Race Weekend Central

Tearing Apart the Trucks: Is Another First-Time Winner at Dover in the Cards This Weekend?

In what has been a very sporadic schedule to start the season, the Camping World Truck Series is back in action tonight at Dover. In 11 Truck Series races at the track, there has never been a repeat winner, but there have been five first-time winners crowned at the Monster Mile.

It all started with Jason Leffler, who scored his first and only Truck Series victory at the historic track after leading just a little over a quarter of the laps run. The following season Chad Chaffin led 52 of 200 laps on the way to his first career victory behind the wheel of the No. 18 Dickies Dodge for Bobby Hamilton.

Tracking the Trucks: Bully Hill Vineyards 200

*In a Nutshell:* Kyle Busch took the checkered flag 1.061 seconds ahead of Nelson Piquet, Jr. to win the Bully Hill Vineyards 200 at Nashville Superspeedway Friday night. Busch restarted second with three laps remaining but was able to dispose of then-leader Ron Hornaday, Jr. by the time the field made it to turn four and held the top spot until the end. Timothy Peters, Hornaday, Jr. and James Buescher rounded out the top-5 finishers.

*Who Should Have Won:* *Kyle Busch* It was clear that the No. 18 was the truck to beat from the time it rolled off the hauler. Busch led both practice sessions and backed up that performance with a blistering fast lap that edged 2010 Rookie of the Year Austin Dillon by 0.03 seconds.

The Big 6: Questions Answered After the 2011 Nashville 300

There really wasn’t a clear-cut villain in either race this weekend, so I’m going to take a different track. Online voting for the Most Popular Driver award for the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series doesn’t usually start until midsummer, but I’m wondering: will drivers ineligible for points in these series also be ineligible for this award? If fans can vote for the Cup drivers in either lower series, then NASCAR will once again be the villain for allowing the bullies to steal the little kids’ lunch money. If they leave those ineligible for points off the popularity ballots, then they deserve kudos for asking fans to think outside the Cup box and choose someone truly worthy.

Tearing Apart the Trucks: Five to Watch at Nashville

After taking a couple weeks off, the Camping World Truck Series finds itself deep in the heart of Tennessee for the Bully Hill Vineyards 200 at Nashville Superspeedway. With the Cup Series off this weekend, the Truck and Nationwide Series companion weekend may just bring in some viewers who wouldn’t normally check out the racing on Friday or Saturday. So for those of you who may be new to watching the Truck Series–and for my longtime fans of course, here’s a look at five drivers to watch in tonight’s race.

*Todd Bodine*

After Todd Bodine’s 2010 performance, it’s hard not to think about him heading to victory lane in any of the races this season, and that’s no exception for this weekend.

What’s Vexing Vito?: Still Too Many Stuck Throttles in NASCAR

About six years ago, there was a tremendous amount of time and effort spent trying to cure the epidemic of stuck throttles in NASCAR. For the most part, it had been a thing of the past until this past weekend at Martinsville. There were four incidents that occurred that were the result of throttles hanging …

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Tracking the Trucks: Kroger 250

*In a Nutshell:* Johnny Sauter took the checkered flag 0.453 seconds ahead of Kyle Busch to win the Kroger 250 Saturday afternoon at Martinsville Speedway. Sauter led three times for 48 laps to score his third career Truck Series victory and his first at the half-mile paperclip. Ron Hornaday, Jr., Kevin Harvick and a heavily damaged Timothy Peters rounded out the top 5.

*Who Should Have Won:* *Johnny Sauter* Sauter started on the pole and quickly pulled out front at the drop of the green flag. Though he was on different pit strategy than half of the field, the driver of the No. 13 Chevrolet easily drove toward the front of the pack. With just two laps remaining, Sauter executed a nearly perfect bump and run on Kyle Busch to become the first Truck Series regular to score a win this season.

Tearing Apart the Trucks: RWR and Earnhardt Part Ways? Not Quite

One of the many rookies in this year’s substantial rookie class is fourth-generation driver Jeffrey Earnhardt. After running a handful of races last season with Rick Ware Racing, the 21-year-old signed on to run the full 2011 schedule.

But suddenly the decent start–a seventh-place finish at Daytona and a top 10 spot in the standings–had come to a grinding halt on Tuesday…or so it seemed.

“We have been informed by several owners that our driver (Jeffrey Earnhardt) and his management company (Jeffrey Earnhardt, Inc.) has been shopping around for another team, alluding sponsorship was coming with them,” team owner Rick Ware said in a release on Tuesday.

Tracking the Trucks: Too Tough to Tame 200

*In a Nutshell:* Kasey Kahne took the checkered flag 1.116 seconds ahead of Ron Hornaday, Jr. to win the Too Tough to Tame 200 Saturday evening at Darlington Raceway. In a race slowed by a record-tying ten cautions and a nearly eight-minute red flag, Kahne dominated much of the race leading 95 of 147 laps en route to his third victory in four Truck Series starts. Todd Bodine, Matt Crafton and James Buescher rounded out the top 5.

*Who Should Have Won:* *Kasey Kahne.* Kahne started on the outside pole behind the wheel of the Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 18 Toyota and was quick to challenge polesitter Cole Whitt for the lead. But it wasn’t until lap 42 when Kahne finally sniffed the top spot for the first time. Once out front, the driver of the No. 18 easily pulled away from the rest of the field, stretching out to a more than three-second lead by lap 53. Though Whitt, James Buescher and Elliott Sadler each took their turn out front in the latter stages of the race, it was Kahne who found the top spot again on lap 97. Despite facing three restarts, Kahne never relinquished the lead and held on for the second victory for KBM this season.

Tearing Apart the Trucks: Crafton Celebrates 250th Career Start

As the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series drivers take an early off weekend, all eyes will be on the Camping World Truck Series this week as they hit the track at Darlington Raceway for the Too Tough to Tame 200 Saturday evening. Though the field will feature several drivers experiencing their first shot at the “Lady in Black,” series veteran Matt Crafton will make his 250th career Truck Series start behind the wheel of the No. 88 Menards / Tarkett Chevrolet.

Crafton made his Truck Series debut in 2000 in the final race of the season for ThorSport Racing–a race he finished ninth in–before the team picked him up for his first full season in 2001. With just 11 top-10 finishes and five DNFs in 2001, he finished a disappointing 12th in the standings, nearly 900 points behind champion Jack Sprague.

Tracking the Trucks: Lucas Oil 150

*In a Nutshell:* Was this a Nationwide Series race? Because the Cup regulars certainly dominated like it was one. After leading the first 43 laps, polesitter Clint Bowyer lost the lead to Kyle Busch during yellow flag pit stops…who never lost it after that. Busch weathered a rash of late race cautions (five in the last 40 laps) to score his first win of the Truck Series season, his 25th in Truck competition. Bowyer, KHI teammate Ron Hornaday, Johnny Sauter and Austin Dillon rounded out the top 5, as eight Chevrolets finished in the top 10.

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