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Truckin’ Thursdays: Debuting Drivers, A Winless Hornaday And Paludo’s Martinsville Breakdown

*Truex, Merrell Set to Debut*

If all goes well in qualifying on Saturday morning, the Kroger 200 will feature two drivers making their Truck Series debuts. Ryan Truex has partnered with Hillman Racing, who fielded the No. 27 for a Jeb Burton 13th-place result at the paperclip in the spring event earlier this year. Though it’ll be his first Truck Series start at the 0.533-mile oval, Truex does have a 2010 K&N East Series start where he brought home a runner-up finish for Michael Waltrip Racing.

Truckin’ Thursdays: Rule Changes, Off Weekends and Back to Dirt?

The Camping World Truck Series takes another week off in its final extended break before the end of the year. While most of the drivers are taking their time to relax and refresh, I’ve got a few more odds and ends to take a closer look at before everyone heads back to the track next weekend at Martinsville Speedway.

*Truck Series on Dirt in 2013?*

Earlier this week, “ESPN.com’s David Newton reported”:http://espn.go.com/racing/nascar/truck/story/_/id/8513382/truck-race-possible-eldora-speedway-dirt-sources-say that NASCAR may be looking at the possibility of hosting a Truck Series event on the dirt at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. According to Newton, “multiple sources with the series said they’ve been told a dirt track could be added to the 2013 schedule.”

Truckin’ Thursdays: Records, Roots and Championships

With the Camping World Truck Series off for the next couple weeks, it’s time for teams and drivers alike to take a step back and regroup in preparation for the final four races of the season. Of course, along with off weeks comes a lack of news coming out of the series. In fact, it’s almost as if the series doesn’t exist during their breaks, so this week, I bring you a few random thoughts and observations.

*Record Breaking Year*

Parker Kligerman’s victory last weekend at Talladega Superspeedway marked the eighth different first-time winner (John King – Daytona, James Buescher – Kansas, Justin Lofton – Charlotte, Joey Coulter – Pocono, Nelson Piquet Jr. – Michigan, Ty Dillon – Atlanta, Ryan Blaney – Iowa) the series has seen this season. It breaks the previous record of seven set in 1997 and matched in 1998.

Truckin’ Thursdays: Miguel Paludo on Vegas, Talladega and Little Feet

I had a stomach sickness two or three days prior to the race at Las Vegas, and I thought I’d get better but I didn’t. Before the race I went to the infield care center and had an IV. That made me feel a little better. As far as the race itself, I was glad it was at night–it wasn’t as hot as last year. We had a good truck. During the only practice, we made a mistake so we ended up putting it back to the exact same setup that we had when we unloaded. When we went to qualify, I qualified seventh and I was really happy with the qualifying effort. Once the race started, I was average to snug, but on the long runs I was getting better. Then I was a little free because the track was changing and the temperature was changing. At the end, the guys did awesome on pit stops–I think the best pit stops we’ve had all year long. We gained spots every time, and on the last pit stop, we came in tenth and went out fifth.

Track Testing Enables Ford Teams to Gather Crucial Data for 2013 NASCAR Fusion as Countdown to Daytona Continues

DEARBORN, Mich., October 1, 2012 – While advances in computer simulation models and wind tunnel technology have given race teams the ability to predict what conditions they may encounter on any given weekend, there’s no real substitute for actual on-track testing. As the countdown towards February’s Daytona 500 and debut of the 2013 NASCAR Fusion continues, Ford …

Read moreTrack Testing Enables Ford Teams to Gather Crucial Data for 2013 NASCAR Fusion as Countdown to Daytona Continues

Truckin’ Thursdays: Same Story, Different Year: Will History Repeat?

With just six races remaining in the 2012 season, James Buescher finds himself in a familiar place. Going into Las Vegas Motor Speedway last year, the driver of the No. 31 Chevrolet sat just three points behind eventual champion Austin Dillon. This season he’s just four markers behind Dillon’s younger brother Ty, but in 2011, Buescher moved away from the championship lead as the races wore down, finishing third in the standings. In those final five events, the driver of the No. 31 posted an average finish of 13th, and a third-place spot in the standings was pretty impressive given he had one less start than the rest of the leaders.

Truckin’ Thursdays: Could Kentucky Determine the Champion?

With just seven races remaining to determine the 2012 Camping World Truck Series champion, the series heads off to Kentucky Speedway for a Nationwide Series companion race this weekend. While a visit to Kentucky may not be all that spectacular on its own, six champions have also won in the Bluegrass state during their respective championship seasons.

It all began back in 2000, the inaugural season for the Truck Series at Kentucky when Greg Biffle snagged his third of five wins that year, in a season where he finished outside the top 14 just once; a 25th-place result at Texas in November. Just two years later, it was Mike Bliss who scored his third of five victories in 2002, winning the championship after leading the standings for the final ten races of the year.

Truckin’ Thursdays: Sponsorship Problems Sideline Another Young Talent

The Camping World Truck Series rolls into Iowa Speedway for a standalone event this weekend, but the off week wasn’t without its problems–at least for one driver. Dakoda Armstrong became the latest victim of the sponsorship woes that have plagued the series for a few years now, and 2012 in particular. He marks the third rookie this season to have started intent on running the full schedule only to have the rug pulled from beneath them, though Max Gresham’s parting with Joe Denette Motorsports hinged on performance more than sponsorship.

Having made 15 starts behind the wheel of the No. 98 Toyota for ThorSport Racing, Armstrong showcased a variety of different sponsors and even posted a career-best finish of third at Michigan International Speedway just a few weeks ago. In a rookie campaign that has featured plenty of ups and downs, Armstrong appeared to be making some improvements week after week but never managed to find enough backing to finish off the season. As a result, next year remains up in the air for the young driver, however he definitely has age on his side when it comes to finding another home somewhere across NASCAR.

Truckin’ Thursdays: 11 Winners Down, Who’s Next?

Ty Dillon’s victory in last Friday night’s Jeff Foxworthy’s Grit Chips 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway marked the 11th different–and sixth first-time–winner in the Camping World Truck Series this year. The current record for most wins in a single season sits at 14–set in 1998 and 2005–and with eight races left on the schedule, it’s a mark that could be broken.

But the question that remains: who might break through and add their name to the list of victors?

At Talladega anyone could make a trip to victory lane in that race – assuming all 36 trucks aren’t wiped out in a massive wreck. After all, remember what happened at the last superspeedway race the Truck Series had in Daytona this February. John King executed an ill-timed bump on Johnny Sauter, sending him spinning and ended up snagging the victory. But that wild card aside, there are plenty of drivers that have yet to win this year and could easily do so before season’s end.

Truckin’ Thursdays: Miguel Paludo on Bristol, Birthdays and More

_Welcome to the latest edition of Miguel Paludo’s Driver Diary. Every few weeks, Miguel sits down and tells the Frontstretch all about the latest in his on track career as well as his personal life. Kick back and enjoy as Paludo dishes on Bristol, looks forward to Atlanta and so much more._

We were a little off in practice at Bristol. We tried some different things with the right front because Dover is one-mile long and concrete and Bristol is almost the same, just shorter. We had a plan to try and if it didn’t work, we could go back to what the No. 30 and No. 31 (teammates Nelson Piquet, Jr. and James Buescher) had. And we actually did that because first practice wasn’t really good, and then in the second practice we were around 12th. My hopes were to qualify in that same area, around 12th or 13th, but we just didn’t have speed in qualifying.

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