Team Chevy Silverado has Strong CA Presence in San Bernardino County 200
A strong contingent of drivers with California ties will lead Team Chevy Silverado to California Speedway. The February 23, 2007 San Bernardino County 200 is the second event on the 25-race 2007 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) schedule will be the 11th NCTS race at the Fontana, CA two-mile semi-banked, very fast track.
Brendan Gaughan, No. 77 South Point Racing Silverado, is a lifetime resident of nearby Las Vegas, NV so he considers California Speedway a hometrack as well.
"We had that race won twice with my truck and twice we had it taken away from us last minute - flat tire once and then finished second the next year," said Gaughan. "We have been fantastic there every year. Steve Park in 2005, when this team was probably at its lowest, came through with a huge win for this program. California Speedway has always been a really great race track for the South Point Racing team. It's always been a great track for myself - going back to my Winston West days when I won there.
"I think it comes down to some of that West coast mentality. We say that we are the only team on the west coast, and when they come here, we fight at California like it is our own home track of Las Vegas. We take a little more pride walking into that place. We say they are traveling to us, so we feel we should be rested better and that it's our job to protect that turf. We take California under that wing."
Daytona 500 winner Kevin Harvick will be behind the wheel of the Kevin Harvick, Inc. (KHI) fielded No. 2 Camping World Silverado. Harvick is a native of nearby Bakersfield and eager to get behind the wheel of a Silverado race truck again.
"I am looking forward to this weekend," said Harvick. "It will be the first time I have run all three races since September 2005 at Richmond.
"There is a lot less pressure to race in the Truck Series than we have on Sunday. You can just go out and race as hard as you can and go for the win. I am doing four races in a KHI truck this year. Clint (Bowyer) will drive in four truck races for me this year and Cale Gale will drive in three more.
"I like the Truck Series, I like being at the track. When I am at the track, I just like being a part of what is going on. I will continue to run truck races this year and just really enjoy what I do."
Full time KHI driver, Ron Hornaday, Jr., No. 33 AES HR Solutions Silverado, hails from Palmdale, CA and always looks forward to the trip west to his old stomping grounds.
"Going to California is always good for me because of the fans; the racetrack is close to my hometown," said Hornaday. "In the last California race we lost the master cylinder and had no brakes. Heading into the second race with a seventh place finish at Daytona, is a good way to start the season off."
Matt Crafton, No. 88 Menards Silverado and Bill Lester, No. 15 Billy Ballew Motorsports Silverado are both native's of the Golden State. Crafton hails from Tulare while Lester is from Oakland.
"We left Daytona with a very solid finish for the first time," said Crafton. "It is great to head in to the California race with a good position in the points. Our team is ready to improve on our 20th place finish there last year. The guys at ThorSport have been working really hard on our program and I feel good about being a contender for the win in our Silverado.
"It is always exciting to be near home. I have a little chance to see family and friends that I don't get to see often during the season so this is always one of my favorite races."
"I'm excited and anxious to ride our Daytona momentum into California Speedway," said Lester. "I really like the track and am hopeful that we'll be more competitive, powerwise, against the competition so we can come out of there with at least a top-10 in the No. 15 Billy Ballew Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado."
Wayne and Connie Spears, owners of the No. 75 Spears Manufacturing Silverado driven by Dennis Setzer are based in Sylmar, CA. Spears Manufacturing has been involved in the NCTS fielding a Silverado since the series' inception in 1995.
"Our Silverado teams are ready to take on the challenge of California Speedway," said Dayne Pierantoni, GM Racing Silverado NCTS program manager. "Following top-10 finishes at the season opener at Daytona by veterans Ron Hornaday and Matt Crafton and strong showings by Bill Lester, Chad McCumbee and Cale Gale, our Silverado contingent had strong runs throughout the race.
"California Speedway has traditionally been a good track for our Silverado drivers and teams. We are looking forward to a strong weekend to really get our season really kicked off."
Hornaday, Crafton, Lester and Gaughan will participate in a Team Chevy Silverado autograph session on Friday immediately following qualifying at the Chevy Racing Display located in the California Speedway Fan Midway.
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