Race Weekend Central

Truckin’ Thursdays: Miguel Paludo on Milestones, Diabetes Awareness and More

I can’t believe it’s time for our last diary already. After this one, we’re done until Daytona.

Looking back at Texas, it was a bit of a frustrating race. I don’t want to be crying all the time about our performance, but every race is almost like a movie. We ran well at Texas in practice — ninth in the first one and second in the last one — and we qualified fourth. The Diabetes paint scheme we ran means a lot to me. It means a lot to me to run well and to represent something that’s so important. But as soon as the race started, we were tight. You can ask anybody — if you have a snug truck in qualifying, as soon as the night falls, you’re going to have to free it up. We were super tight all race long. It didn’t matter what we did and we still kept going backwards.

Tracking the Trucks: WinStar World Casino 350

*In a Nutshell:* Johnny Sauter took the checkered flag 2.199 seconds ahead of Parker Kligerman to win the WinStar World Casino 350 at Texas Motor Speedway Friday night. The driver of the No 13 SealMaster / Curb Records Toyota led 28 of 147 laps en route to a sweep at the 1.5-mile oval this season. Polesitter Nelson Piquet, Jr., Kyle Busch, and rookie Ty Dillon rounded out the top 5.

Truckin’ Thursdays: Career Milestones, Sponsorship GOOD News and More

*Championship Update*

Having gone into Martinsville Speedway as the points leader, Ty Dillon suffered his worst career finish of 28th after a blown right front tire caused significant damage to his No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet. As a result, James Buescher has taken a pretty substantial 21 marker advantage heading into the type of track Turner Motorsports has accelerated at for much of the year–intermediate. Early season leader Timothy Peters find himself just 25 points behind in what is likely now just a three horse race.

Tracking the Trucks: Kroger 200

*In A Nutshell:* Denny Hamlin pushed and shoved his way past Matt Crafton with five laps to go to take the win in the Kroger 200 over a charging Nelson Piquet, Jr. Hamlin drove the No. 51 Toyota by Crafton after the final restart of the race to take home his second career Camping World Truck Series win in 15 starts. Hamlin had to come from the back of the pack after missing the drivers’ meeting due to Sprint Cup practice. Both of Hamlin’s wins have come at Martinsville Speedway; he also won the fall race last year. Joey Coulter, Crafton, and Scott Riggs rounded out the top 5.

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.

Tracking the Trucks: Fred’s 250 Powered by Coca-Cola

*In a Nutshell:* Parker Kligerman took the checkered flag under caution to win the Fred’s 250 presented by Coca-Cola Saturday afternoon at Talladega Superspeedway. With a big push from runner-up Johnny Sauter, the driver of the No. 7 Red Horse Racing Toyota took the lead with just two laps remaining en route to his first career Camping World Truck Series victory. James Buescher, Ty Dillon, and Timothy Peters rounded out the top-5 finishers.

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.

Tracking the Trucks: Smith’s 350

*In a Nutshell:* Nelson Piquet, Jr. took the checkered flag 0.223 seconds ahead of Matt Crafton to win the Smith’s 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Saturday night. The driver of the No. 30 Chevrolet led for times for 30 laps and made a thrilling last-lap pass for his second victory of 2012. Joey Coulter, Brendan Gaughan, and Todd Bodine rounded out the top 5.

*Who Should Have Won:* *Nelson Piquet, Jr.* Having run sixth in the lone practice session, the driver of the No. 30 Toyota qualified 13th and took the lead for the first time during a round of green flag pit stops. He went on to lead three more times, including the final lap. Though he tried and failed to make a pass on Crafton twice in the closing laps, he made one last attempt on the final lap and made the move stick en route to his third national series victory this year.

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