Goodwrench Back In Trucks
November 14, 2003 | 1:43 P.M. EST
Flash back to February 5, 1995, when the fledgling series opened its 20-race season at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway. Mike Skinner took a newly constructed GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Silverado to the first Victory Lane. Fast forward to later that year on October 2, Skinner and Goodwrench secured another victory at Phoenix and captured the first championship.
In a five-year span, GM Goodwrench collected 17 poles and 20 wins in 123 Truck Series starts with Skinner and Jay Sauter. They left the series after the 1999 season to concentrate their efforts on the NASCAR Busch and Winston Cup Series sponsorships.
"It's good to be back running the Truck Series," states Sue Seaglund, Motorsports Marketing Manager for GMSPO. "The GM Goodwrench brand helped establish the feeder series back in 1995 and went on to win the first championship with Mike (Skinner) and Richard Childress Racing. Those were some fun times and we're excited for more.
"When it came to reestablishing ourselves in the series it just made sense to go with Kevin and Matt. They both have a lot of energy and understanding for the sport that I think will help us get back to where we were when we left. We look forward to helping both of them grow while the series continues to do the same."
It seemed only logical that GM Goodwrench join forces with their Winston Cup Series driver Kevin Harvick when it came to ownership. The Bakersfield, Calif., native made his presence known on the truck circuit in 1998 with Wayne Spears, and finished a career-best 12th in the points standing in 1999. In 2001, he showed his dedication to the grass roots league when he started his own truck program. Since then, he's run 16 races with five different drivers, captured two wins and finished in the top-10 11 times.
"The reason I got back into the trucks was to try and win a race," says Harvick, who accomplished that at Phoenix last year. "The trucks were the most efficient way to get in as an owner. Becoming an owner will give me a different perspective on racing, something I can learn and understand more as I go along. Having GM Goodwrench aboard is really cool because they have a great past with this series."
When it came to picking a driver to compete full time on the circuit, Harvick didn't have to look far. He competed against Matt Crafton on the West Coast and knew of the Tulare, Calif., native's potential. Crafton has been following the same path of his new truck owner, with a 2000 Featherlite Southwest Tour Series championship already under his belt. His first appearance on the Truck Series circuit came in 2000, and since then he's posted 29 top-10 finishes in 71 starts with two teams, including a career-best 12th place finish in the points standings in 2001.
"This is the most excited I've been about anything," exclaims Crafton, currently 11th in the 2003 Truck Series standings with the No. 88 Menards Chevrolet Silverado owned by Duke Thorson. "I can tell you right now this is the biggest and best step I've taken in my racing career. I know we can go out and win races. GM Goodwrench as a sponsor is unreal. They've been so successful with all they've done in racing. I just hope I can continue that trend."
"We looked long and hard to find a person that would most benefit the opportunity and our operation" adds Harvick. "Matt was the most ambitious. He wanted the job more than anyone else did. We didn't feel he was showing his full potential where he was. Matt's got a ton of talent and I've been impressed with how he handles himself. I think he'll be a great addition to our program and will bring a lot to the table."
Look for the No. 6 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Silverado to get off to a quick start when the 2004 season gets underway at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway on Friday, February 13, 2004. With Matt behind the wheel and Harvick's leadership, their combination of talent and energy have them set to bring primary sponsor GM Goodwrench their second Truck Series championship.