Camping World Series News (1658)
Camping World Truck Series News
As one of a few teen-aged drivers in last Saturday's SFP 250 at the Kansas Speedway, Max Gresham knows experience and respect will not come easily. That was a lesson delivered the hard way in a 25th-place finish.
Gresham, 19, tied his career-best by qualifying ninth for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) race. He fell back to 25th following a collision on pit road, but he rallied back to be in the top five on Lap 95.
The comeback ended seven laps later when his No. 8 Made In USA Brand (MIUSA) Chevrolet Silverado was forced into the outside wall by a ten-year veteran of the series.
"We battled back from some early issues on pit road to be a contender," Gresham said. "To have it end that way was really disappointing. When you're young you try to give everyone around you a lot of respect. I guess you can't always earn respect; you have to demand it."
Despite the finish, Eddie Sharp Racing (ESR) left Kansas with a sense of accomplishment. Gresham was fourth-fastest in the first of two practice sessions, and he was eighth in final session.
His truck sustained damage to the right-front fender on the first pit stop of the day when he collided with Tim George Jr. on pit road. The team made two additional pit stops during caution period (laps15 - 19) to make repairs.
"I'm just fighting them (other competitors)," Gresham reported during in-car communication with his team. "We still have a lot more speed than these other guys."
After recovering from the incident on pit road, the Milner, Ga., native put his red, white and blue machine comfortably in the top 20. Throughout the early part of the day the team used cautions to continue to work on the damaged fender.
As green flag pit stops started around Lap 70, Showalter's strategy to gain track position with fuel mileage paid off with a lucky break. Just before making his green flag pit stop the yellow flag waved and Gresham was able to pit under caution gaining valuable track position.
"This race team faced a lot of adversity, but we bounced back to be a contender," said Showalter. "In the long run, that's something that will help us. We may be upset by the way things ended, bringing home a wrecked truck, but we came here ready to race. That's something we'll remember most from the weekend."
On Lap 98 another competitor ran Gresham up the track to make contact with the wall, which drew no caution flag for the incident. He brought his battered No.8 Chevrolet to pit road before taking it behind the wall.
Gresham finished 25th while only completing 99 laps.
Nonetheless, Gresham moved up two spots in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series standings. He's 19th heading into his next race, the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 17.
"We've got time to get over what happened at Kansas," Gresham said. "It was fun to have a fast truck and to race up front. It's a lesson every young driver has to learn -- who you can race with and who you can't. I've also learned that from now on we won't simply ask for respect; we will demand it."
Max Gresham PR
Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Brennan Newberry had a good solid run going in the No. 14 Hy-Vee Silverado with a new sponsor and special message #PrayersforBoston on board as he raced with a heavy heart for the people of Boston. After starting from the 17th spot in the SFP 250 at Kansas Speedway, Newberry had a fast handling truck and worked his way up into the 9th position, before a late race incident ended his day early and he posted a 20th place finish.
With a newly paved track, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) officials scheduled a longer practice for drivers to gain a better feel for the track and the handling of their trucks on this new surface. Under cloudy skies and 36-degree weather, Newberry in the Hy-Vee Silverado took to the track for the first practice and posted the fastest time on the track during his third run. He worked with spotter Rick Carelli to find the best line around the mile-and-a-half oval, as he worked on running laps in clean air and in traffic. Newberry ended first practice 11th after running 59 laps.
The temperature warmed up a little for second practice. Newberry drove only a few laps before getting into the marbles and slapping the right side of the truck against the wall in the middle of turns three and four. The No. 14 Hy-Vee crew, with the help of the No. 9 (teammate) crewmembers went to work repairing the truck. The NTS teams were able to get the No. 14 fixed and back on track with 15 minutes left in final practice. Newberry immediately radioed the crew that everything felt good with the truck and it was ready to qualify.
The trucks qualified under conditions unlike what they practiced in as they had sunny skies and warmer temperatures. Newberry took the No. 14 Hy-Vee Chevrolet out 21st for his qualifying lap and laid down a lap of 30.812, securing him a Top 20 starting position.
