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Beth Lunkenheimer

Truckin’ Thursdays: Matt Crafton On ThorSport’s Recent Success

Truckin’ Thursdays: Matt Crafton On ThorSport’s Recent Success

Just four races into the 2013 season, ThorSport Racing has visited Victory Lane in three of four events, while drivers Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter sit one-two in the Camping World Truck Series championship standings. Despite a lackluster year last season, both Crafton and Sauter have finished in the top 10 in points for six and four consecutive year, respectively, making their organization the closest thing to "dynasty" you can get in one of NASCAR's lower divisions. So what is the key to their success and longevity in the sport? I sat down with Crafton at Kansas Speedway almost two weeks ago, after the Truck Series' final practice session, to talk a little about just that. Read More »

Truckin' Thursdays: Meet The 2013 Rookie Class, Part II

_Author's Note: Welcome to Part II of our Rookie Class Preview for the 2013 season. Did you miss the first part? Don't worry, we've got you covered! Just \"click here\":http://www.frontstretch.com/blunkenheimer/42514/ to read Part I where we featured Ryan Blaney, Jeb Burton and Brennan Newberry._ *German Quiroga* <div style=\"float:right; width:240px; margin: 20px; border: black solid 1px; padding: 3px;\"><img src=\"http://www.frontstretch.com/images/15539.jpg\" width=\"240\" height=\"299\"/><p style=\"margin: 3px; text-align: left; font-weight:bold;\">German Quiroga looking GQ in those white sunglasses. Wait a minute…I think we just coined a nickname.</p></div> *2013 Ride:* No. 77 Red Horse Racing Toyota *2013 Teammates:* Timothy Peters and Jon Wes Townley *CWTS Starts (Prior to 2013):* Six (two in 2011, four in 2012) *Best Finish:* Eighth at Talladega (2012) *Daytona Result:* 25th (Running, three laps down) German Quiroga made his Camping World Truck Series debut with Kyle Busch Motorsports in late 2011, behind the wheel of the No. 51 Telcel Toyota Tundra, in a deal that was meant to determine whether the NASCAR Mexico champion even had any interest in pursuing the Truck Series. Fast forward to 2013 where, just days before the season opener at Daytona, Quiroga has signed on to run the full season with Red Horse Racing. \"I am very happy to join Red Horse Racing,\" Quiroga said after his signing was announced. \"I looked around the RHR shop back in December and was very pleased with the entire organization and how well they support each other.\" While a 25th-place result at Daytona isn't all that exciting, Quiroga had run well prior to being collected in a wreck not of his own making. However, in his limited starts last season, Quiroga has shown promise and will definitely be on to watch in the upcoming season. *Victory Lane This Year?* Red Horse Racing managed to visit victory lane five times last year with all four drivers that made starts with the organization. While Quiroga has just limited experience in the Truck Series, he's a three-time NASCAR Mexico champion and will likely snag a victory later this year. *Darrell Wallace, Jr.* <div style=\"float:right; width:250px; margin: 20px; border: black solid 1px; padding: 3px;\"><img src=\"http://www.frontstretch.com/images/14528.jpg\" width=\"250\" height=\"381\"/><p style=\"margin: 3px; text-align: left; font-weight:bold;\">With a Nationwide Series pole in just his fourth career start last year, is a win that far off for Darrell Wallace, Jr. in the Camping World Truck Series?</p></div> *2013 Ride:* No. 54 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota *2013 Teammates:* Joey Coulter and Kyle Busch *CWTS Starts (Prior to 2013):* none *Best Finish:* N/A *Daytona Result:* 12th Having never made a Camping World Truck Series start, Darrell Wallace, Jr. joined Kyle Busch Motorsports during the offseason to run full time this year. The Joe Gibbs Racing development driver will pilot the No. 54 Toyota throughout the season and has another young driver right alongside him in Joey Coulter. ... Read More »

