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Kyle Busch Wins Inaugural NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Event at Chicagoland Speedway
Victory Lane Photo By Dan Peters
Kyle Busch won his second straight race in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, passing Todd Bodine with 19 laps remaining to take the inaugural EnjoyIllinois.com 225 on Friday at Chicagoland Speedway.
Busch & Bodine discuss race strategy before the race
Pre Race Photo by Dan Peters
It was Busch's fourth win of the season in 10 starts in the Billy Ballew Motorsports Toyota. Busch also made Chicagoland the fifth track in which he has won a race in each of NASCAR's three national series. He won the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races there last season.
Busch wasted little time moving to the front
Race Photo By Mark Rotor
"It was a fun night," Busch said. "My parents are from just outside Chicago and my girlfriend is from just over the border in Indiana, and it was cool to come back and win before the home folks in the Midwest."
Kyle and his Girlfriend
Pre Race Photo By Dan Peters
Busch also has won in all three national series at Phoenix, the Auto Club Speedway in California, Dover and Bristol.
"It's definitely an accomplishment," Busch said. "I'd love to get some more."
Bodine finished second, .580 seconds behind. It was his first top five in the last six races.
"Second is pretty good after the last two months," Bodine said. "We'll take it."
Bodine took the lead on Lap 98 of 150 when Busch made his final pit stops for tires and fuel, on consecutive laps. Busch was fifth for the restart with 50 laps remaining.
Bodine then pulled out to a commanding lead. Busch steadily climbed and passed Timothy Peters for second just before a caution came out on Lap 122.
"Bodine had the race won until that caution came out," Busch said.
Busch's crew keeps him in the race
Race Photo By Dan Peters
Busch wasn't able to overtake Bodine on the next restart, but there was another caution three laps later. The restart was on Lap 132, calling for it to be single-file. It left the bottom of the 1.5-mile track open for Busch.
"I got too good a restart," Bodine said. "This place is so much like Daytona and Talladega and he was able to get a draft on me and drafted past me."
Busch stuck to the bottom through Turns 1 and 2 and passed Bodine going into Turn 3.
"I didn't have that good a restart, but I got through (Turns) 1 and 2 really good," Busch said. "I pulled low on the back straight and alongside to break his momentum a little bit. He gave me room going into Turn 3, raced me clean. If he hadn't, it could have gotten ugly."
Colin Braun was third, followed by Rick Crawford and Johnny Sauter.
Points leader Ron Hornaday Jr. finished 11th, but still gained points on second-place driver Matt Crafton, who finished 14th. Hornaday leads Crafton by 220 points with nine races remaining. Mike Skinner ran 13th and is 316 points back in third.
Hornaday and Crafton were trapped a lap down just past the halfway point. Busch, Bodine, Braun and several others pitted on Lap 22, and a 62-lap green flag run forced Hornaday and Crafton to pit twice under green. A caution on Lap 97 put those two a lap down. Hornaday didn't get back on the lead lap until the final caution that fell on Lap 139.
Todd Bodine Wins NextEra Energy Resources 250
Todd Bodine waves the checkered flag after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series NextEra Energy Resources 250
They might have to rename the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Daytona International Speedway.
Todd Bodine drives this event like he owns it.
Bodine held off a last-lap bid by Kyle Busch to capture his second truck race in as many years Friday night.
The former series champion had to charge back through the field after being shuffled to the back of the pack for passing under the yellow line. He also had to dodge a series of multi-truck accidents that sidelined several front-running contenders before the race had reached the halfway point, including defending NASCAR Camping World Truck champion Johnny Benson.
Trailing Bodine and Busch were Terry Cook, who also suffered an early-race penalty, J. R. Fitzpatrick, a 20-year-old rookie who performed like a veteran, and another veteran and former series champion, Ron Hornaday.
Rounding out the top ten were Tim Peters in sixth, Mike Skinner seventh in a Toyota owned by NFL star Randy Moss, Matt Crafton eighth, Colin Braun ninth and Taylor Malsam 10th.
James Buescher (sideways) and Ricky Carmichael were among the nine trucks caught up in a Lap 48 accident, which also collected defending series champion Johnny Benson
A massive pileup on Lap 47 was triggered by Bodine when he slipped into the rear bumper of James Buescher and sent Buescher sliding across the track in front of the entire field. Benson was a victim, as was motocross champion Ricky Carmichael, Johnny Sauter and Skinner, who returned to the race after repairs.
Brent Raymer brought out another caution at Lap 67 when his car slammed hard into the outside retaining wall, careened across the track before reversing its direction and bashing the outside wall again. Raymer, fortunately, was uninjured.
