Competitors Head To Dover With Tight Points Battle
Four Teams Will Test At Pocono Raceway On May 17
Trio Of Champs To Take Part In Hall Of Fame Ceremonies
Points Battle Tightens Heading To Dover
Sunday's race at Kansas Speedway did more than crown another new winner this season—it also shook up the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points standings.
A total of 168 points separates first from 10th after five races this season. Timothy Peters (No. 17 Crescent Tools/Red Horse Racing Toyota), who continues to hold the lead in the standings, saw his lead dwindle after his truck suffered a battery failure at Kansas. Peters now leads Todd Bodine (No. 30 Toyota) by only 22 points (760-738) and third-place Aric Almirola (No. 51 Graceway Pharmaceuticals Toyota) by 30 points.
Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 33 Longhorn Chevrolet) continued his charge to the front after struggling in his first two races. The four-time champion spun while battling with Kansas winner Johnny Sauter (No. 13 Curb Records Chevrolet) for the lead Sunday, but managed to guide his truck to a second-place showing and move to fourth in the standings, only 97 points behind Peters. Sauter, meanwhile, jumped to fifth in points.
In the owner standings, Kevin Harvick Inc. continues to hold the advantage, but by only nine points over Kyle Busch Motorsports. In the manufacturer standings, Chevrolet and Toyota are deadlocked at the top with 36 points each, while Ford and Dodge are tied for third with 19 points apiece.
First-Ever Grid Walk A Hit For Fans
At several standalone races throughout the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season, drivers go where the fans are to sign autographs and mingle.
Prior to Sunday's race at Kansas, however, fans went where only the drivers and teams are allowed during the race—on pit road—to receive autographs and talk to and pose for photos with their favorite drivers.
The trucks were lined up in front of their respective pit boxes and drivers and crew members were on hand for the first-time event. The series is expected to conduct more grid walks during other standalone race weekends the remainder of the season.
"It was pretty awesome," said NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Director Wayne Auton. "The fans, especially the young kids, got to interact with the teams. The biggest thing I found was that the fans knew who our drivers were. It was neat to see Ron Hornaday, Todd Bodine and Ricky Carmichael (No. 4 Monster Energy Chevrolet) out there signing autographs. The drivers were really excited. We pleased the fans, the race track and the drivers."
Greg Beaston of Lake Ozark, Mo., was one of those fans. He brought his 3-year-old son, Payton.
"It was pretty awesome for sure," Beaston said. "We've watched the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series pretty steadily for the last three years. Being able to get up close to the trucks and the drivers was unreal."
Teams Preparing For Pocono Test
After taming Dover International Speedway, one of the most unique tracks on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule on May 14, four teams will head to Pocono Raceway to test prior to the series' first visit to the triangular track on July 31.
Germain Racing, Kyle Busch Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing and Green Light Racing have confirmed they will attend the test at the 2.5-mile track in northeastern Pennsylvania. The track is unique in and of itself, as it has one of the longest straightaways in any NASCAR series (3,740 feet) and boasts only three turns.
NASCAR began racing at Pocono in 1974, when Richard Petty won a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in a Dodge. The Sprint Cup Series has competed at least one race each season since then. The NASCAR Nationwide Series has never competed at Pocono, but it made several stops at the smaller Nazareth (Pa.) Speedway from 1988 to 2004.
July's race will be 50 laps or 125 miles. Pocono and Darlington Raceway are the only two tracks not on last year's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule that are on this year's schedule.
Facts And Figures: Dover
This will be the 11th race at the one-mile Delaware oval. No driver has ever won more than once at the Monster Mile.
Only two polesitters have won at Dover, but none since 2001, when Scott Riggs triumphed.
The pole position is the only starting position that has produced multiple winners. The furthest any driver has come from and won was 15th, when Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 33 Longhorn Chevrolet) won in 2007.
Mike Skinner (No. 5 International Trucks/Monaco RV Toyota) is the only driver with multiple poles at Dover—2007 and 2008.
Dodge leads all manufacturers with four victories at Dover, though the last came in 2004.
Rick Crawford and David Starr (No. 81 Randy Moss Motorsports Toyota) lead all drivers in top 10s at Dover, with six.
The closest finish at Dover came in 2000, when Kurt Busch won by 0.210 seconds.
Hornaday, Skinner, Bodine To Take Part In Hall Of Fame Ceremony
Three former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champions are among those who will represent the trucks in the Grand Opening of the NASCAR Hall of Fame May 11 in Charlotte.
Ron Hornaday Jr., Todd Bodine (No. 30 Toyota) and Mike Skinner,three of the series' original drivers, will participate in the opening ceremonies. Joining them will be Ricky Carmichael (No. 4 Monster Energy Chevrolet), who will sign autographs at the event.
Hornaday's day will be full. Along with Richard Petty and Junior Johnson,as well as other NASCAR national defending champions Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch, Hornaday will officially open the NASCAR Hall of Fame between 9:30 and 9:50 a.m.
The group will then be the first to enter the building after its official opening and each driver will participate in a five-minute meet-and-greet session with lucky fans. Following at 10:10 a.m. will be optional media interviews.
Skinner, the 1995 champion, will be in attendance for the opening ceremony and participate in a media event at 10 a.m. He will also take part in fan activities from 10:30-11:30 a.m.
Bodine, the 2006 series champion, is also scheduled to take part in the opening ceremonies, media event and fan activities throughout the day.