Truckin' Thursdays: Meet The 2013 Rookie Class, Part I

_Once again, the Camping World Truck Series boasts several drivers all hoping to take home the coveted Rookie of the Year title in November. But other than their names, what do you really know about each of those rookies, including their past experience, who they're driving for and what to expect from them this season? Read on as we take a closer look at each of the newest faces in the series, profiling the 2013 rookie class._ *Ryan Blaney* *2013 Ride:* No. 29 Brad Keselowski Racing Ford *2013 Teammates:* Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Ross Chastain and Dave Blaney (sharing No. 19 Ford) *CWTS Starts (Prior to 2013):* 9 (all in 2012) *Best Finish:* 1st at Iowa Speedway *Daytona Result:* 8th Ryan Blaney made his Truck Series debut at Bristol last season after Brad Keselowski Racing parted ways with driver Parker Kligerman, and he impressed straight out of the gate with a solid sixth-place finish. Then, in just his third series start, the 20-year-old led 50 laps en route to his first career victory at Iowa Speedway. Aside from two DNFs due to crashes late last season, Blaney posted finishes no worse than 11th. Look ahead to this season, and Blaney has signed on to run full-time for the same team he scored his first career victory with. <div style=\"float:right; width:273px; margin: 20px; border: black solid 1px; padding: 3px;\"><img src=\"http://www.frontstretch.com/images/15505.jpg\" width=\"273\" height=\"400\"/><p style=\"margin: 3px; text-align: left; font-weight:bold;\">Ryan Blaney is leading the next wave of second-generation Cup drivers. His Keselowski connection has him paired with Penske by proxy – not a bad place to be in for a 20-year-old driver who already won in his \"pre-rookie\" year of 2012.</p></div> Blaney also made seven starts for Penske Racing last season in the Nationwide Series, recording five top 10 results, including a runner-up finish at Texas Motor Speedway. Add in the six events he ran for Tommy Baldwin Racing, and you've got some pretty impressive numbers for such a young driver: seven top 10s in 13 starts. *Victory Lane This Year?* Yes. While Blaney already has one Truck Series victory to his name, the pure talent that this driver shows proves that he will visit victory lane this season–and likely multiple times at that. *Jeb Burton* *2013 Ride:* No. 4 Turner Scott Motorsports Chevrolet *2013 Teammates:* James Buescher, Miguel Paludo and Ryan Truex (Daytona) *CWTS Starts (Prior to 2013):* 5 (all in 2012) *Best Finish:* 8th at Charlotte Motor Speedway *Daytona Result:* 5th Jeb Burton made his debut last season at Martinsville Speedway with Wauters Motorsports in hopes of running full-time for Rookie of the Year honors. Unfortunately, the young driver's Truck Series career was put on hold when sponsorship woes sidelined him, just five races in. But it wasn't the end of Burton's hopes to race in the Truck Series–having talked to Turner Scott Motorsports and sharing mutual interests, the 20-year-old signed a two-year deal with the organization. <div style=\"float:right; width:275px; margin: 20px; border: black solid 1px; padding: 3px;\"><img src=\"http://www.frontstretch.com/images/15469.jpg\" width=\"275\" height=\"412\"/><p style=\"margin: 3px; text-align: left; font-weight:bold;\">Jeb Burton, son of 2002 Daytona 500 winner Ward Burton finished fifth at Daytona. Could that be a harbinger of things to come for the Turner Scott Motorsports driver?</p></div> \"I'm really proud that I can race for Turner (Scott) Motorsports over the next two years. This team has had so much success, and I'm happy to have the opportunity to work with such a team,\" Burton said. \"We all have high expectations for the 2013 season. It's clear that Turner Scott Motorsports is a growing organization that believes in young talent.\" ... Read More »

Truckin’ Thursdays: A Look Ahead At The CWTS 2012 Season

Truckin’ Thursdays: A Look Ahead At The CWTS 2012 Season

Hello, race fans! It's time to shake off the cobwebs from the offseason because the Camping World Truck Series is back in action Friday night, and we have a lot of catching up to do before the green flag waves over the season opener at Daytona. As my husband and I talked about the upcoming start of what should be another fantastic Truck Series season, I couldn't help but get excited. Heck, I even had goosebumps on my arms as we talked about not just a long list of new drivers, but a number of important storylines to watch. So, as the offseason wore to a close, I decided to change my traditional, team-by-team preview to look more at some of those "big picture" items to keep an eye on as the 2012 season dawns. Here they are, in the nick of time as tomorrow begins the 22-race dash to Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway... Read More »

The Forgotten Story of the Kobalt Tools 500

The Forgotten Story of the Kobalt Tools 500

After spending all day Tuesday at work away from the Internet, television and all things NASCAR, I got home to find the sanctioning body had made a decision on what penalty Carl Edwards would face after he intentionally wrecked Brad Keselowski, who was running sixth at the time, and sent his car flying through the air. For those of you who happen to have been under a rock for the last 48 hours or so, NASCAR simply put Carl Edwards on probation for three races. That's it -- no suspension, no fine, no points -- just probation. Read More »

