1998 was the fourth season for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
The championship quickly caught the fan’s imagination.
Sales figures from America’s top three automotive manufacturers
indicated that trucks were their bestsellers and owners could relate to these vehicles.
As is the case with the top NASCAR divisions, the trucks use a tube frame chassis. The bodies retain the original width and length, but the roofline is much lower. The trucks are powered by a 5.7-liter V8 fitted with a single four-barrel Holley carburetor. This combination produces 650-horsepower at 7,800-rpm with an estimated top speed of 200-mph. They are also equipped with four-wheel disc brakes and 15-inch diameter wheels that are 9.5-inches wide. The entire package must weigh no less than 3,400-lbs.
The twenty-seven race schedule begins in January and ends in early November.
The Parts America 150 was the seventh round in the 1998 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Held at Watkins Glen on the 2.45-mile short course, the race was 65-laps or 159.2-miles. It was one of three road course events during the 1998 season – the other two being Sonoma and Heartland Park Topeka. The event was an exciting race with four cautions for thirteen laps and nine lead changes.
|Joe Ruttman drove the Exide Batteries Ford F-150 for Jack Roush and won the Watkins Glen event – his only win of the 1998 season. Ruttman would win thirteen Truck races between 1995 and his retirement in 2007. Also of note, he was the younger brother of Troy Ruttman the 1952 Indianapolis 500 winner.|
|The Watkins Glen race was not without controversy. Ron Hornaday, driving for Dale Earnhardt, led much of the race. Hornaday was leading during the final caution period but he was penalized when NASCAR judged him as jumping the restart. This decision did not sit well with Hornaday and he pulled into Victory Circle despite NASCAR’s ruling – he was credited with fourth place.|
|The 1997 winner, Ron Fellows, drove the No. 48 Chevrolet Silverado for AER Manufacturing. Fellows was one of several 'road course specialist' entered in the race but was the odds-on favourite to win. He qualified on the pole but an engine failure on lap-18 resulted in him finishing thirty-third. He would win at Watkins Glen the following year.|
|Veteran NASCAR racer Jimmy Hensley drove a Dodge Ram for Richard Petty with sponsorship from Cummins. In 1998, he won round seventeen of the series at Nashville. Hensley’s NASCAR career began in the 1972 – during his time he was a true 'journey man' having raced in all division series with many different teams. Hensley ended his racing career with the Truck series in 2001.|
|The trucks enter the 'Inner Loop' on the pace lap. First through is pole sitter Ron Fellows followed by eventual winner and second starter Joe Ruttman. Behind Ruttman are Ron Hornaday (Chevrolet Silverado), Boris Said (Ford F-150), Jack Sprague (Chevrolet Silverado) and Greg Biffle (Ford F-150).|
|After starting eleventh, Jay Sauter moved through the field to finish second in the Richard Childress GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Silverado. Sauter’s best finish of the season was at Martinsville Speedway where he won. Sauter started ninety truck races starting beginning in 1996. 1998 was his best season as he finished fourth in the final standings.|
|Boris Said was a regular in the 1998 Craftsman Truck Series but unlike his fellow competitors he had more road racing than oval experience. He excelled at the road course events. At Watkins Glen, he started and finished third. But his best result was another road course, Sonoma, where he qualified second and won the race.|
|On lap-27, Kevin Harvick brought out the race’s second caution flag when he spun at the “Inner Loop” and got stuck in the gravel. He had a second incident in turn one on lap-36. This accident caused too much damage to his Chevrolet Silverado and Harvick was forced to retire. He finished twenty-ninth after starting ninth.|
|This is the motor in Dominic Dobson’s Dodge Ram. The truck engines produce over 650-horsepower and able 500-ft.lbs of torque. A clutch failure caused the former Indy Car, driver to be the first retirement – a thirty-fourth place finish.|
|Another “Road Course Ringer” was former Trans Am Champion Dorsey Schroeder. Schroeder drove a Ford F-150 for another road racer - Tom Gloy. Gloy won the 1979 Formula Atlantic Championship and 1984 Trans Am Championship. Schroeder finished thirteenth after a fifteenth place start.|
|Greg Biffle in the No. 50 Ford F-150 and Boris Said make contact entering the 'Inner Loop'. The pair was able to continue but Biffle retired on lap-50 with transmission problems. The sixth place starter was credited with a twenty-seventh finish.|
|Seventh place starter, Ron Barfield, gets stuck in the gravel at the 'Inner Loop'. This incident and a tire problem dropped Barfield to a twenty-third place finish. During the season, he had several top-10 finishes with his best result being a fourth. He finished ninth in the final standings.|
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