Only five laps into the race, Brian Scott and Mike Bliss ran out of racing room in Turn 2 and spun off the 31-degree banking to the apron, bringing out the first caution flag of the night.
Pole-sitter Colin Braun (6) battles race winner Todd Bodine for position during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series NextEra Energy Resources 250
Pole-sitter Colin Braun had led every lap to that point with Todd Bodine and Mike Skinner in tow. When racing resumed on the 10th lap, Braun was still out front but Bodine passed him near the first turn for the lead. NASCAR, however, penalized Bodine, saying he went below the yellow line, which is illegal when making a pass. Bodine paid the necessary "pass through" penalty and dropped all the way back to 27th position.
While all that was taking place, the front of the field filled up with new faces, most notably Kyle Busch, who started the race 19th. Braun held on to the second spot but T. J. Bell, Jr., moved into third.
On Lap 21, Terry Cook was also penalized for passing under the yellow line as Busch and James Buescher put a little space between them and the third-place machine of Skinner.
While the leaders diced it up around the track, Bodine and Cook did a little dicing of their own, hooked together in a two-car draft way back in the field – chopping away at the lead, gaining three-quarters-of-a-second per lap.
At Lap 30 of the 100-lap race, Busch led with Buescher second but the evening's second caution slowed the field on Lap 31.
Scott was out front on the restart at Lap 37 but Braun went back to the front before they got back to the start-finish line with Hornaday on his bumper.
NASCAR Media Tour 2009
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series owner DeLana Harvick, poses with driver Ricky Carmichael, after announcing Carmichael will drive the No. 4 Monster Energy Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Lowe's Motor Speedway
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Ron Hornaday Jr., poses with team owner Kevin Harvick, during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour.
Colin Braun, driver of the No. 6 Con-way Freight/TrueLTL.com Ford, poses in Victory Lane after winning the Keystone Light pole for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Mountain Dew 250, Fueled by Fred's at Talladega Superspeedway on Friday in Talladega, Ala.
Aric Almirola Pushes Kyle Busch To Talladega Win
TALLADEGA, Ala. -- In 298 previous starts in NASCAR's Camping World Truck Series, owner Billy Ballew never had gotten a 1-2 finish from his teams.
Scratch that off the bucket list.
With a push from teammate Aric Almirola, Kyle Busch surged past Todd Bodine in the final quarter-mile of Saturday's Mountain Dew 250 fueld by Fred's at Talladega Superspeedway to win his sixth race of the season and the 15th of his career. Almirola ran second, and Ballew had his first 1-2 after 300 combined starts.
The race concluded with a green-white-checkered flag finish that took the event four laps beyond its scheduled distance of 94 laps. Busch led the field to a restart on Lap 97 after contact between, Bodine, Mike Skinner and Johnny Sauter ignited an 11-truck wreck on the backstretch on Lap 91.
Heavily damaged in the melee was the No. 33 Chevrolet of series leader Ron Hornaday Jr., who lost two laps and finished 17th. Matt Crafton, second in the standings, came home 10th and trimmed Hornaday's lead to 202 points.
"I owe everything to Aric Almirola today," Busch said. "From that last pit stop to the end, I told him that, if he just stayed with me, they wouldn't be above to beat the 15 (Almirola) and the 51 (Busch). Awesome job to Aric. He can take half of my pay after today."
The last remark was tongue-in-cheek, given that Busch provides driving services to Ballew without compensation.
Almirola was thrilled to get the 1-2 finish for Ballew, but he was disappointed not to be the "1" in the equation.
"I'm just proud of Billy Ballew and all these guys on his race team, man," Almirola said. "His 300th start -- for him to win in that fashion, that was pretty cool. Everybody said in practice that when me and Kyle got hooked up, it didn't matter who was in front or behind. We were just really, really fast.
"I'm just disappointed. I told Billy before the race started that I wanted it to be a 1-2 finish, but I wanted to be '1' some kind of bad."
To Bodine, the difference was the help Almirola was able to give to Busch.
"Kyle had a teammate right behind him, and that's what you have to have in (superspeedway) racing," said Bodine, who took the lead on Lap 97 with a push from Crafton only to fall to third at the end.
Terry Cook finished fourth, followed by David Starr and Mario Gosselin. Stacy Compton, Dennis Setzer, Justin Hobgood and Crafton completed the top 10.
Toyota swept the top five places and clinched the series manufacturers championship.
Mike Skinner Wins Inaugural Lucas Oil 200 Race At Iowa Speedway
Victory Lane Photo By Joe Paolella
NEWTON, Iowa -- Mike Skinner won his second race of the season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, leading 180 of 200 laps in the Lucas Oil 200 at Iowa Speedway.