Newberry strapped into the No. 14 Hy-Vee Chevrolet and took the green flag from the 17th position. Immediately, Carelli called to his driver to keep the momentum going, as Newberry had a good fast truck. However, that run slowed, as the first of 11 cautions came out on Lap 15. Newberry radioed to crew chief, Eddie Pardue that the truck was free. Pardue called him down pit road for fuel only and a quick track bar adjustment. The trucks made only five more laps before the second caution flag flew. Newberry restarted in the 12th position after the third caution and began a good run when another caution flag few for an accident in turn 4.
During this caution, Newberry stacked up and bumped the right rear of the truck in front of him. Worried about the damage, Pardue called Newbery down pit road where the Hy-Vee crew surveyed the damage of the left front fender, filled the No. 14 full of fuel and sent him back out. Newberry restarted 20th but had to serve a pass through penalty for passing to the left on the restart, which then put him a lap down.
On lap 92, Newberry came back down pit road during a caution for four tires and fuel. When he returned to the track however, he felt like he had a loose wheel and had to bring the No. 14 back down pit road for four new tires.
The Hy-Vee team would endure approximately 50 laps and another caution before getting to return to the lead lap with the “lucky dog” pass. Once he was back on the lead lap, Newberry began driving back through the field and broke into the top ten before making a quick stop for fuel only.
Newberry’s strong Top 10 day would take a turn for the worse, when the No. 13 of Todd Bodine would use the side draft to send Newberry and the No. 14 Hy-Vee truck spinning. Newberry collected Bodine in the accident, damaging both trucks beyond repair and would finish in the 20th position.
“Honestly I can’t believe how great this NTS crew is, so first off, I have to thank them for all of their hard work. We have had to battle through some adversity this week, as we had a fast truck, hit the wall in practice and repaired the right side. During the race, we got a penalty for a re-start and lost a lap, had moved back into the top ten, and then got involved in a late race incident. It’s racing, but man it’s tough when we want to be competitive and do well every race.”
“This was one of my best races on a mile and a half track. Every week I keep learning and keep doing the best I can. We’ll take a few weeks off then come back and continue to build on our mile and a half program at Charlotte.”
NTS Motorsports PR
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) Champion, Ron Hornaday, Jr., was in championship form this weekend at Kansas Speedway for the SFP 250, driving from three laps down to finish ninth, tallying his third Top 10 of the season.
Hornaday and the No. 9 Smokey Mountain Chevrolet took to the track for the first practice on Friday, under unfavorable conditions as they dealt with major cloud cover, high winds and below normal temperatures. NASCAR gave the trucks additional time in the first practice for drivers to test their trucks on the newly paved Kansas Speedway. Hornaday and crew chief, Bruce Cook used the first part of this practice to get the nose and splitter of the truck on the ground, to gain more down force and control. Once they got the Chevrolet Silverado dialed in, Cook and crew used the remaining portion of this practice to scuff the tires for race day, as they learned the truck got “crazy loose” with new tires under it. Hornaday would finish the first practice tenth.
Second practice began a few hours later with temperatures warming up only a few degrees. The crew focused on making changes to the truck that mimicked race conditions, as the temperatures and track conditions during the race would be similar to this practice. Hornaday logged 34 laps in second practice and finished in the 13th position.
On Saturday morning, under sunny skies and friendlier temperatures, Hornaday took to the track 24th for his qualifying effort and laid down a lap of 30.771. The 2011 NCWTS Champion, James Buescher would later run a lap of 30.285, claiming the pole and relegating Hornaday to start from row seven.
The green flag for the SFP 250 flew around 1:18 p.m. CT with Hornaday starting from the back of the field. The No. 9 Smokey Mountain crew made an unapproved change to the truck after qualifying so Hornaday gave up his 13th place starting position. A few laps in, Hornaday’s spotter Bob Jeffrey, told him he was running really good lap times, but Hornaday didn’t get much of a chance to use those lap times to move forward as the first caution came out on lap 15. Driver of the No. 9 Smokey Mountain Chevrolet radioed his crew saying the truck was just starting to come to him when the caution came out. Cook told his driver to take care of his tires, as they were only coming down for fuel during this first pit stop.
