Off-week news 2009-06-29

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series News And Notes Hornaday Steady; Braun, Starr Make Significant Gains DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 29, 2009) -- What many call the toughest stretch of racing on the 2009 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule...

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series News And Notes

Hornaday Steady; Braun, Starr Make Significant Gains

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 29, 2009) -- What many call the toughest stretch of racing on the 2009 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule has ended.

In Wimbledon terms, Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 33 Longhorn Chevrolet) held serve. Hornaday, the leader by 84 points entering five consecutive weekends of racing in late May, remains in the No. 1 position. He leads Matt Crafton (No. 88 Menards Chevrolet) by 76 points.

Hornaday, bidding for a record, fourth series championship, won two of the five races, most recently at Memphis Motorsports Park on June 27. The 51-year-old Palmdale, Calif., veteran is the season's only three-time winner.

The points leader, however, isn't the only one to watch when racing resumes July 18 at Kentucky Speedway. The Dover-to-Memphis swing significantly shook up top-10 rankings. Three competitors -- Colin Braun (No. 6 Con-way Freight Ford), Tayler Malsam (No. 81 One-Eighty Toyota) and David Starr (No. 24 Zachry/Harris Trucking Toyota) -- moved into the elite grouping.

Braun, on the strength of his victory at Michigan International Speedway, made the biggest gain from 19th to 10th. After finishing 22nd at Dover, the 20-year-old Roush Fenway driver reeled off four straight top-10 finishes.

Starr, a 12-year veteran of the series, is enjoying his best season since 2006. Driving for Virginian James Harris, the Houston native scored top-10 finishes in four of his five most recent starts, including thirds at Memphis and Dover. He was 13th after the Lowe's race and stands fifth in current standings, just 231 points behind leader Hornaday.

Malsam Making Most Of Raybestos Rookie Campaign

Team co-owner David Dollar calls him "an owner's dream."

Patience, says crew chief Doug Wolcott, is what sets Tayler Malsam apart from his peers.

Malsam currently leads Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings, albeit by a single point, over Johnny Sauter (No. 13 Fun Sand/Rodney Atkins/Curb Records Chevrolet), but the 20-year-old holds the rare distinction of being a freshman driver ranked among the championship top 10. The Sammamish, Wash., sprint car graduate posted consecutive top-10 finishes at Texas, Michigan and Milwaukee.

His greatest achievement may be finishing on the lead lap in 10 of his 11 starts.

"Tayler is really coming on and has exceeded all our expectations," said Dollar, co-owner of Randy Moss Motorsports. "He is a team owner's dream by taking care of the equipment and bringing the trucks home each week in one piece."

Wolcott calls Malsam a team player. "Tayler has a lot of talent but what really sets him apart is that he is very patient and really looks out for his crew," he said. "He really stands behind the guys, even when we have trouble in the pits. He's on the radio telling them it's okay and gets back on the track and races hard to get the spots back."

Loop Data: Hornaday Is Perfection

Ron Hornaday Jr. has experienced perfection each of the last two weeks -- literally.

In his victories at both Milwaukee two weeks ago and Memphis this past weekend, Hornaday scored a perfect Driver Rating of 150.0. It is the first time since the inception of the Loop Data statistic in 2005 that a driver in any of NASCAR's three national series has posted two consecutive perfect Driver Ratings.

Hornaday has made a habit out of being perfect. Since 2005, there have been 14 perfect Driver Ratings in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series -- seven of those belong to Hornaday. That is by far the most in the series. Mike Skinner comes in second in that category, with three perfect Driver Ratings.

But maybe the most compelling statistic is the regularity of his statistical perfection. Since 2005, Hornaday has 16 wins. With seven of those victories notching a Driver Rating of 150.0, Hornaday has been perfect in an amazing 44% of his wins.

Breaking it down even further, Hornaday scored his first perfect Driver Rating in 2007. So, all seven of his perfect ratings came in the last two-plus years. With 13 wins since 2007, Hornaday's perfection percentage jumps to 54%.

Hornaday, who has led the series in Driver Rating through 11 races in three of the last five season, owns the top statistics in practically every key category this season: Driver Rating (121.9), Average Running Position (6.3), Fastest Laps Run (278) and Laps Led (537).

Etc.

Three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series figures will be inducted into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame in July 3 ceremonies at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale (Calif.). Wayne Spears, whose Spears Motorsports team competed in 315 series races between 1995 and 2007 winning four times, is joined by Kevin Harvick Inc., general manager Rick Carelli and Billy Ballew Motorsports crew chief Doug George. Carelli and George are NASCAR Camping World Series West and Southwest Tour champions.

Mike Skinner will spend the Fourth of July weekend at Goodwood Estate in Sussex, England, participating in the annual Festival of Speed. He will drive a Team Red Bull Toyota, formerly campaigned in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Held since 1993, the Festival celebrates historic cars from all forms of racing. The three-day event, hosted by the Earl of March at his family's estate, features a 1.16-mile hill-climbing competition for all classes and types of race cars and motorcycles, plus a 2.5-kilometer course for historic rally cars. This year's Festival runs from July 3-5. Rusty Wallace, Landon Cassill and Taylor Earnhardt also will participate.

DeLana Harvick's No. 33 team has taken the lead in the series Owners' Championship points standings for the first time in 2009. Harvick holds a 31-point edge over the No. 51 of Billy Ballew, the leader since race No. 2 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Up Next: Kentucky Speedway

Who's next?

Or, will Ron Hornaday Jr. do to the Kentucky Speedway record book what he accomplished at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in 2007?

There have been nine consecutive different winners at the 1.5-mile speedway, host of the July 18 Built Ford Tough 225 presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers. Hornaday won in 2006.

Hornaday, who will be gunning for his third consecutive series victory, snapped NHMS' run of 11 different winners. He added another win at the New England facility last September.

Two other former Kentucky winners are expected to compete: Mike Skinner (No. 5 Exide Toyota) and Dennis Setzer (No. 8 Malcolmson Construction Chevrolet).

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 Track Layout: 1.5-mile Oval

TV: SPEED, 6:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SIRIUS XM. Listen locally on WYGY-FM 97.3

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.

-credit: nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Mike Skinner , David Starr , Kevin Harvick , Johnny Benson , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Colin Braun , Dennis Setzer , Matt Crafton , Rick Carelli , Johnny Sauter , Landon Cassill , DeLana Harvick , Tayler Malsam , Taylor Earnhardt