*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.
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 …
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.
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.
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.
*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.
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 …
_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.
Let’s start with Daytona. Can you describe what happened in that accident that left you simply trying to survive the rest of the race. I think going into Daytona, there’s a lot of unexpected things. We were in just the wrong place in the wrong time. Being in the middle of three-wide as you come …
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.