Skinner pulled away from Aric Almirola on a restart with four laps to go on the .875-mile track, winning by 1.37 seconds, but he did have a few anxious moments.
"The motor died coming off (Turn) 4," Skinner said. "I don't know if it was a (fuel) pickup thing or vapor lock or what it did. I think it might have boiled some fuel or something. I just nursed her along there and this thing was so fast through the corner, it didn't matter what it was doing tonight."
It was the second victory for Randy Moss Motorsports. Skinner delivered the first in a rain-shortened race at Kansas Speedway in April. Skinner's victory was the 27th of his truck career.
Skinner's Toyota started the inaugural race at Iowa from the pole, extending his all-time lead in the series to 47, but was passed immediately by Matt Crafton. Skinner regained the lead on Lap 18 and, with the exception of three laps led by Almirola gained through pit strategy, was in front to the checkered flag.
"It was cool, really, really cool," Skinner said. "This one is for (owner) Randy Moss. He's a big race fan and part owner in this team with David Dollar."
How good does it feel to win tonight?
"This one only took us a couple of hours, the last one took three days. I'll tell you, this Tundra, Jon Dysinger (engine builder) and those guys up there at Triad, they do such a fantastic job. This team, David Dollar (co-owner, Randy Moss Motorsports), Randy Moss (co-owner, Randy Moss Motorsports) you better call me!
It was just awesome. Toyota of Des Moines, Exide Batteries, PC Miler Navigator folks are up here tonight and they were nice enough to help out Tayler (Malsam) on his truck.
Man, that was awesome."Almirola was running ninth when a caution came out on Lap 111 and the entire field pitted on separate stops for fuel and tires. Almirola took only two tires and fuel and moved into the lead. He wasn't able to hold off Skinner, but he maintained second the rest of the way.
“It was a weird night. We weren't very good either in practice yesterday and my guys worked really, really hard. They were dirty from head to toe, covered in grease and everything else yesterday. We changed everything but the driver and just couldn't find any speed. We went pretty much back to how we unloaded and fired off today and we were really good. Not really sure what we were fighting there yesterday but our Graceway Pharmaceuticals Toyota was real good today. We struggled a little bit in the pits tonight but thankfully enough this tire was hard enough that we could take two tires there at the end and we held on for second."
"Our first stop was really bad and we just lost so much track position," Almirola said. "I told (crew chief) Doug George we had to get it back somehow, someway, so we took two tires. That was a great call on Doug's part. Thank goodness this tire was hard enough."
Almirola's second was his best finish in 41 truck starts.
Colin Braun continued his strong second half of the season by finishing third. He passed Ron Hornaday Jr. for the position with 10 laps to go.
Hornaday's fourth place allowed him to increase his lead in the championship standings to 225 over Crafton, who finished sixth. Johnny Sauter was fifth. Austin Dillon, despite spinning early in the race, finished 12th in his series debut driving the No. 3 Chevrolet owned by his grandfather, Richard Childress.
Photo By Dan Peters
Austin Dillon Brings Richard Childress Racing Back To Series
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 31, 2009) – Austin Dillon will be making his series debut this weekend and with that, he’ll return Richard Childress Racing to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for the first time since 1999. Dillon, grandson of RCR president and CEO Richard Childress, will be behind the wheel of the No. 3 Chevrolet. The No. 3 is certainly not new to the series by any means. Mike Skinner (No. 5 Toyota) took it to Victory Lane in the series’ first race at Phoenix in 1995 and then on to claim the series’ first championship that same year.
"RCR was fortunate enough to win the first race and the first championship in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 1995 with Mike Skinner driving the No. 3 Chevrolet, so it's great to see the No. 3 truck back on the track," said Childress. "We had a great deal of success with that program so I'm excited to see what Austin (Dillon) can do behind the wheel to continue the legacy that's been established. The Truck Series is always very competitive and they put on a great show so Austin driving the No. 3 truck at Iowa will be a good opportunity for his career."
Dillon will be only the third driver in the No. 3 truck. In addition to Skinner, Jay Sauter was behind the wheel from 1997 to 1999.
While he’ll be a rookie to the series, Dillon isn’t a rookie when it comes to Iowa Speedway. The young driver has four starts at the track: One start in the NASCAR Nationwide Series for the series’ inaugural race this season; two starts in the NASCAR Camping World Series East where he has one pole (2008) and two top-ten finishes and one start in the ARCA Re/MAX Series this season where he started 30th and finished second.
“I couldn't have picked a better race track to make my debut,” Dillon said. “I've raced at Iowa Speedway three times this season and feel confident heading back. We think we can be competitive during the race once I get a feel for how the truck handles during the practice sessions. Overall, our goal is to learn as much as we can during the race, earn a solid finish and, more importantly, have fun."