As the second caution flag flew, Hornaday radioed to the crew he was really free. Cook reassured him that once the tires warmed up, the truck would come to him. The field would only stay green for three more laps before another caution came out. Hornaday kept the No. 9 Smokey Mountain Chevrolet on the track while other trucks pitted, moving him up to the 11th position.
As the fourth caution flew, Hornaday decided to stay out gaining more track position, where he would restart fourth and in just a few laps, move into second. By lap 51, Hornaday radioed the crew that he got tight when running behind people, as he continued logging laps as fast as the leaders. As Hornaday ran around in the top five, he began trying new lines and knew he had a good Chevrolet Silverado under him.
Under the green flag, Hornaday came in for four tires and fuel. Unfortunately, NASCAR’s computer data determined the No.9 Truck was too fast entering the pits, and had to come back down pit road to serve a pass through penalty. As Hornaday returned to pit road to serve his pass through penalty, he radioed to the team that he may have a wheel loose, and stopped in his pit stall for the No. 9 crew to check the tires. In doing so, the No. 9 had not served their penalty and had to come back down pit road for the third time under the green flag. Although Hornaday was listed three laps down in the 20th position, the NTS Motorsports team did not give up.
As cautions continued to fly the rest of the day, Hornaday was able to move through the field into the 17th position and eventually gained the “lucky dog” spot during caution number nine. After another quick stop for four-tires and fuel, the No. 9 was back on the lead lap and running in 12th position. As the final caution came out on lap 140, Hornaday radioed to the crew that he had another bad vibration. Cook told him to hang on and let the tires warm up. With 25 laps to go, Hornaday finally found the Top 10 again and ran wide open for the final laps settling for a ninth place finish.
“Bruce (Cook) and Bob (Jeffery) did a lot to keep me pumped up with all of the cautions from this race. It’s amazing how fast we were going. We were wide open, never lifting for most of the green flag laps then something happened towards the end (of the race) and we lost the speed.”
“I’m not happy with a ninth place finish but it’s (the truck) in one piece so we can learn from it and try and beat these guys at the rest of the mile and a half races.”
NTS Motorsports PR
Clay Rogers edged J.P. Morgan on a green-white-checkered finish Saturday night to score his second CARS X-1R Pro Cup Series win of the season. The win at Hickory was Rogers’ third series win at the track of his career, and moved him into a tie for second with Benny Gordon on the all time wins list with thirty-two. J.P. Morgan looked to be back to his championship form bring home a second place finish followed by Tyler Young who overcame being a lap down early on to finish third.
“This was a lot tougher to get here tonight than it was last time in Dillon. I thought J.P. (Morgan) was going to get us there on that second to last restart, but I was able to get around him and thought we had it won and the yellow came out when we were going through in three and four. So I had to do my best to hold him off one more time and we did,” stated Rogers in victory lane at the Hickory Motor Speedway. “I have to thank L & R Racing for giving me this opportunity to come back to the Pro Cup Series and race for wins again. It’s pretty cool to be able to share these moments with my daughter, wife, and everyone that came out to support us tonight close to home.”
It took two occasions for Clay to make his way to the lead before eventually winning the Catawba Valley 250. The Mooresville, NC driver could only muster a sixth place starting position behind youngster #66 Reid Wilson who would lead the field to green after grabbing the MAHLE pole position during series qualifying. His reign at the peak position didn’t even last a lap as series sophomore Dalton Hopkins grabbed the lead as the field exited off of turn two with J.P. Morgan in tow. That quickly translated into Morgan showing his strength early taking the lead on lap twelve.
Several battles throughout the field were mere highlights compared to the one for the lead. Veteran racer and defending series champion J.P. Morgan raced side-by-side for multiple laps with rookie Wilson all the while Clay Rogers had made it to their back bumper. Rogers played his cards right on lap thirty-three taking advantage of the two’s mistake racing hard against one another resulting in both machines sliding up the track in turn three and putting Rogers in position to take the lead.
