Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sadler, Reigning Champ Stenhouse Lead Series Regulars

Travis Pastrana To Make NASCAR Nationwide Series Debut at Richmond
Death-defying aerial acrobatics on motorcycles, off-road rally racing, skydiving and X-Game gold medals are nothing new for Travis Pastrana, but this weekend at Richmond International Raceway, Pastrana will make his long-awaited NASCAR Nationwide Series debut in the Virginia 529 College Savings 250.
Originally scheduled to make his first start last July at Lucas Oil Raceway, Pastrana’s bid was thwarted due to injuries suffered during the X-Games the night before. Now after injury rehab and a couple of runs in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East – including Thursday night’s Blue Ox 100 – the action sports icon is set for his big-stage NASCAR moment on Friday. It’s a homecoming, of sorts, for Pastrana, as well. He’s a native of Annapolis, Md.
Pastrana is set to run at least seven series races in 2012. He will be driving for RAB Racing, which last week announced an alliance with Michael Waltrip Racing that will feature RAB equipment and MWR technical and marketing support. The No. 09 Toyota now becomes the No. 99.
Though a huge star in other sports platforms, Pastrana has taken a modest approach to NASCAR. "I just hope I don't hit a wall, don't hit anybody else, don't make anybody upset, and hopefully we can end up on a lead lap, and I think it will be a really strong goal for me," Pastrana said.
Pastrana’s experience in the NASCAR K&N Pro East and West Series will be most valuable in preparation for this weekend. He has made five total career starts in the East Series with a best finish of 12th at Bristol earlier this year.
"We've done our homework," Pastrana said. "I've got great people behind me. I've been with the crew chief (Scott Zipadelli) since I started in NASCAR, and I feel really confident with the people I have around me." (Click here for the Pastrana transcript)

Virginia Native Sadler, Reigning Champ Stenhouse Lead Series Regulars
It’s home sweet home for NNS standings leader Elliott Sadler, a native of Emporia, Va., who goes home to showcase his talents at Richmond International Raceway. Sadler leads a contingent of talented drivers not running full-time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this weekend who have won seven of the last nine NASCAR Nationwide Series races dating back to last season at Texas.
Despite momentum on their side, Richmond is going to be a hard egg to crack for the non-full-time NSCS drivers. Double-duty NSCS drivers have won every Richmond race since Robby Gordon claimed the track’s fall race in 2004. Another Virginia native, Denny Hamlin, last week’s NASCAR Sprint Cup winner at Kansas, comes home with confidence and also is the defending winner of this race.
Kevin Harvick, who’s tied with Mark Martin for most NNS wins at Richmond with five, also returns to the series this weekend. Brad Keselowski, the winner of this race in 2010, Joey Logano, who has three top-10 finishes in three series races at Richmond, and Kasey Kahne are also slated to compete.
But Richmond could be very different this season. Reigning series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has closed the gap on Sadler to a mere four points following his victory a few weeks ago in Texas. Sadler and Stenhouse have virtually mirrored each other’s finishes. Both drivers have posted two wins, four top fives and five top 10s in the season’s first six starts. Both are at the top of their game heading to Richmond, but Stenhouse (95.7) slightly betters Sadler (92.9) in pre-race Driver Rating at the 0.75-mile speedway. 

NASCAR Nationwide Series, Etc.
Ryan Blaney, 18, son of NASCAR veteran Dave Blaney will make his NNS debut at Richmond this weekend driving for Tommy Baldwin Racing. In only four starts in the K&N Pro Series East and West, Blaney has a win – last November at Phoenix – a runner-up finish and two other top-10 results. He’ll also run Thursday night’s K&N Pro Series East race. … Steve Wallace will make his return to the NNS at Richmond. He’ll drive the No. 4 Chevrolet, which lists his father, NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee Rusty Wallace, as owner. Steve Wallace hasn’t run in the series since the 2011 season finale at Homestead-Miami. … Tanner Berryhill, 18, who had seven K&N Pro Series East starts in 2007, will attempt to make his series debut at RIR for Vision Racing. … Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas swept the RIR races last year, but the competition at the 0.75-mile track has been wide open over the last four years. Each manufacturer has at least one win since the 2009 fall race. … Kurt Busch is making his second consecutive start for Kyle Busch Motorsports, but his first in the NNS at Richmond. His owner and younger brother, Kyle Busch, will provide great notes as a four-time NNS winner at RIR. …. Michael Annett will have a special young man attending the race, Joseph "Sepp" Shirley, a 12-year-old boy with cerebral palsy from Mechanicsville, Va. "If you think something is impossible, keep trying. If you like it, keep doing it, because you are succeeding," said Sepp, a boy who eats, sleeps and breathes sports. He's on football, baseball and swim teams, and also dabbles in skiing and basketball – all while living with cerebral palsy. Sepp and his family will be guests of the No. 43 Pilot Flying J Nationwide team this weekend, sitting atop the pit box and cheering on Annett. … Danica Patrick, 11th in points, will make her second NNS career start at Richmond this weekend. She is the sixth female driver to compete in the NNS at Richmond, joining Diane Teel, Patty Moise, Shawna Robinson, Tammy Jo Kirk and Erin Crocker.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Win Puts Busy Buescher On Championship Trajectory

Win Puts Busy Buescher On Championship Trajectory
James Buescher’s long-sought NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory at Kansas Speedway was the product of persistence – and a busy racing schedule.
While most series competitors have run just four times in 2012, Buescher has been behind the wheel of either Turner Motorsports-prepared trucks or the team’s NASCAR Nationwide Series cars virtually every weekend since the 2012 season kicked off at Daytona International Speedway.
Buescher’s Kansas victory was his first in 76 starts that included four second-place finishes. The 22-year-old Texan was the surprise winner of Daytona’s NASCAR Nationwide Series opener. He’s run four more times with each finish among the top 15 and plans to compete in this Friday’s race at Richmond International Raceway and subsequent NNS stops at Talladega Superspeedway and Darlington Raceway.
Buescher is positioning himself to become the NASCAR Camping World Truck’s second consecutive "young gun" champion. Austin Dillon became the youngest at age 21 a year ago. Buescher’s victory boosted him to second in the standings, just four points behind leader Timothy Peters.
"I think we were definitely due [for a win]," said Buescher, who finished third at Martinsville and second at Rockingham. "We’ve had strong trucks at every style of race track we’ve gone to and all four have been completely different. It says a lot about the diversity of trucks we have in this organization."
The victory was the second in a row for Turner, which collected its initial truck win with Kasey Kahne the previous Sunday at Rockingham Speedway.

