Keeping Pace

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series News And Notes – Kentucky

No. 81 One Eighty Toyota of Washington state native, Tayler Malsam. (Photo Credit: Getty Images for NASCAR)  (Chris Graythen / The Spokesman-Review)
No. 81 One Eighty Toyota of Washington state native, Tayler Malsam. (Photo Credit: Getty Images for NASCAR) (Chris Graythen / The Spokesman-Review)

Randy Moss Motorsports put the pieces together to head to the 2009 season opener in Daytona with veteran Mike Skinner (No. 5 Toyota) and Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender Tayler Malsam (No. 81 One-Eighty Toyota) as their drivers. After the season’s first 11 races, the team has accomplished a lot in very little time.

Courtesy: NASCAR Media Relations

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 13, 2009) The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will head to Kentucky Speedway this weekend where a veteran team will mark a new sort of anniversary, the one-year anniversary of team co-owner Randy Moss coming on board, transforming Morgan-Dollar Motorsports to Randy Moss Motorsports.

After Moss came on board, several drivers rotated in and out of the No. 81 truck. The team finished out the year 20th in the owners’ points standings.

As the 2009 season dawned, the team put the pieces together to head to Daytona with veteran Mike Skinner (No. 5 Toyota) and Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender Tayler Malsam (No. 81 One-Eighty Toyota) as their drivers. After the season’s first 11 races, the team has accomplished a lot in very little time.

“It is definitely exciting to come to our one-year anniversary mark and head back to where our first race was last year,” said team co-owner David Dollar. “Together, Randy and I have been able to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. To get a win at Kansas this year with Mike was huge. It was our first win together and I think it proved that we are here to be competitive week-in and week-out. Mike and Tayler have done a great job for our program and to have them both in the top seven in the points standings says a lot about our organization and the people we have working at RMM.”

Moss is enjoying the accomplishments as well while keeping his eye on what lies ahead. “I can’t believe that it has already been a year since I started this partnership with David (Dollar),” said Moss. “Mike’s win at Kansas was very exciting. I was bummed that I couldn’t be there in person but I talked to him after the race and I was very excited. And to have Tayler as a rookie come out of the gate and perform at such a high level is awesome.

“As much as it’s nice to look back and see the accomplishments that we have achieved so far, we are looking forward to the future. There are great opportunities for us and we are setting our goals high. Mike is in position for the championship and Tayler is in position to win the Rookie of the Year Award. To be in a position to win two trophies at the end of the season is something to be proud of.”

Wyler Racing Looks To Put On Show For Home Crowd

Saturday’s race at Kentucky Speedway is a homecoming for Wyler Racing. Owned by Ohio natives David and Jeff Wyler, the team expects to put on a great show for friends, family and their local supporters.

"I think everybody’s got a home track and for us, this is our home track,” said David Wyler, president of Wyler Racing. “We’re going to have a few hundred of our family, our employees and our friends there.  The track is a half-hour outside of where we live and it’s really special for us that we can have the race team come up so close to home.”

Wyler not only enjoys racing at home but in the series as well. "We love the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series,” he said. “We’ve been doing this now for over four years.  The camaraderie that you’ve got in this series is unique in the sport. It’s grassroots racing and the fact that the people racing just truly want to be in the series. They’re racers at heart and that can go for the fans as well. You’re not going to find any better racing in NASCAR than the Truck Series."

The team’s driver, veteran Stacy Compton, is looking forward to the weekend hoping to get the Wylers’ No. 60 SafeAuto Toyota into Victory Lane. "I’m really excited to go to Kentucky. Combined with having 300-400 people show up between the Wylers and our sponsor SafeAuto, it’s going to be a busy week,” said Compton. “We’re doing an appearance at the Wylers’ (dealership) on Thursday and going to the Reds game that night.  We’ve got a lot of people going, all the people who support us and who have helped us; we’ll have a chance to spend a little time with (them). It’s going to be fun and it’s going to be busy but hopefully it will be an excellent weekend."

Compton sits 12th in the standings, only 22 points out of the 10th position. “We know we’ve got a good race team.  We know we can get back into the top 10 and hopefully back into the top five by the time the season’s over with,” he said. “We’ve just got to keep digging and never give up."