The first major incident of the night occurred on lap fifty-eight when #33 Stacy Puryear dive bombed the field body slamming the #62 machine of Andrew Smith, while in the sixth position, sending him spinning and stacking up the rest of the field behind his. Richard Gould, making his first start of the season, got the worst end of the deal suffering major cosmetic damage as the result. All drivers were able to continue, and so would green flag racing until the competition caution yellow on lap 125 allowing teams to pit for tires and fuel.
The results of the series redraw of the top eight drivers at the event’s halfway point put eighth place man Andrew Smith to the lead and Roush Yates Performance Products halfway leader Clay Rogers to sixth to take the green on lap 126.
It didn’t take long for action to heat up on track as Lucas Ransone, a former Rookie of the Year in the series, got squeezed into the outside wall by Hopkins passing for the second position on lap 129. The damage caused Ransone’s #00 machine to cut a tire the following turn slamming the outside wall ending what looked to be a good night.
With Smith continuing to lead out front, it was Rogers once again stealing the show as he sliced his way through the field on the outside groove finally making his way past Andrew Smith’s #62 ride on lap 162. With laps winding down drivers began to make bids for position resulting in yellow flag fever over the final twenty-five laps. Solo spins by Puryear and Smith due to contact on two different occasions slowed the field taking away any chances of a podium finish for either of the two.
The spin by Andrew Smith on lap 246 setup a green-white-checkered sprint to the finish to decide the race winner. Rogers and Morgan lead the field to green with J.P. getting too good of a jump for series officials likings, forcing the defending champion to give the position back to Rogers. Just as he did the yellow flag flew for the spinning the #41 machine of Skewes forcing a second green-white-checkered shootout. This time with the two dominate cars of the evening side-by-side it was all Rogers whose car handled beautifully through the turns in route to the checkered flag.
CARS X-1R Pro Cup Series PR
The SFP 250 race weekend proved eventful for 20 year old La Grange, MO native Justin Jennings, as he made his debut on NASCAR's mile and a half tracks in the LG Seeds / Mittler Brothers Machine & Tool Chevy Silverado.
"We made a ton of changes to the LG SEEDS Chevy in practice and we got a lot quicker," said Jennings, who saw his speeds rise from 158 MPH to just over 172 MPH by the time practice was over.
After being featured during SPEED Channel's coverage of qualifying, Jennings was strapped into the truck and set to make his attempt when another truck blew an engine, spreading oil on the track. Not only would Jennings have to wait out the delay and re-focus his attention to his run, but the track was now covered in the residue of the oil dry from the clean up crew.
"Somebody told me that one of the announcers, I think it was Michael Waltrip, said that he wouldn't want to be me since I was the first one out to qualify after the 21's engine let go," grinned Jennings. He went on to start the SFP 250 in 27th position.
It didn't take long for the action on the track to get out of control. The race saw a total of 11 cautions, including three caused by wrecks that occurred right in Jennings' path. Noted team owner Mike Mittler, "There were a few of those cautions that could have very easily taken Justin and the LG SEEDS Chevy out. Fortunately, this kid has great instincts and made it through just fine. Even when the truck got loose and spun, Justin kept it under control and we were able to get back out on the track and come home in 18th. I can't say enough about what a great job Justin did in his first start on a mile and a half track."
By races' end, Jennings had moved the LG SEEDS Chevy into 18th, the best finish of his three NCWTS starts. "This was a great day," said Jennings. "All of our goals for the weekend were achieved and we were able to get some exposure for LG SEEDS and raise awareness for Eagle Rock Camp. You can't ask for more than that."
MB Motorsports PR
Todd Bodine's ThorSport Racing team has shown the potential all season to join teammates Johnny Sauter and Matt Crafton in the top five of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series' standings.
In fact, Sauter and Crafton are currently one-two in the series standings, a first in ThorSport's 18-year history.
But on Saturday a rookie's mistake in the SFP 250 at Kansas Speedway knocked Bodine's No. 13 SealMaster Toyota down the finishing order to 21st, and Bodine two positions back in the unofficial point standings, to 16th.
