Just three races into the season, the Camping World Truck Series is already on an extended break. The series will return to action on March 28th at Martinsville Speedway. So now is a good time to look at the rule changes NASCAR implemented during the offseason. In an effort to help the teams save a large amount of money each week as they travel, NASCAR implemented rule changes that allow a team only a limited number of crew members traveling to the races. In addition, only five crew members are allowed over the wall at any given time on a pit stop, and teams are not able to take tires and fuel during the same stop.
As is the case with most NASCAR winter breaks, this one was filled with news of rule changes, teams closing their doors and driver shuffling. In an effort to help teams save money, NASCAR changed the number of crew members allowed over the wall during a pit stop. Only five crew members will be allowed over the wall, and teams are not permitted to get fuel and tires on the same stop. In addition, the crew chief must choose only 12 active crew members to travel with the team. Defending series champion Johnny Benson is one of the many drivers that find themselves with new teams. Prior to being crowned the 2008 champion, Benson announced he would be leaving Bill Davis Racing and might possibly retire from racing full time following the final race of the season. As it turned out, Benson got out at just the right time.
Mike Skinner served as a fill-in driver for three different teams this season. After making two attempts to qualify and only one start in the No. 27 Bill Davis Racing Toyota – replacing Jacques Villeneuve – the Ontario, Calif. native stepped into the No. 84 Red Bull Toyota to give young driver AJ Allmendinger some pointers from early March to mid-April. While becoming a mentor in advancing the open-wheel convert’s transition to stock cars, Skinner’s strong qualifying runs kept the team in position to eventually come back and make a run at the Top 35 in owner points.
As the Craftsman Truck Series rolls into Martinsville Speedway for the final short-track race of the season, there are some new faces on the entry list. Mike Skinner’s son Dustin Skinner is just one of those drivers; he’ll follow in the footsteps of his father and his older brother, Jamie Skinner, who also made their debuts at the Virginia short track.
Each week, we’ll go through media reports, interviews, PR, and all our own stuff to find the best quotes from the Sprint Cup race, capturing the story of how the weekend unfolded. It’s the most original commentary you’ll ever find: the truth, coming straight out of the mouths of the drivers, crew members and the car owners themselves. This week, here’s a sneak peek at what a select few were thinking following the Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
Lowe’s Motor Speedway was the venue Saturday night in Charlotte, North Carolina, for the running of the Bank of America 500. With just six races remaining in the ’08 season, the bubble teams should now look at each race as a qualifying attempt for next year’s Daytona 500. Struggling teams have trouble finding funding, and without a locked-in spot for the 2009 Daytona 500, or the next four races after it for that matter, attracting good sponsorship in a slow economy can be next to impossible. But don’t take my word for it; just give a call to the guys at Morgan-McClure Motorsports and ask them.
Each week, we’ll go through media reports, interviews, PR, and all our own stuff to find the best quotes from the Sprint Cup race, capturing the story of how the weekend unfolded. It’s the most original commentary you’ll ever find: the truth, coming straight out of the mouths of the drivers, crew members, and the car owners themselves. This week, here’s a sneak peek at what a select few were thinking following the Amp Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.
Mike Skinner took the checkered flag 0.020 seconds ahead of Erik Darnell to win the Qwik Liner Las Vegas 350 Saturday night. Several cautions set up the green-white-checkered finish that allowed Skinner to pull past Darnell at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Matt Crafton, John Andretti and Ron Hornaday Jr. rounded out the top five.
Ron Hornaday Jr. took the checkered flag 0.960 seconds ahead of Johnny Benson to win the Camping World RV Sales 200 Saturday afternoon at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The driver of the No. 33 Camping World Chevrolet held off a hard-charging Benson in a three-lap shootout to win his second consecutive race. Travis Kvapil, Erik Darnell, and Rick Crawford rounded out the top five finishers.
There appears to be a new phenomena in NASCAR called the “Mike Skinner Effect.” For the second time this year, the veteran stepped in as an interim driver to help a struggling team, and it appears that he may be two for two in achieving success. Maybe it’s coincidence after all, but Michael Waltrip Racing had one of their best races as an organization following Skinner’s input; and next to David Reutimann, McDowell was the biggest beneficiary. Back in the spring, the rookie was an abysmal 40th after wrecking out at this track, so saying he’s improved since then would be an understatement. In this year of underachieving rookies, it could very well be McDowell who is positioning himself to steal the headlines in the final segment of this season.
With the off week in full swing, it presented an opportunity for the Frontstretch experts to do something a little different. Instead of grading the Cup guys, we took a look at those drivers who often get shunned from the spotlight these days… the drivers exclusive to the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series desperate to make a name for themselves. These divisions are filled with established veterans and young guns mixed together to provide a cornucopia of driving talent. And since you never know when a Cup ride will become available… we thought it’s high time to figure out who’s proved himself most worthy of filling the spot as of late. Read on to see if your favorite non-Cup driver made the list in this special edition of the Top 15.
The New NASCAR: Some love it, others revile it, but everybody’s got an opinion. The Car of Tomorrow has its share of detractors and supporters, as does the television coverage and what has become the “over commercialization” of the sport in recent years (Which always strikes me as funny — here’s a sport that is based almost entirely on corporate America’s advertising and sponsorship dollars, and it’s accused of being over commercialized). Anyways, now that car brand identity has all but vanished, we are essentially watching 43 billboards race against the backdrop of a four-hour-long infomercial each week.