The Frontstretch: Truckin' Thursdays: Debuting Drivers, Gresham On The Market And More by Beth Lunkenheimer -- Thursday July 12, 2012

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With just a two-week hiatus, the Camping World Truck Series heads back to the track for a standalone Saturday night showdown at Iowa Speedway. In the first of two visits to the 0.875-mile track situated in the heart of the Midwest, the series makes just its third visit to a facility that has featured three very different winners. From Mike Skinner, who won the inaugural race to Austin Dillon, who won last season, age doesn’t seem to matter at Iowa and neither does experience apparently.

Despite the off week, there has definitely not been a shortage of news in the series since visiting Kentucky Speedway. So without further ado, it’s time to play catch up in the world of Truck Series news.

McCumbee Replaces Reutimann at Ricky Benton Racing

Not even a year after being unceremoniously dismissed from his Sprint Cup Series ride with Michael Waltrip Racing, David Reutimann has been replaced in the No. 92 Ricky Benton Racing Chevrolet by Chad McCumbee. Reutimann had made just three starts for RBR after missing the field at Daytona in February; his best finish of 18th came at Charlotte in May.

“We are very appreciative of David (Reutimann) and all that he did to help move our program forward,” team owner Ricky Benton said. “We just felt that with the commitments that he has at the Sprint Cup level, it would be best for us to go with Chad for the remainder of the season.”

McCumbee, who had made a pair of starts for Turn One Racing (Kansas and Charlotte) finds himself reunited with crew chief Kevin “Cowboy” Starland who joined RBR last week after starting the season with Turn One Racing; he replaces Jason Overstreet.

“We are very appreciative of everything that Jason (Overstreet) did for RBR during his tenure here,” Benton said. “Our program is much stronger than it was at the end of last year. Kevin (Starland) bring a wealth of experience to our team and we are looking forward to getting back to the track soon.”

David Reutimann’s rocky season continues. After being dismissed from MWR at the end of 2011, he draws the ire of HMS fans everywhere this Spring for parking it on the frontstretch at Martinsville. Now, he’s out of his Truck Series ride with Ricky Benton Racing, replaced by Chad McCumbee after a handful of mediocre performances in 2012.

Starland, a veteran Truck Series crew chief, has worked with several different drivers, including Johnny Benson, Denny Hamlin, Ted Musgrave and many more. He boasts five wins at a crew chief in the series; three with Carl Edwards and two with Rick Crawford.

“I am real excited about being here with RBR,” Starland said. “It’s a great opportunity with great equipment and they have a good base to work with. I think we can get this team where they want to be, which is running up front and winning races.”

RBR is expected to attempt four or five more races this season with the potential for more should the team acquire sponsorship to support it.

Lofton, CollegeComplete.com Part Ways

In the midst of his best Truck Series season yet, Justin Lofton and sponsor CollegeComplete.com / JoinAPS.com have mutually agreed to go their separate ways. The 26-year old scored his first career victory at Charlotte in May and has seven top-10 finishes in eight starts while sitting inside the top three in the standings for all eight weeks.

“We have thoroughly enjoyed our association with Justin Lofton and the team,” College Complete CEO Dan Haim said. “We wish Justin, his family and the team only the best as they continue their pursuit of the championship this year. This is such a hard working tea, with such passionate people that we full expect them to continue to do well.”

Just a day before the pair announced the split, a short post on the CollegeComplete.com blog indicated the free education advice service is headed in a different direction.

“In the coming days and weeks we will broaden our horizons and expand to additional previously untouched markets.”

As of press time, a replacement sponsor had not yet been announced though teasers were present on both Lofton’s Facebook and Twitter about big news. Stay tuned to Twitter and the Breaking News box on the main page for any updates as they become available.

Just two months removed from his first career win at Charlotte, Justin Lofton has lost sponsor CollegeComplete.com. A replacement has yet to be announced.

Gresham, Joe Denette Motorsports Part Ways

Just eight races into the 2012 season, Joe Denette Motorsports and Max Gresham have mutually agreed to part. The Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender made just three starts behind the wheel of the No. 66 Turn One Racing Chevrolet during the 2011 season, posting a best finish of 25th twice (Las Vegas and Martinsville) before joining JDM for the 2012 season.

