Camping World Series News (1661)
Camping World Truck Series News
James Buescher and the No. 31 Rheem team came into Charlotte Motor Speedway (CMS) looking to continue the momentum they started to build last month in Kansas. Starting the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 from the 12th spot, Buescher quickly worked his way up to inside the top five. During a late race restart, Buescher came into contact with another competitor when running three wide close to the wall, which caused Buescher to suffer slight damage. Dropping as far back as 19th in the running order, Buescher masterfully picked his way through the field to bring home the team’s second consecutive top 10 in 2013 with a sixth-place finish.
With nearly six hours of practice time for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) on the weekend at CMS, the Rheem team took advantage to fine tune their chassis that took home four victories in 2012. It was undoubted that Buescher was going to be one to contend with, as during the first practice the Rheem team finished in the 2nd spot on the charts. When it came to qualifying, Buescher just missed placing the No. 31 Chevy Silverado in the top 10, setting Buescher to roll off the grid in the 12th position for the North Carolina Education Lottery 200.
When the green flag released the 36-truck field for the 134-lap main event, Buescher immediately went to work picking his way through the field. By lap two, Buescher had already cracked the top 10 and he didn’t quit there. By lap 18, he was hunting down a top-five running spot. The race saw its first of eight yellow flags on the night, and during this yellow crew chief Michael Shelton called his driver down to pit road to top the Rheem Chevy off with Sunoco race fuel. When the race went back green, Buescher went back to work trying to pick his way through the field. On lap 30, Buescher reported to the crew that the truck was too tight, and Shelton radioed back to his driver that the team would fix him up on the next stop. After stalking the top five for many laps, Buescher finally cracked it on lap 53 and was running lap times quicker than the trucks in front of him.
Just as Buescher was scheduled to hit pit road for a green flag pit stop on lap 73, a yellow flag once again covered the 1.5-mile CMS, saving Buescher from having to pit under green-flag conditions. During this pit stop, Buescher came down and took four Goodyear Wrangler tires, Sunoco fuel and made a host of chassis adjustments in hopes to loosen up the No. 31 Rheem machine.
Continuing to run solidly in the top 10, Buescher was called on to make another great restart on lap 108. Hoping to make up some ground, Buescher saw a hole open up on the top side of the track and went for a three wide pass. During the attempt at the pass, a couple trucks below him got loose and slid up into the No. 31 Rheem Chevy, resulting in slight damage to the left front fender. During the second-to-final caution of the night, Buescher brought the Rheem Chevy back down pit road to the attention of his crew to take four tires and fix the damage on the left front fender.
Restarting the event back in the 19th spot, Buescher had his work cut out for him to make it back up to the top 10. Despite there being just under 20 laps remaining, that didn’t stop the team’s determination to bring home a second-consecutive top 10 as Buescher swiftly worked his way through the field and brought home a solid sixth-place finish. In the process, James Buescher and the Rheem team had a good points night, moving him up to a tie with fourth place in the championship standings.
“I’m really proud of my guys this weekend,” said Buescher. “It was a long weekend with lots of practice and they continued to work really hard right to the very end. We had a great truck here, and I’m happy that we were able to bring the Rheem Chevy Silverado home in the sixth place and continue our charge up the point standings. I can’t wait to get to Dover and continue our momentum.”
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is off next weekend but returns to action again on May 31, when they visit the high-banked 1-mile oval of Dover International Speedway.
- Richard Childress Racing teammates finished second (Brendan Gaughan) and fifth (Ty Dillon).
- Dillon is third in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver championship point standings, 27 markers behind the leader; while Gaughan ranks fourth in the standings, 31 points out of the top spot.
- The No. 3 Chevrolet team is fourth in the Camping World Truck Series owner championship point standings, with the No. 62 team fifth in the standings.
- According to NASCAR's Loop Data Statistics, Dillon earned the second-highest Driver Rating (118.9), while Gaughan ranked fourth with a rating of 109.5.
- Dillon spent 94 percent of the 134-lap affair in the top 15.
- Combined, Gaughan and Dillon posted the Fastest Laps Run 27 times during the event, ranking them second and third, respectively.
- Dillon scored the second-highest Average Running Position of 4.970, while Gaughan ranked 12th with a 12.776.
- Gaughan was the Fastest Driver Late in a Run and ranked third in the Closers category.
