As the Camping World Truck Series haulers rolled into Dover International Speedway Wednesday afternoon, one team was notably missing — John King’s No. 7 Red Horse Racing Toyota. The team announced Tuesday that sponsorship issues had forced them to suspend operations of the No. 7 team until further notice, ending a freshman season that had started with such promise. The one area lacking on King’s resume, though, was money, a financial gap that became too big for investors at RHR to close. After running the first two races this year without primary backing, CONSOL Energy funded King at Rockingham, Kansas and Charlotte, but they won’t be returning this weekend at Dover. Still viable with its other two trucks, RHR will continue to field Timothy Peters’ No. 17 and Todd Bodine’s No. 11 entries.
For the first time since 2005, the Camping World Truck Series has opened with five different winners and five different events.
Back then, it was Bobby Hamilton, Steve Park, Ron Hornaday, Jr., Bobby Labonte and Ted Musgrave who visited victory lane to open the season. This time around, the winners include Sprint Cup drivers Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne, along with three first-time winners–John King, James Buescher and Justin Lofton. While it’s no surprise to see Harvick or Kahne headed to victory lane when they run in the Truck Series, King, Buescher, and Lofton have taken the next step in their NASCAR careers.
*In a Nutshell:* Justin Lofton took the checkered flag 0.261 seconds ahead of Brad Keselowski in Friday night’s North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Lofton took the lead for the final time with just ten laps remaining and held on through one more restart to score his first career Camping World Truck Series victory. Todd Bodine, Jason Leffler and Ron Hornaday, Jr. rounded out the top-5 finishers.
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.
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.
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.
*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.
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.”
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 …
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.