No Stumbles At Kansas As Peters Keeps Red Horse Perfect
Red Horse Racing isn’t perfect. Not quite, but just about.
With Timothy Peters successfully defending his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship lead with a second-place finish at Kansas Speedway, the Toyota organization has gone four-for-four heading the points during the opening stages of the 2012 season. He also entered last year’s Kansas race No. 1 in points, but a 14th-place finish led to a subsequent standings drop.
Peters took the lead at Rockingham Speedway on April 15. Teammate John King, winner of the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway, was the point leader through the March 31 Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway.
Both Peters and King (eighth) occupy top-10 positions. A third Red Horse driver, two-time series champion Todd Bodine, is 11th.
Peters, last year’s fifth-place championship finisher, is the only series driver to have finished all four races among the top five. The team’s three drivers have accumulated six top fives and eight top 10s.

Five Teams Score ‘Lock-Ins’ For Charlotte Race
Last weekend’s SFP 250 bid farewell to the 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series owners’ championship points table upon which starting spots in the first four races of the season were guaranteed.
Locked in for next month’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, after having to qualify on speed thus far, are the No. 9 of Joe Denette driven by four-time champion Ron Hornaday Jr.; the No. 09 of Robby Benton driven by John Wes Townley; the No. 11 of Tom DeLoach driven by Todd Bodine; the No. 81 of Billy Ballew driven by David Starr and the No. 98 of Duke Thorson driven by Dakoda Armstrong.
The cut-off finds Susan Bates’ No. 39 in the 25th position, scoring the same number of points as Pam Sieg’s No. 93. Bates prevailed on best finish. Ironically, both trucks race out of the same shop.
Among those barely inside the top 25 is the No. 18 Toyota of Kyle Busch Motorsports. The 2010 championship owner team, with driver Jason Leffler, is 24th after two finishes outside the top 30 and a single top-10 performance.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Etc.
Buescher’s crew chief, Mike Shelton, recorded his first series victory. Shelton is a former Joe Gibbs Racing suspension technician and NASCAR Nationwide Series car chief. … Turner’s win was the first since the series began for a Hendrick Motorsports-assembled Chevrolet engine. Although HMS won a trio of NCWTS titles with Jack Sprague, its power plants were built out of house. …  Three drivers, Peters, Dillon and Justin Lofton, have recorded top-10 finishes in all four 2012 races. Not so coincidentally, they occupy three of the first four positions in the championship standings. … Tim George Jr. posted his first Keystone Light Pole at Kansas with a speed of 172.436 mph.

Monday, April 23, 2012


Buescher Makes It Back-To-Back Wins For Turner Motorsports
It took Turner Motorsports 134 starts to visit victory lane in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and only one more to earn their second. James Buescher – who finished in the runner-up position four times in his career - finally captured the elusive truck series victory at Kansas after leading an impressive 103 laps. Buescher currently sits four points behind Timothy Peters in the series championship standings. He is slated to compete in the NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Richmond International Raceway this weekend in the No. 30 entry for Turner Motorsports.
Peters, White Head Home To Virginia In Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown
Virginia native Jason White and points leader Timothy Peters (who lives in Danville, Va.) return to their short track roots with fellow Virginian Denny Hamlin in the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown at Richmond International Raceway. The showdown, a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model division race, will kick of the weekend’s festivities at the famed 0.75-mile track. Peters currently leads the NCWTS standings following the first four events.
Up Next:
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series returns to action on Friday, May18 at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the N.C. Education Lottery 200. At least two former winners, Matt Crafton (2008) and Ron Hornaday Jr. (2009) are expected to compete.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sadler, Stenhouse Previewing Epic Championship Battle?

