series points standings and is fourth in her first year in the Hoosier Outlaw Sprint Series. She met with local sponsors and made an appearance on WBOB-AM (1160) to start raising about $30,000 to race in the ARCA event, a step toward her eventual goal to drive professionally full-time.

The Crawfordsville, Ind., native is one of three female driver finalists, 12 drivers overall, who participated in the "Drive for Diversity" development program, which helps female and racially diverse drivers make contacts within NASCAR.

The ARCA race is the opening act for the Speedway's Craftsman Truck Series race July 10.

--Colleen Kane

"I got up on the cab to celebrate, started to fall back and just decided to do the flip," Edwards said. "The crowd seemed to like it."

Edwards, the 2003 series rookie of the year, is second in the series standings this year, trailing leader Dennis Setzer by 131 points.

"There are about 16 races left," Edwards said. "At one point in the middle of last season, we hit a streak and picked up about 100 points on the leader in four races. It's probably going to be just like last year, and the championship will be decided with the last race."

The trucks reach speeds of 140 mph. Drivers said they like racing at Kentucky Speedway because of the quality of the track and the potential for a sizable payday.

The total purse for the race is $730,000 - a record for the truck series at the speedway - with the winner eligible for as much as $85,000.

Bobby Hamilton said he likes driving at the track because it is always in top condition, which isn't the case on some other tracks.

"These guys are all the time resurfacing, and it just gets better and better, and that's the opposite of most places," said Hamilton, who is third on the circuit and trails Edwards by 22 points.

"It's a great facility, and it well deserves a (Nextel) Cup race," Hamilton said.

Mark your calendar

July 9

4:15 p.m.: ARCA RE/MAX Series qualifying
6 p.m.: NASCAR Craftsman truck qualifying
8 p.m.: ARCA RE/MAX Kentucky 150 race

July 10

8 p.m.: Craftsman truck Built Ford Tough 225

• Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 on race day for Friday's events. Tickets for Saturday's truck race range from $40 to $70.

Stewart in hot water over latest incident

NASCAR officials spent Tuesday discussing what type of punishment to levy against driver Tony Stewart for an altercation with Brian Vickers after the race at Sears Point.

Vickers was knocked out of Sunday's race after contact from Stewart. Afterward, Vickers said Stewart confronted him in his car. He said Stewart reached for him inside the car and "knocked the breath out of me."

Stewart could face suspension, a monetary fine, deduction of championship points and/or probation.



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