“I know everyone expected to do better than that. The guys at JDM are some of the hardest working I have ever been around and they did their best to give me great equipment week in and out,” Gresham said. “Joe (Denette) is a really, really, nice guy and he’s dedicated to the sport and his team and committed to making both as good as possible. Honestly, everybody did their best this year. Unfortunately, we just didn’t have the results to show for it.”

While there are no immediate words on what’s next for the 19-year old, he is looking into all possibilities.

“I’d like to do some more Truck Series races this year, maybe some Nationwide too. The big thing will be to stay in the seat and stay as fresh as possible,” Gresham continued. “I know we’re going to run some Late Model races for now and continue to do that until we sort out what kind of NASCAR opportunities I have later this year and next season in 2013.”

In eight starts, Gresham posted three DNF’s and a best finish of 18th at Rockingham Speedway in April; it was one of just two finishes inside the top 20. He currently sits 20th in the standings.

Notes

  • Natalie Sather, Jeff Choquette, Justin Jennings and Benjamin Reynolds will attempt to race their way into the American Ethanol 200. Sather failed to qualify in her first attempt at the series at Martinsville earlier this year.
  • Ron Hornaday, Jr. and the No. 9 Joe Denette Motorsports team have picked up two more races of sponsorship with Anderson’s Pure Maple Syrup. The “third generation, family-owned and operated business” partnered with the team at Daytona and Dover and will also be featured at Iowa this weekend, Chicagoland Speedway (July), Bristol Motor Speedway (August), Talladega Superspeedway (October) and Phoenix International Raceway (November).
  • Matt Crafton will run the ARCA Racing Series event at Lucas Oil Raceway later this month. Now that the Truck Series no longer visits LOR, Crafton will participate in the Messina Wildlife Animal Stopper 200 Friday, July 27th.

Allen and Candy Roundtree

Author’s Note: It is with a heavy heart that I must say farewell to a very generous and loving friend who passed away last Friday at the age of 39. Allen Roundtree never met a stranger and always greeted anyone he met with a huge smile and usually a big bear hug. I can’t even begin to count the number of times my husband and I headed right next door to hang out with a friend who can only be described as a simple man. A husband to his high school sweetheart Candy, a coach, a brother, a son, an uncle and an amazing friend, Allen was the person you could always count on being there when you needed him. Rest in peace my friend …you will forever be my favorite Dallas Cowboys fan. It’s not goodbye but rather see ya later … y’all be good.

Miguel’s Corner

Update: “We are finally back from our three week motorhome adventure! Oliver had so much fun at Disney, and so did we. Even though we travel together all the time when we’re racing, it was nice to have some time to take a real vacation as a family. Oliver is getting to the age now where he realizes everything that’s going on around him and he’s learning things every day, so you could tell that he really enjoyed going to the parks and seeing all the characters.

On Monday we tested at Gresham Motorsports Park in Jefferson, Georgia in order to prepare for this weekend’s Iowa race. We had a really good test, I logged a lot of laps and we learned a lot, so I think it’s going to help us a lot this weekend. These guys work so hard day in and day out, you wouldn’t believe the quick turnaround they had to do after the test to get us ready and loaded for Iowa. I’ve said it before, but I truly believe we have all the pieces we need, we just need to put them together. We’re only a third into the season, if we can string together some top fives, top tens, and get a win or two, we can finish off this year strong.”

Basic Portuguese:

Bom dia: Good morning
Boa tarde: Good afternoon
Boa noite: Good evening/good night

Tweet of the Week:

@miguelpaludo: Oliver “correndo” em Daytona./Oliver “racing” in Daytona. pic.twitter.com/xcCbf6Wb

@PatiSouzaPaludo: Busy day 4 Oli after Gymboree class he had his hair cut and… http://instagr.am/p/M6koi2vcJ4/

Photo of the Week:

Oliver having a blast at Blizzard Beach during the Paludo family visit to Disneyland.


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