[media-credit name=”Joe Dunn” align=”alignright” width=”225″][/media-credit]All three of NASCAR’s national touring series will be racing a Thursday through Saturday schedule at the Kentucky Speedway this week. When it’s time to analyze the stats from this weekend, don’t be too surprised if Thursday night’s UNOH 225 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is deemed the class act of the trio of races. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time that happened.
Having said that, it’s too bad that this Truck race is on a Thursday night. Economics dictates that the fans simply won’t have the money to purchase tickets for all three events and that could hurt Thursday night’s attendance. The date is also inconvenient for out of town fans and that could be an attendance factor as well. For years now, the loyal fans of this series have been begging NASCAR to schedule more stand alone events for the trucks. The series has more than proven they can pack a grandstand all by themselves over the years.
THE STORY BREAKDOWN
One of the big stories associated with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series this year has been the competitive nature of its first seven races of the season. The series has ran seven races and sent seven different winners to victory lane. We hear the term “level playing field” a lot from NASCAR officials. It appears that its truck series has found that level playing field.
Three times, during the series’ first seven races, we have been treated to watching the elation of first time winners. James Buescher, John King and Justin Lofton scored their first wins, in a NASCAR national touring series, this year and there are plenty of other young hopefuls in the series who could see their names added to that list before the year is over.
Certainly one of those potential first time winners has got to be Nelson Piquet Jr who will be coming to the Kentucky Speedway with a truck load of momentum after his outstanding performance last weekend in the NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Road America in Wisconsin. The Turner Motorsports driver started that race on the pole position and won the event in only his third series start. Many truck series observers have said this young driver from Brazil could become a breakout winner this year. With the momentum from last weekend carrying him, the Kentucky Speedway could easily become the scene of his first truck win.
If there’s one team, with some badly needed renewed momentum, that bears watching Thursday night it’s certainly drivers Johnny Sauter and Matt Crafton from Thorsport Racing. Both of these teams were hampered by plain bad luck and frustrating finishes the first six races of the season. There were a lot of garage rumors that said the team’s decision to switch manufacturers, from Chevrolet to Toyota, just wasn’t working out.
However, it only takes one strong race to turn a racing situation around and Thorsport certainly accomplished that at the Texas Motor Speedway, back on June 8th, when Sauter and Crafton scored a one-two finish. The momentum is running high again and this two truck team will bear some attention during the UNOH 225.
THE RACE BREAKDOWN
The UNOH 225 is 150 laps/225 miles around the Kentucky Speedway’s 1.5 mile oval.
The race has 43 posted entries vying for the 36 starting positions.
A whopping19 of these entries are on the go or go home list meaning they are not guaranteed a start in the race because they are currently outside of the series’ top 25 in owner’s points. These teams will have to earn a starting berth in the race via qualifying speeds.
The defending race champion is Kyle Busch. However, there will be no repeat winner Thursday night because Busch is not entered in this race. Jason Leffler will be driving the Kyle Busch Motorsports’ #18 Toyota.
Six previous Kentucky Speedway winners have gone on to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ championship. The last driver to perform this feat was Todd Bodine back in the 2010 season.
The Kentucky Speedway’s 1.5 mile oval is regarded by NASCAR as being an intermediate track. These facilities are often referred to as “cookie cutter tracks.” The speedway has 14 degrees of banking in its four corners, eight degrees on the front stretch and only four degrees on the back chute.
Thursday night’s UNOH 225 will be broadcast live by the SPEED Channel with the pre race “set up” show beginning at 730 pm eastern time.