Q: Matt, can you or someone tell the true story of what happened to Joey Clanton and Jack Roush in the Truck Series? If I remember correctly, Joey was a co-driver for some team in 2007. Joey came from Georgia, as well as his sponsor Zaxby’s Chicken. He and Zaxby’s teamed with Roush for 2008… but after the Daytona race, Joey left, and the official statement was he had family interests to pursue. Joey was a good up and coming driver, having won an ASA title a few years ago. It appears Roush used him to get the Zaxby’s sponsor and then booted Joey for someone else. Maybe Joey can make a comeback next year?
At Daytona, Joey Clanton took his No. 09 three-wide with Mike Bliss and Terry Cook. Bliss and Clanton got together and managed to take Cook and Clanton’s teammate, Colin Braun, with them. The wreck took all four drivers out of contention for the win and left four trucks mangled. As a result, Clanton was pulled out of the No. 09 and replaced by Travis Kvapil for the following week’s race at California in an attempt to “re-evaluate [their] plans for the rest of the season.”
After an exciting season opener at Daytona International Speedway, the series heads out west for the San Bernardino County 200 at California Speedway. In 2000, a young rookie by the name of Kurt Busch won the Motorola 200 at California to close out the Truck Series season. That win was his fourth of the season, and Busch remains the only Truck Series rookie to score a win at the 2-mile track. Since Kurt Busch’s win in 2000, no rookie has finished better than third, the result posted by Jon Wood in 2001 and Brendan Gaughan in 2002. The 2008 rookie class looks to change that on Saturday. Last week at Daytona, five rookies finished in the top 15 in the Chevy Silverado 250, and the only rookie to finish outside that top 15 was Colin Braun, who was caught up in the big accident on lap 24.
Kyle Busch took the lead with eight laps remaining to win the Easy Care Vehicle Service Contracts 200 over Ron Hornaday. Johnny Benson, Mark Martin and Mike Skinner rounded out the top five. Busch took the checkered flag 0.971 seconds ahead of his competition to become the first repeat Truck Series winner at Atlanta Motor Speedway; he also won in 2005. Meanwhile, Hornaday’s second-place finish allowed him to retake the point lead over Skinner by just four points with three races left.
In true Daytona fashion for the Truck Series, it was another fantastic finish in the season opener. Jack Sprague took the lead from Travis Kvapil just a few hundred feet from the finish line, taking Johnny Benson with him as both attempted to sneak by the No. 6 Truck. Both passed him easily, with Benson diving low to try to take the win himself, but Sprague held on to win the Chevrolet Silverado HD 250 at Daytona by a mere 0.031 seconds, almost breaking the record for the smallest margin of victory.