Sadler, Stenhouse Previewing Epic Championship Battle?
Sports can create irreplaceable memories for fans. Even though it’s early, the NASCAR Nationwide Series’ close competition is providing plenty for fans to cherish.
Just four points separate standings leader Elliott Sadler and second-place Ricky Stenhouse Jr. following Stenhouse’s victory at Texas Motor Speedway this past weekend.
 Six races into the books and the all-too-familiar rivals have similar stats. Each has two wins, four top fives and five top 10s. The difference comes down to Sadler’s 12 bonus points to Stenhouse’s 11 and the one Did Not Finish (DNF) by Stenhouse after an incident on the last lap at Daytona.
Though Sadler holds the top spot in the series driver standings, Stenhouse bests him in three key season-to-date Loop Data categories: Driver Rating - Stenhouse (118.3), Sadler (113.6); Average Running Position - Stenhouse (5.7), Sadler (6.3); and Green Flag Passes - Stenhouse (445), Sadler (378).
Strapped In And Ready To Win
Despite the season being only six races old, it seems like the days of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers dominating NASCAR Nationwide Series races are fading. Over the last nine events, seven have been won by drivers who don’t receive championship points in NSCS. Six of those victories have come courtesy of NNS driver championship contenders – including last Friday night’s win at Texas by reigning series champion Stenhouse. The other win was the opener at Daytona by NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regular James Buescher, who’s scheduled to compete in nearly half the NNS races this year.
Series regular drivers are taking notice of their recent accomplishments against full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers.
"It builds confidence in me to be able to go out and do that," Stenhouse said after winning at Texas last weekend. "We just have to be consistent; you know we have been running up there with those guys (NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers) all year long. We just have to keep it up."
An average of 5.6 full-time NSCS drivers has competed in each NNS race this year. Joey Logano is the lone full-time NSCS driver with a win (Auto Club) in the NNS. Last season, each of the first six races of the season was won by NSCS championship-contending drivers.
Can the NASCAR Nationwide Series regulars continue their winning ways? History says it will be tough. Since Johnny Sauter won Richmond’s 2003 fall race, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points chasers have won 16 consecutive times at the Virginia track, host of the series’ next race on April 27.
Everyone In To The Talent Pool
One of the key elements of the NNS and the NASCAR ladder system is that it keeps a healthy rotation of fresh faces in the driver’s seat. And with new talent to the series comes a learning curve. Here are some of the drivers this season who have started to get ahead of that curve.
Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Austin Dillon is currently third in the series driver standings, just 20 points behind Sadler. Dillon also leads the rookie of the year standings, 22 points ahead of Cole Whitt in second. Though Dillon has yet to visit Victory Lane this season, he has rallied off four top fives and five top 10s in the first six races.  His season-to-date Driver Rating is 100.7.
Danica Patrick, in her first full series season, is just outside the top 10 in the standings. Following a season-best eighth-place finish, also her second-best career result, she’s now 11th, 15 points out of 10th – a nice comeback considering she was 26th following Daytona.  Her season-to-date Driver Rating is 71.3.
Michael Annett is not new to the series, but has hit his stride early this season. Annett is fifth in the standings, 64 markers behind Sadler in his fourth full-time season in the NNS. He posted his second top-10 finish of the year (ninth) last Friday night at Texas. That marks the highest ranking the Des Moines, Iowa, native has attained in his NASCAR national series career. His previous best was eighth following last fall’s Phoenix race. This year he’s changed teams, bringing Richard Petty Motorsports into the series for its first fulltime season. His Ford Mustang sports Petty’s iconic No. 43.
NASCAR Nationwide Series, Etc.
Sam Hornish Jr., fourth in the standings, returns to the NSCS at Kansas this weekend for Penske Racing while Tim Andrews will attempt to qualify Go Green Racing’s first NSCS effort there. … Points leader Elliott Sadler is gearing up for softball season, which starts this weekend. He plays with semi-pro players on several teams throughout the summer in southern Virginia. … Johanna Long will meet and greet fans at the Keen Parts Trailer from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Friday, April 20, at the Spring Charlotte Auto Fair. Keen is on board to sponsor her No. 70 ML Motorsports Chevrolet for four races this year. … Racing resumes April 27 at Richmond, where Travis Pastrana is set to make his long-awaited series debut. Pastrana will drive under the RAB Racing banner as RAB and Michael Waltrip Racing announced an alliance that will feature RAB equipment and MWR technical and marketing support. The No. 09 Toyota now becomes the No. 99. Ryan Blaney, 18, son of NASCAR veteran Dave Blaney, also is ready for his series debut at RIR, driving for Tommy Baldwin Racing.

Points Leader Peters Hopes This Kansas Trip Is Different

Points Leader Peters Hopes This Kansas Trip Is Different
Timothy Peters can’t be blamed for tempering good fortune with a bit of déjà vu heading into this week’s SFP 250 at Kansas Speedway.
Peters grabbed the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points lead from Red Horse Racing teammate John King with a fifth-place finish in Sunday’s Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200 at Rockingham Speedway. Sunoco rookie King, the leader through the season’s first two events, fell to eighth after involvement in an early race accident.
This isn’t the first time that Peters has gone to Kansas with the championship lead. He did so in 2010 but finished 23rd and dropped out of the No. 1 spot the following week at Dover International Speedway.
His Rockingham post-race comments suggest this time will be different.
"I’m looking forward to going to Kansas next week. Our season has been going well," said Peters, whose Toyota is three-for-three in top-five finishes in 2012, including a second place to King at Daytona International Speedway. "At this point, I would rate our season as an ‘A-plus’ and we’re running up front.
"If we keep executing, our win will come." 

Kahne Gives Turner Motorsports Long-Sought Truck Victory
Make Steve Turner’s magic number 134.
Those were the starts required to finally take his Turner Motorsports team to Victory Lane with Kasey Kahne’s picture-perfect, come-from-the-rear triumph in NASCAR’s return to The Rock on Sunday afternoon.
Texan Turner has four NASCAR Nationwide Series wins including James Buescher’s surprise victory at Daytona International Speedway in February.
Turner, however, had been frustrated in trucks, where his team made its NASCAR national series debut in 2009. His team counted 24 top-five finishes, including a trio of seconds prior to Sunday’s race.
The organization has become a powerhouse entry in both trucks and Nationwide, making a concentrated effort to win titles in both during the same season. The organization fielded four Chevrolets at Rockingham: Kahne, Buescher, Keystone Light Pole winner Nelson Piquet Jr. and Miguel Paludo.
Buescher finished second to Kahne and stands fourth in the points standings. Piquet, seventh after a pit road speeding penalty, ranks sixth on the championship.

Sauter, Crafton Can Shake Up Standings In Kansas
Rockingham may have been a game-changer for under-performing ThorSport Racing, whose Toyotas were sub-par through the season’s first two races. Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter posted their first top-five finishes – third and fourth – of the year and vaulted back into the championship conversation.
Crafton led 40 laps and moved to 11th in points. Sauter also ranks among the top 15.
Figure Kansas Speedway as a place where Sauter, the 2010 Sunoco Rookie of the Year and last season’s second-place finisher overall, can do some damage. The Wisconsin driver finished second to 2011 Kansas winner Clint Bowyer and won the event the previous season in a stirring battle with four-time NCWTS Champion Ron Hornaday Jr. The pair tangled between turns three and four and slid side-by-side down the track before recovering to finish one-two.
While Bowyer isn’t expected to compete in this year’s race, Sauter, Crafton and other series points-eligible drivers expect stiff competition from 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series Champion and last year’s Chase qualifier Brad Keselowski. Keselowski continues his bid to post victories in all three NASCAR national series. He also fields Ram trucks for Parker Kligerman, who ranks fifth in series points after finishing ninth at Rockingham.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Etc.
If there’s a dark horse title contender, it’s Justin Lofton – and he’s not flying under the radar any longer. Lofton failed to score a top-five finish in 2011 but moved to second in points – six behind Peters – with his third top 10 for Eddie Sharp Racing. … Ty Dillon was the highest-ranked Sunoco rookie contender in Rockingham, finishing eighth. Dillon is third overall, seven out of the championship lead. … Kansas marks the fourth and final time 2010 owner championship points will be used to determine teams locked into starting lineup. … Dakoda Armstrong will visit the race title sponsor’s headquarters on Wednesday, April 18. He will tour the SFP Lab and participate in a Q&A session with local farmers.

