This weekend, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series heads to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the North Carolina Education Lottery 200. As is typical of the mile-and-a-half track, there are 42 drivers entered for tonight’s race (May 21). Along with the healthy entry list comes quite a few unfamiliar faces.
One of those drivers is Mike Guerity who will make his Truck Series debut. This week, Daisy Ramirez Motorsports announced Guerity would join the team to pilot the No. 01 Koma Unwind/Chillaxation/FootSoldier.com Chevrolet this weekend as well as next month at Michigan International Speedway. The Rochester Hills, Mich. native has 16 starts in the ARCA Re/Max Series from 2004-2005 with five top-10 finishes, all coming during the 2005 season.
“Running my first race at Charlotte is pretty special. It’s a big race for the NASCAR industry as a whole since this is our backyard,” Guerity said. “And going up to run at Michigan next month is even more special since that is my backyard. Ultimately, I look forward to working with Daisy, their sponsors and the whole team to continue the climb through the points and bring home a couple strong finishes for them.”
Along with Guerity, international drivers Narain Karthikeyan and Nelson Piquet Jr. make their returns to the Truck Series tonight. Piquet Jr. scored a ninth-place finish in his series debut at Daytona International Speedway earlier this season with Red Horse Racing and will pilot the No. 15 Qualcomm Toyota for Billy Ballew Motorsports. Karthikeyan returns to the No. 60 Chevrolet for his third race this season. He scored a 13th-place finish in his debut at Martinsville but was caught up in a lap 7 crash at Kansas just two races later.
Guerity, Piquet Jr. and Karthikeyan are locked into tonight’s North Carolina Education Lottery 200.
Ray Hackett Racing Scales Back
Sponsorship woes have hit the Truck Series hard this season, and Ray Hackett Racing has become the latest victim. The team had intended to run the full season this year, but sponsorship availabilities have had other plans for the team. After gathering last-minute sponsorship for the first four races this season, including for driver Rick Crawford at Kansas Speedway a few weeks ago, RHR was forced to miss Dover and this week’s race at Charlotte due to a lack of funding.
Team owner Ray Hackett thought he had seen a light at the end of the tunnel earlier this season, but that just wasn’t meant to be.
“Not being at the track these past few weeks has been tough. As Rick Crawford proved at Kansas as he was racing for the lead, we have really good equipment and we were really happy with the way things were going,” Hackett said. “We were growing and had been able to hire a few guys who previously worked for really good truck teams, but we have been forced to lay off some of those crew members because of the lack of money coming in.”
The team is still actively searching for sponsors or drivers interested in renting their trucks. There is no word when they might return to the track.
Did You Know?
- Aric Almirola‘s first career Truck Series victory last weekend marked the seventh consecutive season Billy Ballew Motorsports has visited victory lane, the most of any active team? BBM joins Hendrick Motorsports (1995-2001) and Roush Fenway Racing (2003-2009), while the series record is held by Ultra Motorsports at 11 seasons.
- Two more crew members have been suspended indefinitely for violating NASCAR’s substance-abuse policy on Monday? Clint Carter from the No. 46 team and Jeremy Wilbert from the No. 95 team were found in violation of Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 19 (violation of NASCAR’s substance abuse policy).
- Hermie Sadler will attempt tonight’s race with Fast Track Racing? He’ll pilot the No. 48 TNA Wrestling Chevrolet designed by wrestler Jeff Hardy and will have to qualify for the field on time.
“Having a race in Charlotte this week is exciting on a number of fronts. We’re part of the Sprint All-Star celebration and the events surrounding that. But this is also the week the NASCAR Hall of Fame welcomes its first five inductees. Charlotte is the kind of track where the drivers are all in. There are multiple grooves and it makes for a great show.” – Wayne Auton, Series Director
“Charlotte’s a lot of fun, though. I like the racetrack. I like night racing there with the bright yellow walls. It’s really cool.” – Tayler Malsam
“Charlotte is a very fast racetrack and with the new restart format, you can have a problem and still have time to get back to the front. It used to be harder on mile-and-a-half tracks to get your track position back since we were all in one line. It’s going to be a fun race.” – James Buescher
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