The Frontstretch: Tearing Apart the Trucks: A Halfway Checkup and a Veteran's Return by Beth Lunkenheimer -- Thursday August 4, 2011

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Tearing Apart the Trucks: A Halfway Checkup and a Veteran's Return

Tearing Apart the Trucks · Beth Lunkenheimer · Thursday August 4, 2011

 

After what was an agonizingly slow start to season—as usual—suddenly the Camping World Truck Series has already hit the halfway point of the season. With just 12 races remaining, the 2011 campaign has already shaped up to be one of the more competitive ones in a few years.

Following the Lucas Deep Clean 200 at Nashville Superspeedway two weeks ago, Johnny Sauter held a 42 point lead over third place James Buescher, but that lead closed up considerably after last week’s visit to Lucas Oil Raceway. After waiting too long to change out a tire going flat, the driver of the No. 13 Chevrolet broke a swaybar and was forced to limp his way around the track to a disappointing 23rd-place finish. As a result, the top 7 are now separated by just 46 points with 12 races remaining.

Johnny Sauter has been the class of the Truck Series in 2011, but one bad result at LOR was enough to dramatically tighten the title chase.

Sure we could always play the “what if” game with Johnny Sauter’s season. What if he hadn’t been black flagged at Texas? What if he hadn’t broken an axle after leading 24 laps at Kentucky? The list goes on … but it’s impossible to look back and wonder what might have been. Instead, the rest of the field should look forward and consider how they can capitalize on the misfortune of a team that looked to be ready to run away with the championship much like Todd Bodine did last season.

That said, the title race is still wide open, and it’s anyone’s to win … or lose.

What’s really interesting about this championship battle is there are three rookies sitting inside the top 10 in points—Cole Whitt in fifth, Parker Kligerman in seventh and Joey Coulter in eighth. Whitt started off the season strong and actually led the points before suffering back-to-back finishes outside the top 25.

Overall, this season has not disappointed. Although it started off with Cup driver domination in the form of four Kyle Busch victories in the first seven races alone, the Truck Series drivers have stepped it up and created exciting racing week after week.

Peyton Sellers Makes Return

This weekend, Peyton Sellers will make his return to Camping World Truck Series competition behind the wheel of the No. 66 SkillsUSA Chevrolet for Turn One Racing. He has four previous Truck Series starts with a best finish of 21st.

“I really appreciate the opportunity to drive this weekend for Turn One Racing,” Sellers said. “Stacy [Compton, Team Owner] and Doug [Wilcott, Crew Chief] have put a solid program together with this No. 66 truck and I’m really looking forward to getting in and putting down another good finish for the team”

“Pocono is a very unique track and I’ve always wanted to run there, but haven’t had the opportunity until now.”

Sellers raced in the No. 64 for Turn One Racing last season at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, where he started 24th and finished 21st.

“We’re really looking forward to having Peyton back in one of our trucks this weekend at Pocono. He’s only 27 but he’s somewhat of a veteran because he’s been racing for over 20 years,” team owner Stacy Compton said. “Peyton has a lot of talent and we’re looking forward to seeing what he can do behind the wheel of the No. 66 truck at ‘The Tricky Triangle.’ The team is coming off of a strong finish last weekend at Lucas Oil Raceway and we’re looking forward to carrying that momentum to Pocono.”

The No. 66 team started out the season with Justin Marks behind the wheel for the first 12 races, scoring just a pair of top-10 finishes (10th at Dover and ninth at Charlotte). After sponsorship dried up, Marks was left without a place to race, and Ross Chastain, who was put in the truck for a one-race deal, brought home a solid 10th-place finish in his debut last week at Lucas Oil Raceway.

Contact Beth Lunkenheimer

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