Monday, April 16, 2012



Kahne Finally Captures The Rock, Peters Leads The Standings
Kasey Kahne made it known he had unfinished business to complete at Rockingham following NASCAR’s last visit at the famed speedway when he came up 0.010 second short of earning his first Sprint Cup Series victory.
And he did just that leading 46 of the 200 laps to victory in Sunday’s return at the famed Speedway. It was Kahne’s fourth series victory in six starts.
Following his third straight top-five finish of the season, Timothy Peters overtook the series standings lead from teammate John King.
Peters – who is off to the best start of his career – leads the standings by six points over Justin Lofton heading into Kansas.

Piquet Edges One Step Closer To First Victory 
It is no longer a question of if Nelson Piquet Jr. will win at NASCAR’s national level, but when and where the victory will take place.
The Brazilian native – who earned his first career NCWTS pole last weekend – led an impressive 107 laps at Rockingham, before a pit road speeding penalty resulted in a seventh place finish.
Piquet advanced two spots in the series standings to sixth, only 21 points out of the lead.   

Brad Keselowski could become the 24th driver to win in all three national series this weekend. Keselowski will pilot the No. 19 Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation RAM at Kansas. … Dakoda Armstrong will visit the race title sponsor’s headquarters on Wednesday, April 18. He will tour the SFP Lab and participate in a Q&A session with local farmers.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Notebook: Penalty snuffs Piquet Jr.'s best efforts at Rockingham

Notebook: Penalty snuffs Piquet Jr.'s best efforts at Rockingham

April 15, 2012

NASCAR Wire Service

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. -- Nelson Piquet Jr. had plenty of positives to savor in his first visit to Rockingham Speedway, but the turn of events in the second half of NASCAR's return to The Rock left a sour taste.

A pit-road penalty for speeding derailed Piquet's bid for his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory Sunday, leaving him settling for seventh place in the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200.

Piquet won the pole position in Saturday's qualifying and appeared poised to make the race a runaway, leading 103 of the first 123 laps. But a longer pit stop during the race's third caution period bumped him back to fifth place.

He worked his way back up to second place behind race winner Kasey Kahne, but was nabbed for speeding on the 176th lap, during the race's final yellow flag. The penalty made him the last truck on the lead lap, leaving Piquet 12th for the final restart.

"We had lost position on one pit stop and I was trying to recover it back on another pit stop. So we speeded a little bit trying to find the limits, so unfortunately, it wasn't a race which we could've won," Piquet said. "Obviously, it wouldn't have felt that bad if we weren't in that position."

Piquet's penalty was for being too fast exiting the pits, which was no easy feat considering he owned the first pit stall as the pole winner. One stall in front of him was left vacant for TV's use, which added some real estate for Piquet ahead of the final pit-road timing line.

Piquet gained two spots to take sixth place in the points standings after his second top-10 finish in three races this season.


Timothy Peters' steady run to a fifth-place finish helped him leave Rockingham with the truck series' points lead. That the move came at the expense of teammate John King made the one-position jump a little bittersweet.

King, the surprise Daytona winner, came into the race with a one-point edge over Peters. After a fourth-lap wreck hobbled King and relegated him to 33rd at the finish, the Red Horse Racing teammates were 28 points apart by day's end.

"I hate that for him because he's such a good guy and a great teammate," Peters said. "If it wasn't for this tire test a couple weeks ago, we might not have been as good when we unloaded. This place is tough to get around."

King was able to return to the track with much of the sheet metal removed from the front of his No. 7 Toyota, but parked after 56 laps with no more positions to gain by staying out.

"I knew we were in trouble as soon as someone drove on the outside of us and the truck got really loose in (turns) one and two," King said. "I think we came around the next lap, and when it went, it went."


With grandstands filled to near-capacity, Rockingham Speedway president Andy Hillenburg took some friendly advice, taking a moment to savor the scene as a fan in the early laps of Sunday's race.

After the track welcomed NASCAR competition back after an eight-year leave, Hillenburg -- who purchased the facility at auction in 2007 -- was beaming after a successful weekend.

"I'm very proud of our effort, the team effort," Hillenburg said. "I feel like we did the best we could do based on the knowledge that we had, but now I also feel confident in saying that if I get a second chance from NASCAR, I can do even better."

Friday, April 13, 2012

O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 Pole Winner: Paul Menard

Qualifying Fast Facts
Texas Motor Speedway
16th Annual O'Reilly Auto Parts 300
Provided by NASCAR Statistics - 
Fri, April 13, 2012 @ 06:09 PM Eastern
Coors Light Pole Winner: Paul Menard
Age: 31
Team : No. 33 - Menards/Rheem Chevrolet
Owner: Delana Harvick
Crew Chief: Ernie Cope
Paul Menard won the Coors Light Pole Award for the 
16th Annual O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 with a lap of
 29.717 seconds, 181.714 mph.
This is his fifth pole in 173 NASCAR Nationwide Series races.
This is his first pole in 11 races at Texas Motor Speedway.
 His previous best start was third on April 4, 2009.
Denny Hamlin (second) posted his second top-10 start of 2012
 and his sixth in nine races at Texas Motor Speedway.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (third) posted his fifth top-10 star
t at Texas Motor Speedway.  It is his sixth in six races this season.
Austin Dillon (fourth) was the fastest qualifying rookie. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Dillon Has Fond Memories Of Rockingham On And Off The Track
Ty Dillon has looked forward to Sunday’s Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200 Presented by Cheerwine at Rockingham Speedway for a variety of reasons.
Dillon, coming off a second-place finish at Martinsville Speedway two weeks ago, returns to the track where a victory in the 2010 season finale clinched the ARCA championship. The 20-year-old Dillon enters the year’s third race fourth in points, just four markers behind leader and fellow Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender John King.
The race – NASCAR’s first at "The Rock" since 2004 – also is a journey back in time for Dillon, who remembers the childhood drives to the 1.017-mile track in his grandfather Richard Childress’ Chevrolet Corvette.
"I was able to go a lot when I was younger, me and my grandfather.  I was probably six or seven years old," Dillon said recently. "It was kind of a cool deal for me, because it was the time that I would go to the racetrack with just my grandfather, and me and him would hang out all weekend.
"We could ride up there together and have a little fun on the road, talking about racing and talking about whatever, and me just being a young kid trying to soak it all in."
Dillon believes his ARCA experience – especially learning how to manage tires on a track notorious for extreme wear – will pay dividends on Sunday.
"I feel like I have a really big advantage," he said. "It's going to be tough to dial [in] a truck compared to an ARCA car there, but I feel like I've got a good understanding of the racetrack."

