Kevin Rutherford · Tuesday August 27, 2013
For this week, I thought it might be interesting to have a brief history lesson.
Folks, who here watched the last time a Camping World Truck Series race was contested on a road course?
The date was June 24, 2000, and the place Watkins Glen, N.Y. A kid by the name of Greg Biffle drove his No. 50 Grainger Ford for Roush Racing to victory at Watkins Glen International after leading 36 of the 62 contested laps. His then-Roush teammate, Kurt Busch, finished in the runner-up position. Ron Fellows was third, followed by Mike Wallace and Jack Sprague.
The race was the second road course event of the season for what was then the Craftsman Truck Series, but for well over a decade, it also became the last. After 2000, the series pulled out of both Watkins Glen and Portland International Raceway, and road racing with the trucks became a thing of the past.
This weekend changes all that.
In part two of the Truck Series’ tendency to retread old ground in 2013 — the other, of course, NASCAR’s return to dirt at Eldora just over a month ago — the series is traveling across the United States border into Canada for the Chevy Silverado 250, to be held at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (known to many as Mosport) in Bowmanville, Ontario.
On Sunday (Sept. 1), a field of 30-plus will take to the track for 69 laps of hotly contested, 10-turns-a-lap beating and banging that the series hasn’t seen for over a decade.
Mosport will become the fifth different road course that the series has visited over its nearly 20-year history. Five races each were contested at Watkins Glen and Heartland Park Topeka, mostly in the ’90s. Sonoma Raceway saw four additional races; Portland, two.
Below are some key numbers from the preceding 16 races, as well as a few stats that look toward the Camping World Truck Series’ future on road courses.
150: number of drivers who competed in at least one of the series’ 16 road course races between 1995 and 2000. That number will approach 180 after this weekend’s race — and possibly even exceed it, if the number of entries rises.
2: number of drivers entered Sunday (as of press time) that have raced on a road course in a NASCAR truck. Ron Hornaday Jr. has 14 road course starts, while David Starr has raced three times.
The same number also represents the number of drivers who’ve raced in every Truck Series road course race up to now: Joe Ruttman and Jack Sprague. Unless either comes into a ride Sunday, that streak will end.
3: most races won by any individual on a road course in the Truck Series. That distinction belongs to two drivers, one former and one current: Ruttman and Hornaday.
18: entered drivers with no prior experience in one of NASCAR’s top three series on a road course. Unknowns abound for many drivers entering Sunday’s race.
5: non-American drivers entered (again, as of press time). Of them, only two (Martin Roy, Alex Guenette) are actually from Canada.
16.4: Thorsport Racing’s average finish at road courses, from 1997 to 2000. A 2nd-place finish with Terry Cook at Topeka in 1998 is the team’s best. It’ll have Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter entered to try to score its first win Sunday.
0: drivers who currently own a ‘perfect score’ — that is, a win in their only start — at road racing in the Camping World Truck Series. Unless Hornaday or Starr visit victory lane Sunday, that will change.
Oh, and speaking of Hornaday…
8.2: Ron Hornaday Jr.‘s average finish at a road course in the Truck Series entering Sunday, in case you need someone to root for.
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