The Frontstretch: Truckin' Thursdays: Meet The 2013 Rookie Class, Part I by Beth Lunkenheimer -- Thursday March 7, 2013

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Truckin' Thursdays: Meet The 2013 Rookie Class, Part I

Beth Lunkenheimer · Thursday March 7, 2013


Once again, the Camping World Truck Series boasts several drivers all hoping to take home the coveted Rookie of the Year title in November. But other than their names, what do you really know about each of those rookies, including their past experience, who they’re driving for and what to expect from them this season? Read on as we take a closer look at each of the newest faces in the series, profiling the 2013 rookie class.

Ryan Blaney

2013 Ride: No. 29 Brad Keselowski Racing Ford
2013 Teammates: Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Ross Chastain and Dave Blaney (sharing No. 19 Ford)
CWTS Starts (Prior to 2013): 9 (all in 2012)
Best Finish: 1st at Iowa Speedway
Daytona Result: 8th

Ryan Blaney made his Truck Series debut at Bristol last season after Brad Keselowski Racing parted ways with driver Parker Kligerman, and he impressed straight out of the gate with a solid sixth-place finish. Then, in just his third series start, the 20-year-old led 50 laps en route to his first career victory at Iowa Speedway. Aside from two DNFs due to crashes late last season, Blaney posted finishes no worse than 11th. Look ahead to this season, and Blaney has signed on to run full-time for the same team he scored his first career victory with.

Ryan Blaney is leading the next wave of second-generation Cup drivers. His Keselowski connection has him paired with Penske by proxy — not a bad place to be in for a 20-year-old driver who already won in his “pre-rookie” year of 2012.

Blaney also made seven starts for Penske Racing last season in the Nationwide Series, recording five top 10 results, including a runner-up finish at Texas Motor Speedway. Add in the six events he ran for Tommy Baldwin Racing, and you’ve got some pretty impressive numbers for such a young driver: seven top 10s in 13 starts.

Victory Lane This Year? Yes. While Blaney already has one Truck Series victory to his name, the pure talent that this driver shows proves that he will visit victory lane this season—and likely multiple times at that.

Jeb Burton

2013 Ride: No. 4 Turner Scott Motorsports Chevrolet
2013 Teammates: James Buescher, Miguel Paludo and Ryan Truex (Daytona)
CWTS Starts (Prior to 2013): 5 (all in 2012)
Best Finish: 8th at Charlotte Motor Speedway
Daytona Result: 5th

Jeb Burton made his debut last season at Martinsville Speedway with Wauters Motorsports in hopes of running full-time for Rookie of the Year honors. Unfortunately, the young driver’s Truck Series career was put on hold when sponsorship woes sidelined him, just five races in. But it wasn’t the end of Burton’s hopes to race in the Truck Series—having talked to Turner Scott Motorsports and sharing mutual interests, the 20-year-old signed a two-year deal with the organization.

Jeb Burton, son of 2002 Daytona 500 winner Ward Burton finished fifth at Daytona. Could that be a harbinger of things to come for the Turner Scott Motorsports driver?

“I’m really proud that I can race for Turner (Scott) Motorsports over the next two years. This team has had so much success, and I’m happy to have the opportunity to work with such a team,” Burton said. “We all have high expectations for the 2013 season. It’s clear that Turner Scott Motorsports is a growing organization that believes in young talent.”

Burton joins teammates Miguel Paludo and defending champion James Buescher and will have plenty of resources and information to share in his first full season in the Truck Series.

Victory Lane This Year? Yes. While he’s got a limited amount of Truck Series experience at this point in his young career, Burton has already shown that he can get himself through some tight spaces while driving smart and making it to the end of each race. That ability, combined with the performance Turner Scott Motorsports showed all last season, makes it simply a matter of time before he finds his way to victory lane.

Brennan Newberry

2013 Ride: No. 14 NTS Motorsports Chevrolet
2013 Teammates: Ron Hornaday, Jr.
CWTS Starts (Prior to 2013): 10 (all in 2012)
Best Finish: 19th at Michigan International Speedway
Daytona Result: 33rd; DNF

Brennan Newberry made his Truck Series debut last season at Martinsville Speedway but didn’t quite make it to the finish after being caught up in the seventh and final caution. Fast forward to the off-season, and his family-owned team merged with Joe Denette Motorsports in an effort to pool resources and create a partnership mutually beneficial to both sides.

“I am just so excited for the opportunity that 2013 brings in my first full season in the Truck Series,” Newberry said of the merger. “To be able to work with Dan Deeringhoff as my crew chief for the second year in a row, the opportunity to work with veteran and proven champion, Ron Hornaday, to learn and gain knowledge from our new director of competition, Bruce Cook and the amazing opportunity to be working out of the same shop that Kevin Harvick, Inc. became so successful in, is a dream come true.”

While Daytona wasn’t very kind to Newberry in the race itself, he did start off the season with a pole and beat out several series veterans in the process.

Victory Lane This Year? No. As much as I want to see all rookies in this sport succeed, I’m not quite sure Newberry is set up for the success he’d like to see. Everyone knows that money talks in NASCAR, and that couldn’t be more true when it comes to performance on the race track. Since Newberry drives for a small team, it’s likely they don’t quite have the resources to remain up front and grab the victory. But with that being said, the combined resources at the newly merged NTS Motorsports, along with the valuable information he can learn from series veteran Ron Hornaday, Jr., give Newberry that hope that he could see victory lane. I’m just not convinced it will be this season.

Author’s Note: Looking for the rest of the 2013 rookies? Don’t worry because you’ll find them in next week’s Truckin’ Thursdays.

Miguel’s Corner

Tweet of the Week

@miguelpaludo: Indo correr agora e depois gravacao da FoxSports_br na minha casa. / Heading to the gym and then FoxSports_br footage in my house.

@PatiSouzaPaludo: That’s the last picture of Oli and Pedrinho hanging out together. The same night of the day that I posted…

@PatiSouzaPaludo: We r getting better everyday. Love u little Oli.

Photo of the Week:

Miguel, Patricia and Oliver Paludo spending some quality time together before the season opener at Daytona. Photo courtesy of Patricia Paludo.

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Today on the Frontstretch:
NASCAR Easter Eggs: A Few Off-Week Nuggets to Chew On
Five Points To Ponder: NASCAR’s Take-A-Breath Moment
Truckin’ Thursdays: Top Five All-Time Truck Series Drivers
Going By the Numbers: A Week Without Racing Can Bring Relief But Kill Momentum


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