After the longest break on the 2009 schedule, the Camping World Truck Series returns to the track this weekend at Kansas Speedway. There are 37 trucks listed on the entry list, and despite preseason fears of short fields, this will be the fifth consecutive full field this season. Last season the Truck Series saw short fields in their second and third races. Before the trucks hit the track, I want to take a little time to recap the news around the series over the last couple weeks.
Brian Ickler to Make Series Debut
For the first time this season, Kyle Busch will not be able to pilot the No. 51 Billy Ballew Motorsports Toyota. In his place, Brian Ickler will make his CWTS debut. The 23-year-old started racing when he was 14 and spent 2004 preparing himself for a transition to NASCAR racing.
“It’s my first time at Kansas Speedway and my first time in a NASCAR Camping World Truck,” Ickler said. “We went to Rockingham Speedway to shake down the truck a little and get me comfortable with the feel. They are definitely a different drive. I have to thank Billy Ballew, Miccosukee Resort and Kyle [Busch] for the belief in me to step in the seat for him while he is in Talladega.”
Last month Ickler won the Camping World East Series race at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in Greenville, South Carolina.
Terry Cook Raises Autism Awareness
April is Autism Awareness Month, and Terry Cook is doing his part to spread the word about autism. According to autismspeaks.org, “Today, one in 150 individuals is diagnosed with autism, making it more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined.” Cook has his own personal experience with autism and urges every parent to learn a little more about the signs of the neurobiological disorder.
“I am encouraging everyone who has a child or knows someone with a child to take a few minutes in the month of April to learn more about Autism,” Cook said. “This is something that hit close to home with Amy and me when our son Cody was diagnosed at 18 months of age. Early intervention is the key to helping your child or someone you know get the help they need.”
For more information about autism or how you can help, visit autismspeaks.org.
Did You Know?
- There have been no repeat winners at Kansas Speedway since the series started visiting the track in 2001? Three prior winners at the track – Ron Hornaday Jr., Cook and Todd Bodine – hope to break that streak this weekend.
- There have been three first-time winners in eight races at Kansas? The late Ricky Hendrick (2001), Jon Wood (2003) and Erik Darnell (2007) each scored their first career wins at the 1.5-mile track.
- Only two winners at Kansas Speedway have started outside the top five? Most recently, Darnell won from a 10th-place starting position in 2007; Bodine also started 10th when he won in 2005.
- Bad Boy Mowers will sponsor Mike Skinner‘s No. 5 Toyota for the second time this season? The commercial and residential lawnmower company sponsored Skinner earlier this season in Martinsville where he finished third.
- This weekend marks the first race using 2009 owner points to determine which drivers will make the field? For the first time this season, Johnny Benson and Skinner are not required to qualify for the race on time.
- There will be a new points leader following this weekend’s race? Thanks to conflicting schedules, Busch will not be able to pilot his No. 51 Toyota and will also be unable to retain his 38-point lead over Bodine.
- Key Motorsports no longer plans to run a full schedule this season? Due to a lack of sponsorship, the team will only run the No. 40 part time with Mike Bliss behind the wheel.
- TRG Motorsports has reduced their schedule for the season? Hampered by their inability to score financial backing for the entire season, Raybestos Rookie of the Year points leader JR Fitzpatrick and TRG were forced to cut back their scheduled number of races.
- NASCAR has combined the CWTS and Nationwide Series banquets? The top-five drivers in both series will be honored at the banquet in Miami Beach on Monday, November 23rd.
- Gabi DiCarlo hopes to make her third series start this weekend? DiCarlo, behind the wheel of the No. 90 Great Clips Toyota, has finished 19th and 24th in her two previous starts.
“Kansas Speedway is a pretty new track for the Truck Series. Turn 3 at Kansas can be slippery if the sun is out and the track temperature is hot. One of the main things you have do if you want a good run here is to get through turn 3 without any trouble.” – Ron Hornaday Jr.
“To me, [Kansas is] most like Kentucky, but whereas Kentucky is a quad-oval, Kansas is a tri-oval, so the frontstretch is the only thing that really separates them. I’m excited to go to Kansas and apply what we’ve learned from the earlier speedway races.” – James Buescher
“We’re taking my favorite intermediate truck back to Kansas, and we’ve run good there in the past, but we’ve just gotta finish one place better. It’s a long race and you have to know where to race at the end.” – Rick Crawford