Lofton, Kligerman Have Seen This Movie Before
Round 2 of Justin Lofton vs. Parker Kligerman takes place Sunday. The two, now NCWTS veterans, battled for the ARCA title in 2009, with Kligerman winning Rockingham’s race but Lofton – who finished third – taking the title.
SPEED will show a re-enactment of the event during its pre-race show.
"It is a great place to watch a race, but even more special to race," said Eddie Sharp Racing’s Lofton, who has a pair of top-five finishes in 2012. "It's what racing is about."
Kligerman ranks eighth in points entering the season’s third race but has yet to score a top-10 finish. The driver of Brad Keselowski’s No. 29 Ram truck had a pair of third-place performances in 2011 as he finished fourth among Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders and 11th in overall points.

Bodine, Others Have Rockingham Experience
Several competitors – seven, actually – enter Sunday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event with NASCAR experience at Rockingham Speedway.
Todd Bodine has a pair of NASCAR Nationwide Series victories, the most recent in 2001. "You have to have a truck that’s just well balanced," said Bodine. "There’s a lot of self-control that goes into it. The last thing you want to do is over drive it."
Kasey Kahne, who will compete in the Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday night then fly to "The Rock" for truck competition, finished second to Matt Kenseth in 2004. His final lap, last-turn charge fell just 0.010 seconds short.
Other Rockingham veterans include Johnny Chapman, Ron Hornaday Jr., Jason Leffler, David Reutimann and Johnny Sauter.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Etc.
Jeb Burton warmed up for his second series start by winning Saturday’s late model feature at Ace Speedway in North Carolina. Burton "sort of" attended Rockingham’s February 2002 NASCAR Nationwide Series race won by his father, Ward. His mother, Tabitha, was pregnant with Jeb, who was born in August. … Richie Wauters’ No. 5 Ford driven by Paulie Harraka will carry colors of Rockingham Speedway’s "Send A Soldier To The Rock" initiative. The public can purchase $20 tickets to be held for military personnel by calling (910) 205-8800. Fort Bragg is nearby. … Four fan-oriented events will be held in conjunction with this weekend’s race: hauler parade at 6 p.m. Thursday in downtown Rockingham; Thunderfest, also downtown, from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday, featuring children’s activities, music and autograph sessions; and Little Texas concert at 8 p.m. Saturday at the track – free to holders of Saturday and/or Sunday tickets. An "open" track walk will be held at 11 a.m. Sunday. … Matt Crafton will attempt to make his 275th series start; James Buescher his 75th.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Trucks Debut At ‘The Rock’ This Sunday

Trucks Debut At ‘The Rock’ This Sunday
After an absence of eight years, NASCAR roars back into Rockingham Speedway for Sunday’s Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200 Presented by Cheerwine (SPEED, live, 1 p.m. EDT). NASCAR’s last visit to “The Rock” – a 1.017-mile track that opened in 1965 – came in 2004. The race featured a final lap, last-turn duel between Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne. The latter driver came up 0.010 seconds short in just his second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Kahne will compete in the event driving a Turner Motorsports Chevrolet following his primary duties in Saturday night’s Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Brad Sweet is due to practice and qualify Kahne’s truck. Todd Bodine is the only other NASCAR winner in the field of more than 40 entries having won a pair of NASCAR Nationwide Series races, most recently in 2001.
Dillon, Lofton, Kligerman Bank On ARCA Experience To Contend
Three “young guns” with Rockingham experience hope to find their way to Victory Lane on Sunday. Ty Dillon, 20, who stands fourth in NCWTS points following his recent second-place finish at Martinsville Speedway, wrapped up the 2010 ARCA championship with a victory at Rockingham Speedway. Kligerman, 21, was the winner of the 2009 ARCA race but it wasn’t enough to deny Lofton, 26, the series title as the California off-road racing veteran finished third. Lofton, who failed to record a top-five finish in 2011, is off to a great start this year with top fives at Daytona and Martinsville. He’s third in the standings, a single point behind leader John King.
Jeb Burton didn’t see his father, Ward’s, 1992 spring NASCAR Nationwide Series victory at Rockingham Speedway but the 19-year-old rookie can say he was there. His mother, Tabitha, was pregnant with Jeb, who was born in August. … Burton won last weekend’s late model race at Ace Speedway in North Carolina. … Richie Wauters’ No. 5 Ford driven by Paulie Harraka will carry the colors of Rockingham’s “Send A Soldier To The Rock” initiative. Fans can purchase $20 tickets which will be held at will call for military. Fort Bragg, home of the U.S. Army Airborne and Special Operations Command, is nearby. More information is available from the track at (910) 205-8800. … Seven drivers entered in Sunday’s event have competed in NASCAR Sprint Cup and/or Nationwide Series races at Rockingham Speedway: Bodine, Kahne, Johnny Chapman, Ron Hornaday Jr., Jason Leffler, David Reutimann and Johnny Sauter.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Season-To-Date Competition Highlights

