Race Weekend Central

Truckin’ Thursdays: Inside NASCAR’s Return to The Rock

It’s finally here!

That’s right, NASCAR’s much-anticipated return to Rockingham Speedway is upon us, and it’s sure to prove an exciting weekend at the one-mile track nestled in the Sandhills of North Carolina. And if that’s not enough, track owner Andy Hillenburg has done everything he can to make the weekend’s festivities fan friendly. From opening the drivers’ meeting (which I’m actually against) to an autograph session before the green flag flies and everything in between, there’s sure to be something for everyone.

But just a few years ago, this race wasn’t even a remote possibility. From the inaugural Cup Series race in 1965 won by Curtis Turner, The Rock hosted NASCAR through the 2004 season before it was dropped off of the schedule just five years after International Speedway Corp (ISC) purchased the track. Then, thanks to an anti-trust lawsuit brought on by Speedway Motorsports, Inc. (SMI) shareholder Francis Ferko, ownership of the track once again changed hands.

Truckin’ Thursdays: Young Guns Showing Up the Veterans … So Far

As all of NASCAR heads into the Easter weekend off, the Camping World Truck Series standings might surprise you. The top 8 drivers, all under the age of 30 with the exception of 31-year-old Timothy Peters and 32-year-old Jason White, are separated by just 21 points leaving Martinsville. King holds the points lead by just one marker over Timothy Peters and Justin Lofton who are tied for second. Close behind, you will find rookie Ty Dillon just four points out of the lead after an impressive second-place run at Martinsville, and Jason White rounds out the top 5, just eight points back.

Tracking the Trucks: Kroger 250

*In a Nutshell:* Saturday afternoon at Martinsville Speedway could have been renamed the Kevin Harvick show as the Cup driver led 248 of 250 laps en route to his 14th career victory. In an uncharacteristically calm race that was slowed by just seven cautions, Harvick easily led the field and often pulled out front by more than a second during each green-flag run. James Buescher, Justin Lofton and Timothy Peters rounded out the top 5.

Kevin Harvick Dominates, Ty Dillon Impresses in 2012 Kroger 250 at Martinsville

Rookie Ty Dillon and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship hopeful James Buescher tried to mount a charge on a late restart, but it was Kevin Harvick who went to victory lane on Saturday at Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250 with a dominating performance at the .526-mile short track. Harvick led all but two …

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Truckin’ Thursdays: Sauter, Harvick Look to Defend Martinsville Spring Dominance

_Martinsville Speedway._ Those two words are enough to make me grin, ear-to-ear, and that couldn’t be more true then at this point of the season with no Truck Series racing since Daytona. This month-long drought of no competition is one of the longest gaps in between races we’ve seen in the division’s short history.

So with race number two on the horizon, let’s set you up with a preview. For the past three spring visits to the 0.526-mile paperclip, it has been the Kevin Harvick and Johnny Sauter show. Harvick won, back-to-back in 2009 and 2010, but it was Johnny Sauter who crossed the line first last year.

Which driver has an edge for this Saturday? I think it’s about 50/50. But either way, both drivers are poised as favorites to defend their victories this weekend.

Truckin’ Thursdays: Hornaday, Sauter, Buescher Rise To The Top In 2012

With March 31st and the Kroger 250 at Martinsville just about a week and a half away, it’s time to start thinking Camping World Truck Series racing once again. But sadly, with just one race in the books, it’s almost impossible to have built any kind of momentum for the teams _or_ the fans. That’s exactly what I’m here for today, though. With so many changes across the board and last season’s champion Austin Dillon moving on to the Nationwide Series, there are plenty of drivers to keep an eye on as the season unfolds.

Truckin’ Thursdays: Relishing a Return To Road Course Racing

Though road course racing is no longer present on the Truck Series schedule, it used to be. From 1995 through 1998, the series visited Infineon Raceway and Heartland Park in Topeka, Kansas each season, and at least one road course was on the schedule through 2000. Beginning in 1999, drivers visited Portland International Raceway, a 1.967-mile course in Oregon, but that only lasted until the 2001 schedule came out, and since then road courses have been absent.

But is this type of track what the Truck Series needs?

Backing Up Complaints With Cash: An Open Letter to Fans

*Author’s Note:* _I originally wrote this letter to race fans last fall, after the press conference telling NASCAR Nation that at long last, NASCAR racing would return to Rockingham Speedway. Race fans had been hoping, and locals praying, that NASCAR would come back to the little one-mile oval settled in the North Carolina sand hills. While Rockingham Speedway lacks the glamour of Las Vegas and the prestige of Daytona, it is an irreplaceable part of NASCAR history that has produced some thrilling races over the years. Fans responded enthusiastically to the announcement-finally, NASCAR was doing right by them. But it was critical that day and even more critical now, just a month before the engines roar to life at The Rock, that race fans take the next step: filling the stands and, for those who can’t make the trip, blowing the other Camping World Series races out of the water in the television ratings. The time is now-or-never for Rockingham and other speedways like it, there may be no tomorrow._

Truckin’ Thursdays: Can The King Keep His Crown? And Other Daytona Lessons

Well, readers, it’s time to hunker down and wait out another ridiculous break in the Truck Series schedule, but in the meantime, let’s take a look back at a weekend of racing at Daytona. If there’s one thing we learned, it’s that anything can happen –and it did, with one of the wildest finishes to any Truck race on record. But there was plenty more to take from the NextEra Energy Resources 250, as we look forward to 21 more races to determine the 2012 champion.

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