Kentucky Speedway Victory Lane Boasts No Repeat Winners

Kentucky Speedway is among just three tracks on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule which have yet to produce a repeat winner.

Saturday’s race will mark 10 years of truck competition at a facility where both veterans and first-time race winners have made it to Victory Lane.

Previous winners expected to compete include Dennis Setzer (No. 8 Chevrolet), Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 33 Longhorn Chevrolet) and Mike Skinner (No. 5 Toyota). Each is eager to be the first repeat winner.

“We won this race in 2006 and I would like to win there again, especially since nobody else has won there twice,” said Hornaday. “Mark Smith (his engine builder) has been giving us really good engines and it makes it so much fun for me to drive these trucks. Rick Ren (his crew chief) and the guys will be working really hard to get the truck where it needs to be and I just have to go out there and do my part.”

Hornaday is not only attempting to become Kentucky’s first repeat winner, but could become the series’ second driver to win three consecutive races with a Kentucky victory in the mix. 2008 series champion Johnny Benson accomplished the feat last year. He kicked off his streak at Kentucky before winning the next two on the schedule, at ORP and Nashville Superspeedway.

Hornaday has the first two down, winning the past two races at Milwaukee and Memphis.
Director’s Take: Wayne’s Words

“After a quick couple weeks off its going to be great to get back to racing this weekend at Kentucky Speedway, a place we really like going to. This will be our 10th trip and I expect that the racing will be just as good as the first nine visits.

“Kentucky can be a tough track. It’s fast with two racing grooves for the drivers to run on. The track conditions are also ever-changing. We practice in the evening Friday, then qualify in the afternoon Saturday before the race that night. All that to keep in mind, crew chiefs are going to have to find the right setup to get the job done.

“From the NASCAR Nationwide Series race there last month, we saw how challenging pit road can be so there is one more thing to factor into the strategy for the night.

“The garage area is kind of a fans’ paradise. It is really wide open, allowing a broad area for folks to walk around and watch drivers and teams work on the trucks.

“We’re really getting into the heat of the summer and the time when drivers have to step it up in order to end up on top at the end of the season. It’s going to be interesting to see who can make it to Victory Lane this weekend.”
- Wayne Auton,
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Director

Owners’ Battle Heating Up

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is known for tough drivers and tough competition which for 14 seasons has given way to a tight points battle for the drivers’ championship.

Not only are the series’ drivers competitive, so are their owners. The fight for the owners’ championship is heating up as the series approaches its midpoint.

The No. 33 Chevrolet of Kevin Harvick Inc. took the lead from the No. 51 Toyota team of Billy Ballew Motorsports following Ron Hornaday Jr.’s win at Memphis Motorsports Park.

The No. 33 now leads the No. 51 by 31 points as the series heads to Kentucky.

"There are a lot of variables that can come about between now and November with the Series not halfway through the season,” said Billy Ballew, owner of Billy Ballew Motorsports which fields the No. 51 as well as the No. 15 Toyota. “We’ve come close over the years and to achieve the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Owners’ Championship would be the pinnacle of success for me as an independent team owner,” said Ballew. “We’ve had a lot of successful drivers come through the doors at Billy Ballew Motorsports over the past 14 years and if we were granted the championship, it would be a true testament not only for those drivers, but for these employees that have stood by this team."

Brian Ickler will be behind the wheel of the No. 51 Miccosukee Resort/Samsung Instinct Toyota, a ride he shares with Kyle Busch. Ickler has been impressive. In seven starts he’s gathered two top-five finishes, his highest finish was third at Michigan.

Battle For The Owners’ Crown

     Owner               Truck No.       Points
  1. DeLana Harvick     33              1713 
  2. Billy Ballew           51              1682
  3. Rhonda Thorson    88              1637
  4. David Dollar            5              1579
  5. Steve Germain      30              1564
  6. Jim Harris             24              1482
  7. Joe Scott             16               1468
  8. Tom DeLoach       17               1444
  9. Randy Moss         81               1418
10. Sharon Harris        25               1418

Kentucky Speedway is host to both the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the NASCAR Nationwide Series. In the nine previous races, fans have seen some memorable finishes, including Carl Edwards’ first post-win back flip in 2003.