For the second consecutive week, crew chief Jeriod Prince and Bodine had executed a strategy that appeared to place Bodine in position to score at least a top-10 finish -- aided at Kansas by a yellow flag in the middle of a green-flag pit cycle at half-distance that momentarily left Bodine as one of only six trucks on the lead lap.
From there, Prince and Bodine -- who improved from practice to start 10th, putting all three ThorSport trucks in the top 10 at the green flag -- had engineered their fuel strategy and track position to be in the best position possible at the finish, much as they had at the last race, at Rockingham, where Bodine spun on a restart after a tire change and finished 32nd, knocking him out of the top 10 in the standings.
But on lap 121 at Kansas, just three laps after a restart for the eighth of 11 cautions that used up nearly a third of the race, Bodine went into Turns 1 and 2 on the outside of rookie Brennan Newberry's Chevrolet, which earlier in the day had been flat-sided when Newberry made a mistake on his qualifying run.
Newberry lost control of his truck, it moved up the racetrack and knocked Bodine into a heavy contact with the outside wall. When Bodine's truck slid down the banking it was struck by innocent bystander Bryan Silas, who was running on the apron as he tried to miss the wreck. That impact virtually tore the front off Bodine's Tundra and speared it into the outside wall for another heavy impact.
Bodine's truck, which was borrowed from race-winning ThorSport teammate Crafton's squad, was destroyed. The veteran, two-time Truck Series champion Bodine was beyond disappointed, but still able to display his mentoring demeanor when he discussed the incident outside the infield care center.
"Brennan got loose and it's just one of those things in racing," Bodine said. "I think what we really need here is a lot more side force in these trucks so that we absolutely cannot run side-by-side. It's hard enough with the side force we've got -- the way the aerodynamics are, right now.
"A guy like Brennan, he's a great kid and he's got a great future -- he's a good driver -- but I didn't even pinch him down and it sucked him around. That's what happens in these trucks. Unfortunately, a kid like Brennan doesn't have a lot of experience and he arced it way into the corner expecting it to stick like it would every other lap and when somebody is outside of you it just doesn't and you get sucked around.
"We need to work on aerodynamics on these things and take some side force off so we can run side-by-side."
Bodine currently sits 16th in the championship but he's still a reachable 19 points outside the top 10. Owner Duke Thorson dropped to 18th in the owners' standings due to a number of trucks around the No. 13 in the standings using multiple drivers.
Kansas, unfortunately, was a case of what might have been, once again.
"I hope Duke and Rhonda Thorson (team owners) are still up on this whole thing," Bodine said. "It's been tough -- wrecked (April 14) at Rockingham and wrecked again this week. We had a great truck though.
"That thing, it was so good through the corner and stable. We were just biding our time and trying to position ourselves right -- we had enough fuel right there and we were going to make it to the end (but) we just didn't get there."
The series is off until round five, at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Friday, May 17 as part of the Sprint All-Star Race weekend. Bodine hasn't won at Charlotte, but 13 of his 22 career Truck Series wins have come on mile-and-a-half tracks.
Johnny Sauter's ThorSport Racing team showed a true champion's resilience this weekend at Kansas Speedway as, despite having no qualifying or drafting practice on one of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series' fastest racetracks, Sauter qualified and finished in the top five.
Sauter's fifth-place finish Saturday in the SFP 250 in his No. 98 Carolina Nut Co. / Curb Records Toyota, behind race-winning teammate Matt Crafton's No. 88 Ideal Door / Menards Tundra, put ThorSport into a one-two position in the championship for the first time in the organization's 18-year history -- with Sauter currently 12 points clear of Crafton.
The likelihood of Sauter contending looked bleak when he missed a shift leaving pit road on his sixth lap in Happy Hour Friday, over-revving the engine and breaking a valve spring. The breakage necessitated an engine change and on account of that, Sauter's first lap on the racetrack with the new Triad Engine Technologies powerplant was in qualifying -- less than three hours before the green flag.
