NOTES FROM THE NASCAR NATION: A truck series tailgate party in the windy city

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will be bringing their high energy tailgate party to Joliet-Illinois, the home of the Chicagoland Speedway. Friday night’s Enjoy Illinois Dot Com 225 is expected to be another exciting evening with NASCAR’s truck brigade on a massive 1.5 mile oval. The series has been rather busy lately. Friday night’s race is their eighth consecutive week. The Chicagoland Speedway event will be a shared billing event with the Indy Racing League a collaboration that has worked well for everyone involved in the past.

THE STORY BREAKDOWN

Kyle Busch is the defending race winner and, following his amazing performance at Bristol last week, the question is will he win his fourth consecutive NASCAR national touring race in a row? The raw numbers certainly seems to support the theory. First off, he’s the defending race winner from 2009. In 77 official series’ starts he’s won 19 of them and that computes to approximately one win for every four starts. In a very short matter of time Busch is already fifth on the series’ all time winner’s list.

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Kyle Busch Motorsports will also be looking forward to welcoming a new team sponsor to victory lane Friday night. Traxxas Radio Controlled Cars will be on the hood, of the team’s Toyota Tundra, for the first of three races. KBM is hoping that the company’s first venture into NASCAR racing will entice them to further the new relationship into the 2011 season.

The Chicagoland Speedway event is also a home coming for Busch and his family. Both his parents, as well as his fiancée’s parents are originally from the Chicago area.

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However Todd “The Onion” Bodine has a different plan in mind for Friday night. First off he’ll be looking to pad his points lead, currently 211 points, over Aric Almirola while seeking his fourth win of the year as well as his 21st career win. There are also strong numbers to support this winner’s theory as well. Bodine’s efforts on 1.5 mile tracks are outstanding. He’s won 11 times on these tracks.

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Meanwhile Aric Almirola will have something at his disposal that Kyle Busch used to have. It’s the very same Billy Ballew Motorsports Toyota Tundra that Busch drove to victory at Chicagoland last year. Almirola, second in the championship standings, will be looking to trim some fat from Bodine’s points lead in addition to seeking his third win of the season.

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Ron Hornaday Jr has endured an uncharacteristic up and down season based on some specific racing incidents that were not of his making. He goes into Friday night’s race fifth in the standings based on one win, eight top five finishes and ten top tens. The driver of the #33 Chevrolet for Kevin Harvick Inc will be looking for his first Chicagoland win Friday night. There are presently eight 1.5 mile speedways on the series’ schedule. Hornaday has found victory lane at six of them. The two tracks missing on Hornaday’s list are Chicagoland and Las Vegas where the series will race at next month.

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The law of averages states that Mike Skinner is bound to find victory lane this year sooner or later. The driver of the #5 Randy Moss Motorsports Toyota is currently ranked eighth in the standings based on eight top five finishes this year.

There has been a lot of speculation regarding the team finances of the Randy Moss Motorsports operation over the past several weeks. There are genuine concerns in place but it will not impact Skinner’s ride. His Toyota is fully funded by International Trucks and Monaco RV’s for the remainder of the season.

But the same cannot be said for his team mate David Starr and the #81 Randy Moss Motorsports Toyota. That operation has been parked for the next two races with plans to put it back on the track at the New Hampshire race. The team has sponsorship from Zachary but it’s only a part time program. The other problem is some recent crashed trucks such as the devastating damages to Starr’s truck at last week’s Bristol race. There has also been a recent report of temporary lay offs from this team.

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THE RACE BREAKDOWN

The Enjoy Illinois Dot Com 225 is 150 laps/225 miles around the Chicagoland Speedway’s 1.5 mile D shaped oval.

The race has 38 entries vying for the 36 starting berths. 13 of those entries are on the go or go home list meaning they do not have a guaranteed start because they are currently outside of the top 25 of the series’ owner’s points standings.

The series will once again use the multi truck qualifying program debuted earlier this year. Two trucks will be sent out on the track at the same time. Qualifying will be broadcast live by SPEED on Friday afternoon beginning at 430 pm eastern time.

SPEED will also broadcast the Enjoy Illinois Dot Com 225 live beginning at 830 pm eastern time.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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