The Frontstretch: Tearing Apart the Trucks : Three Debuts and a Champ Without a Sponsor by Beth Lunkenheimer -- Friday March 27, 2009

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Carmichael Hopes to Run Full Schedule

Former Motocross Champion Ricky Carmichael originally planned to run just 14 races of the 25 scheduled in the Camping World Truck Series, but team co-owner Kevin Harvick announced the team is looking for sponsors for Carmichael to run the rest of the races this season.

“He’s kind of sent us in a tailspin to be honest with you, because he’s done so well,” Harvick said “We’re struggling to keep up with him from a sponsorship side because we didn’t really expect him to do everything that he’s done. He had 14 scheduled, and then we ran Atlanta, and everything looks good for Martinsville so we’re up to 16 already, so we’ve got nine to fill, and if we can find that funding we’ll fill it.”

This weekend at Martinsville Speedway, Carmichael will carry the colors of Oakley. Oakley is the creator and supplier of “a full array of market-leading products including premium sunglasses, goggles, prescription eyewear, apparel, footwear and accessories.”

Ricky Carmichael has started two of the three races run so far this season inside the Top 10 but doesn’t have the finishes to show it. During the season opener at Daytona, Carmichael was running in the Top 10 before getting caught up in someone else’s wreck; the same thing happened during the third race of the season in Atlanta.

When he wasn’t caught up in a wreck caused by someone else, the driver of the No. 4 Monster Energy Chevrolet managed to score his first career Top 10 finish, an eighth at Auto Club Speedway in California.

Kile to Make Series Debut

Mikey Kile is expected to make his Camping World Truck Series debut with Brad Keselowski Racing this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. With sponsorship from Greased Lightning on the truck, Kile and BKR plan to run seven races this season starting with the Kroger 250.

The Westlake, LA native debuted in the ARCA / REMAX Series earlier this year at Daytona International Speedway. He was involved in a mid-race crash and finished 27th after starting 15th.

Butler Set to Make Debut

Brett Butler, brother of Nationwide Series rookie Ken Butler, III, is set to make his Camping World Truck Series debut this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. The Georgia native will pilot the No. 47 Rockingham Speedway-Palm Beach Grading Chevrolet.

Team owner Andy Hillenburg sees potential in the young driver and is eager to give him a shot.

“I’ve been able to watch Brett in the USARacing Series and in ARCA and he is a quick learner,” said Hillenburg. “This is a win-win situation for Fast Track Racing. With Brett’s determination and enthusiasm and the hard work of the Fast Track Racing team we should be able to easily surpass the expectations we’ve set for ourselves. I hope we’re able to work with Brett a lot more this year.”

The 23-year-old has previously raced in the USARacing and ARCA / REMAX Series, making his most recent start for Andy Belmont Racing at Daytona International Speedway. Butler started 25th and finished 39th after being involved in a crash. But despite a tough race earlier this year in the ARCA / REMAX Series, Butler is ready for the challenge.

“This is an amazing opportunity for me,” said Butler. “The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is a tough series but I’m confident with the support of the Fast Track Racing team and the leadership of Andy Hillenburg, we’ll make a successful debut.”

Mike Skinner is the only Truck Series driver to ever sweep races at Martinsville, winning both events in 2007.

Oliver Debuts for Lafftery Motorsports

Dillon Oliver is expected to make his Camping World Truck Series debut this weekend. The 19-year-old will pilot the No. 89 Lafferty Motorsports Chevrolet.

“I am very excited about this big step in my Racing career and my move to Mooresville, NC,” Oliver said. “I can’t thank enough Chris Lafferty and his group for this opportunity. I will do my best to give the team a solid respectable finish.”

The Bowling Green, KY native has made 175 starts in the Kentucky Karting Association, MMRA Series, Semi-Pro Legends Division and the ASA Southern Division Tour. Across the series, he has scored 75 wins, 21 poles and seven championships.

Did You Know…

  • Todd Bodine scored a sponsor and will be running at Martinsville? Whelen has signed on as primary sponsor of the No. 30 Toyota, and logos will be displayed on the hood as well as the rear quarter panels.
  • Stacy Compton will have a new crew chief starting at Martinsville Speedway? The driver of the No. 60 Wyler.com Toyota will have Marcus Richmond atop the pit box calling the shots.
  • Only four race winners at Martinsville Speedway have started outside the Top 10 in 20 races? Most recently David Starr started 15th in the spring race on his way to his first and only win at the 0.526 mile track.
  • Only one driver has swept both races at Martinsville Speedway in the same season? Mike Skinner did it in 2007, starting first for the spring race and fourth for the fall race.
  • The front row has visited victory lane in nearly half of the 20 races run at Martinsville Speedway? The pole sitter has gone on to win three races, and the outside pole sitter has won four.
  • Defending champion Johnny Benson is still looking for sponsorship? Red Horse Racing is running Benson’s No. 1 Toyota and T.J. Bell’s No. 11 without any sponsorship backing.
  • Only two drivers have led at least one lap in each of the season’s three races? Kyle Busch (No. 51) has led 146 laps so far this season, well ahead of Colin Braun’s 20 laps.
  • Multiple teams tested at the “Little Rock” half-mile concrete track adjacent to Rockingham Speedway over the last week? Drivers who participated in the testing sessions included Shane Sieg, Colin Braun, Todd Bodine, Max Papis, Rick Crawford, James Buescher, Brian Scott, T.J. Bell and defending series champion Johnny Benson.

Quotable

“The biggest challenge is staying out of trouble there. So much can happen in a short amount of time, and alot of times there is nowhere to go to avoid it.” Colin Braun, No. 6 Conway Freight Ford

“Staying out of trouble is the biggest key. A lot of times at Martinsville it is not the best truck that wins but who has the best pit strategy. It is really hard to pass there, so if you’re able to have good pit stops and beat people out, then that is a huge advantage. If you qualify well, have good pit stops and manage to stay out of others’ misfortune, then you can win the race. “ Jeff Hensley, crew chief for Brian Scott

“One of the biggest factors at this track will be brakes. You can have a great running truck but if you don’t have the right brake set-up, it could keep you out of Victory Lane. This paper clip-shaped track is like two drag strips with two corners. It gets tight. Drivers will have their hands full trying to keep their fenders on. Of course, that just gives the fans good action to watch.” Wayne Auton, Camping World Truck Series Director

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