Setzer has largest points lead since '00

Updated: August 7, 2005, 12:41 AM ET
Associated Press

CLERMONT, Ind. -- Dennis Setzer earned his fourth NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory of the season and his 16th overall Friday night at Indianapolis Raceway Park.

The 45-year-old Setzer dominated the Power Stroke Diesel 200, leading 177 of the 200 laps on the .068-mile oval. He finished 0.418 seconds ahead of rookie Todd Kluever's Ford with an average speed of 84.910 mph.

"With about 30 laps to go my team told me to come in. We knew we might be the only one. We knew we had a pretty good truck," said Setzer, who lost the lead briefly when he came in for a tire change with about 25 laps to go.

Ron Hornaday Jr. was third, followed by Matt Crafton and Jimmy Spencer.

Rain washed out qualifying, and the starting positions were determined by owner points. Setzer, who came into the race leading second-place Ted Musgrave by 158 points, elected to start the race on the outside of the front row and pulled away from Musgrave immediately.

Early caution flags limited racing between the leaders and Setzer kept the lead until he went to the pits for the first time on the 134th lap, setting off a flurry of lead changes.

Brendan Gaughan held the lead for five laps before pitting. Chad Chaffin's Toyota moved into first for seven laps before he had to pit, and Setzer regained the lead on the 148th lap.

The first caution came on the fourth lap when Brad Keselowski, Brad Whitt and Jack Bailey crashed on the backstretch, and the green flag didn't come out until the 13th lap.

Local favorite John Andretti was in the top four before crashing on lap 25 and leaving the race. Racing resumed on the 29th lap, but the caution flag came out again five laps later when Bobby Hamilton's Dodge crashed in the third turn.

After that, racing continued until lap 171, when Deborah Renshaw spun in the second turn. Setzer, who was leading by more than nine seconds at the time, decided to pit again during the caution and Spencer became the race's fourth leader.

Setzer regained the lead with eight laps to go and withstood challenges from Spencer and Kluever.

"I wanted to win and thought we had a chance. A late yellow did me in and I am disappointed," Kleuver said.

The victory extended Setzer's lead in the points race to 227, the largest by a leader since 2000.

"I am kind of nervous about the championship thing," he said.

Hamilton, the defending champion, finished 11th and is third in the point standings.

Only six cars were on the lead lap when the race ended, the fewest ever at the track. The previous low was nine in 1999.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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