Elliott Sadler will be driving the No. 2 Chevrolet for Kevin Harvick Inc. in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Darlington this weekend. … Last year’s NASCAR Nationwide Series driver standings champion Brad Keselowski will be fielding his No. 29 Dodge with driver, Parker Kligerman, at Darlington this weekend. … Justin Allgaier will be spending his off-week watching the AMA Supercross Series race on Saturday at the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. … Kenny Wallace is just nine starts away from 500 in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. After his first three races of the season he has posted a Driver Rating of 71.5, up 28.0 points over his 2010 rating of 43.5. It is the third-highest driver rating improvement over last season behind Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (up 42.0 points from 60.7 to 102.7) and Danica Patrick.
Bodine Hoping Experience Pays Off At Darlington Raceway
Make no mistake, Darlington Raceway is a driver’s track – and a place where experience pays dividends and champions thrive.
Saturday’s Too Tough To Tame 200 may produce a few surprises but don’t expect an influx of newcomers atop the finishing order when the checkered flies.
Four of the five Darlington race-winners were past NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championships. Bobby Hamilton won twice, Ted Musgrave once and Todd Bodine is the defending race winner.
“It’s a driver’s track that’s a lot of fun,” said Bodine, who also owns a NASCAR Nationwide Series victory at the 1.366-mile layout – NASCAR’s oldest superspeedway. “I’ve always run well at Darlington in everything I’ve driven there, ever.”
Saturday’s race is only the third stop on a 2011 calendar of 25 races but it’s becoming pivotal to Bodine’s bid to become the series’ first back-to-back champion.
• From Aug. 2005, Bodine ranked among the top 10 in points for 135 consecutive races – a streak that ended with a 23rd-place finish in Daytona.
• Bodine also was an accident victim in Phoenix and despite recovering to finish eighth, the 2006 and 2010 champion still has yet to crack the top 10. He’s 12th, 20 points behind leader Matt Crafton.
• To win that elusive consecutive title, Bodine will have to duplicate Mike Bliss’ run to the 2002 championship. Bliss rebounded from a 131-point deficit after two races to take a lead he wouldn’t relinquish, in just three more starts.
• Bodine may be in rebound mode, but Timothy Peters is close to becoming the championship leader. Peters, who finished second in last year’s Too Tough To Tame 200, is just five points behind Crafton after a 12th-place finish at Phoenix.
• Austin Dillon was fifth at Darlington in 2010 – the only rookie finisher among a top 10 featuring veterans Ron Hornaday Jr., Stacy Compton and Ken Schrader. Cole Whitt, who was on the weekly NASCAR teleconference, will look to match Dillon’s run.
Trio Of Teams Chasing Wins In Pair Of NASCAR National Series
Call it a race within a race.
Three non-NASCAR Sprint Cup-running teams are competing head-to-head in the NASCAR Camping World Truck and NASCAR Nationwide Series.
The question is which – Kevin Harvick Inc., Rick Ware Racing or Turner Motorsports – will be the first to tally a victory in each series. Only KHI had wins in both divisions in 2010, four in Nationwide and seven in trucks.
• KHI got an early jump as Tony Stewart raced to victory in the 2011 Nationwide opener at Daytona International Speedway.
• Mark Martin evened the score last weekend in Las Vegas, driving a Turner Motorsports entry to his 49th Nationwide victory.
• RWR remains winless but showed promise in trucks as Jeffrey Earnhardt posted a seventh-place finish in Daytona. Bodine, Carl Long and Timmy Hill have competed in RWR-prepared cars in NASCAR Nationwide competition.
• KHI has a pair of series winners in the lineup for Saturday – Ron Hornaday Jr. and Elliott Sadler. Turner counters with a trio of entries Ricky Carmichael, James Buescher and Brad Sweet. Earnhardt carries the RWR banner.
• Sweet’s crew chief Trent Owens bids to become the first of 2011 to back winners in both divisions. He was atop Martin’s pit box in Las Vegas.
Kasey Kahne, who scored his first of two consecutive NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victories at Darlington in 2004, will drive Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 18 Toyota this week. KBM leads the series owner championship standings over KHI by one point. … KHI will make its 300th series start at Darlington, a week after hitting the same milestone in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in Las Vegas. … Martin, who’ll return to NASCAR Camping World Trucks later this season, can become the first driver over the age of 50 to win in all three national series. … Series points leader Crafton will make his 250th truck start at Darlington. Crafton is the only entered driver to compete in all five previous Darlington races. He has three top-10 finishes including a sixth a year ago. … James Buescher will make his 50th series start. … Travis Kvapil started from the pole in 2003 as the series points leader when qualifying was washed out. He finished fourth. … Four of the five previous Darlington races had margins of victory of 0.531 seconds or less.