Iowa Speedway Saturday Practice Photo By Dan Peters
Anything Can Happen With Nine To Go
Last week at Chicagoland Speedway, Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 33 Longhorn Chevrolet) didn’t have the results that have typified his season so far. He qualified outside of the top five for the first time and finished 11th, his lowest finish since a pair of tough races at Dover (26th) and Texas (19th).
Despite a non-typical night, Hornaday holds a solid lead over Matt Crafton (No. 88 Menards Chevrolet). Hornaday is 220 points ahead of the second-place Crafton. But with nine races to go, anything can happen. Just look back to 2005. Ted Musgrave trailed Dennis Setzer by 227 points with ten to go. With nine to go, he trailed the leader by 178 points. In the last nine races, Musgrave had a 233-point swing and ended up winning the championship by 55 points over Setzer.
While they head to another new track this weekend, chances are both these drivers will be a factor.
Iowa Speedway Photo By Dan Peters
Hornaday holds the series record for most wins on short tracks. Twenty of his 45 wins in the series have come on tracks of less than a mile in length. During his record-setting, five-race win streak this season, two of those came on short tracks (Memphis, O’Reilly Raceway Park).
Crafton has made it very clear the battle isn’t over. He’s had strong performances on some of the tracks with a length of a mile or less. He scored a sixth-place finish at Dover, fifth at Memphis, and most recently was runner-up to Kyle Busch at Bristol.
"We're definitely still in this thing,” said Crafton. “There's a lot of racing left. We've all seen examples of how points can swing one way or another pretty quickly, so there's no reason to think it won't happen for us. Our focus remains on being as strong as we can be each week, and letting the chips fall where they may. We show up each week expecting good things to happen, and the guys are working their tails off.”
Germain Racing Hoping Past Testing And NASCAR Nationwide Series Notes Get Them To Victory Lane
While the series heads to a new venue this weekend, some members of Germain Racing have a little experience on their side, be it from past testing sessions or the recent NASCAR Nationwide Series race in early August.
Iowa Speedway Practice Photo By Dan Peters
Todd Bodine, driver of the No. 30 Toyota, Mike Hillman Sr., Germain Racing’s General Manager and crew chief for the No. 15 Toyota team in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, and Bodine’s crew chief, Mike Hillman Jr., share their thoughts on what to expect at the second new venue of the season:
What does Iowa compare to?
Hillman Jr.: “We used Iowa to test for Richmond and places similar to that a couple years ago. The track has gotten a lot rougher, and we’re going to put a basic one-mile package in our truck—something we’d run at a Richmond or Phoenix.”
Hillman Sr.: “Iowa Speedway is a little like Richmond. There are a lot of similarities between the tracks, really. Iowa is a little short track. It’s tough to race there. The cool part about it is there are a couple grooves and you can race two or three wide there—that’s a real bonus for the fans.”
Do you think veterans will have an advantage for the new turf?
Bodine: “Really going to a new track makes it a much more level playing field for the guys that haven’t done it much because we all have to learn the track, we all have to find the setup. The difference is having experience may allow us to get to a good place with our truck a lot faster. Hopefully my experience will help us get to that place even faster.”
Does having notes from the Germain Racing No. 15 Nationwide Series team help?
Hillman Sr.: “I think that having our No. 15 Toyota with Michael Annett in the Nationwide Series race there maybe means we have a little more knowledge, maybe even a little better starting point, but the practice day that NASCAR is giving the Truck Series teams will even things out for everyone.”
Hillman Jr.: “I think the notes from our No. 15 Toyota will help us some, to see what the car went through during the race weekend.”
What to look for or expect at Iowa?
Bodine: “The fans of that area are awesome. We brought a fair amount of people into the stands when we were there for a test. They had a great turnout for the Nationwide Series race so we’re looking forward to seeing the fans come out again for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
“The track is different than when we tested there. It has been through a few more winters, the pavement is a little rougher, it’s had more tire rubber on it since we were there. We have the notes from the No. 15 team but we don’t really know what to expect.”
Iowa Speedway Practice Photo By Joe Paolella
Brian Ickler will be back behind the wheel of the No. 51 Miccosukee Resort & Casino Toyota for Billy Ballew Motorsports. Ickler made his debut earlier this season at Kansas Speedway where he finished fifth. In his eight starts in the series so far this season, his best finish of third came at Michigan in June. Ickler may have an advantage this weekend. He’s not only raced at Iowa Speedway before, he’s made it to Victory Lane in the NASCAR Camping World Series East race in 2008. He has also competed in the NASCAR Camping World Series West, ARCA Re/MAX Series, and the inaugural NASCAR Nationwide Series race in August.
