Past Kroger 250 Winners, First-Timers In Equal NumbersThe field for Martinsville Speedway’s Kroger 250 might be said to be a study in extremes.
Six entered drivers have gone to Victory Lane at the 0.526-mile oval. Six others are attempting to make their first NASCAR national series appearance.
Forty-two different competitors have made their first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start at Martinsville.
Among the group is NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski, who debuted in the Kroger 250 on April 17, 2004. Timothy Peters is the only competitor to claim both first series start (2005) and victory (2009) at Martinsville.
Peters, Johnny Sauter, Ron Hornaday Jr., Kevin Harvick, David Starr and Scott Riggs are Martinsville winners expected to compete in Saturday’s race.
Kyle Busch Motorsports brings a pair of first-timers to the event: NASCAR Drive for Diversity graduate Darrell Wallace Jr. and Erik Jones. Wallace finished third in a 2010 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at the track. He’s 19; Jones is 16.
"I’ve got the same truck that Denny [Hamlin] won with here last year so there’s no reason we shouldn’t be up front," said Wallace during a recent test day. "It’s going to be key for all of us to learn as much as we can from Kyle [Busch]. If we can pick his brain to get as much as we can, we should be pretty good right off the bat."
Other debuting are Chase Elliott, 17, son of 1988 NSCS champion Bill Elliott and a NASCAR Next9 driver; Grant Galloway, 18, an Indiana midget racer; Devin Jones, 16, a transplanted Californian racing out of Hickory, N.C., and Jonathan Davenport, a 29-year-old late model dirt touring competitor.
Sauter Hopes To Continue Momentum Of Daytona VictoryWhile all of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers are anxious to get back on track this weekend at Martinsville Speedway for the Kroger 250, probably no one is more ready than Johnny Sauter.
Sauter, driver of the No. 98 ThorSport Racing Toyota, opened the 2013 season with a win at Daytona International Speedway and like most drivers the veteran wants to keep his momentum going after one of the biggest wins of his career. He won the Kroger 250 in 2011.
As for winning on one of the biggest tracks on the schedule and returning to one of the smallest, Sauter said you have to adjust according to the track and your surroundings.
"Like any race, a lot of things have to go right, pit strategy and taking care of the truck all day and staying out of trouble so Martinsville is a tough one to win at," Sauter said. "Like I said, we’ve done it before and we typically run in the top five every time we’re there until something happens. I don’t see any reason why we can’t go there and pick up where we left off in prior races."
Harvick Chasing Record Fourth Martinsville Truck VictoryThere are many drivers competing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 this Saturday that look forward to racing at Martinsville Speedway. One of those drivers is Kevin Harvick.
Harvick, who competes full-time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, will make his first of two scheduled starts this season in the NCWTS at Martinsville and based on his previous success at the tight 0.526-mile track, he is already one of the favorites to collect the grandfather clock given to each race winner.
Harvick is the defending winner of the Kroger 250 having won the event three of the past four seasons. A victory in Saturday’s race would give Harvick the most wins – four – of any NASCAR Camping World Truck drivers at the track – tying him with Dennis Setzer.
The Bakersfield, Calif., native will make his first start in the No. 24 NTS Motorsports Chevrolet as teammate to four-time series champion Ron Hornaday Jr. and Daytona race pole winner Brennan Newberry.