- Kyle Busch took the checkered flag at Charlotte Motor Speedway and was followed to the line by Gaughan, Max Gresham, Matt Crafton and Dillon.
- The next scheduled Camping World Truck Series race is the Lucas Oil 200 at Dover International Speedway on Friday, May 31. The sixth race of the 2013 season is scheduled to be televised live on SPEED beginning at 5 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on Motor Racing Network.
TY DILLON QUOTE:
Gaughan Battles to a Second-Place Result at Charlotte Motor Speedway
Start - 23 Finish - 2 Laps Led - 15 Points - 4th
BRENDAN GAUGHAN QUOTE:
"We did not have a textbook night. Shane (Wilson, crew chief) tried some pit strategy in the beginning of the race that ended up not working in our favor, and then I thought I had an issue with the South Point Chevrolet and we fell back in the field both times. We continued to work hard all night and in the end I was up front running down Kyle (Busch). Unfortunately, we just didn't have enough time to get the job done. This is our third top-five finish in a row, so I can't be happier with the entire South Point Hotel & Casino team so far this season."
If at first that doesn't seem like much of a reward for the No. 13 Mattei Air Compressors Toyota crew, consider that it unofficially gained Bodine two positions in the standings. He came into Charlotte 16th and heads to Dover in almost two weeks in a tie for 14th, only 15 points outside the top 10.
"That truck just wasn't lead-lap material," Bodine said of his second free pass of the race, which came on the last caution with 11 laps left. "But Jeriod and our guys never give up, they never stopped trying and the way circumstances played out, we were able to race onto the lead lap at the end, and even pick up a couple spots."
Bodine pitted and went back several spots but in the end he had the satisfaction of racing well with rookie Brennan Newberry, who lost control and wrecked Bodine at Kansas in their last race together, in very similar circumstances. Newberry was ahead of Bodine on the last restart with eight laps left, but finished just behind him.
But Bodine's career-long Truck Series frustration at Charlotte, NASCAR's high-speed showplace, continued from the moment his ThorSport Racing team unloaded their Tundra and sadly, it wasn't finished when they loaded it back up late Friday night.
"Nothing we did to the truck all weekend long did anything to change it," Bodine said. "It was too tight when we unloaded it Thursday and it was too tight when we put it back into the trailer Friday night -- but at least we put it back in there in one piece so we'll be able to work on it, and try to make it better.
"But it was pushing so badly we never could get any speed out of it, and that made it really hard to compete."
While his ThorSport teammates, point leader Matt Crafton and current sixth-place holder Johnny Sauter, mostly danced around in the top 10 in all three practices, Bodine struggled to get out of the 20s, which was an issue that continued in Friday afternoon's qualifying session, when he clocked the 32nd-best lap.
"I think there's just something wrong with the chassis, because we even tried to run the same set-up as Matt," Bodine said of Crafton's No. 88 Fisher Nuts / Menards Tundra, which came on at the end Friday for a fourth-place finish that extended Crafton's points lead to 22 over Jeb Burton. "But when we did, our truck didn't run as good as Matt's was, so that made us think something was wrong with it, so we'll have to figure it out."
One thing Bodine didn't have to think much about during the race occurred at lap 95, when the veteran Ron Hornaday had a tire go down on the backstretch. When Hornaday got to Turn 3 that caused his truck to go straight up the banking, where it wrecked two rookies, Ryan Blaney and Jake Crum. Bodine, who was a few car lengths behind that pair, knew what to do.
"I saw it coming and I knew what was happening," Bodine said. "I saw the truck sparking and I knew he wasn't gonna make the corner. Those guys were trying to go around him (on the high side) but I knew I wanted to go below him, because of it."
Crum was eliminated and Blaney, who had one of the fastest trucks all weekend, was knocked outside the top 20.
Charlotte was the first of five races this season in which Bodine and Prince couldn't find a competitive set-up with which to alter their truck. But it still has Bodine looking forward to the series' next race, which opens with two practice sessions at Dover International Speedway on Thursday, May 30.
Sauter, who had rebounded to fifth place with 31 laps to go after nearly going a lap down due to a lengthy pit stop to open the No. 98 Carolina Nut Co. / Curb Records Toyota's hood to make a severe chassis adjustment, was knocked out of the race on the 115th lap when defending series champion James Buescher ran into the back of Sauter's truck exiting Turn 4 and knocked it into the outside wall.
