NASCAR Camping World Truck Series -- Rockingham Race Info, Links and News

THE RACE: Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200

TRACK: Rockingham Speedway

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race #3 of 22 for the 2012 season

Last Race: Martinsville Speedway


Jumps to sections on this page:
Race/Track Info TV Coverage | Radio Coverage | Event Schedule |
Race Rundown/Results | Entry/Practice/Qualifying | Goodyear Notes | News & Notes

Jumps to all Rockingham race pages:
[as available]

Entry List | Practice One Speeds | Practice Two Speeds | Practice Three Speeds |
Final Practice Speeds | Qualifying Order | Starting Lineup | Pit Stall Selections |
Race Results | Driver Point Standings | Owner Point Standings |
Official Race Report

Race / Track Info

  • Race Date: Sunday, April 15, 2012

  • Title Sponsor: Good Sam Roadside Assistance Carolina 200 Presented by Cheerwine
  • Start Time: 1:00pm/et
  • 2011 Winner: N/A
  • 2011 Pole: N/A
  • Track Layout: 1 Mile
  • Length: 200 Laps, 200 Miles
  • Degree of Banking in Turns One & Two: 22 degrees
  • Degree of Banking in Turns Three & Four: 25 degrees

Television Coverage/TV Team

  • TV: SPEEDtv
    Pre-race: 12:30pm/et
    Race: 1:00pm/et
    In the Booth: Rick Allen, Phil Parsons, Michael Waltrip
    Pit Reporters: Ray Dunlap, Hermie Sadler
    Pre-race Host: Danielle Trotta

Radio Coverage

Event Schedule

    Thursday, April 12th

    Friday, April 13th
    12:00 PM - 1:30 PM NCWTS PRACTICE
    3:30 PM - 5:00 PM NCWTS PRACTICE

    Saturday, April 14th
    9:00 AM - 9:55 AM NCWTS PRACTICE
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM NCWTS FINAL PRACTICE

    Sunday, April 15th
    8:30 AM 11:30 AM NCWTS Minor's Admitted into Garage Area [With Proper Credentials]
    1:00 PM NCWTS RACE (200 LAPS, 200 MILES)

    Note: All times listed are Eastern Time Zone and are tentataive, subject to change.

Race and links

  • Rockingham Official Race Report (pdf)(4-16-2012)

  • Kahne wins at Rockingham: Kasey Kahne, driving the #4-Rockwell Tools Chevrolet, won the inaugural Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200 at Rockingham Speedway. Brad Sweet qualified the #4 truck fifth, but Kahne had to start at the rear of the field because of the driver change. This is his fourth victory in five NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races. Turner Motorsports teammate, #31-James Buescher finished second. Pole-starter Nelson Piquet Jr. dominated much of the race, but a late-race penalty for speeding on pit-road, relegated him to a 7th place. Rounding out the top ten were; #88-Matt Crafton, #13-Johnny Sauter, #17-Timothy Peters, #22-Joey Coulter, #30-Nelson Piquet Jr., #3-Ty Dillon, #29-Parker Kligerman, #6-Justin Lofton. There were 7 lead changes among 4 drivers with 4 caution flags for 25 laps. Complete race results are posted on the Rockingham Race Results Page (pdf).(Unofficial)(4-15-2012)

  • Post-Race Fast Facts:
    Race Fast Facts
    Rockingham Speedway
    Inaugural Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200

    Race Winner: Kasey Kahne(i)
    Age: 32
    Team: No. 4 - Rockwell Tools Chevrolet
    Owner: Steve Turner
    Crew Chief: Mike Shiplett
    *Kasey Kahne(i) won the Inaugural Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200 , his fourth victory in five NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races.
    *This is his first victory and first top-10 finish in 2012. Kahne's last victory came at Darlington Raceway on March 12, 2011.
    *This is his first victory and first top-10 finish in one races at Rockingham Speedway.
    *James Buescher (second) posted his first top-10 finish in one races at Rockingham Speedway. It is his second top-10 finish in 2012.
    *Matt Crafton (third) posted his first top-10 finish in one races at Rockingham Speedway.
    *Ty Dillon (eighth) was the highest finishing rookie.
    *Timothy Peters leads the point standings by 6 points over Justin Lofton
    . (Provided by NASCAR Statistics - Sun, April 15, 2012 @ 03:17 PM Eastern)