Season-To-Date Competition Highlights: Top Five In The Series Standings
•    Elliott Sadler: The series standings leader is 18 points ahead of second place. In five starts, Sadler has posted one Coors Light pole, two wins (Phoenix and Bristol), four top fives, and five top 10s with an average finish of 3.4. He also leads or is ranked in the top five of several season-to-date Loop Data categories: Driver Rating (115.2); Average Running Position (6.8); and Laps in the Top 15 (935 laps, 96.4%).
•    Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Is second in the series standings, nine points ahead of third place. In five starts, Stenhouse has posted one win (Las Vegas), three top fives, and four top 10s with an average finish of 6.2. He also is ranked in the top 10 of several season-to-date Loop Data categories: Driver Rating (114.7); Average Running Position (6.5); and Laps in the Top 15 (923 laps, 95.2%).
•    Austin Dillon: Is third in the series standings, seven points ahead of fourth place. In five starts, Dillon, a Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate, has posted three top fives, and four top 10s with an average finish of 6.6. He also is ranked in the top 10 of several season-to-date Loop Data categories: Driver Rating (98.8); Average Running Position (12.0); and Laps in the Top 15 (904 laps, 93.2%).
•    Trevor Bayne: Is fourth in the series standings, 20 points ahead of fifth place. In five starts, Bayne, the 2011 Daytona 500 champion, has posted one top five and three top 10s with an average finish of 8.8. He also is ranked in the top 10 of several season-to-date Loop Data categories: Driver Rating (102.1); Average Running Position (9.7); and Laps in the Top 15 (890 laps, 91.8%).
•    Sam Hornish Jr.: Is fifth in the series standings, nine points ahead of sixth place. In five starts, Hornish has posted two top 10s with an average finish of 12.2. He also is ranked in the top 10 of several season-to-date Loop Data categories: Driver Rating (91.6); Average Running Position (11.3); Laps in the Top 15 (744 laps, 76.7%).
NASCAR Nationwide Series, Etc.
The Easter open week brings a variety of off-track activities for series drivers. Brian Scott is one of four drivers with sponsorship from Dollar General who will attend the company’s annual "Race Day" at their headquarters in Goodlettsville, Tenn., on April 3. Scott’s team owner, Joe Gibbs, also will be in attendance. The schedule includes autograph signings, meet and greets with the employees and a visit to the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tenn. … Mike Wallace will be among a group of drivers including Denny Hamlin, David Ragan and Michael Waltrip who will take in various rounds this week at The Masters in Augusta, Ga. … Standings leader Elliott Sadler has a big week in store. "We are packing up the whole family and going down to the Outer Banks," he said. "Nags Head is my favorite vacation spot, so I’m really excited to be able to take my kids to get away for a few days. We will be doing an Easter egg hunt and celebrating my wife’s birthday."

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

New NASCAR Era Kicks Off In Europe

New NASCAR Era Kicks Off In Europe

Euro Racecar Opens Season This Weekend In Nogaro
Official Release
April 3, 2012 -  

With the long term partnership signed with its American model, a new era begins for the EURO-RACECAR, the first official NASCAR series in Europe.
EURO-RACECAR, in its first season as a sanctioned NASCAR Touring Series, kicks off the 2012 season with the Nogaro 200 at Circuit Paul Armagnac in Nogaro, France April 6-9.
In Nogaro, 25 cars - Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Mustang or Dodge Charger and Challenger - will be on the grid. Nearly 50 drivers will enter the 2 Championships ELITE and OPEN.

logo-nogaro-200“It is a great honor for all our drivers, this weekend, the first poleman and the first winner will enter the NASCAR history and be part of NASCAR familly”, said Jerome Galpin, founder and promoter of EURO-RACECAR NASCAR Touring Series. “I’m particularly glad this happens in Nogaro. This is the hometown of the series, where it first ever raced.”
This championship runs tubular chassis racecars weighing 1170 kilos and powered by 5.7 litres V8 engined developing 450 hp, the grid is highly international. The entry list includes drivers from seven countries: France, Spain, England, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Sweden.
“We are happy to offer an international grid of such a high level,” said Jerome Galpin. “The level is higher than these past years and everything can happen. We’re very happy to welcome talented young drivers who will fight for the Junior title but for the victory, too.”
As said by the organizer, the level of entrants is particularly high with fights all over the pack both in ELITE and OPEN championships or for the Junior, Challenger, Gentleman or Legend Trophies.
Who will become the first ever European NASCAR Touring Series Champion? Not only will the winner be honored on the stage during the NASCAR Night of Champions Touring Series Awards Gala at the end of the season, but the driver will earned a locked-in spot to compete at the UNOH Battle At The Beach during 2013 Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway.
Among the drivers to watch include France's Romain Thievin and Romain Iannetta, and Spain's Ander Vilarino, as well as rookies Gregory Guilvert and Dimitri Enjalbert of France, and England's Nigel Greensall, Harry Vaulkhard, and James Winslow. Top Juniors drivers include France's Willy Boucenna, Romain Fournillier, Vincent Gonneau, Valentin Simonnet and Carole Perrin, and Sweden's Freddy Nordström.
For this opening event, Bob Duvall, NASCAR Director, Weekly & Touring Business Development, and Richard Buck, Director of Touring Series, North America, will be there. Both will be particularly attentive to the development of the series.
“They will be special consultants on this first NASCAR Touring Series race organized in Europe. We will develop our collaboration on many technical points and so work on all the improvements to make of EURO-RACECAR NASCAR Touring Series a major European championship and the natural channel to the USA”, concluded Jerome Galpin.
The champion hangs back the helmet: 2011 champion Eric Helary is now retired from driving. Now living in Toulouse, France, he will still be involved in EURO-RACECAR NASCAR Touring Series but as the team manager of Still Racing who enters 2 Chevrolet Camaro and 1 Dodge Challenger.
Two expected favorites: The two 2011 runner-ups, Romain Thievin (France) and Ander Vilarino (Spain) are obviously the expected favorites for the 2012 title. Thieven, who will race for Still Racing, scored in 2011 seven top fives and nine top 10s. Vilarino, the leading driver of TFT, team from Nogaro, scored two victories, two pole positions, six top fives and seven top 10s.
Two female drivers on the grid: French Carole Perrin (Autosport 42, France) and the Belgian Nathalie Maillet (Racing Club Partners-GR3) will bring a woman’s presence to the grid. Perrin, 25, already won the 2011 ELITE Sprint in Motorland-Aragon (Spain).
Welcome to Harry Vaulkhard: 2007 Champion of the Seat Cupra Championship Great Britain, the British Harry Vaulkhard raced the BTCC for 2 seasons before joining the WTCC in 2010 on a Chevrolet Lacetti. The landmark of his carreer in this championship is his victory in the Independent Trophy in Monza. He will cross on the EURO-RACECAR NASCAR Touring Series tracks his compatriots Nigel Greensall, multiple winner in prototype series and James Winslow, winner of the Australian F3 championship, A1 GP driver for the team UK and in Indy-light but who will start his season in Brands Hatch because of his presence in Australie this week-end.
The organisation strengthen: To fill out the official staff, EURO-RACECAR NASCAR Touring Series and its coordinator Yves Guillou entrust the race direction to Patrice Ménochet. Jean-Marie Krempf will become one of the Stewards while Michel Brun will once again assure the scruiteenering.
What: Nogaro 200
Where: Nogaro (Gers, France), Circuit Paul Armagnac
When: April 6-9
TV diffusions: MOTORS TV
TV SCHEDULE (all times GMT+1)-ELITE Sprint, Sunday, 4:35pm (40 minutes)
-ELITE/OPEN Endurance, Monday, 7pm (70 minutes)
-Highlights: Friday the 13th of April 7:45pm (72 minutes)
Circuit: road course of 3,636 kilometers (2,259 miles) 2011
Pole Positions: Eric Hélary (Elite) and Vincent Gonneau (Open) 2011
Winners: Lucas Lasserre (Elite Sprint and Endurance), Romain Fournillier (Open Sprint) and Emmanuel Brigand (Open Endurance)