Iowa fans can be sure to catch the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series haulers as they parade through downtown Newton this Thursday, Sept. 3 at 6 pm. The haulers will head down First Avenue through downtown to Highway 14 before ending at Iowa Speedway to prepare for the action there this weekend.
Loop Data: Almirola, Hornaday Own Short-Track Know How
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series was built on short- track racing, and 14 years after its inaugural season, another one gets added to the schedule.
This weekend’s race at Iowa Speedway will be the fifth of seven short-track races in 2009 (15 of the 20 races in 1995 were on short tracks).
Obviously, this is a statistical blank slate when trying to analyze the race. No previous races equals no previous data.
One driver might have a bit of an advantage: Aric Almirola (No. 15 Billy Ballew Motorsports Toyota). He ran the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Iowa earlier this season, though the results weren’t exactly telling.
Almirola started 28th, finished 34th, had an Average Running Position of 30.7 and posted a Driver Rating of just 55.1.
In other words, Almirola might consider this weekend’s event a mulligan of sorts.
Almirola has certainly performed well in the three short-track races he has run in NASCAR Camping World Truck competition this season. Combined at Memphis, O’Reilly Raceway Park and Bristol this season, Almirola has an average finish of 4.3, an Average Running Position of 10.2, a Driver Rating of 99.1 and 28 Fastest Laps Run.
But the short-track master thus far this season is also the points leader, Ron Hornaday Jr. Hornaday has finished in the top five in all four short-track races, and won two of them (Memphis and ORP).
Combined at short tracks, Hornaday has an average finish of 1.8, a Driver Rating of 133.4, an Average Running Position of 3.5, 258 Laps Led and 137 Fastest Laps Run.
Iowa Speedway Practice Photo By Joe Paolella
Wayne’s Words: New Short Track For Trucks To Tame
“The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is really looking forward to heading to Iowa this weekend. This will be the second week in a row for us to compete at a new venue. It’s fun to have something new added to the mix every now and then. And it’s always great to hit the short tracks; it’s the root of the series.
“The Midwest fans are great. Last week in Chicago an awesome crowd stuck out some rainy weather for the inaugural race there. It’s cool to stick around in this part of the country to give them another opportunity to see in person what truck racing is all about.
“Newton is a small Iowa town but offers some big excitement as we saw with the NASCAR Nationwide Series last month. They put on a great show and I expect we’ll see nothing but the same this weekend when the trucks hit the track.
“The facility is pretty awesome. Some drivers will relate it to Richmond International Raceway where the series raced from 1995 to 2005. While it may be similar, this track will have its own bumps and grooves the competitors will have to figure out.
“It’s going to be interesting to see who figures it out first and who figures out how to make it to Victory Lane for the first time at Iowa Speedway.” - Wayne Auton, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Director
Tayler Malsam’s (No. 81 One-Eighty Toyota) one-point lead dissipated following the series’ inaugural race at Chicagoland Speedway. Johnny Sauter (No. 13 Fun Sand/Rodney Atkins/Curb Records Chevrolet) takes the lead this week, but only with a small seven-point lead.
James Buescher (No. 10 International MAXX Force Diesel Ford) isn’t far behind. He’s only 10 points behind Malsam in third. Iowa won’t be new turf for Buescher, who has three previous starts—one in NASCAR Camping World Series East competition in 2008 and two with the ARCA Re/MAX Series (2008, 2009).
And don’t discount motocross star Ricky Carmichael (No. 4 Monster Energy Chevrolet) at Iowa. He has one start there with the NASCAR Camping World Series East last season.
“I really like this track,” said Carmichael. “I’m really excited to go back to a place where I have been before. I feel like that will give me an advantage. Even though the cars and trucks are very different, I am excited to already have an idea of where to run on the track and what kind of things to expect.”
Raybestos Rookie Of The Year Standings
Rk Driver Points
1. Johnny Sauter 166
2. Tayler Malsam 159
3. James Buescher 149
4. Ricky Carmichael 103
5. J.R. Fitzpatrick 79
6. Brian Ickler 67
7. Brent Raymer 59
8. Chris Jones 53
9. Chase Austin 16
10. Ryan Hackett 6
Toyota pulls away slightly from Chevrolet in the battle for top manufacturer honors following Kyle Busch’s back-to-back wins at Bristol and Chicago. Chevrolet had swiped the lead after Nashville thanks to Ron Hornaday Jr.’s five-win streak. The manufacturer held the top spot but by only one point as the trucks rolled to Bristol.
