The Frontstretch: Tracking the Trucks: North Carolina Education Lottery 200 by Beth Lunkenheimer -- Monday May 24, 2010

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Tracking the Trucks: North Carolina Education Lottery 200

Beth Lunkenheimer · Monday May 24, 2010

 

In a Nutshell: After a three-hour rain delay, Kyle Busch took the checkered flag 0.228 seconds ahead of Todd Bodine to win the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 in the early hours of Saturday morning. Busch started on the pole and never dropped out the top 10 on the way to his 18th career Camping World Truck Series win. Ron Hornaday, Jr., James Buescher and Elliott Sadler rounded out the top 5.

Who Should Have Won: Kyle Busch. Busch led much of the early part of the race before brushing the wall and damaging the right side of his No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota on lap 41. Under the third caution, the 25-year-old driver made an extended pit stop to repair the damage, and that was enough for him to work through the field and into the lead on lap 118. He went on to become the first pole sitter to visit Victory Lane at Charlotte and is now tied with Dennis Setzer for fourth on the truck series all-time win list.

Questions You Should Be Asking After the Race:

1. What’s next for Brent Raymer?

Brent Raymer brought out the third caution Friday night after his truck burst into flames coming out of Turn 4.

The SPEED broadcast crew speculated a broken fuel line after several replays showed no other apparent reason for the crash. Though the flames engulfed the entire engine compartment along with the cockpit, Raymer was alright though visibly shaken.

“I’m fine. We had the crash up here in (Turn) 4 earlier (Friday) and then obviously the fire during the race. It get a little old getting on TV wrecking or doing whatever,” Raymer said after being released from the Infield Care Center. “We’re just trying to string together some good finishes here so it’s a little frustrating.”

Financially, Raymer took a huge hit in his attempt to string together a series of good finishes on limited funding.

“Two trucks, a motor. It’s bad,” Raymer said. “That’s pretty much our whole fleet.”

With BrentRaymer.com on his self-owned truck, it’s clear the 24-year-old driver has struggled to line up sponsorship for his truck series team, and it’s unclear whether the damage suffered Friday night could sideline the No. 85 team. There has officially been no word from the team, but the impact of losing nearly all of their equipment in a single day could have a significant effect on whether they’re able to run the distance in the coming weeks.

2. Did something strange happen in the Truck Series garage?

Prior to the green flag Friday night, Eric Phillips, crew chief for Kyle Busch, mentioned they found loose lug nuts on three of their tires but insisted there’s no way the driver of the No. 18 could have qualified on the pole with the tires as loose as they were. However, Phillips stopped just short of claiming sabotage in the garage area.

“They just found that three of the wheels were loose,” Phillips said. “We’ve just got to keep a better eye on our stuff, I guess.”

Had it just been Kyle Busch’s truck that had the loose lug nuts, it could easily be passed off as an error on the part of the crew. But Austin Dillon, whose truck was parked right behind Busch’s No. 18 in the impound area, said his lap 10 wreck was also caused by the same problem.

Lug nuts on Kyle Busch’s Goodyears were left loose on Friday night-and nobody seems to know how it happened.

“As soon as we took the green, it was loose the whole time. I felt something when (Matt) Crafton got behind me,” Dillon said while still sitting in his truck in the garage area. “We didn’t tighten all the lugs on the left rear. Just a bad mistake on our part. Can’t do nothing about it.”

It seems a little odd that two trucks from two different teams that were parked together in the impound area would both have loose lug nut issues. There’s no proof of foul play at this point, but a NASCAR official said they were investigating it.

Truck Rookie Report
2010 Rookie of the Year Candidates:
Brett Butler (No. 47)
Jennifer Jo Cobb (No. 10)
Austin Dillon (No. 3)
Justin Lofton (No. 7)
Dillon Oliver (No. 01)

No. of Rookies in the Race: 5

No. of Rookies to Finish in the Top 10: 0

Rookie Of The Race: Justin Lofton, finished 15th

Worth Noting / Points Shuffle:

Todd Bodine’s runner-up finish was enough to move him up one spot to the top of the standings for the second time this season. This time he holds a slim two point lead over last week’s winner Aric Almirola, who dropped one position. The remainder of the top 5 is unchanged with Timothy Peters in third, 86 points behind. Ron Hornaday, Jr. and Matt Crafton round out the top 5.

Johnny Sauter moved up one spot to sixth, and just two points behind him is Ricky Carmichael who dropped one spot to seventh. Mike Skinner is up one spot and just two points behind Carmichael. Jason White and David Starr round out the top 10 tied at 193 points behind the leader.

Hermie Sadler’s No. 48 TNA Thursday Wrestling was designed by wrestler Jeff Hardy and is available for purchase at shoptna.com along with an autographed photo of the wrestler. Sadler started 36th and finished 19th Friday night.

Kyle Busch’s win Friday night marked his third career victory at Charlotte ninth overall on mile and a half tracks. Additionally, it’s the first time Toyota has visited victory lane at the track, breaking a six race win streak by Chevrolet.

It was reported on Twitter (@NASCAR_Trucks) that Johnny Benson will pilot the No. 18 Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports in two weeks at Texas Motor Speedway.

Quotable:

“This team did a great job in preparing a great truck to come out here with. Unfortunately, I tried to screw it up. I guess the driver owes the owner a little bit of money tonight. That won’t go over well tomorrow. It was fun there tonight, we made it interesting I guess. Not wanting to do it but did it anyway.” Kyle Busch

“We had a good run. In typical Kyle (Busch) fashion, their truck was really loose and he just drives through it. The team worked hard looking through notes and looking through data trying to figure out how to get this truck where I could drive it and they did. That was a big step in the right direction for our team and our Tundra.” Runner-up Todd Bodine

“I think I got a little too tight there at the end. I had a lot of fun tonight racing with Todd (Bodine) and all those guys. Everyone did a really good job. Not the finish we really wanted but it is a good point’s day and we will take another solid finish. I’m really looking forward to Texas in a few weeks where we can apply some of the things we learned here tonight.” Ron Hornaday, Jr., finished third

Up Next:
The Camping World Truck Series heads to Texas Motor Speedway in two weeks for the WinStar World Casino 400K on Friday, June 4th. In 2009, Todd Bodine scored his fifth career victory at the mile and a half track after beating Matt Crafton to the checkered flag by almost a second and a half. Coverage begins at 8:30pm EDT; the race can also be heard on your local MRN affiliate.

Contact Beth Lunkenheimer

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TruckFan
05/24/2010 04:39 PM
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I just read on Jayski that NASCAR confiscated several truck engines for “evaluation purposes”. It could be understandable that they’d like to check engines from each manufacturer, but considering Ford and Dodge don’t even provide support to these teams anymore, why would you take away Cobb (10 Ford) and White’s (23 Dodge) engines!? Taking away engines from smaller teams like that is basically kicking the stool out from under them! Even if they do get them back in a decent time frame, NASCAR is wasting those team’s time and effort to prepare for other races.

Contact Beth Lunkenheimer