*Hornaday Jr., Skinner Hard Racers, Avid Car Collectors *Hillman Jr. Toughs It Out Despite Injury *Sauter Looks To Repeat In Vegas Hornaday Jr., Skinner Barrett-Jackson-Bound In Las Vegas The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Las...
*Hornaday Jr., Skinner Hard Racers, Avid Car Collectors
*Hillman Jr. Toughs It Out Despite Injury
*Sauter Looks To Repeat In Vegas
Hornaday Jr., Skinner Barrett-Jackson-Bound In Las Vegas
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway could not have come at a better time for series champions Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 33 E-Z-GO Chevrolet) and Mike Skinner (No. 5 International Trucks-Monaco RV Toyota).
Talking scheduling, here, and not about wins on the race track -- though considering the season both drivers have had, any kind of win is welcome.
Instead, the topic is the trucks and cars in Skinner's and Hornaday's respective garages -- which are stocked full of collectables.
This Friday in Las Vegas, the duo will pay a visit as guests of SPEED to the world-renowned Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction -- luckily located just 20 miles from the race track.
Chances are they will resemble two kids in a candy store.
Skinner currently is in the process of finishing a barn on his property to house a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro RS SS with all original stock parts; a 1955 Ford truck; 2006 Corvette Z06 and a custom-built 1991 Chevrolet SS 454 Supersport truck. Hornaday keeps a 1966 El Camino, a 1973 Dodge Charger and a 1968 Chevelle in his garage.
"You could wish for a million bucks and retire and buy anything you want, but I don't like to buy things," Hornaday said. "I like to restore them myself and work on them. I don't know what I'm going to look at next -- if I'm going to do some chopping and making the thing a hotrod or what. My next project probably will be something where I'm doing a little chopping and rebuilding."
Buescher Vows To Win Vegas; Statistics In His Favor
James Buescher (No. 31 Wolfpack Rentals Chevrolet) came within one caution flag of winning his first NASCAR national-series race last Saturday at New Hampshire. After the race he declared, "We will just go win Vegas."
And statistics show he has a good chance.
Las Vegas Motor Speedway has been home to three first-time winners.
David Starr (No. 81 Stratosphere Toyota) did it in 2002. Shane Hmiel scored team owner Billy Ballew his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory in 2004 and Johnny Sauter (No. 13 Curb Records Chevrolet) did it last season in dominating fashion.
In addition, 10 drivers have won the last 11 races (Sauter, Mike Skinner, Todd Bodine No. 30 Germain.com Toyota, Travis Kvapil, Hmiel, Brendan Gaughan, Starr, Ted Musgrave, Greg Biffle and Jack Sprague).
Skinner, who's winless this season, is the only active multiple winner (two Las Vegas victories).
Hillman Jr. Sustains Injury At New Hampshire, Still Calls Race
With a severe injury that would have put any professional athlete out of competition, Mike Hillman Jr., crew chief for standings leader Todd Bodine, proved just how determined he is to lead the No. 30 Germain Racing team to their second NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship.
Hillman was injured last Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway during the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race. A tire carrier when needed, Hillman was carrying tires for a Germain Racing entry during a routine pit stop when he was struck on pit road, sending him across the front hood of the car.
Hillman sustained a dislocated lower bone in his right leg and a broken ankle in the impact, but that did not stop him from sitting atop the pit box Saturday afternoon and calling shots for Bodine in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series' 18th race of the season.
Bodine finished ninth and now has a 257-point lead in the standings.
His crew chief returned home to North Carolina and received further evaluation from his doctor. He will undergo surgery on Tuesday to repair the broken ankle.
His status for Las Vegas is not determined at this time.
It would be the first race Hillman has missed voluntarily. He missed four races in 2008 due to a violation that occurred during pre-qualifying inspection at Daytona.
Q&A With Jason White: Prefers Racing Over Poker
At the beginning of the season no one would have guessed Jason White (No. 23 Gunbroker.com Dodge) might finish in the top 10 in the standings.
White not only has proven them wrong, he's also proven he is here to stay. Below are some of his thoughts on his season to-date:
What has been the key to the team's success in 2010?
"Our season was off to a great start with the pole at Daytona and followed that up with a fourth-place finish. We have had our ups and downs this season, but a fourth-place finish at Kentucky definitely helped. We have had some swings, but I am hoping we can stay on track the next few weeks. I am really looking forward to Las Vegas. I qualified third last year and finished third in the race. Our goal is to keep building this team and keep getting better every week."
The series is Las Vegas-bound this weekend. How was your experience playing in the World Series of Poker recently?