"We struggled all day and it's probably a product of not getting any practice when I missed that shift," Sauter said after persevering into fifth -- despite falling a lap down when a caution flew during a green-flag pit cycle just before halfway. "Getting a top-five finish at the end of it all is a real credit to ThorSport and my guys -- we'll take it."
As qualifying opened on a sunny, but crisp morning that outcome didn't look likely. But Sauter's lap as the 32nd of 36 trucks on the racetrack established a track record and momentarily put Sauter on the pole. After James Buescher took the pole as the last truck out, Sauter lined up fourth.
Through the early stages of the race, Sauter battled a loose truck and, although he said he was having a hard time in traffic, was repeatedly able to drive toward the front.
"We just had a mechanical problem and I was loose just by myself," Sauter said. "When there's only one-and-a-half grooves and the trucks are wider than that then it can get hairy. It takes a lot of give-and-take and there wasn't a lot of that (Saturday)."
With 11 cautions during the race, Sauter both dodged a few close calls and was involved in one when another competitor changed lanes and hit Sauter, much like what had occurred in his winning effort at Martinsville.
During the pit cycle midway through the race, which initially left both Sauter and Crafton a lap down until they were able to take a "wave-around" before a restart to get back on the lead lap, crew chief Joe Shear Jr. continued to make adjustments until he made his final critical adjustments on their last stop, with 59 laps remaining.
On that restart Crafton was 11th and Sauter, 12th. They both were able to move forward -- particularly Crafton, who capped a great restart at lap 137, which prompted Sauter to say on his in-truck radio, "helluva restart by Crafton -- how was he able to do that?" by making a stunning third-to-first move to take the lead one lap later.
On the final restart, with 25 laps left, Crafton was leading and Sauter was fifth, which he maintained to the finish to ensure he'd remain in the championship lead.
The series is off until round five, at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Friday, May 17 as part of the Sprint All-Star Race weekend. Sauter has won five of his eight Truck Series victories on 1.5-mile racetracks, such as Charlotte is.
Matt Crafton was badly off-the-pace in Happy Hour practice Friday at Kansas Speedway, but his confidence in crew chief Carl "Junior" Joiner and his ThorSport Racing crew was so great, Crafton said he was sure his team could dream up a set-up that would give them a chance at success with their No. 88 Ideal Door / Menards Toyota in Saturday's SFP 250.
About 20 hours later, Crafton and Joiner's dream came true in Gatorade Victory Lane, as Crafton celebrated his third career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory -- and the 12th career victory for ThorSport in its 18th year in the series.
"I can't thank Menards enough, Toyota -- and (owners) Duke and Rhonda Thorson. Doing it out of Sandusky, Ohio -- everybody said (running a race team away from the Charlotte, N.C., area) can't be done -- and we're making fools out of all the ones that said it can't be done."
With the victory, ThorSport kept alive its streak of being the top-finishing Toyota in all four races this season.
"It's huge," Crafton said amidst a confetti-strewn scene littered with spent Gatorade bottles. "Yesterday we were 18th on-average in the second practice and we were a 20th-place truck at best, to be honest."
That was when Crafton made his dream-world comment -- and in the 17-odd hours that followed, Joiner and his boys made the dream come true.
"They changed so much on this truck -- you always hear people say it, but they changed four springs, sway bar, sway bar arms -- I mean tons of stuff," Crafton said. "There's a bunch more stuff that they changed that would probably lose everybody, but they made a wholesale change and what that comes down to is teamwork and believing in each other and then going out there and doing it."
Crafton, who made his 298th consecutive Truck Series start -- extending the record he established a week before at Rockingham -- never led the race under green until he took the lead for the final time, at lap 138 of 167, with a spectacular third-to-first move on the backstretch.
Before that, he didn't seem to have a particularly competitive truck until Joiner worked his final bit of adjustable magic. Because once he got out front, Crafton seemed easily able to handle the Kyle Busch Motorsports duo of Joey Coulter and Darrell Wallace Jr., whom he passed in one stunning stroke, for the win.
"The show was so awesome -- it was a great race," Crafton said of the last dozen laps, when Coulter stalked Crafton, but could never get to his bumper. "My spotter told me where Joey was, and he had a very, very fast truck. I think track position was everything and it was whoever got out front."
