Race Weekend Central

Truckin’ Thursdays: Introducing Miguel Paludo

I was born in Nova Prata, Brazil. It’s a small city in south Brazil. I was raised there, and when I was 18, I moved to Porto Alegre, a big city, to attend high school. After one year of high school, I decided to come to the United States for an exchange student program, and I lived with a family in Longview, Texas, close to Dallas. It’s a small city as well but I loved it and I still kept in contact with my family. I lived there for six or seven months before I went back to Brazil to finish high school and college.

Truckin’ Thursdays: Young Guns and Veterans Keeping the Excitement High

As I sat here in front of my computer struggling to find _something_ important to write about with the Truck Series deep into a stretch of off-weeks (only 15 days until the next race!), I started looking back at topics that I’ve written throughout my seven-year tenure with Frontstretch. That’s when I came across a “four-year-old piece”:https://frontstretch.com/blunkenheimer/15289/ with four reasons to tune in on the rare weeks the series actually races. Back then, I listed Kyle Busch as one of the most important reasons to tune it, yet viewers have clearly disagreed; ratings for this season are still on the rise despite the younger Busch brother’s absence. So I present to you a couple of new reasons to keep on watching.

Truckin’ Thursdays: International Flair Extends Beyond Paludo and Piquet

As the rest of the NASCAR world heads off to Richmond this weekend, the Camping World Truck Series enters yet another nearly month-long vacation before returning to the track at Charlotte Motor Speedway May 18th, for the North Carolina Education Lottery 200. Just last weekend, newcomer to the Truck Series–NTS Motorsports–announced their plans to be a part of Sergey Mokshantsev’s debut as NASCAR’s first Russian driver.

NTS Motorsports started out as a K&N Pro Series team before expanding to a single-truck team this season, and they’ve been participating in an “aggressive NASCAR driver development program” with Mokshantsev in anticipation for his Truck Series debut sometime this season. And while nothing is set in stone as far as his first race, “Jayski has reported”:http://www.jayski.com/cts/ctsnews.htm the team plans six to ten starts this season in a second truck.

Tracking the Trucks: SFP 250

*In a Nutshell:* James Buescher took the checkered flag 5.320 seconds ahead of Timothy Peters in Saturday afternoon’s SFP 250 at Kansas Speedway. Buescher chased down Brad Keselowski following a round of green-flag pit stops where Buescher took four tires compared to Keselowski’s two-tire strategy. From there, the driver of the No. 31 Chevrolet didn’t look back, leading the final 11 laps en route to his first career victory. Keselowski, Nelson Piquet, Jr. and Todd Bodine rounded out the top 5.

Truckin’ Thursdays: Which Young Guns Are Making A Statement In 2012

It’s hard to believe after a little over sixth months of waiting, NASCAR’s return to Rockingham Speedway has come and gone. Though the facility’s grandstand capacity pales in comparison to most tracks on the Camping World Truck Series schedule, I have to admit it was nice to see the majority of seats filled each time the camera panned out.

And I wasn’t the only one to notice.

“That was definitely very, very cool and the fans–that’s what was so awesome was to look up and see how full the grandstands were,” Matt Crafton said. “How the whole community and the whole place–it was awesome to see all the fans.”

Kickin’ It With Paulie Harraka: Post-Rockingham

Three races into 2012, rookie Paulie Harraka, driver of the No. 5 Ford for Wauters Motorsports continues to experience the ups and downs of any freshman entering NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series. Experience them with him in the latest edition of our Driver Diary, after a second-place qualifying run turned into a 26th-place learning experience …

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The Big 6: Questions Answered After the 2012 Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas

He didn’t end up in Victory Lane, but Martin Truex Jr. has been knocking on that door for weeks, and it won’t be long now for the Mayetta, N.J. native, who finished sixth on Saturday night. Truex and his Michael Waltrip Racing team have been red hot since last fall at Talladega, when they snatched up four top-10 finishes in five races to finish the year. Truex picked up 2012 right where he left off, with five top 10s in the first seven races and no result lower than 17th. Truex led four times for more than 60 laps on Saturday, flexing his muscle and it looks increasingly like this driver is on the brink of not only a win, but more than one of them.

Tracking the Trucks: Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200

*In a Nutshell:* Kasey Kahne won his fourth Camping World Truck Series race in five tries as NASCAR held its first race in eight years at historic Rockingham Speedway in Rockingham, North Carolina. Nelson Piquet, Jr. dominated the race early around the slick 1-mile long track, and opened up big leads during long green-flag stretches, but a key pit-road penalty with just over 20 laps to go allowed Kasey Kahne to streak to the checkered flag unchallenged. James Buescher, Matt Crafton, Johnny Sauter and Timothy Peters rounded out the top 5.

Nelson Piquet Jr. Wins 1st Career Pole in Inaugural Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200 Qualifying at Rockingham

The first Camping World Truck Series race at Rockingham Speedway is going to be paced to the green flag by a first-time polesitter. Nelson Piquet Jr. scored his first pole position in qualifying for the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200 in his 33rd attempt in the series. Paulie Harraka will be starting to his outside …

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Keeping Perspective on the Return to Rockingham

The return of NASCAR racing to Rockingham this weekend is a joyous event, but a complicated one as well. The on-track product is going to well worth watching, and for the fans in the stand, seeing the Truck Series take to the worn asphalt and high banks of southern North Carolina a stone’s throw from the sport’s heart in Charlotte is going to be a welcome sight.

On the other hand, it’s a standalone Truck race, over a thousand miles away from Fort Worth, Texas, and the Cup Series. Like it or not, stock car racing’s focus is not going to be at home this weekend, but in the southwest. And though Sunday’s upcoming 200-miler is nothing short of a triumph for jack-of-all-trades owner Andy Hillenburg, there’s arguably a hollowness to this victory; the new centerpiece of Rockingham’s schedule is NASCAR’s AA.

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