Sauter crossed the start/finish line, then limped the truck through the quarter-mile short track on Charlotte's frontstretch and directly into the garage area to retire with extensive damage.
The poor finish broke a string of four consecutive top-five finishes -- including winning the first two races of the season -- by Sauter and his team. Even worse, it dropped him from a tie for second in the standings, 13 points behind ThorSport Racing teammate Matt Crafton, to sixth, 37 points behind.
Sauter had practiced fairly well, turning 75 laps in the three sessions spread across Thursday and Friday. But in qualifying he was the middle of three ThorSport Toyotas, lining up two spots, in 16th, behind Crafton, who was 14th. They were well ahead of teammate Todd Bodine, who started 32nd.
Sauter actually started 15th when rookie German Quiroga, who qualified 10th, had to drop to the rear of the field on the pace laps, for the start. But Sauter was unable to advance very far before he began dropping back before he made a pit stop under the second yellow, at lap 28, when his crew, led by a pair of interim crew chiefs, 2013 truck chief Jesse Saunders and Dan LeMasters, who had served as Sauter's truck chief for Sauter's first four years with ThorSport, made their major front-end adjustment.
Sauter fell back to 28th for the restart at lap 30, but it appeared to make his truck much better. Sauter drove back into the top 10 in less than 40 laps, and remained there until a restart at lap 109, with 25 laps remaining.
Sauter was fifth under that yellow flag but on the restart the field shuffled-up and Sauter got caught in the middle of a three-wide scrum in which he made contact with Dakoda Armstrong's truck on his right and Darrell Wallace Jr.'s truck on his left. Armstrong then appeared to move down onto Sauter's truck, which caused it to lose control and pinch into Buescher's truck, which was on the outside in the next row.
Less than five laps later, Buescher drove into the back of Sauter and ended his race. Sauter, when he was in fifth, was in a position to retake the championship lead he'd lost to Crafton, who was then running 18th. Buescher went on to finish sixth and is unofficially fifth in the standings, six points ahead of Sauter.
The Truck Series is now off for 12 days until it resumes at Dover International Speedway, with practice on Thursday, May 30.
Matt Crafton only finished fourth in Friday night's North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, but he extended his lead in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series' championship standings by nine points in the process.
Friday night's event was only the fifth of 22 this season, but later this year Crafton and crew chief Carl "Junior" Joiner might look back on Charlotte -- a track at which Crafton scored his eighth consecutive top-10 finish even while he registered his fifth consecutive top-10 this season -- and realize it was "a championship night."
Crafton was a lap down twice during the 201-mile race, but used sharp pit work, crisp aggression on a couple restarts and a solid No. 88 Fisher Nuts / Menards Toyota fielded by ThorSport Racing to unofficially widen his points lead to 22 over rookie Jeb Burton.
At one point in the last third of the race, as the trucks ran Crafton's ThorSport teammate Johnny Sauter would've taken over the point lead if the race had ended then. But Sauter got wrecked by another competitor and finished 28th, and his points deficit to his teammate -- 13 points coming into the race -- is now 37.
Crafton actually took the green flag in 13th after rookie German Quiroga, who was supposed to start 10th, went to the rear on the pace laps for making unapproved adjustments after he wrecked on his second lap in qualifying.
But Crafton's initial run to third just after one-third distance was strong, his pit crew gained him a spot on his first visit to the service alley and despite losing one lap when he was caught out during a green-flag pit cycle interrupted by the race's third caution flag, Crafton did some hard-charging on restarts -- particularly after he had a flat tire in the second half of the race.
"We got a lap down (caught by the yellow) and we got the wave-around," Crafton said of getting his first lap back. "Then we got the right-rear (tire) flat on the wave-around so we got another lap downhaving to pit under green."
But Crafton never gave up, and neither did Joiner and his team.
"We stayed focused and we just never gave up," Joiner said. "We never give up because Matt never gives up on us. And putting in the effort we do is easy because we've got a bad-ass wheel-man."
For Crafton, the feeling is surely mutual. Through the mid-portion of the race, when the sparks from some of the eight cautions were flying, he tried to lay low. But when Crafton allowed another youngster, Ross Chastain, to out-position him for the free pass with 39 laps left, Crafton knew he had to turn up the proverbial wick.