At several points Crafton narrowly dodged becoming collateral damage in one of the 11 caution periods that occurred in the race. But that definitely didn't mean the outcome was gained easily, as Coulter stalked Crafton, waiting for a mistake that never came.
"I was driving 120 percent in those closing laps," Crafton said. "I knew (Coulter) was there and he had a very, very fast truck. It's awesome to race with Joey and I know that he wasn't going to be one of these drivers that was going to go in there and do anything stupid and run into the back of me or try to do a dive bomb and try to take me out or do anything like that.
"He's a great racecar driver as well. He could get a good run on me down the straightaway and suck me up in the draft and I just kept moving around down the straightaway just trying to break the draft so he couldn't get that run."
The win had an even bigger meaning for Joiner, who in his 26th race as a crew chief, made his biggest mark for ThorSport yet by scoring his first victory.
"It's my 26th race as a crew chief for ThorSport, I was born on June 26 and 26 was my grandfather's number, my dad's number -- it's a big deal in my family, the 26," an emotional Joiner said in Victory Lane. "So this is just really cool. I'm just so proud of the guys on this team, and I'm thankful for the opportunity Duke and Rhonda have given me."
Joiner has a West Coast company that builds racecar shock absorbers and through it has a lengthy history with Crafton -- including years spent building the shocks for Crafton's trucks before he relocated to Ohio to work with his team.
"I've known Matt for a long time, " Joiner said. "He's probably one of the best friends I've ever had and I'm proud of him, I'm proud of all these guys. From what we did (Friday), we've come so far... But we never throw in the towel, we never give up. I think I probably got less sleep (Friday) night than I did when my newborn son arrived.
"We threw everything at this thing and I'm pretty excited for this whole team. We have to thank John Menard, Paul (Menard) and all the people with Menards who are so cool to us and who have let us do this for so long. I hope we can do this for a long time and win a bunch of these things, because it feels so good."
Joiner's impact might be even more impressive via statistical analysis. Crafton's win broke a 39-race winless streak, but in the 40 races since he last won, at Iowa in July 2011, Crafton has 12 top-five and 25 top-10 finishes. That's championship-level consistency.
With the win, which made Crafton the 13th different winner in as many Truck Series races at Kansas, ThorSport's veteran leapfrogged rookie Jeb Burton and moved into second in the championship standings, 12 points behind ThorSport teammate Johnny Sauter, who finished fifth Saturday.
The series is off until round five, at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Friday, May 17 as part of the Sprint All-Star Race weekend. Crafton won at Charlotte in 2008 for his first series victory.
Tim George Jr. posted a best of the season 14th-place finish in the No. 5 Applebee’s Racing Wauters Motorsports Ford F150 Saturday at Kansas Speedway in the SFP 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race.
George qualified the Ford F150 in the 23rd-place position for the fourth Camping World Truck Series race of the season. He and his spotter, Tyler Green, worked diligently to avoid the numerous incidents on-track in the caution filled event, but couldn’t avoid a near catastrophe on pit road. The No. 8 truck, prematurely leaving his pit turned into the side of the No. 5 Wauters Motorsports truck as George entered his spinning the No. 5 sideways in his its pit. There were no injuries to the pit crew and little damage to the truck, but the team was relegated to a 28th-place restart on lap 27.
George advanced to the eighth-place position during green flag stops and pitted on lap 79 for four tires and fuel. Unfortunately, the No.5 Applebee’s Racing Ford F150 was nabbed by NASCAR officials for entering pit road too fast and had to serve a pass through penalty, putting the team a lap down.
George and the Wauters Motorsports NASCAR Camping World Truck Series persevered, finding their rhythm bringing home the first top-15 finish of the 2013 season. This will be George’s third top-20 finish with Wauters Motorsports after teaming up at the Series season opener in February.
“We had a decent run today at Kansas Speedway,” Tim George Jr. said. “We had really hoped for a top-10 this week and had to settle with 14th (place). The chemistry is working right, the pit stops have been great and we are advancing - showing we can run with these guys. Looking forward to Charlotte and seeing if we can get that top-10 then.”
