Tuesday, July 8, 2003

Truck race is up for grabs

Speedway hosts event Saturday

By Dustin Dow
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Kentucky Speedway turns to trucks for its third racing weekend Saturday, and for the third straight year will have a new winner.

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Built Ford Tough 225 gets under way at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Qualifying is Friday.

Defending champion Mike Bliss moved up to the Busch Series this season, becoming the third straight winner at Kentucky to not return the following year. Saturday's winner will come from a field that includes last week's winner at Kansas Speedway, Jon Wood, who is looking for his second career victory at Kentucky.

"It's a good feeling, because we've worked so hard for this win," Wood said. "I know it's a big deal; we're just trying not to lose focus on our goals for the year."

The Craftsman Truck Series ranks No. 3 in the NASCAR family behind Winston Cup and Busch Series racing. It was the first major series to race at Kentucky Speedway on the track's opening weekend in June 2000.

Operated by NASCAR since 1995, the NCTS mixes the sport's potential Cup stars and former Cup drivers 25 weekends a year.

After drawing some 63,000 fans for the inaugural race in 2000, Kentucky Speedway has averaged more than 40,000 fans each of the past two NCTS races. Speedway officials said ticket sales are ahead of that mark. They expect between 40,000-42,000.

The Speedway gates open at 4 p.m. Saturday, and tickets are available for $35-$65. Qualifying begins at 6 p.m. Friday night. Tickets are available for $30.

Until this season, Kroger sponsored the race, but Kentucky Speedway and Ford Motor Co., along with the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers, agreed to a one-year sponsorship deal with a one-year renewal in March.

If you go

What: NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series

Where: Kentucky Speedway

When: Qualifying Friday, 8 p.m.; race Saturday, 8 p.m.

Tickets: 1-888-652-RACE


E-mail ddow@enquirer.com

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