106 Days of Change
When the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competitors drive from the garage area and onto the racing surface of the Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway February 12, they'll put to end a 106-day off season that brought more changes than any other in the seven-year history of the series.
Gone are the drivers who finished in the top four positions in the 2000 series points standings. Of the 11 drivers who posted victories in 2000, only five enter 2001 with teams committed to a full-time effort.
In short, it's been a busy "off season". How busy? Here are 106 changes made in the series, one for each day between the 2000 checkered flag in Fontana, Calif. and the start of the 2001 campaign in Daytona Beach, Fla.
1-Champion Greg Biffle leaves trucks to move to the Busch Series with Roush Racing.
2-Rookie of the year and series runner-up Kurt Busch exits for a ride in Winston Cup with Roush Racing.
3-Andy Houston leaves trucks to challenge Busch for Winston Cup Rookie of the Year honors driving for Cal Wells' new McDonald's team.
4-Veteran Mike Wallace gets a return ticket to Winston Cup with Ultra Motorsports.
5-Dennis Setzer stays in trucks, leaves the K-Automotive team to join veteran crew chief Billy Ingle at Morgan-Dollar.
6-Randy Tolsma moves to Team Rensi from Impact Motorsports.
7-After one season and a 10th-place points finish, former Busch champion Steve Grissom is out of trucks and serving as a test driver for Petty Enterprises.
8-Marty Houston joins the Busch Series.
9-Veteran Jimmy Hensley is out of work after departing Team Rensi.
10-Terry Cook replaces Dennis Setzer at K-Automotive.
11-Owner Dale Phelon announces plans to shut down if sponsorship isn't found.
12-Phelon keeps going without sponsorship.
13-Phelon announces plans to change from to Chevrolet after Daytona.
14-Lance Norick gets a full-time sponsor for the first time with addition of Aventis Behring.
15-Carlos Contreras and Hot Wheels bolt Impact Motorsports for Petty Enterprises.
16-With Dennis Setzer in the fold, Rob Morgan cuts back to a part-time schedule.
17-Morgan-Dollar puts Dennis Setzer in a Chevrolet but will keep Morgan in a Ford.
18-Scott Riggs joins Ultra Motorsports taking over the No. 2 Team ASE ride vacated by Mike Wallace.
19-B.A. Wilson is looking for a ride after leaving Sonntag Racing.
20-Jamie McMurray's brief truck fling ends with him taking a Busch Series ride.
21-Randy Renfrow remains in the hunt for a ride.
22-Rick Ware steps out of the truck his family owns.
23-Joe Gibbs Racing hires Gary Showalter as crew chief for driver Coy Gibbs. Showalter holds the series record for wins with most drivers (four) and is the only crew chief to win with Chevrolet, Dodge and Ford teams.
24-Driver David Starr joins TKO on a full-time basis.
25-The Hendrick team launches a second full-time truck for Ricky Hendrick, son of the owner.
26-Mittler Brothers abandon the No. 26 in honor of the late Tony Roper.
27-Larry Gunselman joins Mittler Brothers as driver.
28-Waterloo Tools storage is new Mittler Brothers' sponsor.
29-Mittler Brother change to No. 63.
30-Willy T. Ribbs is hired by Bobby Hamilton Racing to drive as a teammate to Joe Ruttman.
31-Busch Series veteran Bobby Dotter, who led the Winston West Series with four victories in 2000, announces plans to compete in more truck events.
32-Ray Stonkus joins Circle Bar Racing as crew chief for driver Rick Crawford.
33-Ron Hornaday III announces expanded truck effort.
34-Jason Small takes over as driver for Sonntag Racing.
35-Chuck Hossfeld replaces Biffle in Roush Racing's No. 50 truck.
36-Nathan Haselau follows Kurt Busch into the driver's seat of the No. 99 Roush entry.
37-Travis Kvapil takes over for Andy Houston at Addington Racing.
38-Winston Cup veteran Ted Musgrave joins Ultra as a teammate to Scott Riggs.
39-Billy Bigley, the 2000 Slim Jim All-Pro Series champion, replaces Marty Houston at Spears.
40-Team Rensi goes to two trucks.
41-David Donohue joins Randy Tolsma as Team Rensi drivers.
42-Stacy Compton announces plans to race trucks part-time.
43-Nathan Buttke, among candidates for Ware team ride, tests No. 51 at Daytona.
44-Michael Dokken tests for Brevak Racing's No. 31 entry.
45-Ultra leaves Ford for Dodge.
46-Spurned by Dodge, K-Automotive heads to Ford.
47-Darlington (S.C.) Raceway is on 2001 schedule.
48-Kansas Speedway joins 2001 schedule.
49-South Boston (Va.) Speedway is on 2001 schedule.
50-Schedule includes Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway in 2001.
51-Evergreen (Wash.) Speedway, one of the series founding tracks, is off the 2001 schedule.
52-Portland (Ore.) International Raceway drops from 2001 slate.
53-Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International is off the 2001 schedule, leaving trucks without road course event for first time in history.
54-Michigan Speedway falls from 2001 schedule.
55-Nashville (Tenn.) Speedway USA is off 2001 schedule, replaced by new facility nearby.
