The 400th Race: Today’s NASCAR Stars Shaped Careers In NASCAR Camping World Trucks
Since its inception in 1995, 399 races ago, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has produced a distinguished list of alumni including a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, Kurt Busch and three NASCAR Nationwide Series champions.
Here are the thoughts of four current NASCAR Sprint Cup stars on how truck racing shaped their careers:
• Kevin Harvick, two-time NASCAR Camping World Truck owner champion with his wife DeLana, 2001 NASCAR Nationwide Series champion and Daytona 500 and Coca-Cola 600 winner: “When I was a kid (in Bakersfield, Calif.) I watched some of the first exhibition races and the Truck Series is the reason I am where I am today. We support our truck program mainly for (four-time champion) Ron Hornaday to keep him busy and keep him part of the series. We want to win races and we want to be competitive but Ron is the biggest reason.”
• Carl Edwards, current NASCAR Sprint Cup points leader, 2007 NASCAR Nationwide Series champion and 2004 O’Reilly Auto Parts 250 winner: “If it weren’t for the truck series I wouldn’t be here. Mike Mittler reluctantly hired me to drive his truck in 2002. If NASCAR hadn’t come up with the truck series and guys like myself didn’t get those opportunities, this sport would look a lot different today.” Click here for audio of Edwards on the series.
• Kyle Busch, 2010 NASCAR Camping World Truck owner champion, 28-time winner and 2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series champion. He made his first start at age 16: “It’s definitely been a great series to run in, to be involved in, to win some races in and to now be owning a race team in the series is definitely great for myself and for all the people at Kyle Busch Motorsports that are employed there and that we can give jobs to and put food on the table for their families.”
• Greg Biffle, 2000 NASCAR Camping World Truck champion, 2002 NASCAR Nationwide Series champion and 15-time NASCAR Sprint Cup winner. He’ll pace the field to start Saturday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 250: “It’ll be the first time I’ve driven a pace car to the green flag, so hopefully I won’t make any mistakes. I learned so much in the truck series. They gave me my start and gave me my opportunity. I really miss the truck series and all the people there, so I’m looking forward to going back and getting an opportunity to visit with the officials and spend a little time with them before bringing the field down to the green. I’m pretty excited about it. I can’t wait.”
Skinner, Hornaday, Musgrave Posted Milestone Victories
Timeline for milestone victories in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ first 399 races:
• Phoenix International Raceway, Feb. 5, 1995. Mike Skinner uses late-race pass to edge Terry Labonte by 0.09 seconds in the series’ inaugural race. Skinner later becomes the first NCWTS champion.
• Evergreen (Wash.) Speedway, April 3, 1999. The series’ 100th race is won by Ron Hornaday Jr., who collects a $100,000 bonus posted for an eligible winner who had competed in the previous 99 events.
• Memphis Motorsports Park, June 21, 2003. Ted Musgrave leads 102 of 200 laps in winning the series’ 200th race.
• Dover International Speedway, June 1, 2007. Hornaday wins race No. 300 en route to his third of four series championships.
Hornaday and Skinner are the only competitors with a 2011 start to compete in the inaugural race. Richard Childress and Jim Rosenblum are the remaining active owners from race No. 1.
Beginning this weekend, there will be a revision to the qualifying procedures for the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Qualifying order will still be determined based upon practice speeds – from slowest to fastest – but will no longer be separated between those teams that are locked into the race and those teams that must qualify on speed. … Last chance: Vote on the top 25 moments in the series’ first 399 races at nascarmedia.com. Click here to vote. … Kansas Speedway is the only track on the schedule holding multiple races without a repeat winner – a streak reaching 10 a year ago. There have been three first-time winners: Ricky Hendrick (2001), Jon Wood (2003) and Erik Darnell (2007). Hornaday, defending winner Johnny Sauter and Todd Bodine are the only previous winners in this week’s field. … Four drivers who competed in the Kansas Speedway’s 2001 inaugural race have entered this Saturday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 250: Matt Crafton, Brendan Gaughan, Travis Kvapil and Jason White. … Kyle Busch will be making his first NCWTS start at Kansas Speedway, as will Clint Bowyer. Busch won a NASCAR Nationwide race at the track in 2007. … The series has competed in and around Kansas City in all but one year (2000) before making Kansas Speedway its home. Races were held at I-70 Speedway in Odessa, Mo. and Heartland Park Topeka from 1995-99.