NASCAR Camping World Truck Series News and Notes Surprises Abundant As 2010 Season Opens In Daytona DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- If last week's NextEra Energy Resources 250 is any indication, the 2010 season will be anything but business as...
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series News and Notes
Surprises Abundant As 2010 Season Opens In Daytona DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- If last week's NextEra Energy Resources 250 is any indication, the 2010 season will be anything but business as usual.
The results were surprising -- at least based on the preseason polls.
Timothy Peters (No. 17 K&N Toyota) laid the Kryptonite on Superman -- Todd Bodine (No. 30 GEICO Toyota) -- to pull off the upset.
The victory was Peters' second in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series but first on a superspeedway. The Providence, N.C., driver won on his home turf last fall at Martinsville, Va.
Peters, a three-time NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track champion, is the points leader for the first time in his 69-race career.
Bodine lost his bid for a third consecutive Daytona victory, finishing second after Peters' last-lap pass in a wild race that saw 12 drivers exchange the lead 23 times.
Perhaps as shocking was Jason White's (No. 23 GunBroker. com Ford) dash to the Keystone Light Pole -- the first for the 30-year-old Virginian. White, driving an ex-Roush Fenway chassis, gave SS Greenlight Racing its first series pole and with a fourthplace finish, its second-best performance.
White never has ranked among the top 10 in the standings during an 80-race career that began in 2001.
"We put ourselves in a position to win the race and if things go your way, you can get to Victory Lane," said White, whose best series finish, a third, came last September in Las Vegas. "If we keep putting ourselves in that position, the wins will come."
New Teams, Drivers Make Immediate Impact
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Director Wayne Auton predicted there'd be new faces at the races in 2010. He might have added they would stand out immediately.
Danny Gill, who quarterbacked the late Bobby Hamilton to the 2004 series championship, made his debut as a team owner and put both his trucks in the top 10 -- despite having to repair Superstretch accident that claimed both trucks in final practice.
Veteran Dennis Setzer (No. 46 Plane Guts Dodge) nearly won the race, finishing on the rear bumper of Bodine's Toyota. Johnny Benson, the 2008 series champion, made his return to truck racing a memorable one, putting Gill's No. 95 Plane Guts Ford in the ninth spot.
Not bad for the Nashville-based team that came to the season-opening race without back-up trucks.
Equally impressive was the debut of Daisy Ramirez' pair of Chevrolets. Ramirez, a native of Honduras who arrived late at the track after becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen, saw both her trucks claim top-15 finishes. JJ Yeley, rebounding from serious injury suffered in a 2009 open-wheel accident, finished 10th in the No. 01 Koma Unwind Chillaxation Chevrolet while Mexico City resident Carlos Contreras (No. 00 Potencia Blast Energy Shot/Alpina Water Chevrolet) claimed a respectable 14th.
One-time Formula One driver Nelson Piquet Jr. (No. 1 Red Horse Racing Toyota) looked anything but a NASCAR rookie in his debut. The Brazilian, teammate to race winner Peters, finished sixth.
The race had an international flavor featuring drivers from Brazil, Canada, Italy and Mexico.
Red Horse Racing Under The Radar No Longer
Red Horse Racing came into the 2010 season with one sure thing and a couple of question marks.
It just so happened, that sure thing -- Timothy Peters -- won the season opener.
Most figured Peters' maturation process would continue into this season, coming off a 2009 campaign that saw a win at Martinsville Speedway and an eighth-place finish in the points standings.
Immediately, Peters inserted himself into the early championship discussion. In his Daytona victory, Peters notched a Driver Rating of 117.5, an Average Running Position of 6.6, a Pass Differential (passes minus times passed) of plus-26 and 89 Laps in the Top 15 (out of 100).
The two question marks fared pretty well, too -- especially Brazilian Nelson Piquet Jr. In his first NASCAR race, Piquet finished sixth, posting some of the top statistics in the event. Piquet had a Driver Rating of 96.1, an Average Running Position of 9.5, two Fastest Laps Run and 85 Laps in the Top 15.
Rookie Justin Lofton (No. visitPIT.com Toyota) didn't boast too many strong statistics, but he did end the day with a top-20 finish. Finishing 18th in his first-ever NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, Lofton had a Driver Rating of 43.3 and an Average Running Position of 23.5. He did put his name in the Closer category, improving one position in the final 10 laps. Only 14 drivers gained a position in the final 10 laps, and none more than two positions.
Hornaday Faces Long Climb
A race removed from his 2009 championship season, Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 33 Longhorn Chevrolet) is in an unfamiliar position -- on the outside looking in.
One race doesn't a season make, but Hornaday's 27th-place finish in Daytona has put a dent in the media's preseason prediction of a fifth NASCAR Camping World Truck championship.
In 10 previous seasons of racing at Daytona International Speedway, only one driver -- Mike Bliss -- has gone on to win the championship with a finish outside the top 15.
Bliss, however, recovered from engine failure and a finish of 33rd in 2002. Ironically, 33 is Hornaday's truck number.
Brett Butler (No. 47 Fuel-Doctor.com Chevrolet) was the highest-finishing Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender in Daytona with an 11th-place finish in the Rick Ware Racing- owned truck. "For us coming so close to a top 10, we'll take it and build on this momentum," said Butler.
Toyota now has won four straight races at Daytona (and three at sister track Talladega). The manufacturer has a three-point lead over Dodge as it bids for a record fifth consecutive Manufacturers' Championship.
Bodine's streak wasn't the only victim at Daytona. Kyle Busch (No. 18 Heluva Good! Toyota) finished 22nd after being involved in a second-lap accident. Busch was second to Bodine in 2008-09.
Donnie Neuenberger (No. 6 EZ-Slider Chevrolet) is only an occasional visitor to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series but definitely has an affinity for Daytona International Speedway. The Maryland driver finished ninth to match a best career finish posted in the 2000 edition of the race. "We look forward to doing it again at Atlanta Motor Speedway," said Neuenberger.
SS Greenlight Racing set a series record of sorts entering three different makes of trucks at Daytona -- Chevrolet, Dodge and Ford. White, who sat on the pole in a Ford, will be back in a Dodge in Atlanta. "We don't have any manufacturer deals so we plan to take our best truck each week, whichever that might be," said White.
Friday's weather-caused postponement worked to the advantage of Donny Lia (No. 21 ASI Limited/ GunBroker.com Dodge). His fiance, Nancy, went into labor prior to the originally scheduled date and gave birth to the couple's first child, a boy named after Lia's father, Dominick Anthony. As fate would have it, Lia was able to compete in his first Daytona race, finishing 30th.
The Race: Atlanta 200
The Place: Atlanta Motor Speedway (1.54-mile oval)
The Date: Saturday, March 6
The Time: 2 p.m. ET
Race Distance: 200.2 miles/130 laps
TV: SPEED, 1:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SIRIUS XM
2009 Polesitter: Kyle Busch
2009 Winner: Kyle Busch
Friday -- Practice, 1-2:20 p.m. and 4:10 -- 5 p.m.
Saturday -- Qualifying, 9:35 a.m.