Owasso resident to run NASCAR Truck Series
BY JOHN RITTENOURE World Correspondent
Friday, April 13, 2012
4/13/12 at 4:16 AM
Related story: Busch brothers team up.
For many race car drivers, the dream of driving in a NASCAR race on a superspeedway is just that - a dream.
For Russ Dugger, it is becoming a reality.
Dugger has watched plenty of NASCAR events from his Owasso home, but soon he will be living the dream. Dugger has signed on to drive in select NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events this summer.
"We have six races planned with JPO Absorbents as our primary sponsor, and we are working on some secondary sponsors," said Dugger, whose first race will be April 21 at Kansas Speedway. "I am excited about this opportunity."
After racing in Kansas, Dugger plans to race in Bristol, Tenn., in August. He is also scheduled to race four of the final five Truck Series events, concluding with the series' season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 16. Only six races are planned, and that is by design.
"When you hit seven races, you are in the running for Rookie of the Year, but if you don't run any more races, you are guaranteed not to win it," Dugger said. "We want to run six to maintain my eligibility for Rookie of the Year in 2013 if we stay in the truck series."
Dugger's debut at Kansas Speedway won't be his first time on a super speedway. In 2008, Dugger tested in a stock car at Daytona and in 2010 ran three races in the ARCA stock car series.
"I ran with this team in the ARCA series two years ago, and they have always been competitive," Dugger said. "They have great speedway cars. I called them up and put a deal together."
The ARCA stock cars are closer to a NASCAR Sprint Cup car, but Dugger is comfortable with the trucks.
"I enjoyed running the cars, but I like the trucks," Dugger said. "The cars I ran are in the ARCA series, and that is a different tire compound, spoilers are really tall and they have more horsepower. NASCAR restricts the engines in the truck series. Getting used to the speed is the biggest difference between the two.
"In the cars, there were a lot of mile-and-a-half tracks that we had to breathe the throttle and touch the brake a little bit. While in the trucks, you just stay in it or barely roll out of it."
Dugger started his career racing trucks on area short tracks.
"I started in San Antonio with the All Star Race Truck Series, then I moved up here and raced with the United States Super Truck Series," Dugger said. "I raced some in Altus and here at JRP Speedway.
"It is fun. I relate to it."
When Dugger arrives at Kansas Speedway for the SFP 250, it will be his first time behind the wheel.
"My first time in the truck will be in practice at Kansas," Dugger said. "That is another reason we chose Kansas for the first race. The track is familiar. It will just be getting used to the truck."
Dugger is taking an unconventional approach toward his goal of racing in NASCAR. Many drivers get their start racing on weekly short tracks and work their way into driver development programs.
Dugger is trying to get there on his own terms without racing in a dirt or asphalt series where he might be noticed by car owners. NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart gives up-and-coming drivers opportunities with his sprint car teams.
"It is a tough road to hoe if you don't have the right last name or financial backing," Dugger said. "The way I have done it is not typical, but I wanted to do it and did not want to quit and here we are. A bunch of people have come together to make it happen, so it can be done.
"I would like to get to Cup someday, who wouldn't? I want to do it the right way with a competitive race team. I am blessed to be where I am right now. If the opportunity comes up, I want to move up."
Original Print Headline: Owasso resident to run in NASCAR Truck Series
12:30 p.m. April 21
at Kansas Speedway TV: Speed-67
Russ Dugger: The Owasso resident will race in several NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events this summer.