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Who’s Hot / Who’s Not in NASCAR: “Off Week” Edition

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not in NASCAR: “Off Week” Edition

Both the NASCAR Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series were off this weekend, but there was no shortage of action as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series headed to Darlington Raceway for the Too Tough To Tame 200.

Kasey Kahne dominated the event, winning the race by 1.116 sec. over second-place Ron Hornaday, Jr. Todd Bodine finished third, Matt Crafton was fourth, and James Buescher rounded out the top 5.

Crafton’s top 5 run allowed him to retain the points lead, leading by six points over second-place Cole Whitt. Timothy Peters moved up two spots in the standings after finishing sixth and is now seven points out of the lead. Clay Rogers dropped two positions to fourth while Johnny Sauter rounds out the top 5.

*HOT*

*Kasey Kahne-* While team owner Kyle Busch was vacationing in Cancun, Kahne took over the reins of the Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 18 Toyota Tundra. Since Kahne is ineligible for points in the Camping World Truck Series, there would be no points racing from this Washington native. Instead, Kahne set a blistering pace, leading 95 of the 147 laps.

Kahne said after the race that he didn’t have any more races scheduled in the Truck Series, though he would like to if Kyle Busch Motorsports could get the sponsorship money together.

With the win, Busch maintained the owner points lead in the Truck Series. Their closest competitor is the No. 2 truck owned by DeLana Harvick sitting 11 points back heading into Martinsville Speedway.

*Ron Hornaday Jr.-* Hornaday’s second-place run was his second consecutive top three run after a third-place finish two weeks ago in Phoenix.

After a restart on lap 144, Hornaday looked like he was in prime position to take a shot at the victory. In fact on the restart, Hornaday just about made it three wide heading into turns 1 and 2. He may have been able to gain a little bit of momentum on the backstretch, but Todd Bodine wiggled in front of him causing Hornaday to check up. Hornaday was never able to make up any lost ground but was able to get around Bodine and wound up finishing second 1.116 seconds behind Kahne.

Hornaday moved up four spots in the standings to sixth with the runner-up finish and is now 12 points out of the lead.

*Honorable Mention:* James Buescher (finished fifth)

*WARM*

Austin Dillon may have run a mediocre race at Darlington, but he survived the track that’s “Too Tough to Tame.”

*Austin Dillon-* Dillon’s 15th-place run was rather lackluster compared to his fifth-place run in Phoenix. However, Darlington didn’t earn the name “Too Tough To Tame” for no reason, which makes survival a key component at being successful at this track.

Dillon ran a pretty quiet race, failing to lead a lap but not getting caught up in any accidents. Dillon dropped two spots in the points standings to eighth and is now 19 points out of the lead.

*Parker Kligerman-* Kligerman, who is racing the full Camping World Truck Series schedule for Brad Keselowski Racing, had a sponsor on the car for the first time this year in Penske Truck Leasing. While Kligerman failed to lead any laps, he brought the truck home in one piece in the 14th position.

Kligerman climbed six spots in the standings to 16th and is 40 points back from the leader Matt Crafton.

*Honorable Mention:* Travis Kvapil (finished 17th)

*COOL*

*Max Papis-* Papis finished 18th in the Too Tough To Tame 200 for his third consecutive finish outside the top 10.

Though Papis was able to finish on the lead lap, he never ran any higher than 15th and suffered some damage on the first lap of the race after getting caught up in a multi-truck accident. However, Papis was able to continue racing and bring the truck home with a top-20 finish.

The 18th-place finish cost the Germain Racing driver one spot in the standings, as he fell to ninth just three races in. He is 24 points out of the lead.

*Justin Johnson-* No he’s not related to Jimmie and yes it’s hard to keep up with all the JJ’s in NASCAR.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, Johnson finished 35th at Darlington after crashing by himself in turn 2 on lap 37. After the Vision Aviation Racing team spent a few laps on pit road trying to fix it, Johnson returned to the track only to realize that a hole in the oil cooler would prevent them from running the full distance. Johnson had served a speeding penalty under the previous caution that had him mired back in traffic.

Johnson skipped the season-opening race at Daytona. An eighth-place finish at Phoenix and a 35th-place finish at Darlington puts him 28th in the standings and 66 points out of the lead.

*Honorable Mention:* Justin Marks (finished 24th)

*COLD*

*Miguel Paludo-* The learning curve continues for Truck Series rookie Miguel Paludo. The Brazil native finished 27th, 12 laps down, after getting caught up in a crash on the very first lap of the race.

Paludo, who is a two time Porsche Cup champion, was never able to run any higher than 13th and had to watch Red Horse Racing teammate Timothy Peters finish in the sixth position. On the bright side, Paludo managed to finish the race, which is something eight other trucks weren’t able to do.

Paludo dropped three positions to 12th in the Truck Series driver standings and now sits 35 points out of the lead.

*Chase Mattioli-* After missing Daytona, Mattioli has been trying to make up some lost ground while driving for team owner Jennifer Jo Cobb. So far, though, his efforts have proven futile after finishing 33rd at Phoenix and 34th this weekend in Darlington.

This weekend, Mattioli completed just 55 laps of the scheduled 147 after being involved in multiple on-track incidents.

The No. 10 truck fell 12 spots in the owner standings to 29th, which means they have fallen out of a guaranteed starting spot with the top 25 in owner points. Mattioli moved up two spots in the driver standings to 34th and is 90 points out of the lead.

*Honorable Mention:* Norm Benning (finished 26th)

“Contact Summer Dreyer”:http://www.frontstretch.com/contact/28526/

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