2009 Season Review: Kurt Busch

2009 Season Review: Kurt Busch

*2009 Ride:* No. 2 Penske Racing Dodge *2009 Primary Sponsors:* Miller Lite, Miller Lite Taste Protector (Lowe's), Operation Homefront (Texas) *2009 Owner:* Roger Penske *2009 Crew Chief:* Pat Tryson *2009 Stats:* 36 Starts, 2 Wins, 10 Top 5s, 21 Top 10’s, 3 DNFs, 4th in points. *Best Finish:* 1st, twice (Atlanta - Spring, Texas - Fall). *Average Finish:* 12.8. *High Points:* Coming into the 2009 season, Kurt Busch and the No. 2 team looked to put their abysmal performance from 2008 behind them and start fresh. The team did just that, finishing tenth in the season opener at Daytona and following up with a dominant win three weeks later at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Read More »

Running Their Mouth: Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500K

Running Their Mouth: Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500K

_Each week, we’ll go through media reports, interviews, PR, and all of our own stuff to find the best quotes from the Sprint Cup race, capturing the story of how the weekend unfolded. It’s the most original commentary you’ll ever find: the truth, coming straight out of the mouths of the drivers, crew members, and car owners themselves. This week, here’s a sneak peek at what they all were thinking following the Checker O'Reily Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway:_ "What a great car. When we put new tires on, the car came to life, and then we had a couple of small adjustments that really, really helped it. I was trying to be smart through traffic and the No. 20 (Joey Logano). I am not sure if he was just trying hard to stay just two laps down or if he was really trying to help his teammate out, but either way the No. 11 (Denny Hamlin) caught me. Once I cleared him, I got back going and everything was fine, but the No. 20 car wasn't being all that friendly." _Jimmie Johnson_ Read More »

Running Their Mouth: Dickies 500

Running Their Mouth: Dickies 500

_Each week, we’ll go through media reports, interviews, PR, and all of our own stuff to find the best quotes from the Sprint Cup race, capturing the story of how the weekend unfolded. It’s the most original commentary you’ll ever find: the truth, coming straight out of the mouths of the drivers, crew members, and car owners themselves. This week, here’s a sneak peek at what they all were thinking following the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway:_ "Unbelievable! I'm proud of our team and everybody pulling together hard. Racing my little brother head to head for the win is bittersweet. I was rooting for him, but at the same time, we wanted to put our Miller Lite Dodge in Victory Lane. It was cat and mouse on those restarts. Then it came down to the crew chief, Pat [Tryson] putting in the right calls and getting us the fuel mileage to bring it home." _Kurt Busch_ Read More »

Running Their Mouth: TUMS Fast Relief 500

Running Their Mouth: TUMS Fast Relief 500

_Each week, we’ll go through media reports, interviews, PR, and all of our own stuff to find the best quotes from the Sprint Cup race, capturing the story of how the weekend unfolded. It’s the most original commentary you’ll ever find: the truth, coming straight out of the mouths of the drivers, crew members, and car owners themselves. This week, here’s a sneak peek at what they all were thinking following the TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway:_ "It's a good bounce back. I just gotta thank all my fans for sticking with me on Twitter and everything, giving me some hope that the last two weeks were in the past. I knew all those guys were going to be aggressive to try to get a win. We just had the best car there at the end. The 48 (Jimmie Johnson) didn't do anything that he shouldn't have, and made sure he protected his points lead. He gave us a little bit of respect as well." _Denny Hamlin_ Read More »

Running Their Mouth: NASCAR Banking 500

Running Their Mouth: NASCAR Banking 500

_Each week, we’ll go through media reports, interviews, PR, and all of our own stuff to find the best quotes from the Sprint Cup race, capturing the story of how the weekend unfolded. It’s the most original commentary you’ll ever find: the truth, coming straight out of the mouths of the drivers, crew members, and car owners themselves. This week, here’s a sneak peek at what they all were thinking following the NASCAR Banking 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway:_ "We've taken a lot of pride through the years to run well here in everyone's backyard. The fact that Lowe's is our sponsor and the track sponsor has always been something cool to win and celebrate. Spending that moment with the Lowe's executives in Victory Lane has been special, and to do it here for the last race that the track is sponsored by Lowe's is cool. The perfect weekend is what Chad (Knaus, crew chief) always wanted to do. Win every practice, qualifying, and the race... and we got it." _Jimmie Johnson_ Read More »