  • Race Awards:
    Featherlite Most Improved Driver: Johnny Sauter, #13 25 Places
    Keystone Light Pole Award: Nelson Piquet Jr, #30 144.387 mph
    Mahle Clevite Engine Builder of the Race: Hendrick Engines, #30
    Mobil 1 Oil Driver of the Race: James Buescher, #31
    Sunoco Rookie of the Race: Ty Dillon, #3(NASCAR Statistics)(4-15-2012)

  • Lucky Dog Awards - Who got a lap back on each caution at Rockingham: (and finish)
    Caution 1: No benefactor
    Caution 2: #17-Jeb Burton, 11th
    Caution 3: #9-Ron Hornaday Jr., 12th
    Caution 4: #81-David Starr, 13th
    (NASCAR Statistics)(4-15-2012)

  • Driver Point Standings following Race #3 at Rockingham:
    1) #17-Timothy Peters, 121
    2) #6-Justin Lofton, 115, -6
    3) #3-Ty Dillon, 114, -7
    4) #31-James Buescher, 111 -10
    5) #29-Parker Kligerman, 101 -20
    6) #30-Nelson Piquet Jr., 100 -21
    7) Jason White, 94 -27
    8) #7-John King, 93 -28
    9) #9-Ron Hornaday Jr., 90 -31
    10) #81-David Starr, 84 - 37
    Complete driver point standings are posted on the Rockingham Driver Standings Page (pdf).(Unofficial)(4-15-2012)

  • Owner point standings: following the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200 at Rockingham Speedway are posted on the Rockingham Owner Standings Page (pdf).(Unofficial)(4-15-2012)

Qualifying Results, Practice Speeds, Entry and links

  • Rockingham Pit Stall Selections

  • Piquet wins Rockingham pole: Nelson Piquet Jr., driving the #30-Qualcomm/Autotrac Chevrolet for Turner Motorsports, was the fasted qualifer with a top speed of 144.387 mph to win the Keystone Light Pole for the inaugural Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200 at Rockingham Speedway. #5-Paulie Harraka will start second. Rounding out the top ten were; #17-Timothy Peters, #18-Jason Leffler, #4-Brad Sweet (for Kasey Kahne), #29-Parker Kligerman, #11-Todd Bodine, #88-Matt Crafton, #60-Grant Enfinger, #13-Johnny Sauter. Did Not Qualify: #68-Clay Greenfield, #10-Jennifer Jo Cobb, #84-Chris Fontaine, #28-Wes Burton, #74-Brian Weber. Complete starting lineup is posted on the Rockingham Lineup (pdf)(4-14-2012)

  • Post-Qualifying Fast Facts:
    Rockingham Speedway
    Inaugural Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200
    Keystone Light Pole Winner: Nelson Piquet Jr.

    Age: 26
    Team: No. 30 - Qualcomm / AutoTrac Chevrolet
    Owner: Steve Turner
    Crew Chief: Chris Carrier
    *Nelson Piquet Jr. won the Keystone Light Pole Award for the Inaugural Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200 with a lap of 24.933 seconds, *144.387 mph.
    *This is his first pole in 33 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races. He previously qualified second at Bristol Motor Speedway in August 2011.
    *This is his first pole and second top-10 start in 2012.
    *This is his first pole in one races at Rockingham Speedway.
    *Paulie Harraka (second) posted his first top-10 start of 2012 and his first in one races at Rockingham Speedway.
    *Timothy Peters (third) posted his first top-10 start at Rockingham Speedway. It is his second in three races this season.
    *Paulie Harraka (second) was the fastest qualifying rookie.
    (Provided by NASCAR Statistics - Sat, April 14, 2012 @ 04:27 PM Eastern)

  • Rockingham Qualifying Order (pdf)

  • Armstrong fastest in final practice at Rockingham: Dakoda Armstrong, driving the Toyota for ThorSport Racing set the pace for the final practice session at Rockingham with a top speed of 142.354 mph. Rounding out the top ten were; #88-Matt Crafton, #29-Parker Kligerman, #17-Timothy Peters, #09-John Wes Townley, #32-Miguel Paludo, #5-Paulie Harraka, #08-Ross Chastain, #30-Nelson Piquet Jr., #7-John King. There were 38 trucks on track for the final session. Practice speeds are posted on the Rockingham Final Practice Speeds Page (pdf).(4-14-2012)