Season Opener April 7; First Oval Event Set For July
By Shon Sbarra, NASCAR
March 30, 2012 - 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – While a motorsports staple in North America, stock-car racing in Europe is something new to the menu.  However, on April 7 in Nogaro, France, site of the season opener for EURO-RACECAR, it will take a grand step forward.
Since its inception in 2009, the EURO-RACECAR series was modeled with NASCAR in mind. This season, the series will compete under the NASCAR banner and becomes part of the NASCAR developmental system joining the NASCAR K&N Pro Series (East and West), the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour in the United States. It also joins the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series in Canada and the NASCAR Toyota Series in Mexico from an international perspective providing opportunities for drivers all over the world to begin their journey up the NASCAR ladder with the hope of competing in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event one day.
Historically, the series has competed on road courses throughout Europe, but NASCAR is about racing on ovals. A new day dawns there, as well. On July 7-8 as part of the Country Bike Rock Festival in Tours, France, EURO-RACECAR will make history and stage its first event on an oval track.
tours04_web_350.jpgTopping the attractions for the festival that includes, concerts, rodeos and many other events, a temporary .373-mile (600m) oval will be constructed and called ‘Tours Speedway.’ The festival in its sixth year has an American-theme and is expected to attract upwards of 50,000 visitors.
“This fourth race of the regular season, but the first one in Europe on an oval track will give (spectators) the opportunity to see 60 highly-motivated drivers behind the steering wheels of their V8-powered race cars,” said Jérôme Galpin, CEO of Team FJ, who created the series.
Equally excited about this first-time event are the organizers of the Country Bike Rock Festival.
"We know the passion of French for motorsports, and I am very happy to have one race of this series on an oval urban track, in France, here in Tours,” said Denis Schwok, President of the Management Board of Tours Evenement. “Our common goal is to offer great races in a breathtaking atmosphere where sport will also be a show. It will be a benefit for the city, but economically, too, for the shops and hotels.”
Racing on an oval will be a different environment for series regulars, who likely could be termed ‘road-course ringers’ in the United States. The opportunity for the race lead to change hands several times over the course of the race is an exciting proposition.
“For me, racing means show. Oval races are the best ones in terms of show and you cannot say who is going to win before the checkered flag. This is what I love in racing and what (the fans) expect,” said Eric Helary, the 2011 EURO-RACECAR champion. “Tours will be, for sure, a unique event and the beginning of a new way to race in Europe.”
One driver committed to racing in Tours is not a stranger to oval racing nor is the significance of the event for NASCAR lost.  Ben Kennedy, 20, a NASCAR K&N Pro Series regular plans to compete in the historic race and is the son of NASCAR Vice Chairwoman/Executive Vice President Lesa France Kennedy and the great-grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr.
“This is an exciting opportunity. I’ve heard great things about EURO-RACECAR,” said Kennedy. “To be a part of their first race on an oval is a great experience for me and should be a lot of fun.”
As a member of NASCAR’s rock of foundation, the France family, the impact of NASCAR’s involvement in EURO-RACECAR and its staging an oval-track event resounds loud and clear to the young driver.
“It’s definitely special. NASCAR is huge in the United State and now is growing strong roots in Canada and Mexico,” stated the University of Florida student. “Europe has great history in motorsports and the fans are passionate. This should be a perfect fit.”
NASCAR and EURO-RACECAR announced last year that they reached a long-term partnership making EURO-RACECAR a NASCAR Touring Series becoming the doorstep for European drivers to race in other NASCAR series.
Racing with tubular-chassis cars powered by American V8 engines, and placing a priority on fans and great competition, EURO-RACECAR has worked hard to adapt the keys that have made NASCAR popular worldwide.
The series will stay under the exclusive management of Team FJ, its creator and organizer, and registered as an FIA International Series. NASCAR will provide its knowledge and expertise to develop the series in Europe and create a high-level of competition.
To learn more about EURO-RACECAR, go to

Partnership With EURO-RACECAR Announced

Partnership With EURO-RACECAR Announced

Agreement Establishes First NASCAR Series In Europe
By Jason Cunningham, NASCAR
January   2012 - 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) and Team FJ has announced a licensing agreement that recognizes EURO-RACECAR as a NASCAR touring series.
EURO-RACECAR opened the Autosports International show in Birmingham, England with the announcement. EURO-RACECAR is registered as a FIA International Series that contests races in England, France and Spain. It is under the management of Team FJ, which founded the series in 2009. EURO-RACECAR will become the third international series to fall under the NASCAR touring banner – joining the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series and NASCAR Mexico Series – and the first outside of North America.
“We are proud to welcome EURO-RACECAR to our family of NASCAR regional tours in the U.S., Canada and Mexico,” said George Silbermann, NASCAR vice president for regional and touring series. “Fans can enjoy the excitement of great stock car racing in locations across Europe, while talented drivers take the important first step on NASCAR’s ladder system.”
“Obviously, it’s a great day for everyone who has participated in the RACECAR Series adventure.” said Jérôme Galpin, originator of the series. “Fans, drivers, sponsors, officials, teams, circuits, they all were a part of the series development. Joining NASCAR means entering a great family where key words are passion, professionalism and commitment. Beyond the recognition, this agreement is a fantastic boost for our series to become one of the main motorsport series in Europe.”
The race cars of EURO-RACECAR are spec stock cars that feature a tubular chassis and fiberglass bodies with Chevrolet V8 engines that generate 450 horsepower and run on green E10 race fuel. The 2012 schedule features eight regular-season races – primarily on road courses – from April through July with a playoff consisting of a semifinal round in September and the championship in October.
The first race under the NASCAR banner will be on April 8 in Nogaro, France while first oval event will take place at Tours Speedway – a temporary urban short track – in France on July 7.
The 2012 EURO-RACECAR champion, runner-up and third-place drivers will be recognized along with the Most Popular Driver and Rookie of the Year at the postseason NASCAR Night of Champions Touring Awards Gala, which honors the top performers from each of NASCAR’s other six touring series.