"Las Vegas has a great atmosphere -- lots of great restaurants to eat at. Playing in the World Series of Poker last year was pretty awesome. I drive race trucks and race cars for a living. I was playing against people who play professional poker for a living, so the competition was stout. I finished 800th out of 6,500 people playing, so it was a lot of fun. But racing is what I love and what I want to focus on."
You are good friends with Denny Hamlin. He is campaigning hard on Twitter for you to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Most Popular Driver Award. What does it mean to have his support?
"It is pretty cool to have him on our side. We grew up together in Virginia and have been friends for a long time. I raced against him a lot during our go-kart days. It is neat to have him in my corner, willing to help me out in that department. It would be a huge honor to win that award for the fans."
NCWTS Most Popular Driver Vote Kicks Into High Gear
More than 25,335 votes have been cast for the 2010 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Most Popular Driver balloting.
Fans can visit www.NASCAR.COM and vote for their favorite driver on the series' page.
Fans also may write in their favorite driver who is not among the nominees by sending an e-mail to email@example.com and submit their write-in vote. Voting ends on Nov. 12.
Last week, the current top five vote-getters were announced in alphabetical order: Aric Almirola (No. 51 Graceway Pharmaceuticals Toyota), Johnny Benson, Ricky Carmichael (No. 4 Monster Energy Chevrolet), Austin Dillon (No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet) and Ron Hornaday Jr.
The winner will be announced at the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series postseason banquet, which returns to South Florida at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel on Monday, Nov. 22.
Carmichael won the award last season.
Timothy Peters (No. 17 Red Horse Racing Toyota) and Justin Lofton (No. 7 visitpit.com Toyota) will meet the Air Force's own Red Horse Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base on Friday morning. The civil engineers unit will deploy next month to an undisclosed location.
Tayler Malsam (No. 25 Exide Batteries Toyota) returns to the series for the first time since May 21 at Charlotte to drive for Randy Moss Motorsports. He drove for RMM in 2009 and scored 10 top-10 finishes.
Ken Schrader (No. 2 Kroger Chevrolet) will return to the Kevin Harvick Inc., stable for the sixth time this season. He has scored five top-10 finishes in his five previous starts for the team.
Following the Las Vegas race, Ricky Carmichael will travel to Colorado for the Motocross des Nations--an international event that highlights the three best riders from each country. Carmichael last rode professionally in 2007 at the world competition. He won the Motocross des Nations title on three occasions.
Sauter Becomes Force To Be Reckoned With In 2010
Johnny Sauter began 2010 in typical sophomore-slump fashion.
He finished 35th in the season opener at Daytona, but there's no shame in that given the unpredictability of the historic venue.
Then he followed up with four finishes outside the top 10 in six races. A big "but": He did pick up his second series win, at Kansas. Still, his average finish was 13.9 and his Driver Rating was 92.4 over the first seven events.
Then he picked it up big time. In the 12 races since, Sauter has eight top-five finishes and nine top 10s. All his numbers have exploded.
In the past 12 races, during which he has moved from sixth to third in the standings, Sauter has posted an Average Finish of 6.0, a Driver Rating of 103.5 (which would be even higher if not for a subpar Pocono rating of 72.5), an Average Running Position of 7.3, 68 Fastest Laps Run, a Laps in the Top 15 percentage of 93.1% and a Pass Differential (passes minus times passed) of plus-82.
Among drivers who have run each of the past 12 races, Sauter ranks fourth in Driver Rating behind Todd Bodine (116.0), Austin Dillon (106.6) and Ron Hornaday Jr. (106.5).
Those numbers should only improve this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, site of Sauter's first series win (last season). In that event, he had a Driver Rating of 143.3, an Average Running Position of 3.7, 62 Laps Led and 51 Fastest Laps Run.
Up Next: Martinsville Speedway
After three open weekends on the schedule, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will travel to the hills of Virginia for the Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway.
The .526-mile track hosts the series for the 24th time on Saturday, Oct. 23.
Hometown native Timothy Peters scored an emotional victory from the 11th starting position -- and his first series win -- in last year's event. It was the first time a winner had started outside the top 10 in eight Martinsville races.
Also, for the first time in series history, the famous grandfather clock trophy will be awarded to the Martinsville winner.
The Race: Smith's Food & Drug Stores 350
The Place: Las Vegas Motor Speedway(1.5-mile tri-oval)
The Date: Saturday, Sept. 25
The Time: 9:30 p.m. ET
Race Distance: 146 laps / 219 miles / 350 kilometers
TV: SPEED, 9:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SIRIUS NASCAR Radio
2009 Polesitter: Todd Bodine
2009 Winner: Johnny Sauter
Schedule (All times ET):
Saturday: Practice, Noon--1:15 p.m., 1:45--3 p.m. Qualifying, 6:15 p.m.