Loop Data: Todd Bodine Back On Track After Mini-Slump

Four NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races ago, Todd Bodine snapped out of a mini-slump that saw four consecutive finishes outside the top 10 (and two that were outside the top 20).

When the slump started, Bodine was second in the series standings, 25 points behind leader Kyle Busch. At the end of it, he was sixth in points.

But then came the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway, a track Bodine had conquered four times in his career. He won there a fifth time, and that started a string of three top 10s in four races.

The surge launched Bodine two spots in the points. He now sits fourth, 149 points behind leader Ron Hornaday Jr. going into another 1.5 mile venue – Kentucky Speedway.

Though Bodine excels on such wide-open style tracks, he has yet to visit Victory Lane at Kentucky. He came close once, though.

In 2005, Bodine finished second to Dennis Setzer with a Driver Rating of 117.7, an Average Running Position of 5.1, 16 Fastest Laps Run, and a Laps in the Top 15 percentage of 99.3% (he ran 150 of the 151 laps in the top 15).

But since then, Bodine has been up and down at Kentucky, scoring finishes of 10th, 11th and 27th over the last three races.

Still, his overall numbers are solid there. In his four Kentucky races, Bodine has a Driver Rating of 86.6, an Average Running Position of 13.2, 21 Fastest Laps Run and a Laps in the Top 15 percentage of 67.1%.

2009 Raybestos Rookie of the Year Standings

Rk  Driver                   Points
1.   Tayler Malsam        120
2.   Johnny Sauter         119
3.   James Buescher     102
4.   Ricky Carmichael     70
5.   J.R. Fitzpatrick        60
6.   Brian Ickler              59
7.   Brent Raymer          41
8.   Chris Jones             32
9.   Chase Austin          16

Manufacturers’ Standings:

Toyota holds on to the lead in the manufacturers battle as the series heads to Kentucky. The manufacturer managed to lead all the laps last year as Johnny Benson went on to a dominating win. With Ron Hornaday Jr. coming on a hot streak, Chevrolet has made gains on Toyota. The manufacturer also holds the most wins at Kentucky with three.

Ford and Dodge both have made it to Victory Lane twice in the Bluegrass state. Ford made the two trips with Roush Fenway Racing drivers Greg Biffle (2000) and Carl Edwards (2003). Biffle’s win came the year he went on to win the series championship. Edward’s victory fell during his first full season with the series. The win was his first of three that season and one of six career wins in the series.

Dodge’s last visit to Victory Lane was with the late Bobby Hamilton in 2004, the same year he claimed the series title.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 2009 Manufacturers' Championship Standings following Race 11 of 25 at Memphis Motorsports Park

Toyota:     84
Chevrolet: 76
Ford:        48
Dodge:      34

Up Next: O’Reilly Raceway Park

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will head to O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis for short-track racing under the lights Friday, July 24.

ORP is one of four tracks that has been on the schedule since the series’ inaugural 1995 season. In 14 races there have been 11 different race winners. Previous winners expected to compete include Mike Skinner (1995, 1996,), Terry Cook (2002), Dennis Setzer (2005), Rick Crawford (2006), and Ron Hornaday Jr. (1997, 2007).

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Fast Facts

Next Race: Built Ford Tough 225 presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers

The Place: Kentucky Speedway

The Date: Sat., July 18, 2009

The Time: 7 p.m. ET

Race Distance: 225 miles / 150 laps

TV: SPEED, 6:30 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SIRIUS XM. Listen locally on WYGY-FM 97.3

Track Layout: 1.5-mile Oval

2008 Winner: Johnny Benson

2008 Polesitter: Mike Skinner

Schedule: Friday: Practice, 3:15 - 4:50 p.m. and  6:30 - 7:30 p.m.; Saturday: Qualifying, 3:30 p.m.

2009 Standings
Rk  Driver                  Points
1    Ron Hornaday Jr. 1,713
2    Matt Crafton         1,637
3    Mike Skinner        1,579
4    Todd Bodine         1,564
5    David Starr           1,482
6    Brian Scott           1,468
7    Tayler Malsam      1,418
8    Terry Cook            1,415
9    Rick Crawford        1,397
10  Colin Braun           1,381

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Keeping Pace

Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.





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