Triple-Winner Kahne Adds Luster To Rockingham Debut

Triple-Winner Kahne Adds Luster To Rockingham Debut
Turner Motorsports is rolling out the heavy artillery for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ debut at Rockingham Speedway on April 15. The organization recently announced a fourth entry – that of Kasey Kahne – to complement an already formidable lineup of James Buescher, Miguel Paludo and Nelson Piquet Jr. for the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200 presented by Cheerwine.
Kahne doesn’t compete very often in the series but when he does, watch out. He won his first two starts in 2004 at Darlington Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway. Driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports, he won again at Darlington a year ago. He finished second at Pocono in his only other series start.
"Turner Motorsports, they have great trucks and have a lot of good people there. I’m excited to be on their team and be a part of it," said Kahne, who’ll drive his No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet at Texas Motor Speedway the evening of April 14 then fly back to North Carolina. "Rockingham is a great track for me; I’ve run really well there in the past in both series that I’ve raced in, especially that final Cup race there," in which Kahne finished second to Matt Kenseth.
Brad Sweet has been tapped to practice and qualify Turner’s No. 4 Chevrolet. "I feel like it will have a really good set-up in it on Sunday when I get there," said Kahne.

King Tames Martinsville, Sets Record As Continuing Points Leader
Nobody expected John King to win the 2012 season opener at Daytona International Speedway. Few doubted he’d remain the points leader after last weekend’s race at Martinsville Speedway, a notoriously difficult layout for any rookie driver.
King proved doubters wrong … again. King, who celebrated his 24th birthday the day after the Kroger 250, finished ninth. His lead over Red Horse Racing teammate Timothy Peters dwindled considerably to a single point. But it’s a lead nonetheless and marks the first time in series history a Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender has led after multiple races.
Now-NNS rookie Cole Whitt was the first freshman points leader a year ago after the event at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Two races don’t make a season but they signal a big change in the championship picture. The top eight drivers – King, Peters, Justin Lofton, Ty Dillon, Jason White, Buescher, Parker Kligerman and Piquet – are seeking their first title. Four-time champion Ron Hornaday Jr. is the closest to the lead but 24 points behind King. Four points is the spread between first and fourth places.

ThorSport Pair Must Fire For Effect After Digging Holes
One word sums up ThorSport Racing’s season to date: Ouch.
Neither pre-season championship favorite Johnny Sauter nor Matt Crafton was able to crack the top 20 at Martinsville Speedway, leaving the pair 27th and 23rd, respectively, in points. Sauter concluded the 2011 season six points behind champion Austin Dillon while Crafton logged his sixth top-10 championship finish in his last recent seven seasons with the organization.
Each has 20 races to rebound. Sauter won twice a year ago while Crafton also visited Victory Lane. They combined for 16 top-five and 29 top-10 finishes.
But this year’s shortened season of 22 races offers fewer chances to take a "mulligan." To say that Sauter and Crafton have already used theirs may be an understatement.
Then again, Dillon was 24 points out of first with 20 races remaining a year ago. He recovered to win the championship despite finishing 22nd or worse on three occasions.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Etc.
Peters and Lofton are the only drivers to post top-five finishes in each of the season’s first two races. Lofton failed to score a top five in 2011. … What a difference a year also makes for Buescher, who finished third at Martinsville. Buescher failed to qualify for last season’s second race at Phoenix International Raceway. … Kevin Harvick’s third Martinsville victory was his first driving a Richard Childress Racing truck. The organization has won a race in all eight seasons (1995-99, 2010-12) in which it has competed full-time in the NCWTS. … The current points standings mark the second time in series history that Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders – King and Dillon – have ranked among the top five in overall points after race No. 2. The only time rookies occupied top-five positions at this stage of the season was in 1996 – the first year the award was made – when Bryan Reffner and Ron Barfield Jr. were third and fourth after the event at Phoenix International Raceway.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012



Changing of the Guard Continues in the NCWTS
Just two races into the 2012 season, the young guns continue to outshine the veterans in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship standings.

The top eight – who have never won a series championship - are separated by only 21 points.

Daytona winner – John King – remains the standings leader by one point over Red Horse Racing teammate Timothy Peters following a solid ninth place finish at Martinsville. King is the first Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender to lead the championship after multiple races. Cole Whitt was the first rookie overall points leader following last May’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The award for most impressive turnaround goes to third place contender Justin Lofton. The Eddie Sharp Racing driver has kicked off the season with two back-to-back top-five finishes – a feat he hasn’t accomplished since 2010.

Rookie standout Ty Dillon – who finished an impressive second at Martinsville – and Jason White complete the top five followed by James Buescher, Parker Kligerman and Brazilian Nelson Piquet Jr. Dillon is the first rookie to score a runner-up finish at Martinsville Speedway since Todd Kluever in the fall of 2005.

Tough Start For ThorSport
The 2012 season is off to a disappointing start for pre-season championship favorites Johnny Sauter and Matt Crafton.

Separate crashes at Daytona and part failures in Martinsville have resulted in back-to-back finishes outside the top-20 for the ThorSport Racing teammates.

Crafton currently sits 22nd in the series standings followed by Sauter in 27th.

Up Next:
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series returns to action on Sunday, April 15 at Rockingham Speedway for the inaugural Good Sam Road Side Assistance 200.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standout Kasey Kahne announced last week he will pull the double – competing in the NSCS race at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday night before flying to Rockingham for the NCWTS event on Sunday.

Kahne has three truck series victories (two at Darlington and Homestead) in four previous starts.

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