56-Race at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway moves to Winston Cup weekend in October.
57-Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway returns to schedule in 2001 after one-year hiatus.
58-Series still not back to Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, marking two straight years away from Thunder Valley.
59-Race at Dover (Del.) Downs moves to June.
60-Season's second race at Texas Motor Speedway moves to September.
61-Race at Memphis (Tenn.) Motorsports Park in June, 2001.
62-After six seasons as a Thursday night event, the race at Indianapolis (Ind.) Raceway Park moves to Friday.
63-The 2001 season finale is in November. The last two seasons finished in October.
64-Net Zero joins Hendrick as sponsor of No. 24 truck and driver Jack Sprague.
65-Roush loses sponsor of No. 50 truck when Grainger joins driver Greg Biffle for Busch Series effort.
66-Roush loses sponsor of No. 99 truck when Exide Batteries cuts back on involvement in sport.
67-Impact loses sponsor of No. 86 truck when RC Cola leaves sport.
68-Impact loses sponsor of No. 25 truck.
69-Impact loses sponsor of No. 12 truck when Hot Wheels goes to Petty with driver Carlos Contreras.
70-Crew chief Randy Goss leaves Roush No. 50 to continue working with driver Greg Biffle in Busch Series.
71-Dan Binks becomes crew chief of Roush No. 50 for driver Chuck Hossfeld.
72-Crew chief Matt Chambers departs Roush No. 99 to continue working with driver Kurt Busch in Winston Cup Series.
73-Jeff "Lumpy" Campey becomes crew chief for Roush No. 99 with driver Nathan Haselau.
74-Howard Comstock joins Petty as crew chief for Carlos Contreras.
75-Fred Wanke joins Ultra as crew chief for Ted Musgrave.
76-NASCAR allows higher compression engines in 2001. Trucks will feature 12:1 compression ratio engines. Teams expect to gain approximately 100 horsepower and at least $250,000 additional annual expense in the move.
77-New engine debut comes in second race of 2001 season. Trucks continue with 9:1 compression ratio engines for season-opener in Daytona Beach, Fla.
78-Provisional rules change to be more consistent with Winston Cup and Busch. Starting in 2001, truck series provisional positions (up to five per races) will be awarded based on owner points. In previous season, two positions were awarded based on driver point standings. Team will be limited to using four provisional starts per season.
79-A broadcasting fixture in the series since its debut in 1995, CBS will no longer telecast truck events in 2001.
80-ESPN steps up commitment to 20 events in 2001.
81-ESPN2 picks up remaining four races on schedule.
82-Veteran broadcaster Dr. Jerry Punch selected as play-by-play announcer by ESPN.
83-Phil Parsons, veteran of Winston Cup and Busch Series racing, joins Dr. Jerry Punch in ESPN booth as analyst.
84-Ray Dunlap joins Amy East as pit road reports. Dunlap comes to truck broadcasts after previously working with ESPN telecasts of Winston Cup events.
85-Randy Tolsma reunited with No. 61. When Tolsma came to trucks in 1996, it was in a No. 61 entry fielded by IWX. He's with Team Rensi now, but back in a truck No. 61. He's teamed with rookie David Donahue (No. 16).
86-Preston Tutt to drive for Billy Ballew's team.
87-Former Indy car racer Richie Hearn looks for truck ride.
88-Matt Crafton, the 2000 Featherlite Southwest Series champion, follows some impressive footsteps into trucks. Others with Southwest Series roots include Ron Hornaday Jr., Rick Carelli, Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch. Crafton joins SealMaster Racing.
89-Walter Giles named crew chief for driver David Donahue by Team Rensi.
90-Craig Huartson completes Team Rensi as crew chief for driver Randy Tolsma.
91-Mark Blessing joins Spears as crew chief for Billy Bigley.
92-Impact switches No. 86 team from Dodge to Ford.
93-Derrike Cope may run trucks full-time in 2001 in Impact's No. 86.
94-CarQuest joins Ultra as sponsor of No. 2 team and driver Scott Riggs. CarQuest takes position on Team ASE vehicle previously held by Wagner Brakes.
95-Impact names Ted Kennedy crew chief of No. 86 team for driver Derrike Cope.
96-Lance McGrew to serve as crew chief for driver Ricky Hendrick.
97-ER Racing announces plans to launch team.
98-Liberty Racing, one of the founding teams of the series, closes. Team finished in top 12 in series points four times and brought drivers Kenny Irwin and Kevin Harvick to prominence.
99-Jon Wood, heir to legendary Wood Brothers of Winston Cup fame, announces plans for part-time truck effort.
100-Mardy Lindley, whose father Butch was a star-in-the-making before a horrific accident, announces plans to compete part-time in trucks.
101-Mark Petty becomes driver at Tex Racing.
102-Tom Carey, injured in crash at Dover, looks for ride.
103-Danny Rollins joins Bobby Hamilton Racing as crew chief for driver Joe Ruttman.
104-Kentucky race moves to July, 2001 after debut event was held in June, 2000.
105-Nazareth race moves to August in 2001.
moves to No. 17 Ricky Hendrick effort after previously sponsoring No.
24 and driver Jack Sprague.