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will return on Friday, May 17, 2013 for the running of the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Wauters Motorsports PR
It was a tough-luck weekend for Kyle Busch and his ToyotaCare Racing team. After changing engines twice in practice and losing valuable time preparing for the 167-lap race on the freshly paved 1.5-mile tri-oval at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Busch proved to have one of the strongest trucks in the field in the early stages of Saturday's SFP 250. After getting pinched early in the race and spinning through the grass to avoid contact, Kyle Busch Motorsports' (KBM) owner-driver rallied to lead 11 laps and appeared to be in line to compete for the win. He was making his way back through the field just past the halfway mark, when rookie German Quiorga got loose trying to make a pass to his inside into Turn 3, snapped loose and turned up into his former owner. The contact sent the No. 51 hard into the outside wall, destroying the team's hopes for its first win of 2013 along with a brand new Tundra.
"The guys on this No. 51 ToyotaCare Tundra team worked really hard all weekend and for not having a lot of practice time because of the engine changes, we had a really fast piece in the race -- we definitely were one of the trucks to beat, unfortunately our day ended early," Busch said. "Proud of the fight that Joey (Coulter) and that 18 team put up today and Darrell (Wallace Jr.) and his guys had a strong run as well."
After starting the race from the seventh position, the talented driver used the early stages of the event to get a feel for his truck. He remained in the seventh spot on lap 13 when he engaged in a side-by-side battle with Ty Dillon. Dillon used up all of the real estate and just before the two trucks were about to make contact, Busch cranked his wheel to the left and went spinning through the infield grass. Escaping the incident with no structural damage, but flat-spotting his tires, the Las Vegas native was forced to bring his No. 51 down pit road for four fresh tires and fuel.
Busch took the lap-19 restart from the 21st position, but slowly but surely maneuvered his way back towards the front of the field. After three cautions occurred over the next 20 laps, he had his No. 51 ToyotaCare Tundra up to the third spot for the lap-39 restart. By lap 50, he had advanced into the runner-up spot and began to reel in race leader James Buescher.
On lap 62, Busch made his way past Buescher and remained at the front of the field until he came down pit road for a scheduled stop on lap 73. Before the stop he had communicated to crew chief Rudy Fugle that his Toyota was "really good," so the over-the-wall crew administered a four-tire and fuel stop with no adjustments.
With cautions dominating the early stages of the race, many teams were on different pit strategies and Busch found himself a lap down when a caution occurred on lap 83. Fortunately, the Sprint Cup Series regular was in the "Lucky Dog" position and was able to take the lap-87 restart on the lead lap at the tail-end of the longest line, scored in the seventh position.
Busch advanced into the sixth position shortly after the restart, but got slightly loose as he made a bid to return to the top five. As he settled into his ToyotaCare Tundra and set his sights on moving forward, Quiroga dove to the inside of him entering Turn 2. The right front tire of Quiroga's Tundra turned into the left side of Busch's Toyota and sent the No. 51 spinning towards the wall. The rear end slammed the wall, followed by the front end and the team was forced to the garage for the remainder of the race and relegated to a 27th-place finish.
Matt Crafton picked up his first win of 2013 and the third of his career. KBM driver Joey Coulter, who led twice for 15 laps, finished 0.167 seconds behind Crafton in the runner-up position. Ryan Blaney, Brendan Gaughan and Johnny Sauter rounded out the top-five finishers. KBM's third entry, the No. 54 Liberty Tire Tundra of Darrell Wallace Jr., led twice for eight laps and came home with an eighth-place finish.
There were 11 caution periods for 52 laps. Ten drivers led a lap, exchanging the lead 18 times. Half of the 36-truck field failed to finish the race.
Busch and the No. 51 Toyota Racing team, who fell to eighth in the Truck Series owner point standings, will enjoy three weeks off before the Truck Series next event, the N.C. Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway on May 17. Live television coverage of the 134-lap event begins with the NCWTS Setup Show Friday at 8 p.m. ET on SPEED.