While the Nationwide and Cup series head out west for a visit to Sonoma, the Camping World Truck Series once again sits idle, and until NASCAR adjusts the schedule so these off weeks come along much less frequently, fans are left with quite a bit of downtime in between events. After watching the battle between John Hunter Nemechek and Matt Crafton, German Quiroga and Timothy Peters from Gateway International Speedway last week, I was left thinking about some of the more memorable moments the Truck series has seen in its 15 plus year history. This week begins a multi-part series where we’ll look back on some of those great moments in no particular order.
2012 Ford EcoBoost 200 Finish
If you’re anything like me, it’s the beating and banging and the close-quarters racing that has made NASCAR appealing. Add a first-time winner to the mix, especially against a Cup series driver like Kyle Busch who dominates so much in the series, and you’ve got a recipe for a classic that’s worth remembering for years to come.
Bryan Silas Falls Out of His Truck
Bryan Silas, whose team operates on a shoestring budget week after week, found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time earlier this year when Spencer Gallagher spun at Martinsville Speedway. That left Silas with a substantial amount of damage to his No. 99 truck, and to add insult to injury, he ran into a little snag getting out for his ride to the infield care center. It’s hard to not feel bad for Silas as he had already suffered enough from having his truck taken out of the race through no fault of his own.
Max Papis Gets Slapped
Following the Truck series’ inaugural race at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (Mosport), there were plenty of tempers flaring, both on and off the track. While Chase Elliott was criticized for his winning move on Ty Dillon, the moment that stands out came following a post-race interview with Max Papis, who had tangled with Mike Skeen on track throughout the race. Skeen, who was clearly upset about his one-off event, had his girlfriend along with him, and she felt the need to seek out Papis and slap him to share her disgust. While I don’t want to limit drivers and their emotions, there’s clearly something wrong with a non-competitor stepping in to settle a score. The slap resulted in an indefinite ban for Kelly Heaphy, and Skeen’s crew chief was fined for not keeping her under control.
Darrell Wallace, Jr. Wins at Martinsville
Last season at Martinsville Speedway, then-rookie Darrell Wallace, Jr. dominated the event en route to his first trip to victory lane – and the first for an African-American driver since Wendell Scott did it in 1963. The win clearly meant a lot to Wallace for multiple reasons.
“It means everything. This is an emotional one for me, especially to do it in Wendell Scott’s backyard. I love to come in here to Martinsville. It’s always good to me, and it finally paid off. My third trip here and I’m not even going to talk about the late model races,” Wallace said after the event. “But I love coming here. The fans are always great and they always put on a great race here. Had to do some muscling there at the end and get around Ty and keep it away from Harvick. Dodged a few bullets during the race, and this is awesome. This is good for not only myself and my team, Kyle and Samantha, Jerry, Toyota, everybody involved, this is big.”
While I don’t like categorizing drivers in any way, whether by gender or race, there’s no denying that the moment was a historic one and one that meant so much to Wallace, along with his entire Kyle Busch Motorsports team. Add in that it was the rookie’s first career victory, and that raw emotion just can’t be beat.
Because who doesn’t love a great soldier homecoming video?
Author’s Note: Remember that this piece is a multi-part series, so not all of those memorable moments could fit into a single column. If you have a favorite moment that you would like featured in the next edition, please feel free to share it with me in the comments below or on Twitter, and I’ll recognize the best ones in the coming features.