Originally created 02/16/02

Pressley wins in trucks debut

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - He did it using smoke and mirrors. Literally.

Robert Pressley, benefiting from a late, smoky six-car crash, and holding off a late-charging Ted Musgrave, claimed the Florida Dodge Dealers 250 on Friday at the Daytona International Speedway.

Pressley's win marked only the second time in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series history that a driver won an event in his first truck race.

"Winning at Daytona is something special," said Pressley, who drives for Dodge, the event's sponsor. "Doing it in your first truck race is something else . It's unbelievable. I never thought we could win this race. I was thinking maybe June or July when we got used to the truck."

With five laps remaining in the 100-lap race, Travis Kvapil got turned to the outside from behind, setting off a chain reaction of accidents. In all, six trucks were involved, mostly from the No. 4 position and behind. Matt Crafton, who drives Chevrolet's No. 88 truck, appeared to get the brunt of it, spinning several times and smashing into an infield wall. The drivers involved were able to get out of their trucks under their own power.

Pressley, who began the race in 10th position, benefited from the caution when the green flag dropped for a two-lap shootout. He went to the inside of Rick Carelli, who led after the re-start, and blocked a late run by Musgrave.

"It was a pretty exciting race," said Musgrave, who started the race on the poll."I thought (my) truck was going to be a little loose leading up to the race, and it was. We had a really, really strong truck in the end."

IROC SERIES: Tony Stewart is finding a comfort zone at Daytona, and that's probably bad news for his NASCAR competitors.

Stewart won his second race of Daytona's Speedweeks on Friday, driving past Indy Racing League star Al Unser Jr. two laps from the end and pulling away for his second career victory in the True Value International Race of Champions Series.

The hard-charging Stewart, last year's Winston Cup runner-up, bided his time Friday, staying patiently behind two-time IROC champion Unser nearly the entire second half of the 40-lap, 100-mile race on Daytona's 2 1/2 -mile oval.

"In our Winston Cup car, you really want to be leading. With these cars, you want to be second," Stewart said. "Being second and in single file with two to go in these IROC cars is just about a perfect situation."

Unser, a former CART series champion and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner, appeared to have drawn the fastest of the identically prepared cars in the 12-man, all-star event. He started sixth, took the lead for the first time on lap four and wound up leading 23 laps.

Sam Hornish Jr., 22, making his first IROC start, was thrilled with his runner-up finish.

"The first 10 laps, I got hit about 10 times," Hornish said, smiling. "I thought, 'OK, I'll just him them back then.' It was a lot of fun after that."

Morris News Service and The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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