  • Sauter leads practice three at Rockingham: Johnny Sauter, driving the #13-Hot Honeys/Curb Records Toyota for ThorSport Racing. had the fastest lap with a top speed of 146.873 mph to lead the third practice session at Rockingham Speedway. Rounding out the top ten were; #29-Parker Kligerman, #31-James Buescher, #17-Timothy Peters, #22-Joey Coulter, #3-Ty Dillon, #9-Ron Hornaday Jr., #88-Matt Crafton, #18-Jason Leffler, #11-Todd Bodine. There were 41 trucks on track for the third session. Complete practice speeds are posted on the Rockingham Practice Three Speeds Page (pdf).(4-14-2012)

  • Piquet quickest in second practice at Rockingham: Nelson Piquet Jr., driving the #30 Qualcomm/Autotrac Chevrolet for Turner Motorsports, was the fastest in the second of four practice sessions for the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200 at Rockingham Speedway with a top speed of 143.358 mph. Rounding out the top ten were; #88-Matt Crafton, #32-Miguel Paludo, #09-John Wes Townley, #70-Jeff Agnew, #11-Todd Bodine, #08-Ross Chastain, #22-Joey Coulter, #3-Ty Dillon, #18-Jason Leffler. There were 36 trucks on track for the second session. Complete practice speeds are posted on the Rockingham Practice Two Speeds Page (pdf).(4-13-2012)

  • Coulter leads opening practice at Rockingham: Joey Coulter, driving the / Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, had the fastest lap with a top speed of 144.445 mph to lead the opening practice session for the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200 at Rockingham Speedway. Rounding out the top ten were; #17-Timothy Peters, #31-James Buescher, #29-Parker Kligerman, #30-Nelson Piquet Jr., #88-Matt Crafton, #11-Todd Bodine, #6-Justin Loftin, #13-Johnny Sauter, #9-Ron Hornaday Jr. There were 34 trucks on track for the opening session. Complete practice speeds are posted on the Rockingham Practice Speeds Page (pdf).(4-13-2012)

  • Official Entry List: There are 41 trucks listed as entered on the Official Entry List for the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200 at Rockingham Speedway. Complete entry list is posted on the Rockingham Entry List Page.(4-13-2012)

  • Preliminary Entry List: There are 42 trucks listed as entered on the Preliminary Entry List for the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200 at Rockingham Speedway. Complete entry list is posted on the Rockingham Entry List Page.(4-9-2012)

    Some Notes:
    #2-Tim George, making 1st 2012 start driving the #2 Applebee's Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing
    #02-Tyler Young, making 1st series start, driving the #02-Young's Building Building Systems Chevrolet for Young Racing
    #4-Kasey Kahne, 1st 2012 start, driving the Rockwell Tools Chevrolet for Turner Motorsports
    #14-Brennan Newberry, making 2nd series start driving the Ironclad Performance Wear Chevrolet
    #75-Caleb Holman, making 2nd series attempt driving the Food Country USA/Wise Snack Foods Chevrolet (4-9-2012)
    Correction: #8-Eddie Sharp Racing Chevrolet withdrawn; as a result, #57-Norm Benning will be locked into the field (4-10-2012)

Goodyear Tire Notes

    NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
    Race No. 3 -- Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200
    Rockingham Speedway (1.017-mile oval) -- Rockingham, N.C.
    Fast Facts for April 14-15, 2012

    Goodyear Wrangler Speedway Radials

    Number of Tires:
    Left-side -- 650
    Right-side -- 650

    Tire Codes:
    Left-side -- D-4522
    Right-side -- D-4444

    Tire Circumference:
    Left-side -- 87.5 in. (2,224 mm)
    Right-side -- 88.3 in. (2,243 mm)

    Technical Inspection Inflation:
    Left Front -- 30 psi; Left Rear -- 30 psi
    Right Front -- 45 psi; Right Rear -- 42 psi

    Minimum Recommended Inflation:
    Left Front -- 18 psi; Left Rear -- 18 psi
    Right Front -- 42 psi; Right Rear -- 40 psi

    Notes: This is the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series' inaugural race at Rockingham Speedway . . . while Camping World Truck teams have run this right-side tire code (D-4444) in the past, this is the first time they have run this left side code (D-4522) . . . truck teams ran this right-side at both Dover and Michigan in 2011 . . . NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide teams did run this left-side at Fontana earlier this season . . . this tire set-up came out of a Goodyear test at Rockingham in early March . . . drivers participating in that test were James Buescher, Jason Leffler and Timothy Peters . . . teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Rockingham . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire.(Goodyear PR)(4-10-2012)

