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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Focus on Camping World Truck Series

There's no Cup Series racing action this week. The Camping World Truck Series will be racing at Chicagoland Speedway in the 225. Trucks will go 225 miles, 150 laps around the D-shaped. Many NASCAR fans don't follow the Trucks Series; I didn't really get into it until a couple years ago. Once I caught a Trucks race on TV, though I realized how much action occurs during the races.

Have you ever driven a Chevy S-10 or Ford Ranger on an icy road, went around a curve and had the back end fishtail? Truck Series drivers handle that on almost every curve. It's fun to watch and many Cup and Nationwide driver pull double duty at least some weekends. There are many familiar faces among the CWTS drivers...and many to get to know.

Kevin Harvick is a team owner in the CWTS. Kevin Harvick, Inc. has the number 2 truck, co-driven in 2010 by Harvick, Elliott Sadler, Shelby Howard, and Ken Schrader and the number 33 truck driven by Ron Hornday. Between the two trucks KHI has five wins in the CWTS for 2010. Hornaday won at Indianapolis in the number 33, holding off Kyle Busch at the end of the race at O'Reilly Raceway Park. Sadler has posted one win in the number 2 truck, winning at Pocono. Harvick claims the other three wins for the team this season, with wins at Atlanta, Martinsville, and most recently Gateway.

At the top of the CWTS Points board is Todd Bodine. Bodine leads second ranked Aric Almirola by 211 points with just nine races left in the 2010 season. Another 39 points back we find Timothy Peters, and in 288 points behind the leader in 4th is Johnny Sauter. Hornaday is currently ranked 5th in the CWTS Points, 323 points out of the lead. Finishing the top ten are Matt Crafton, Austin Dillon, Mike Skinner David Starr, and Ricky Carmichael.

Racing at Chicagoland is fairly new for Truck Series drivers; this is only the second race at the facility. Kyle Busch won the 2009 250 after leading 79 of the 150 laps. Current Points leader Todd Bodine finished just over half a second behind Kyle for second place in last years race. If Almirola wants to close the gap between himself and Bodine in the Points, Aric will have to post better than last years 8th place finish, as Bodine will most likely run near the front throughout the race.

At least two of the top ten in Points have had on and off track disagreements in the past. Rivalling some of the biggest fights in NASCAR, Todd Bodine and David Starr had it out after the 2008 New Hampshire race. The problems started when Starr bumped and turned Bodine, causing Todd's truck to end up against the wall. After the race Todd bumped David to show his displeasure and then followed Starr into the pits.

On pit road, Bodine's Team got involved and ultimately drug Starr out of his truck. Punches were thrown and NASCAR Officials came in and diffused the situation...they thought. Just a couple minutes later the fights broke out again, with most of the Bodine Team going after David Starr and his Team Members. Other Teams got involved, as Bodine was just one of four trucks that Starr had turned around during the race.

Mike Hillman, Sr, of Bodine's Germain Racing Team was a main player in both rounds of this melee, at one point climibing onto the top of Bodine's truck to reach Starr and his team. Ultimately, local Sheriff Department Officers came into the hauler area to speak with Hillman and other CWTS Team Members. NASCAR handed down suspensions to Hillman and William Divel, crew member for David Starr's team for two races, and various probations and fines to no less than seven other crew member among three teams. No one can claim that the CWTS doesn't see as much action as the Cup Series.

During this off-week for Sprint Cup Racing tune into the Camping World Truck Series race from Chicagoland Speedway. It is a track we all know, take a look at how the trucks handle, watch what unfolds. With Almirola needing to close on Points Leader Todd Bodine, and Ron Hornaday hanging fifth in Points things could get interesting. Qualifying will air on SPEED Friday at 4:30 p.m. EST; the 250 will also air on SPEED, Friday night at 8:30 p.m. under the lights at Chicagoland Speedway.

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