The series heads to new territory this weekend where each manufacturer has a clean slate as far as records go. Ford had a strong weekend at Chicago with Colin Braun (No. 6 Con-way Freight Ford) and Rick Crawford (No. 14 Circle Bar/International Truck Engine Ford) finishing third and fourth, respectively. Maybe they’ll be the first to visit Iowa’s Victory Lane.
2009 Manufacturers' Championship Standings following Race 16 of 25 at Chicagoland Speedway:
Up Next: Gateway
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will continue the racing action in the Midwest as they head to Gateway International Raceway for the Copart 200 on Saturday, Sept. 12.
In 11 races at Gateway, only one driver, Ted Musgrave, has been able to make repeat trips to Victory Lane (2001, 2005). Ron Hornaday Jr. is the defending race winner. The win was one of six for him last season. So far this year, he already has six wins with nine more chances to add to the season total.
Other former race winners expected to compete include Terry Cook (2002), David Starr (2004) and Todd Bodine (2006).
Next Race: Lucas Oil 200
The Place: Iowa Speedway
The Date: Sat., September 5, 2009
The Time: 8:45 p.m. CT
Race Distance: 175 miles / 200 laps
TV: SPEED, 9:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SIRIUS XM. Listen locally on KWQW-FM 98.3.
Track Layout: .875-mile Oval
2008 Winner: Inaugural race
2008 Polesitter: Inaugural race
Schedule: Friday: Practice, 10:10 - 11:20 a.m., 12:30 —2:30 p.m., 3:30 - 4:20 p.m., and 6:10—7:30 p.m.; Saturday: Final Practice, 1:00—2:30 p.m., Qualifying, 5:45 p.m.
Rk Driver Points
1 Ron Hornaday Jr. 2,593
2 Matt Crafton 2,373
3 Mike Skinner 2,277
4 Todd Bodine 2,169
5 Brian Scott 2,154
6 David Starr 2,110
7 Colin Braun 2,096
8 Dennis Setzer 2,065
9 Rick Crawford 2,051
10 Terry Cook 2,015
Ten Years Of Trucks At Daytona
The 2009 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season will officially kick off this week as teams head south to Daytona International Speedway. Friday night’s NextEra Energy Resources 250 marks 10 years of racing for the trucks on the high banks of the famed 2.5-mile superspeedway. If the previous nine races are any indicator, the 10th is sure to be quite a show.
“Its hard to believe this is our 10th year at Daytona,” said Rick Crawford, the 2003 winner and driver of the No. 14 International Truck and Engine Ford. “For every racer this is sacred ground and when you win at Daytona, you’ve accomplished a dream that many racers have chased and few have achieved.”
In addition to his 2003 win, Crawford has collected three top-five and six top-10 finishes. “Daytona has been good to our race team,” he added. “The only thing better than being a winner at Daytona is being at two-time winner at Daytona.”
The track, rich with history, is about more than just racing for some. “I love the build-up to Daytona,” said three-time series champion Ron Hornaday, Jr. (No. 33 Longhorn Chevrolet). “I think the anticipation of getting ready all off-season, putting the sponsors in place, building the trucks and rolling into a track with so much history is the best part,” he said. “Being at a place where my dad always wanted me to race, just the feeling is the best part about being at Daytona.”
New Look, Same Tough Trucks
Camping World prepares for its inaugural season as title sponsor for the series. While the new sponsor brings a new look for the trucks, the tough competition the trucks are known for will undoubtedly remain the same.
The NextEra Energy Resources 250 has nine different winners in as many races. The largest margin of victory, in 2001, is .318 seconds. In fact, Daytona’s total margin of victory (seven races) is .944 seconds. Two races have finished under caution.
Johnny Benson (No. 1 K&N Filters Toyota) came out on the short end of the two most recent “photo finishes” at Daytona: second to Jack Sprague in 2007 and third a year ago. Benson obviously would like to become the track’s 10th different winner.
He’d also like to become the series’ first back-to-back champion — a feat he denied Hornaday a season ago.
“As things get rolling, we’re excited to start the season. Its tough to win the championship, its tough to win races (and) tough to win a championship,” said Benson, who’ll suit up for Red Horse Racing in 2009 after three seasons with Bill Davis Racing. “History shows you can’t win back-to-back. It’ll be difficult to win another championship. “
Todd Bodine: Can He Make Four In A Row?
Todd Bodine (No. 30 Toyota) wouldn’t mind starting this season right where he left off last November: in Victory Lane. The odds are good for the 2006 series champion to do just that. He happens to be the defending winner at Daytona.
Bodine not only won at Daytona last year, he grabbed his second win at Talladega, becoming the first driver in the series to sweep the superspeedways in a season. Should he win this week’s season opener, it would mark four superspeedway wins in a row. The feat would seem daunting but Bodine and his team feel confident if everything goes just right.