NASCAR News & Notes

    Rockingham Speedway Isn't Finished Making NASCAR History
    NASCAR Camping World Trucks Re--Christen One Of Sport's Iconic Venues

    Rockingham Speedway, a piece of NASCAR history lost for nearly a decade, roars back to life Sunday when the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series makes its initial visit to North Carolina's sand hills region. Opened in 1965 -- NASCAR's fourth paved track measuring a mile or greater in length -- Rockingham Speedway hosted 78 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events through 2004. The final race ranked as one of the track's most exciting as Matt Kenseth held off Kasey Kahne's furious last--lap, final--turn challenge to win by .010 seconds. Appropriately, Kahne intends to be in the field for Sunday's (SPEED, 1 p.m. ET) Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200 Presented by Cheerwine.

    Known upon completion as North Carolina Motor Speedway, the track was built by Harold Brasington and Bill Land. Brasington also built Darlington Raceway, which heralded NASCAR's superspeedway era in 1950. The track saw a succession of owners including the DeWitt family, Roger Penske, International Speedway Corp. and Speedway Motorsports. Its closure in 2004 coincided with transfer of the track's remaining date to Texas Motor Speedway. Current owner and former NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Andy Hillenburg purchased "The Rock" at auction in 2007.

    This week's race is the culmination of a five--year project by Hillenburg. Three ARCA races were held at the track in 2008--10 -- two of them won by current NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competitors Ty Dillon and Parker Kligerman. "Kudos to Andy for being able to pull that off," said Mark Martin, whose 13 victories -- two NASCAR Sprint Cup, 11 NASCAR Nationwide -- lead all drivers at Rockingham. "It's cool to see them have the truck race there. Rockingham is just a ball to race on."

    Some Rockingham history:

    • Curtis Turner won the track's inaugural 500--mile race in October 1965 that took nearly five hours to complete. Turner and runner up Cale Yarborough were the only lead--lap finishers.
    • Fifteen NASCAR Sprint Cup champions -- all but two during the track's existence -- won races at Rockingham led by Richard Petty, who visited Victory Lane 11 times.
    • Ten Rockingham winners are members of the NASCAR Hall of Fame: drivers Petty, Yarborough, Dale Earnhardt, Darrell Waltrip, Bobby Allison and David Pearson; car owners Junior Johnson, Bud Moore and Glen Wood and crew chief Dale Inman.

    NASCAR's Greatest Stars Won At 'The Rock'

    • Benny Parsons, whose car was owned by Rockingham promoter L.G. DeWitt, never was able to win at the track. Parsons, however, clinched the 1972 championship there on an afternoon where his Chevrolet literally was rebuilt after an early--race accident.
    • Steve Park drove a Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevrolet to victory at Rockingham in February 2001, the race following Dale Earnhardt's death in the Daytona 500. It also marked the debut of Kevin Harvick with Richard Childress Racing's No. 3 team -- which carried the No. 29 it bears today.
    • Johnny Benson, the 2008 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion, won his only NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Rockingham in 2002.
    • For many years, the track's fall race played host to the Unocal Pit Crew Challenge, an event that put names to faces of the sport's over--the--wall crew members creating iconic names such as RCR's "Flying Aces." Its spirit continues with the NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge to be held May 17 at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C.

    Jamie McMurray solidly etched his name in Rockingham lore winning the track's final four NASCAR Nationwide Series races in 2002--04. He did it with three owners -- Clarence Brewer, James Finch and Todd Braun -- and four different crew chiefs. In 2002 McMurray led just the final two laps when the two leaders crashed in front of him. The next year he led 192 of 197 laps.

    "I never went there with the mindset that I would be the driver to beat," said McMurray, who won both Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 for his Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Chevrolet team in 2010. "But even when I was having a bad year, we'd get a good finish (at Rockingham) and it would be a big confidence builder."

    McMurray is anxious to see Sunday's race -- if only on television. "Whether you are a crew member or driver, we're all looking forward to it," said McMurray, who finished third behind Kenseth and Kahne in Rockingham's final race. "It's one of the cooler tickets to buy. I didn't think it would ever come back."

    Not everyone participating this weekend will be a Rockingham rookie -- far from it. At least seven competitors have raced the track in the NASCAR Sprint Cup and/or NASCAR Nationwide Series. Todd Bodine, a two--time NASCAR Camping World Series champion, won two NASCAR Nationwide events, most recently in 2001. Another half--dozen drivers were in the fields for the track's past ARCA races.

