The Frontstretch: Truckin' Thursdays: A Look Back at 2013 ... So Far by Beth Lunkenheimer -- Thursday October 3, 2013

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Truckin' Thursdays: A Look Back at 2013 ... So Far

Beth Lunkenheimer · Thursday October 3, 2013


While the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series head off to Kansas Speedway this weekend, the Camping World Truck Series is in the middle of a three week break. When the series returns to the track at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19th, drivers will run five straight races to close out the year and crown the champion. But in the meantime, I’d like to use a little of this down time to look back at some of the biggest stories to play out so far.

Jeb Burton Scores First Career Win

After Jeb Burton made a handful of starts last season with Wauters Racing, he was sidelined until he joined Turner Scott Motorsports during the offseason. While there were high hopes for the young driver, no one expected him to find instant success since he was far from familiar with the tracks the series run on.

Fast forward to June at Texas Motor Speedway and Burton found himself in victory lane. Having started off the year with a fifth-place run at Daytona and a third at Martinsville, suddenly the expectations moved just a little higher from both the driver the those watching his rookie season. The emotional victory was one that Burton was able to share with his mom, dad and brother Ashton and one that the young driver will likely remember for many years to come.

Eldora Debut

Of course, you can’t talk about the biggest stories this year without looking back at the series’ inaugural visit to Eldora. With a sold out crowd and millions watching at home, the Truck Series made history with their first ever run on a dirt track. From the heat races to set the field to the action and the overall energy that you could feel even through the television, Eldora was definitely an experiment that should be revisited for many years to come.

For nearly two months, the biggest story in NASCAR wasn’t the Cup Series, but a mid-week dirt track race for the third-tier Truck Series. Proof that keeping things simple solves a lot of perceived problems…

Chase Elliott Impresses in Limited Starts

Chase Elliott made his Truck Series debut at Martinsville Speedway earlier this year as a part of a limited schedule. After qualifying eighth, Elliott took his No. 94 Chevrolet to a solid sixth-place finish. The 17-year-old followed up his debut with finishes of fifth, fourth, fifth and fifth.

The Camping World Truck Series is no longer the “Seniors Tour” for aging drivers. With Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, and Jeb Burton winning races already in their burgeoning careers, the Truck Series has suddenly transitioned into the new feeder series for Cup-bound talent.

That string of top-6 finishes culminated in Elliott’s first trip to victory lane at Mosport, the series first visit to a road course in 13 years. In a race that looked like it was Ty Dillon’s to lose, Elliott drove into the final corner with one more shot at the lead and the win. The two drivers made contact, sending Dillon spinning and Elliott to victory lane. While controversy surrounded the victory, it was definitely something that was a long time coming. Elliott is definitely a driver to watch as he continues to grow in his career.

Slap Heard Round the World

In the same race that Chase Elliott scored his first career victory, Max Papis and Mike Skeen traded several hits back and forth before Skeen drove across the front end of Papis’ truck in the final turn. While both drivers traded hits on the cooldown lap, it appeared there would be a confrontation between the two when they hit pit road. Though one of Skeen’s crew members attempted to go after Papis, it was actually his girlfriend, Kelly Heaphy, that stole headlines when she chased down and slapped the driver of the No. 14 Chevrolet.

Fast forward to the Wednesday after the race and NASCAR answered with a $2,500 fine for crew chief Bryan Berry and Heaphy. Additionally, Heaphy was indefinitely barred from attending a NASCAR event. It was definitely a situation that should never have happened, however the sanctioning body handled it appropriately.

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©2000 - 2008 Beth Lunkenheimer and Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!

10/03/2013 01:02 PM

This has been a fantastic season. I really hope the variety and the excitement has brought new viewers in.

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