"I finally got back on the lead lap with about 20 to go and drove back to fourth, so it was not a bad night," Crafton said. "That's a championship team right there. We didn't make a ton of changes, but all the adversity we fought through... It was just awesome.
"This Menards Tundra was so good -- I just wish we had some track position right there so we could have actually worked on it rather than digging ourselves out of the hole with all our laps down."
But in the end, Crafton said he wouldn't really have changed too much about his night.
"That's just Charlotte," he said of the advantages he was able to gain on several green flags -- such as five spots on the first lap of the race or the next-to-last restart with 14 laps remaining where he started 12th and was eighth after one lap. "Charlotte is just so awesome. In Turns 1 and 2 you can run through there wide open (but) everybody would get loose under each other and it's chaos.
"I just had to try to be smart (because) I knew they were going to keep busting their butts. I was just trying to be cautious and the 19 (Chastain) got by me for the (free pass) so I was like, 'OK, I can't do this anymore, I just have to go.'
"I can't thank all these guys enough for how hard they work."
Crafton, who with wife Ashley became first-time parents on April 26, six days after he won the Truck Series' last race, at Kansas, now has 12 days to enjoy daughter Elladee before he has to be back on track at Dover International Speedway on Thursday, May 30.
Winless in his last seven starts in NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series, Kyle Busch broke what was for him a major drought with a victory in Friday night’s North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch charged from the back of the field after a pit road penalty to win in the series for the first time since Sept. 24, 2011 at New Hampshire. The victory was Busch’s fifth at Charlotte and the 31st of his career in 107 starts.
Brendan Gaughan ran second, .468 seconds behind Busch, with the race decided in an eight-lap green-flag run to the finish after the eighth caution of the night. Max Gresham finished a career-best third, followed by series leader Matt Crafton and Ty Dillon.
Busch had led 66 laps by the time Tyler Young’s spin caused the fourth caution of the race on Lap 82. On a fuel-only pit stop under yellow on Lap 84, Busch drew a penalty for dragging his gas can out of the pit stall and restarted on Lap 88 at the rear of the field.
Undeterred, Busch carved his way through the field and had just taken over the seventh position when hard contact between the trucks of Ron Hornaday Jr. and Jake Crum—after Hornaday cut his right front tire--brought out the fifth caution on Lap 94.
After a spate of cautions, Busch finally regained the lead, passing Miguel Paludo for the top spot a lap before a pair of simultaneous wrecks caused caution No. 8 on Lap 122. A crash near the front of the field eliminated Darrell Wallace Jr. and damaged the truck of Brad Keselowski.
Todd Peck isn't about to let arthritis slow him down. As a matter of fact, he plans on going faster than ever in 2013. He announced today that he will return to drive his family-owned Peck Motorsports No. 40 Arthritis Foundation Chevrolet Silverado in a limited NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule. His truck was unveiled in conjunction with the Mid-Atlantic Region of the Arthritis Foundation at OrthoCarolina. Peck, who was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis at a young age, will continue using his racing platform to show everyone that you can still live an active and fast-paced life with the condition.
"Everyone at Peck Motorsports is extremely excited about the season ahead," Peck said. "We're more prepared than ever before. Now that we have enough Truck Series races under our belt to assess our program, I feel like we have a much better idea of our strengths and weaknesses. We've targeted the areas that need improvement and have been hard at work to correct those. I think everything we do on the track and off of the track will be a step above last season. I'm really looking forward to getting back and showing how far we've come.
Peck will continue his association with the Arthritis Foundation in 2013. As someone who faces the daily struggles of arthritis, Peck wanted to inspire others with the condition to live an active, healthy lifestyle. He reached out to the foundation during his inaugural Truck Series season in 2011. Through the partnership, he's helped bring national attention to arthritis through the foundation's branding on his truck, as well as speaking at several arthritis conventions across the country. He's also hosted numerous children with the condition and their families at race events.
"The Arthritis Foundation is pleased to continue our partnership with Todd Peck in 2013," said Stephani Tucker, Arthritis Foundation Director of Development, Mid-Atlantic Region. "Todd has been a great example to others with arthritis. We appreciate all he does to bring awareness to the condition. He and his NASCAR team have been a great partner of the Arthritis Foundation and we look forward to another great year together."
