Keeping Pace

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series News And Notes

 (The Spokesman-Review)
(The Spokesman-Review)

Ron Hornaday will head to Dover International Speedway this weekend with an 84-point cushion over Mike Skinner, who slipped to second after the Charlotte, N.C. stop 10 days ago. The lead position is familiar territory for the three-time champion, who held the top spot at this point last season.

Courtesy: NASCAR Media Relations

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.– Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 33 Longhorn Chevrolet) found Victory Lane after a wild night of racing at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The win was Hornaday’s 40th, extending his ranking as the driver with the most wins in the series.

“Scoring my 40th career win at home is pretty cool. I didn’t even realize we had won that many,” said Hornaday. “I’m so glad we have a victory this year.”

Hornaday’s fortune was Mike Skinner’s loss. Skinner held the standings lead as they headed into the night, but an early hard accident sent the No. 5 Randy Moss Motorsports Toyota home and left the lead for the taking.

Hornaday will head to Dover International Speedway next weekend with an 84-point cushion over Skinner, who slipped to second. The lead position is familiar territory for the three-time champion, who held the top spot at this point last season.

The veteran’s year is beginning to look like it could mirror his 2007 season when he went six races without a win. He grabbed his first victory at LMS and went on to win the next race at Dover. Consistency, combined with additional wins at O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis and New Hampshire Motor Speedway, helped him land his third series title.

This could be the beginning of a hot streak for Hornaday and his Kevin Harvick Inc. team. Of the 19 tracks on the remainder of the 25-race schedule, he has wins at all but seven—Michigan International Speedway, Nashville Superspeedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Martinsville Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway, along with new additions Chicagoland Speedway and Iowa Speedway.

Rookie Tayler Malsam Making His Way

In his first start at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, rookie Tayler Malsam (No. 81 One Eighty Toyota) looked as though he was going to have a long night. About 30 laps in, the 20-year-old went spinning through the grass on the frontstretch. His Randy Moss Motorsports team worked hard to repair the damage, helping the driver to end the wild night in the eighth position, his best finish and second top-10 result of the season.

“My crew got us back out there after I got caught up in that accident, and I just drove the wheels off for those guys,” said Malsam. “I can’t thank them enough.”

"It was a huge race for us,” he added. “It’s huge, especially going into the next race at Dover. Doug (Wolcott, crew chief) has an amazing setup there. He won there last year with Scott Speed as a rookie, and I really believe that we can go there and definitely get a top five if not have a shot at the win. I've never raced at Dover before, but with a good setup and my team behind me, I know we can perform very well."

Malsam only had two previous starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series before this season. After six races, he is sitting 12th in the standings, 17 points behind Brian Scott (No. 16 Albertson’s Toyota), who occupies the 10th spot.

His strong finish at LMS helped him extend his lead in the Rookie of the Year battle. Malsam is now five points ahead of James Buescher (No. 10 International Maxx Force Diesel Ford), who is in second.

"At the beginning of the season, one of our goals was to win rookie honors. But by no means is the season over. We have a long way to go and as long as we keep doing what we are doing right now, I think we have a great shot at winning it.

“Runs like we had at Lowe’s - never giving up until the race is over - that is what makes us such a competitor, not only in the rookie points, but in the top-10 driver championship points. We have had some really good trucks these past couple of races and haven't gotten the finishes that we think we should have, but we are going to keep working on it and hopefully before too long, we will be in Victory Lane."

Compliments To The Cook: Veteran Quietly Marches Up Standings

Quietly, Terry Cook (No. 25 Cajun Industries/HT Motorsports Toyota) is having a career year.

Almost lost among the strong seasons by past champions Ron Hornaday Jr. and Mike Skinner – not to mention the force Kyle Busch (No. 51 Miccosukee Resorts Toyota) is when he races – the veteran Cook sits sixth in the points.

In his 13 previous seasons, he has never finished higher than seventh in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points standings.

Cook already has more top-five finishes – three – than he had all of last season. Additionally, his Loop Data statistics rank among the tops in the series.

Cook has a Driver Rating of 89.4 (sixth-best), an Average Running Position of 11.0 (sixth), 14 Fastest Laps Run (ninth) and a Laps in the Top 15 percentage of 81.6% (fifth).

