Nashville: GM Racing preview

Nashville - Willie Allen, No. 13 Josh Turner/Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau/National Pork Board Silverado fielded by ThorSport Racing, has a very full plate. Being the hometown NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) driver at the upcoming...

Nashville - Willie Allen, No. 13 Josh Turner/Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau/National Pork Board Silverado fielded by ThorSport Racing, has a very full plate. Being the hometown NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) driver at the upcoming August 11, 2007 race at Nashville Superspeedway (NSS) has yielded a whirlwind of activity for the 27 year-old Tennessee native.

Allen's strong tie to country music will be evident with Josh Turner, one of the hottest male singers in the industry right now, signing on as his sponsor for the event. Allen and Turner met through the agency that represents the careers of both young talents. Allen, who will be making just his second start at his hometown track, will also carry the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau on his Silverado race truck.

"It's always exciting when you come back to race in your hometown," said Allen. "You always want to do well in front of your family and friends. Josh Turner and the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau will be sponsors on the truck for this race. They have been big supporters of mine throughout my career. They sponsored me last year in a Busch and ARCA race. I'm really excited about having them on the truck along with the National Pork Board. I think it's a great fit for the Nashville race and I'm thankful for their sponsorship once again. It's going to be fun racing at the Nashville Superspeedway. We raced there last year in an ARCA car and had a top 5 finish. I really fell in love with the track and can't wait to get back on it."

Turner will perform a post race concert at the Nashville Superspeedway immediately following the Toyota Tundra 200. The show is being presented by Turner's tour sponsor Cracker Barrel Old Country Store.

Ron Hornaday, Jr., No. 33 Camping World Silverado, has made a season of capturing some of the most unique trophies for the winner's of a NCTS race. Hornaday, who cut the difference between his second place spot in the standings and the points leader in half with his win at O'Reilly Raceway Park, is looking to add the beautiful guitar awarded to a NSS winner by scoring his first NCTS win at the 1.333-mile tri-oval.

"We just have to keep doing what we are doing --crossing our T's and dotting our I's," said the two-time NCTS champion. "Mike Skinner (current points leader) is going to be tough to beat. We have to keep doing what we have been doing thus far and the points will fall where they fall.

"We had a dominant truck last year at Nashville. We blew a right front, fixed it and went back out. Then we blew another right front and killed the truck. I'd really like to take home that guitar."

Aric Almirola will make his second NCTS start of 2007, this time behind the wheel of the No. 47 Ginn Resorts Silverado fielded by Morgan-Dollar Motorsports. Saturday's race will mark Almirola's fourth start at the concrete track. His first start came in the NCTS last season and in two NASCAR Busch Series (NBS) starts in 2007, the Tampa, FL native notched a top-10 finish.

"I really like Nashville," said Almirola. "It is fast and a fun place to race. I don't have the experience there that a lot of the guys do, but I learned a lot more in the two NBS races I ran this year. I have a lot of confidence in Eric (Phillips) and everyone at Morgan-Dollar. I know I will have a great truck to race. I am just grateful for this opportunity to run the truck. I love racing in the NCTS. It is tough, hard racing against some of the absolute best drivers in the business. You really have to be up on the wheel and focused from the time the green flies until the checkered falls. It is just good, competitive racing like I had in my modified and late model.

"We are going to do all we can to get a strong finish for Ginn Resorts and all the folks at Morgan-Dollar Motorsports."

If it weren't for bad luck, Brendan Gaughan, No. 77 South Point Hotel Silverado, and his teammates would have no luck at all so far this season. The Las Vegas-based driver has had some excellent runs virtually every race thus far this season, but the finishing position stat doesn't reflect those efforts.

"The truck we are taking to Nashville is the same truck we raced at Kentucky, so we know we have a solid Chevrolet Silverado to race this weekend," Gaughan said. "With all the assistance that we have been getting from Chevrolet lately, I think our aero program - which is important at Nashville - is definitely on par with anybody else. We just have to go to Nashville, find a high groove and try to go run top five again and not have something stupid happen.

"The pit crew guys have been solid for me. The guys at the shop have done a phenomenal job of staying ahead of the game this year. I think we have a lot of good positives here. But that monkey is still just clawing onto our back. Tenth place at Indy last week helps. We'll just see if we can shake a little more of our bad luck this weekend."

Allen's teammate, Matt Crafton, No. 88 Menards Silverado, joins Gaughan in the running well but not getting the finishes to show for the effort category. Sitting ninth in the point standings, Crafton is looking to turn the season around and heading toward the front at Nashville.

"We have had some strong Silverados this year," said Crafton. "We have qualified well, run up front and then had something crazy happen to drop us in the finishing order. But there is no give-up in this team. We had a solid run with a top-10 finish at Nashville last year. I really like the track. We are just going to keep doing what we have been doing and see if we can't get past the point in the race where we seem to have something weird happen-a flat-tire, caught-up in someone else's wreck or whatever it has been."

Tim Sauter, No. 07 Lester Buildings/ASI Silverado, will make his eighth career start at NNS but his first in NCTS competition. In NBS competition, he has one top-10 finish in seven starts. Sauter and Allen are battling hard for the NCTS Raybestos Rookie of the Year title. At this point, Sauter holds a slight advantage.

"I've always enjoyed running at the concrete tracks," said Sauter. "I've had a few good runs at Nashville in the Busch car but only one top-10 to show for it. At the beginning of the year we struggled on the intermediate tracks but we've learned quite a bit over the last few races, so we'll be alright."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Mike Skinner , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Matt Crafton , Tim Sauter , Brendan Gaughan , Aric Almirola , Willie Allen