    "Both my wins were very special and memorable to me," said Bodine. "The first win (in 1995) was a three--wide, photo finish. I think I won that race by about six inches."

    Bodine and his brothers Geoff and Brett each have a NASCAR Nationwide victory at "The Rock" -- a NASCAR rarity. "It's really special for our family," he said.

    Bodine doesn't expect the racing to be any different than it was nearly a decade ago. The track surface is rough, weathered and hard on tires. Patience likely will be a virtue, although fans can expect to see two and three--wide racing most of the afternoon.

    "After about five laps there is no grip," he said. "You'll really have to have a truck that's just well balanced. A lot of self-control goes into it. The last thing you want to do is over--drive it."(NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications)(4-11-2012)

  • NASCAR Camping World Truck Series News & Notes -- Rockingham Speedway

    Dillon Has Fond Memories Of Rockingham On And Off The Track
    Ty Dillon has looked forward to Sunday's Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200 Presented by Cheerwine at Rockingham Speedway for a variety of reasons. Dillon, coming off a second-place finish at Martinsville Speedway two weeks ago, returns to the track where a victory in the 2010 season finale clinched the ARCA championship. The 20-year-old Dillon enters the year's third race fourth in points, just four markers behind leader and fellow Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender John King.

    The race -- NASCAR's first at "The Rock" since 2004 -- also is a journey back in time for Dillon, who remembers the childhood drives to the 1.017-mile track in his grandfather Richard Childress' Chevrolet Corvette.  "I was able to go a lot when I was younger, me and my grandfather. I was probably six or seven years old," Dillon said recently. "It was kind of a cool deal for me, because it was the time that I would go to the racetrack with just my grandfather, and me and him would hang out all weekend."We could ride up there together and have a little fun on the road, talking about racing and talking about whatever, and me just being a young kid trying to soak it all in."

    Dillon believes his ARCA experience-- especially learning how to manage tires on a track notorious for extreme wear-- will pay dividends on Sunday."I feel like I have a really big advantage," he said. "It's going to be tough to dial [in] a truck compared to an ARCA car there, but I feel like I've got a good understanding of the racetrack."

    Lofton, Kligerman Have Seen This Movie Before
    Round 2 of Justin Lofton vs. Parker Kligerman takes place Sunday. The two, now NCWTS veterans, battled for the ARCA title in 2009, with Kligerman winning Rockingham's race but Lofton-- who finished third-- taking the title. SPEED will show a re-enactment of the event during its pre-race show.  "It is a great place to watch a race, but even more special to race," said Eddie Sharp Racing's Lofton, who has a pair of top-five finishes in 2012. "It's what racing is about."

    Kligerman ranks eighth in points entering the season's third race but has yet to score a top-10 finish. The driver of Brad Keselowski's #29 Ram truck had a pair of third-place performances in 2011 as he finished fourth among Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders and 11th in overall points.

    Bodine, Others Have Rockingham Experience
    Several competitors-- seven, actually-- enter Sunday's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event with NASCAR experience at Rockingham Speedway.

    Todd Bodine has a pair of NASCAR Nationwide Series victories, the most recent in 2001. "You have to have a truck that's just well balanced," said Bodine. "There's a lot of self-control that goes into it. The last thing you want to do is over drive it."

    Kasey Kahne, who will compete in the Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday night then fly to "The Rock" for truck competition, finished second to Matt Kenseth in 2004. His final lap, last-turn charge fell just 0.010 seconds short.

    Other Rockingham veterans include Johnny Chapman, Ron Hornaday Jr., Jason Leffler, David Reutimann and Johnny Sauter.

    NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Etc.
    Jeb Burton warmed up for his second series start by winning Saturday's late model feature at Ace Speedway in North Carolina. Burton "sort of" attended Rockingham's February 2002 NASCAR Nationwide Series race won by his father, Ward. His mother, Tabitha, was pregnant with Jeb, who was born in August. ⬦ Richie Wauters' #5 Ford driven by Paulie Harraka will carry colors of Rockingham Speedway's "Send A Soldier To The Rock" initiative. The public can purchase $20 tickets to be held for military personnel by calling (910) 205-8800. Fort Bragg is nearby. ⬦ Four fan-oriented events will be held in conjunction with this weekend's race: hauler parade at 6 p.m. Thursday in downtown Rockingham; Thunderfest, also downtown, from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday, featuring children's activities, music and autograph sessions; and Little Texas concert at 8 p.m. Saturday at the track-- free to holders of Saturday and/or Sunday tickets. An "open" track walk will be held at 11 a.m. Sunday. ⬦ Matt Crafton will attempt to make his 275th series start; James Buescher his 75th.(NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications)(4-10-2012)