Last Friday night’s fifth-place finish at Lowe’s Motor Speedway may have been Cook’s finest performance of the season. He ran 126 of the 134 laps in the top 15 (94%) and notched a Driver Rating of 101.0, which was his second-best rating of the season. Only at Atlanta Motor Speedway, where he also finished fifth, did Cook have a better Driver Rating – 101.2.

The LMS race was Cook’s third Driver Rating over 100.0 (Daytona and Atlanta were the others).

Manufacturers’ Standings: Competition Closing In

Ron Hornaday Jr. helped continue Chevrolet’s dominance at LMS with his win in Friday night’s North Carolina Education Lottery 200. His victory extends Chevy’s lead for the most wins at the track to six. The only other manufacturer to win is Dodge, which nabbed the win with Ted Musgrave in the series’ first race there in 2003.

Chevrolet also closes in on Toyota, who leads the battle for the Manufacturer Title by six points.

Toyota has visited Victory Lane four times so far with three drivers, Todd Bodine (No. 30 Copart.com Toyota), Kyle Busch and Mike Skinner.

The series prepares to head to Dover where Dodge holds the most wins with four. Those wins came all in a row from 2001–04. Jason White (No. 23 Gunbroker.com Dodge) has picked up momentum and is improving each week. He comes off a 14th-place finish at LMS, his best finish there in two starts. He notched a 10th-place result at Kansas Speedway, his best finish so far this season.

Ford is still looking for its first win this season. The last Ford driver to win was Erik Darnell at Michigan last June. Fellow Roush Fenway Racing driver Colin Braun (No. 6 Con-Way Freight Ford) would like to get Ford a checkered flag as well as his first career win. He looked as though he was on his way to doing just that at LMS until an accident took him out of the race. He led 43 laps before heading to the garage.

In addition to Braun, the Ford duo at Circle Bar Racing would like to make it Victory Lane. Veteran Rick Crawford (No. 14 Circle Bar/International Truck Engine Ford) is looking to end his 66-race winless streak and his rookie teammate, James Buescher, hopes to translate solid runs into a win and claim the top rookie honors.

2009 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Manufacturers' Standings after race 6 of 25 at Lowe's Motor Speedway:

Toyota     48
Chevrolet 42
Ford        24
Dodge     18

Raybestos Rookie Of The Year Standings

Rk  Driver                  Points
1.   Tayler Malsam        62
2.   James Buescher     57
3.   Johnny Sauter         54
4.   Ricky Carmichael    45
5.   J.R. Fitzpatrick       42
6.   Brent Raymer         24
7.   Chris Jones            19
8.   Chase Austin          16
9.   Brian Ickler               8

Up Next

After a battle with the “Beast of the Southeast,” the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will have the Memorial Day weekend at home to prepare to face the “Monster Mile” at Dover International Speedway Fri., May 29.

Ron Hornaday Jr. (2007) and Kyle Busch (2005) are the only previous winners expected to compete. The AAA Insurance 200 next weekend will mark 10 years of truck racing at the track.  

Fast Facts

Next Race:
AAA Insurance 200
The Place: Dover International Speedway
The Date: Fri., May 29, 2009
The Time: 5:00 p.m. ET
Race Distance:  200 miles / 200 laps
TV: SPEED, 8:00 p.m. ET (Taped Delay)
Radio: MRN, SIRIUS XM.
Track Layout: 1-mile concrete oval
2008 Winner: Scott Speed
2008 Polesitter: Mike Skinner
Schedule: Thursday–Practice, 2:30-3:45 p.m. and  4:15-5:30 p.m.Friday—Qualifying, 10:10 a.m.
Track Contact: Gary Camp, (302) 883-6560 or
gcamp@dovermotorsports.com

2009 Driver Standings
Rk  Driver                Points

1    Ron Hornaday Jr.   966
2    Mike Skinner         882
3    Matt Crafton          877
4    Kyle Busch           852
5    Todd Bodine          837
6    Terry Cook            786
7    Johnny Benson     779
8    Chad McCumbee  770
9    Stacy Compton     762
10  Brian Scott            759




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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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