Truckin’ Thursdays

Truckin’ Thursdays: A Look Back at Five Different Victors

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.

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Truckin’ Thursdays: Introducing Miguel Paludo

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.

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Truckin’ Thursdays: Young Guns and Veterans Keeping the Excitement High

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.

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Truckin’ Thursdays: International Flair Extends Beyond Paludo and Piquet

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.

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Truckin’ Thursdays: Which Young Guns Are Making A Statement In 2012

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."

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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._

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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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