Series off-week news 2009-09-28

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series News And Notes Ron Hornaday Jr. Honored With Quarterly Award DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 28, 2009) -- Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 33 Copart Chevrolet) was chosen last week as the third quarter Driver of the Year.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series News And Notes

Ron Hornaday Jr. Honored With Quarterly Award

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 28, 2009) -- Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 33 Copart Chevrolet) was chosen last week as the third quarter Driver of the Year. In its 42nd year, Hornaday becomes the first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver to win the quarterly award. Given by the Driver of the Year Foundation, the award winners are determined by a panel consisting of 20 leading journalists from across the U.S. Hornaday beat Indy Car driver Ryan Briscoe for the honor, 99 to 82 votes.

"This is a very big honor. It's pretty cool to be the one chosen out of so many candidates," said Hornaday. "There are a lot of great race car drivers throughout all the series eligible for this award. This has been an amazing year in the Truck Series for myself and the No. 33 team. I have to thank Kevin and DeLana (Harvick) for always giving me the best equipment and an opportunity to win week-in and week-out."

His owners agree with what the award says about the veteran driver. "For Ron Hornaday, a full-time truck series competitor, to win third quarter Driver of the Year says a lot for what he and his team have accomplished this season," said Kevin Harvick.

Hornaday has proven all season that age is only a number. Six races in, the 51-year-old made the first of six trips to Victory Lane. The other five wins came in a consecutive streak beginning at Milwaukee and ending at Nashville. The impressive five-win streak landed Hornaday in the NASCAR record books alongside Richard Petty and Bobby Allison.

With five races to go, Hornaday holds on to a 197-point lead over Matt Crafton (No. 88 Menards Chevrolet). While anything can happen, it looks as though he is well on his way to making even more history. If Hornaday maintains his lead, he would become the series' first four-time champion.

Johnny Sauter Breaks Through To Victory Lane

Wisconsin native Johnny Sauter (No. 13 Fun Sand/Rodney Adkins/Curb Records Chevrolet) has been fighting his way through the field over the last four races, earning top-five finishes and leaving all eyes on him as a likely candidate for Victory Lane. Saturday night he finally broke through. In his 31st start in the series, Sauter grabbed his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win.

"Just a phenomenal night for us," said Sauter. "Especially coming off last week. We were so close but ran out of fuel. I can't say enough about Joe Shear (crew chief) and all these guys. It's been a long time since I've won a race in NASCAR so this feels pretty damn good."

With the win, Sauter moves from seventh to fifth in the standings. "I can't believe we're fifth in the points. If you had told me that at the first of the year, I would have called you a liar," he said.

Given the strength of his team, he most likely will finish the season among the top 10 which would mark a first for a rookie since Carl Edwards finished the 2003 season eighth.

Sauter's teammate, Matt Crafton, finished second. The 1-2 punch was a first for their team, ThorSport Racing.

"What an unbelievable night for ThorSport Racing as a whole," Sauter said. "My teammate finished second and we got the win. I hope a lot of people take notice that ThorSport is for real and can contend for wins week-in and week-out."

Johnny Sauter's win Saturday at Las Vegas extends his lead to 35 points over Tayler Malsam (No. 81 One-Eighty Toytoa) in the Rookie of the Year standings. The two entered the Vegas weekend 24 points apart.

Manufacturers' Standings

Toyota kept the lead despite Chevrolet's win by Johnny Sauter at Las Vegas.

Jason White (No. 23 GunBroker.com Dodge) delivered Dodge its best finish of the season. White finished Saturday right where he started, in third. The finish surpasses his previous best finish of fourth earlier this season at Dover.

Of the five remaining tracks, Chevy has the most wins at three: Martinsville (6), Texas (8) and Phoenix (12).

Cast Your Vote!

Don't worry, there is still time to cast votes for the 2009 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Most Popular Driver title. But don't wait too long, polls close Oct. 31. Since opening July 6, more than 20,000 votes have been cast.

Last year, the first time fans had a hand in the selection process, Johnny Benson took home the honors. Visit NASCAR.com to vote or to write in your favorite driver. If they're not among the nominees write to fanfeedback@nascar.com.

Loop Data: Colin Braun Stacked With Strong Stats

Colin Braun (No. 6 Con-Way Freight Ford) dropped two positions after a 17th-place finish last Saturday night at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, falling out of the top five. But though his finishes may not always be strong, the performances usually are.

So say the statistics.

In the telling Driver Rating statistical category, Braun is ranked fourth with a 96.0 rating. The Driver Rating takes into account a number of performance-based stats. In other words, Braun is running better than his seventh-place points position would suggest.

Prior to Las Vegas, Braun had enjoyed a steady climb up the series standings, going from 12th to fifth in just seven races. During that time, he scored a Driver Rating over 100.0 in five races (a perfect rating is 150.0).

Additionally this season, Braun has an Average Running Position of 9.0 (fourth-best), 139 Fastest Laps Run (seventh) and a Laps in the Top 15 percentage of 8.5% (fourth).

Two statistics in particular may explain the problem. One is Pass Differential, which is passes minus times passed. Braun has a Pass Differential of negative 80, which is worst in the series. Braun also has a series-worst "Closer" statistic. The Closer stat measures positions gained and lost in the last 10% of each race. Braun's number is negative 78, which is 47 more positions lost than second-lowest Todd Bodine's negative 31.

Up Next: Martinsville Speedway

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has the opportunity for a quick break in the schedule before heading to the final short track of the season. The series will compete next in the Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday, Oct. 24.

Martinsville is one of two tracks on the current schedule which hosts the series twice in the same season. Kevin Harvick drove his own KHI No. 2 Chevrolet to Victory Lane back in March. Harvick's win kept both Dennis Setzer and Mike Skinner from breaking the tie for most wins (3) at the track. Skinner, in 2007, became the only driver to sweep both races in the series.

Fast Facts

Next Race: Kroger 200
The Place: Martinsville Speedway

The Date: Sat., October 24, 2009
The Time: 1:00 p.m. ET

Race Distance: 200 laps / 105.2 miles
Track Layout: .526-mile oval

TV: SPEED, 12:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SIRIUS XM.

2008 Winner: Johnny Benson
2008 Polesitter: Ron Hornaday Jr.

Schedule:
Friday: Practice, 10-11:20 a.m. and 1:10-2:00 p.m.; Qualifying, 4:40 p.m.

-credit: nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Todd Bodine , Mike Skinner , Kevin Harvick , Johnny Benson , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Colin Braun , Matt Crafton , Richard Petty , Jason White , Johnny Sauter , Carl Edwards , Bobby Allison , Tayler Malsam