“As a team, we do all the technical things right, but we still have to have luck,” said Bodine. “If we do it right like we’ve been doing, and we’re lucky enough, then we can continue to win at tracks like Daytona and Talladega,” he added. “In order to be in a position to win, we have to have a good truck and we are confident that we have a great No. 30 Toyota prepared for Daytona.”
Like the other competitors, Bodine realizes the significance of Daytona. “It’s the first race of the season, it’s the Super Bowl and all that goes with it,” he said. “It would mean just as much to win again, to get to win two in a row at Daytona or anywhere is quite a feat, but to get two in a row at Daytona, it’s like two Super Bowls in a row. It would be very special.”
Top Of The Box With Mike Beam
Veteran crew chief Mike Beam will be calling the shots once again this season for Roush Fenway Racing driver Colin Braun and the No. 6 Con-way Freight Ford team.
Under Beam’s leadership the 20-year-old notched three top-five and eight top-10 finishes and grabbed the Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors. With that freshman season out of the way, the crew chief looks ahead to see how he can build on what was started and how he can get his driver in Victory Lane.
Below, Beam discusses his preparations for the 2009 season:
Q: Colin had a strong season last year, but is still looking for that first win. How do you prepare?
“We’ve spent a lot of time working on all of our trucks this year to make them as fast as we can. We’ve also spent a lot of time working with Colin to help him develop and mature as a driver. I think you will see a different driver in him this year.
People have to remember that he still has only run about 30 oval races, so it takes time to figure it all out. I feel strongly that he will win a few races this year. He learned a lot last year and now will have the chance to start with a clean slate in 2009.”
Q: What are you doing to prepare your team to start the season off right at Daytona?
“What happened to Colin in this race last year wasn’t his doing, and sometimes it’s impossible to avoid another competitor's mistake. I’ve talked to Colin a lot in the off-season and we’ve watched last year’s race several times, so he could see if there was something he could have done differently.
We’re working on having him look farther ahead on the track to see what is developing ahead of him. He’s also got to work well with the spotter to see what trouble is brewing ahead of him that he needs to be prepared to avoid.”
Q: With the rule adjustments for the series, how does that affect your strategy?
“There is going to be a lot more pressure on the crew chiefs to figure out whether to take tires or fuel on each stop and what is going to save the most time in the pits. There will also be added responsibility on the drivers as well. The drivers are going to have to start thinking about tire and fuel management. Since quite often we are going to have to stretch both as far as we can, the drivers are going to have to do their part to conserve both.”
Raybestos Rookie Of The Year Lineup Looks Strong
As teams gear up to start the season, a new class of rookies is preparing to duke it out for the top honors.
Johnny Sauter (No. 13 Chevrolet) enters into his first full season competing in the series with ThorSport Racing. Sauter already has a couple rookie titles to his credit. He was the 2001 ASA Rookie of the Year and the runner-up in 2002 in the NASCAR Nationwide Series battle. The driver, who comes from a racing family, has 11 starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with one top-five and two top-10 finishes.
James Buescher would like to join fellow Texas native Colin Braun in the record books as Raybestos Rookie of the Year. The 18-year-old will pilot the No. 10 International MAXX Force Diesel Ford for Circle Bar Racing. Buescher is off to a pretty decent start. He won Saturday’s ARCA RE/MAX Series race.
Ricky Carmichael, a household name for motocross fans, moves up to the series this year and eyes adding another title to his resume. The 29-year-old won an unprecedented 15 American Motorcycle Association (AMA) championships and a record five AMA “Rider of the Year” awards. He will be behind the wheel of the No. 4 Monster Energy Chevrolet for Kevin Harvick Inc.
Tayler Malsam will look to give the others a run for their money as he joins Randy Moss Motorsports this season in the No. 81 Toyota. Malsam finished ninth in points in the ARCA RE/MAX Series last season.
In The Loop
No Camping World Truck Series driver has entered Daytona’s Victory Lane more than once.
The statistics suggest that’ll change this year.
Count on Todd Bodine making a major bid for back-to-back wins in the series’ 10th trip to historic Daytona International Speedway.
Bodine is strong on the 2.5-mile high-banked superspeedway. Over the last four Daytona races, Bodine has a Driver Rating of 132.2, the highest of any driver with more than one race there. Since the inception of Loop Data in 2005, Bodine has an Average Running Position of 4.7, a Laps in the Top 15 percentage of 94.8 (a series-high total of 381 laps), 300 Green Flag Passes, 10 Fastest Laps Run and a series-high 79 laps led.
Bodine’s top competition likely will come in the form of last year’s runner-up at Daytona, Kyle Busch.
