NCWTS 2010: New Points Contenders And Many New Faces Four races into the 2010 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, it's a new season in more ways than one. Few picked Timothy Peters (No. 17 Crescent Tools/Red Horse Racing Toyota) to be the early...
NCWTS 2010: New Points Contenders And Many New Faces
Four races into the 2010 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, it's a new season in more ways than one.
Few picked Timothy Peters (No. 17 Crescent Tools/Red Horse Racing Toyota) to be the early points leader but the 29-year-old Virginia resident, winner of the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway, has established himself as a solid contender.
Peters, who finished fourth in last weekend's Nashville 200 at Nashville Superspeedway and is the only driver with four top-10 finishes in 2010, holds an 82-point lead over similarly unheralded championship contender Aric Almirola (No. 51 Graceway Pharmaceuticals Toyota).
Almirola took the wheel of the Billy Ballew Motorsports truck previously campaigned by Kyle Busch (No. 18 Toyota) and has responded with a trio of top-10 performances, including a third-place finish in Atlanta.
Pre-season favorite Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 33 Longhorn Chevrolet) got off to a slow start, plagued by incidents in his first two races. Hornaday rebounded with second- and third-place finishes at Martinsville and Nashville but remains 178 points off the lead, in sixth place, heading to next month's O'Reilly 250 at Kansas Speedway.
Ironically, Hornaday is only 10 points ahead of second-year driver Ricky Carmichael (No. 4 Monster Energy Chevrolet), his 2009 teammate.
There have been full fields at all four races thus far -- and a Nashville Superspeedway-record 39 teams attempted to qualify for the Nashville 200. Sixteen of Nashville's 36 starters never had run a truck race at the 1.333- mile track.
"What a start to the 2010 season, especially with all the new faces in the garage," said Wayne Auton, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series director. "Just look at the points standings. Ricky Carmichael now seems to have gotten a handle on trucks. Jason White (No. 23 GunBroker.com Dodge) got off to a great start with a pole at Daytona and we've got a great class of Raybestos Rookies, too."
Hornaday Gets Street Name; Presidential Citation For Karthikeyan
Two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers -- one a four-time champion; the other a first-time starter -- will be honored in ceremonies a world apart this week.
Four-time champion Ron Hornaday Jr. will travel to his hometown of Palmdale, Calif., on Thursday where city officials will name a street after Hornaday. Anyone wishing to enter Palmdale's auto mall henceforth will do so on Ron Hornaday Way.
Narain Karthikeyan (No. 60 Safe Auto Insurance/Wyler.com Toyota) will receive India's prestigious Padma Shri Award on Wednesday in ceremonies at the presidential palace in New Delhi. The honor will be bestowed by India's President, Pratibha Pratil.
The Padma Shri Award recognizes a citizen's exceptional and distinguished contribution in various spheres of activity.
Karthikeyan, the first native of India to compete in Formula 1, is being honored along with five of India's noteworthy sporting figures: Virender Sehwag and Ramakant Vithal Achrekar (cricket), Saina Nehwal (badminton), Ignace Tirkey (field hockey) and Vijender Singh (boxing).
Karthikeyan, who finished 13th in his NCWTS debut at Martinsville Speedway, expects to rejoin the series at Kansas expects on May 2.
Busch's New Team Showing Significant Progress
Overall, Kyle Busch's statistics have dipped a bit as a driverowner in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series compared to his days as a driver with Billy Ballew Motorsports.
For instance, this season, Busch has a Driver Rating of 107.7. Though extremely strong, it's still the lowest through his first three starts than any of the previous five seasons (his previous low was 108.6 in 2007).
Same goes for Average Running Position. Busch has always averaged a top-10 running position (and in 2007 and 2008, a top five). This season, his Average Running Position is 10.5.
But there's a reason for that: Daytona International Speedway. Though Busch didn't record a DNF, he did get caught up in an accident on the very first lap. The wreck severely hurt his stats. In the race, Busch had a Driver Rating of 51.6 and an Average Running Position of 27.4.
So, if given a Daytona mulligan, Busch has been as strong -- if not even more dominant -- than he has ever been.
Over the last two races, Busch has an average finish of 1.5, a Driver Rating of 135.8, an Average Running Position of 2.0, 59 Fastest Lap Run, a Laps in the Top 15 percentage of 98.5% and 146 Laps Led.
In one of those races -- Nashville -- Busch was perfect. Busch scored his third career series perfect Driver Rating of 150.0, notching an Average Running Position of 1.2.
The No. 18 truck, driven by Brian Ickler, also finished third at Martinsville. Ickler had a Driver Rating of 95.9 and a race high 46 green flag passes.
It took Kyle Busch (No. 18 Dollar General Toyota) just four races to become the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series' fourth driver-owner to go to Victory Lane as he won the Nashville 200 on April 2. Ironically, he beat Kevin Harvick (No. 2 Charter Chevrolet) to end Harvick's fourrace win streak that began last November in Phoenix. Harvick is the all-time winner among series driver-owners with all of his eight wins coming in equipment co-owned by wife Delana. Busch becomes the series' second-youngest winning owner at age 24 years, 11 months. Alex Meshkin remains the youngest winning owner at 24 years, two months when Travis Kvapil gave Toyota its first NASCAR national series victory on July 31, 2004 at Michigan.
Kevin Harvick Inc.'s No. 2 Chevrolet is the series championship owner leader by two points over the No. 17 Red Horse Racing Toyota of Timothy Peters and Tom DeLoach. The Nashville 200 was the season's fourth race and the final one in which 2009 owner points were used to lock in 25 starting positions. Steve Urvan's No. 21 H2O Fire Protection Chevrolet driven by Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender Chris Eggleston snagged the 25th and final locked-in position for Kansas Speedway's O'Reilly 250.
Ken Schrader has been tapped to drive KHI's No. 2 Chevrolet at Kansas Speedway. The race conflicts with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend at Richmond International Raceway.
Toyota and Chevrolet have split the first four races of the 2010 season but Busch's Nashville victory gives Tundra a three-point edge in 2010 Manufacturers' Championship Standings.
Austin Dillon (No. 3 Bass Pro Shops/ Tracker Boats Chevrolet) extended his Raybestos Rookie of the Year lead over Justin Lofton (No. 7 visitpit.com Toyota) to five points. Dillon's 14th-place finish led all rookies at Nashville. Chris Eggleston has become the sixth driver to declare for the freshman award in 2010.
MAKE Motorsports is the latest team to debut in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. New Jersey driver GR Smith finished 36th in the Nashville 200. The team points to Charlotte Motor Speedway for its next start in May.
Up Next: Kansas
NASCAR Camping World Truck teams take their second break of the 2010 season before heading west to Kansas Speedway for the May 2 O'Reilly 250. Mike Skinner (No. 5 International Trucks/ Monaco RV Toyota) is the defending winner of the race, which was weather shortened. Skinner's victory was the 1995 series champion's first of three wins in 2009. This year's race will be the 1.5-mile track's 10th. There have been nine different winners with Skinner, Todd Bodine (No. 30 Germain.com Toyota) and Ron Hornaday Jr. expected to be in the field.
Next Race: O'Reilly 250
The Place: Kansas Speedway (1.5-mile oval)
The Date: Sunday, May 2
The Time: 1 p.m. ET
Race Distance: 250.5 miles/167 laps
TV: SPEED, 12:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SIRIUS XM
2009 Polesitter: Ron Hornaday Jr.
2009 Winner: Mike Skinner
Practice, 9-10:10 a.m., 10:40- 11:50 a.m. Qualifying, 3:35 p.m.