Sauter's Move To Trucks Has Proven Smooth
Johnny Sauter's (No. 13 Curb Records Chevrolet) adaptation to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has been a quick one.
Thoughhe captured the Raybestos Rookie of the Year Award last season, the beginning portion of the 2009 campaign was turbulent.
Through ive races last year, Sauter had an average finish of 19.6 and a Driver Rating of 69.6. He needed 20 races to pick up his first win, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Already his season, Sauter has nabbed his first victory, and now has an average finish of 14.0 and a Driver Rating of 93.2. (He scored a near-perfect Driver Rating of 149.0 in his Kansas win. A perfect rating is 150.0.)
Additionally, Sauter has an Average Running Position of 13.2, 59 Fastest Laps Run, a Pass Differential (passes minus times passed) of plus-31 and a Laps in the Top 15 percentage of 79.9%.
Maybe the biggest surprise to Sauter's 2010 campaign: his points position – especially in regards to teammate Matt Crafton (No. 88 Menards Chevrolet).
Sauter's victory launched him to fifth place in the points, 17 points ahead of ThorSport Racing stable mate Crafton.
According to a quick tale of the tape between the two drivers, Sauter leads in most categories:
Driver Rating: Sauter bests Crafton's 89.0.
Average Running Position: Crafton is slightly stronger, at 12.6.
Fastest Laps Run: Sauter leads Crafton's 17 by 42 laps.
Laps in the Top 15 percentage: Sauter is 9.6 percentage points ahead of Crafton's 70.3%
Bell, Starr Running Different Kinds Of Races This Weekend
TJ Bell will be busy running a different kind of race this weekend. Bell will participate in the 10th annual Mom's on the Run in his hometown of Reno, Nev. The event, sponsored by a local restaurant, features a number of running and walking races, at various distances, to raise money for breast cancer. Bell will be running for his own cause as his future mother-in-law, Linda Gamboa, was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2009. Bell frequently wears pink when racing to create awareness of breast cancer.
Matt Crafton (No. 88 Menards Chevrolet) will also be on hand to sign autographs, and will donate money raised from racing items he is auctioning off.
David Starr (No. 81 Randy Moss Motorsports Toyota) will spend his weekend racing a different kind of vehicle this weekend. Starr will race a modified at Cowtown Speedway in Kennedale, Texas. Additionally, he will make an appearance at the ConocoPhillips headquarters in Houston, Texas, where he will give a speech to the leaders of ConocoPhillips and Zachry; both companies recently received their OSHA VPP Star Site awards.
Mike Skinner (No. 5 International Trucks/Monaco RV Toyota) will stay on the move—literally—this weekend. Skinner immediately headed from Kansas to Daytona Beach, Fla., where he and wife Angie continue to pack their things to move to North Carolina.
With his victory in Saturday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway, Kyle Busch has won in all three national series in six consecutive seasons.
Rookie Chris Eggleston (No. 21 H2O Fire Protection Chevrolet) is the final driver who will make Dover based on points, but he'll have to post a strong finish so he doesn't stay there. His truck, owned by Steve Urvan, is 25th in points, only 43 points ahead of 30th. In fact, only four points separate 25th from 27th. Trailing Urvan are Norm Benning (No. 57 Norm Benning Racing Chevrolet) as an owner/driver and owner Daisy Ramirez (No. 01 Chevrolet), with driver Carl Long. Owner Tom Mitchell (No. 10 driverboutique.com Ford) is 28th in points with driver Jennifer Jo Cobb, 21 points behind Urvan. [NOTE: Correction.. The #14-Circle Bar Racing Ford was not entered at Kansas, and would now have to qualify on time for any remaining 2010 races entered. As a result of the #14 dropping out of the top-25 in points, the #57- Norm Benning Racing Chevy has attempted all races and is now locked in at Dover.]
Ricky Carmichael (No. 4 Monster Energy Chevrolet) will commentate on the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Finals this Saturday, May 8, in Las Vegas. Carmichael's protégé, Ryan Dungey, clinched the title two weeks ago in Seattle as a rookie.
Interestingly, Carmichael's Turner Motorsports teammate, James Buescher (No. 31 Wolf Pack Rentals Chevrolet), also began racing on two wheels before making his move to the NASCAR scene. Buescher considered Carmichael, now eighth in Camping World Truck Series driver points, his hero.
"I started racing motocross as a kid," Buescher said. "I raced locally but never really got anywhere. When I was 12, my parents decided they didn't want to worry about me getting hurt so they got me a race car. Now, I'm on the same truck team as Ricky, who was winning races when I was a kid."
Buescher's start Sunday at Kansas marked the first time Turner Motorsports had ever fielded two entries in any NASCAR series.
Austin Dillon (No. 3 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Chevrolet) continues to lead the rookie standings by 11 over Justin Lofton (No. 7 visitpit.com Toyota).
NASCAR Raybestos Rookie of the Year Standings
1. Austin Dillon, 59
2. Justin Lofton, 48
3. Brett Butler, 45
4. Jennifer Jo Cobb, 42
5. Chris Eggleston, 16
6. Landon Cassill, 7
Up Next: Dover
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will return to action on May 14 with the running of the Dover 200 at Dover International Speedway in Delaware.
Brian Scott became the 10th driver in as many races to win at Dover last season, in a race that featured a record number of leaders (nine) and lead changes (12).
The one-mile concrete facility is a one-of-a-kind on the series schedule, and marks the first of three visits for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series on a track size of one mile (New Hampshire and Phoenix).