In his lone Daytona start, Busch had a Driver Rating of 99.7, an Average Running Position of 7.1, 60 Green Flag Passes, five Fastest Laps Run and spent 99 of the 100 laps in the top 15.
Also watch for Mike Skinner, who needed 19 races to pick up his first win last season. Skinner, with new team Randy Moss Motorsports, has a strong record at Daytona – despite going winless in five starts. Since 2005, he has a Driver Rating of 95.6, an Average Running Position of 13.3, 310 Green Flag Passes and a Laps in the Top 15 percentage of 65.9%.
Director’s Take: Wayne’s Words
“Get ready race fans, because here we come. We’ve got a new look for the series this season but you can guarantee we’ll bring you the same great competition you watched in 2008.
Last year we had a championship battle that went down to the very last lap. Johnny Benson beat Ron Hornaday Jr. by only seven points. Both are eyeing making series history—a back-to-back-championship for Benson and a fourth championship for Hornaday.
It will all kick off this Friday night under the lights. The trucks are known to put on quite a show on the high banks of Daytona. You’ll see multiple lead changes, and a three-wide finish is almost standard for this race.
The new rules adjusting over-the-wall crew members and pit stops will force crew chiefs to come up with some different strategies, which should add to the excitement of the season.”
- Wayne Auton, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Director
Daytona International Speedway hosts the series opener on Friday, Feb. 13. The 2.5-mile tri-oval produces multiple lead changes and typically three-wide racing. The high banking and long straightaways provide plenty of room for drivers to maneuver.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rolls out west to California next week for the San Bernardino County 200 at Auto Club Speedway. The series is home to several California natives including previous race winner Mike Skinner (No. 5 Toyota), Ron Hornaday Jr. and Matt Crafton (No. 88 Menards Chevrolet). Hornaday and Skinner still are chasing their first victory at the two-mile track.
Kyle Busch (No. 51 Miccosukee Resorts/NOS Energy Drink Toyota) grabbed the checkered flag in 2008.
The Race: NextEra Energy Resources 250
The Place: Daytona International Speedway
The Date: Fri., Feb. 13, 2009
The Time: 8 p.m. ET
Race Distance: 250 miles/100 laps
TV: SPEED, 7:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SIRIUS XM. Listen locally on WNDB-AM 1150 and WKRO-FM 93.1
Track Layout: 2.5-mile tri-oval
2008 Winner: Todd Bodine
2008 Pole: Erik Darnell
Schedule: Wednesday: Practice, 12-1:50 p.m. and 5-5:50 p.m. Thursday: Practice, 11:15 a.m.-1:20 p.m., Qualifying, 6:10 p.m.
Final 2008 Driver Standings
Rk Driver Points
1 Johnny Benson 3,725
2 Ron Hornaday Jr. 3,718
3 Todd Bodine 3,621
4 Erik Darnell 3,412
5 Matt Crafton 3,392
6 Mike Skinner 3,363
7 Rick Crawford 3,315
8 Dennis Setzer 3,197
9 Jack Sprague 3,125
10 Terry Cook 3,072
“We are excited to debut this logo and give the fans a glimpse of what the series will look like for 2009,” said Steve Phelps, NASCAR’s chief marketing officer. “While the logo and the sponsor will be new, the highly competitive nature of this series will continue as it has every year since 1995.”
“This sponsorship is coming on the cusp of many good years partnering with NASCAR and the auto manufacturers and we are very excited at the opportunity to be the new title sponsor,” said Marcus Lemonis, Camping World chairman and CEO. “The new logo is just a start of great things to come in 2009.”
The inaugural NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season will kick off Feb. 13, 2009 at Daytona International Speedway. The series, which features 25 races at 23 tracks located across North America, is exclusively broadcast on SPEED and FOX.
About Camping World
Founded in 1966, Camping World is America’s largest direct marketer and specialty retailer of recreational vehicles and outdoor camping accessories and services. The company grew from a single point location in Bowling Green, Ky., to operating successful nationwide Supercenters.
Over the last five years, Camping World has progressively expanded its products and services offering customers with a vast selection, convenience and value. Camping World now operates under the department store model as a one stop shopping destination providing services to enhance and protect the RV lifestyle including: Recreational Vehicle Sales; RV Rentals; RV Service & Collision; over 8,000 RV & outdoor accessories, Performance & Tow centers; Details & Refurbishment centers known as RV Spa; President’s Club customer loyalty program; Campground reservations & directories; RV Finance and Insurance; RV Tours & Travel and a nationally distributed magazine called RV View.
The dynamic Camping World retail network headquartered in Lincolnshire, Ill., currently operates in 33 states and serves over four million RV enthusiasts.
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