After another successful throwback weekend in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup and Xfinity series, there is always talk of why the Gander Outdoors Truck Series does not have an official throwback weekend. We have seen some Truck Series drivers run schemes that honor different eras but it has not been an official thing ever.
Should the series have its own chance to run throwback schemes for a weekend? If so, where would it happen? Bring old tracks back that are still reasonable to bring back?
We are only a race away from the playoffs in the Cup Series and the conversation begins of who may surprise in the playoffs and who may disappoint. The other conversation brought up is who is most improved from last year to this year.
William Byron is one driver who comes to mind. After a disappointing rookie season in Cup, he is locked in the playoffs and will race for a championship this year. There have been so many factors as to why he is better but he has had a great 2019 season.
How will he do in the playoffs? How much better can he be as a driver? Championship caliber a few years down the road?
Q: With the Xfinity and Cup series having their throwback weekends, should the Truck Series get their own as well? Where would you like to see that happen? Doug E., Corpus Christi, TX
A: It is only fair to the series for them to have their own throwback weekend as well. Since the Truck Series doesn’t run at Darlington anymore like its used to, and many tracks that have that throwback feel are off the schedule, maybe a place like the road course at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, or just do it at Talladega.
One idea I have been thinking of is if Rockingham came back because it seems like a perfect track for a throwback race for the series. The track has so much history and it is also in the state of South Carolina, just like Darlington, so why not have it there if the track returns to the series schedule?
There are a lot of drivers who have run throwback schemes in the trucks such as Ben Rhodes this season and Jordan Anderson last season at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. There should be more of that, even if there is no official throwback weekend for the series. Fans always love the theme and it’s always cool to see drivers appreciate the history of paint schemes and drivers from every era of the sport.
We always see Cup and Xfinity drivers play the role of the driver they are honoring with their scheme and it is only fair for Truck Series teams to be able to do the same. Of course. a lot of the drivers were not even born when the Truck Series first came into existence but it should still happen. Imagine a Mike Skinner throwback, a Ron Hornaday Jr. throwback, legends of the series having a tribute like that.
It needs to happen. Whether teams decide on it or drivers do, somebody needs to have it happen. It’s one of the best weekends of the season when they have it at Darlington so it’s time for the truck guys to join the fun.
Q: Which driver do you think is most improved from last year in Cup? Chad S., Harrisburg, NC
A: This should be an easy answer. Some may say Denny Hamlin after the downer year he had in 2018, some may say a driver like Matt DiBenedetto, others may say Chris Buescher with the quietly great season he is having. People seem to overlook though how great of a year Byron has put together in his sophomore season in Cup.
Byron has locked himself into the playoffs and can go into Indianapolis relaxed and just try and win his first career race. Whether it is because he is learning the Cup Series or Chad Knaus has had that much of an impact on the young driver, he has had a quietly great season after the miserable 2018.
He definitely felt the pressure of being a rookie in Cup and stepping into such a famous number added even more of that pressure to a guy who just came off of one season in the Xfinity Series. Of course, he did win the championship that one season and proved that he has the talent to make it to the top level.
To many, he may not be a favorite to make it to the Round of 8 or even the Round of 12, but he may quietly make a run. He has had several top 10 runs and even close to top fives if it were not for a few instances that did not go in his favor. His cars are fast and he may surprise some people.
As for being improved, his team has definitely rallied around him and he has fed off of that energy from his new crew chief Chad Knaus and become a better driver because of it. He is only going to get better and he will live up to his hype and potential as a driver. The sky seems to be the limit for him, even if Hendrick Motorsports is still not where they should be. They will eventually be there and that is when Byron really will excel.