The truck Peck will pilot throughout 2013 was revealed at the OrthoCarolina office on Randolph Road in Charlotte, N.C., where its sports medicine center is housed. On hand were several physicians, patients and race fans.
Peck Motorsports PR
Johnny Sauter feels like last year's North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway was a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race that he and his ThorSport Racing team let get away in 2012.
So Friday night, the driver of ThorSport's No. 98 Carolina Nut Co. / Curb Records Toyota wants to set that record straight.
"I'm always optimistic -- any track we go to -- and I felt like we had the truck to beat at Charlotte last year," Sauter said. "We were running second and running the leader down by two-tenths (of a second) a lap and the fuel pump died. So that was kind of a bummer."
Sauter's record at Charlotte is a classic example of the numbers not reflecting how well he's competed. His best finish in four starts came in 2011 -- the year he narrowly lost the Truck Series' championship to Austin Dillon -- when he started seventh, finished sixth and led the only nine laps he's led in a truck at Charlotte.
"We've run well at Charlotte, even though I guess for me and the team it's not been one of our best racetracks, as far as the numbers go," Sauter said. "But I'm always optimistic, like I said. We're going around in circles for a living -- how much more do you need?"
Sauter and the series have been off since April 20 -- nearly four weeks ago -- when he scored his fourth top-five finish of the season at Kansas Speedway, the only Truck Series competitor to achieve that feat this season. That has Sauter sitting 13 points behind ThorSport teammate Matt Crafton's team, tied for second in the standings with rookie Jeb Burton.
That's the second time in its 18-year history ThorSport's held the top two spots in the standings, which occurred for the first time 45 races ago, when Crafton and Sauter were one-two following the May 2011 Dover race.
"I've been racing in the Truck Series long enough that you kind of get used to the breaks in the schedule, but a few years ago it used to drive me insane," Sauter said this week. "But it's all good and I'm kind of glad to have a little bit of time in between events. But I'm ready to go at Charlotte."
In light of that, Sauter appreciated NASCAR selecting Charlotte as the site of one of two open practice days scheduled in conjunction with 2013 race weekends. Thirty-eight Truck Series teams opened the Charlotte weekend Thursday.
"The test was good, because I don't think you'll ever find a competitor that doesn't want extra track time," Sauter said of the 75 laps he turned in practice. "We had a chance to try some different stuff that you typically don't get to try on a given race weekend, because there's not a lot of practice time."
But one thing Sauter won't waste too much time doing is stressing over the points.
"It's way too early to even be thinking about the championship," said Sauter, who won the first two races of the season. "Even when we had the point lead, that's cool when you get it, but there's such a long way to go -- 18 races -- so I can tell you that I don't race any differently in light of the points.
"At this point, I don't think your mentality changes at all. If we were 14 races into the season instead of four that might change a little, but right now, even though we've come out of the gate pretty good there are probably some teams that haven't hit their stride yet, and we have to look out for them every race we go to. We've been on both sides of that and I know how fast things can get turned upside-down so four races in is just too early to be thinking about it.
"Maintaining a high level of performance is always a challenge. You rarely see a guy dominate from the beginning to the end of the year. You'll see guys get on a hot streak, but rarely do they do it all year long. We've just got to keep racing hard, and it's no different for us than it is for anybody else. You've just got to go out and be smart and make good choices on the racetrack and ultimately try to get the best finish that you can. But every race carries the same points and every race is important."
Charlotte's especially important to most of the teams in the series due to the surrounding area's status as the sport's hub. Sauter, a long-time Charlotte-area resident, acknowledges that even though he declares "my heart's still in Wisconsin and always will be."
"I think everybody looks at Charlotte as one of those events that it would be really cool to come out and do really well in, because for most of these teams it's their home base and they have a lot of support," Sauter said. "For ThorSport, being based in Ohio it's great to see the support that Matt and Todd (Bodine, No. 13 Mattei Toyota driver) and I get from the fans, no matter where we go."
Sauter's scheduled to go out 27th in the 38-truck qualifying session that begins at 4 p.m. ET Friday, with live coverage on the SPEED Channel.
The North Carolina Education Lottery 200, the season's fifth race, is 134 laps and 201 miles and scheduled for an 8 p.m. start, with live television on SPEED, beginning with "The Set-Up" pre-race show at 7:30. MRN Radio has live radio coverage, also beginning at 7:30.