Just a few days after finishing 32nd in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway, it was announced that Joey Clanton and Roush Fenway Racing had parted ways. Clanton just made the move with his truck number and sponsor, Zaxby’s, from Wood Brothers/JTG Racing to Roush Fenway during the offseason after sharing the truck with Stacy Compton for the 2007 season.
At Daytona, Clanton took his No. 09 three-wide with Mike Bliss and Terry Cook. Bliss and Clanton got together and managed to take Cook and Clanton’s teammate Colin Braun with them. The wreck took all four drivers out of contention for the win and left four trucks mangled. As a result, Clanton was pulled out of the No. 09 and replaced by Travis Kvapil for the following week’s race at California in an attempt to “re-evaluate [their] plans for the rest of the season.”
“I want to thank Jack and everyone in the Roush Fenway organization for this chance, but I have made the decision that it is time for me to pursue other opportunities,” Clanton said. “I have several business and family obligations and it is time to focus on them right now.”
This week, Roush Fenway Racing announced their plans for the remainder of the 2008 season. Kvapil is set to run 10 more races this season starting with tonight’s race in Atlanta. Kvapil finished seventh at California two weeks ago and ran for Roush Fenway in the No. 6 truck in 2007. He made the move up to the Sprint Cup Series for the 2008 season. Bobby East and John Wes Townley will share the duties for the remaining 13 races of the season.
“Travis has had so much success in the Truck Series over the years, and he will be a great asset in helping our two younger drivers learn the program,” team owner Jack Roush said. “Bobby and John Wes both have a tremendous amount of potential and I look for them to run well in their respective events.”
It’s a shame to see another young driver replaced, but you can’t sacrifice on-track performance just to be nice. Clanton still holds out hope for a return to the series. “I didn’t bring the truck home in one piece and I’m paying the ramifications for it,” Clanton said. “I’m still under contract with them, they just made a change right now.”
Did You Know?
- The closest finish on a superspeedway came at Atlanta Motor Speedway? In March, 2005, Ron Hornaday Jr. took the checkered flag a mere 0.008 seconds ahead of Bobby Labonte.
- The widest margin of victory in the Truck Series at Atlanta is less than one second? Kyle Busch beat Hornaday to the checkers by 0.917 seconds.
- Busch is the only driver with multiple wins at Atlanta in the Truck Series? The younger Busch started in the top five for his only two starts at the track and won in 2005 and 2007. The driver of the No. 51 Toyota looks to extend his perfect record tonight.
- Rick Crawford will make his record 275th Craftsman Truck Series start tonight? Crawford started racing in the series January 19, 1997 and has run every race in the series since then, racking up five wins and 138 top-10 finishes.
- Cook will be making his 250th consecutive series start tonight? Tonight’s race will be his 268th career start; Cook’s consecutive race streak started in 1998 in Orlando.
Scott Speed Makes CTS Debut
Former Formula 1 driver Speed will, weather permitting, make his Craftsman Truck Series debut tonight for Morgan-Dollar Motorsports in the No. 46 Toyota. The California native is currently running the No. 2 Toyota in the ARCA Re/Max Series and plans to continue racing full time in the series through 2008. Speed will also participate in the Truck Series test at Martinsville March 12-13 and plans to run the race at the half-mile track on March 28th.
“Every time I’m in the car, I’m learning something,” Speed said. “It’s been easier than I thought, to be honest. What’s difficult and what I’m learning a lot about is how the other cars around you affect your car. The reason we went this route is because the truck is the most similar to the CoT and it is very sensitive to the other cars around you, where they are and what they’re doing to your car. This is kind of the method behind our madness here.”