Something odd is happening in NASCAR. Should you only watch the Cup coverage on Sunday, you wouldn’t notice. But tune in on Saturday or even the occasional Friday and the difference can’t be avoided. After about four seasons, a herd of young drivers are ready to stampede over the list of about 30 names that …
*In a Nutshell:* Ryan Blaney took the checkered flag 0.168 seconds ahead of Ty Dillon to win the American 200 Saturday night at Iowa Speedway. Blaney survived four restarts and a hard charge from Dillon to grab his first career Truck Series victory in his third start. Todd Bodine, Johnny Sauter and Cale Gale rounded out the top 5.
*Who Should Have Won:* *Ryan Blaney.* Parker Kligerman started on the pole and looked to be the guy to beat, having led 107 laps on the night, until late-race pit strategy forced the driver of the No. 7 to make a green flag pit stop.
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.
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.
*In a Nutshell:* Ty Dillon took the checkered flag 3.227 seconds ahead of Kyle Busch to win the Jeff Foxworthy’s Grit Chips 200 Friday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Dillon passed Busch for the lead with just six laps remaining and never looked back en route to his first career victory. James Buescher, Parker Kligerman and Aric Almirola rounded out the top 5.
_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.
*In a Nutshell:* Timothy Peters trounced the field and took the checkered flag 0.465 seconds ahead of teammate Parker Kligerman to win with UNOH 200 Wednesday night at Bristol Motor Speedway. Peters took the lead before completing the first lap and never relinquished the top spot all night long. Ross Chastain, Joey Coulter and Brendan Gaughan rounded out the top 5.
*Who Should Have Won:* Timothy Peters. What more is there to say really? Despite several attempts by his competitors, Peters’ No. 17 Toyota was unbeatable Wednesday night. Add in that he and his crew were flawless on every visit to pit road and there’s no reason to believe anyone else should have won the race.
For Peters, it’s a night that reminds us how strong his No. 17 team has been throughout the season. He clearly leads the team in his performance, grabbing his second victory (Iowa) in six races and the fifth in his career. After starting in the runner-up spot, the driver of the No. 17 Toyota wasted little time, taking the top spot before the field completed a single lap. And despite charges from teammate Todd Bodine, Brad Keselowski and even runner-up Parker Kligerman on each restart, Peters always left his competitors eating dust. It’s no easy feat to lead every single circuit at the world’s fastest half-mile, where anything can happen, especially after a recent reconfiguration. Heck, it’s near-impossible to do it at _any_ racetrack: Wednesday night marked the first time since Louisville in July, 1997 a Truck Series driver led every lap of a race.
*In a Nutshell:* Nelson Piquet, Jr. took the checkered flag nearly ten seconds ahead of Jason White in Saturday afternoon’s VFW 200 at Michigan International Speedway. Piquet, Jr. used a fuel mileage gamble and had enough in the fuel tank to score his first career victory. Dakoda Armstrong, Parker Kligerman, and James Buescher rounded out the top 5. Pole-sitter Joey Coulter failed to lead a lap and finished seventh.
*Who Should Have Won:* Nelson Piquet, Jr.
As the Camping World Truck Series heads to Michigan International Speedway, a couple of drivers won’t be in the rides you’ve become accustomed to seeing them in.
Parker Kligerman, who was released from Brad Keselowski Racing following a solid seventh-place finish at Pocono, announced last week that he had joined Red Horse Racing to pilot the No. 7 Toyota vacated when Daytona winner John King was released just five races into the year.