  • Camping World Truck Series News & Notes -- Open Week, April 3, 2012

    Triple--Winner Kahne Adds Luster To Rockingham Debut
    Turner Motorsports is rolling out the heavy artillery for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series' debut at Rockingham Speedway on April 15. The organization recently announced a fourth entry -- that of Kasey Kahne -- to complement an already formidable lineup of James Buescher, Miguel Paludo and Nelson Piquet Jr. for the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200 presented by Cheerwine.

    Kahne doesn't compete very often in the series but when he does, watch out. He won his first two starts in 2004 at Darlington Raceway and Homestead--Miami Speedway. Driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports, he won again at Darlington a year ago. He finished second at Pocono in his only other series start. "Turner Motorsports, they have great trucks and have a lot of good people there. I'm excited to be on their team and be a part of it," said Kahne, who'll drive his #5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet at Texas Motor Speedway the evening of April 14 then fly back to North Carolina. "Rockingham is a great track for me; I've run really well there in the past in both series that I've raced in, especially that final Cup race there," in which Kahne finished second to Matt Kenseth.

    Brad Sweet has been tapped to practice and qualify Turner's #4 Chevrolet. "I feel like it will have a really good set--up in it on Sunday when I get there," said Kahne.

    King Tames Martinsville, Sets Record As Continuing Points Leader
    Nobody expected John King to win the 2012 season opener at Daytona International Speedway. Few doubted he'd remain the points leader after last weekend's race at Martinsville Speedway, a notoriously difficult layout for any rookie driver. King proved doubters wrong ... again. King, who celebrated his 24th birthday the day after the Kroger 250, finished ninth. His lead over Red Horse Racing teammate Timothy Peters dwindled considerably to a single point. But it's a lead nonetheless and marks the first time in series history a Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender has led after multiple races.

    Now--NNS rookie Cole Whitt was the first freshman points leader a year ago after the event at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

    Two races don't make a season but they signal a big change in the championship picture. The top eight drivers -- King, Peters, Justin Lofton, Ty Dillon, Jason White, Buescher, Parker Kligerman and Piquet -- are seeking their first title. Four--time champion Ron Hornaday Jr. is the closest to the lead but 24 points behind King. Four points is the spread between first and fourth places.

    ThorSport Pair Must Fire For Effect After Digging Holes
    One word sums up ThorSport Racing's season to date: Ouch.

    Neither pre--season championship favorite Johnny Sauter nor Matt Crafton was able to crack the top 20 at Martinsville Speedway, leaving the pair 27th and 23rd, respectively, in points. Sauter concluded the 2011 season six points behind champion Austin Dillon while Crafton logged his sixth top--10 championship finish in his last recent seven seasons with the organization. Each has 20 races to rebound. Sauter won twice a year ago while Crafton also visited Victory Lane. They combined for 16 top--five and 29 top--10 finishes.

    But this year's shortened season of 22 races offers fewer chances to take a "mulligan." To say that Sauter and Crafton have already used theirs may be an understatement. Then again, Dillon was 24 points out of first with 20 races remaining a year ago. He recovered to win the championship despite finishing 22nd or worse on three occasions. 

    NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Etc.
    Peters and Lofton are the only drivers to post top--five finishes in each of the season's first two races. Lofton failed to score a top five in 2011. ... What a difference a year also makes for Buescher, who finished third at Martinsville. Buescher failed to qualify for last season's second race at Phoenix International Raceway. ... Kevin Harvick's third Martinsville victory was his first driving a Richard Childress Racing truck. The organization has won a race in all eight seasons (1995--99, 2010--12) in which it has competed full--time in the NCWTS. ... The current points standings mark the second time in series history that Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders -- King and Dillon -- have ranked among the top five in overall points after race #2. The only time rookies occupied top--five positions at this stage of the season was in 1996 -- the first year the award was made -- when Bryan Reffner and Ron Barfield Jr. were third and fourth after the event at Phoenix International Raceway.(NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications)(4-3-2012)

Additional Camping World Truck Series News Links

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