I can’t believe how fast the offseason went by. I thought it wouldn’t be that quick but it really was. After Homestead, it was the first time since we moved to the United States that we didn’t go to Brazil right away. We applied for our green cards and you can’t travel until you receive the card. Well, you can travel but you have to get a visa and it takes a really long time. So we planned to be here in the U.S. for Christmas and New Year’s Eve. It was nice to be here in a different situation — not just racing. I had my in-laws come in and Patricia was happy to have them here. We enjoyed Christmas and New Year’s Eve together at home. It was pretty simple for just ourselves with a nice dinner.
Well fans, it’s that time again. Time to shake off the winter rust and look forward to yet another exciting Camping World Truck Series season. Here we are, just a little over a week away from the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway, typically the most exciting race on the schedule! So for those of you that have completely disconnected from NASCAR during the break, I’m here to ensure you’re all caught up in time for next Friday night’s NextEra Energy 250 with a full season preview.
Plenty of changes have occurred since the last time we saw the Trucks in November. Kyle Busch Motorsports leads the way with a brand new lineup for 2013.
From the moment Parker Kligerman joined Red Horse Racing, it was clear from their chemistry he would head to victory lane before the season was up.
When you think of the Truck Series and the teams involved, Red Horse Racing is likely one of the names that comes to mind. Having been a part of the series since 2005, they’ve steadily made their presence known, but everything changed this year. Coming into the 2012 season, RHR boasted five victories, 46 top 5s and 99 top-10 finishes, but with just one race left in the year, they’ve added five more wins, 22 top 5s and 31 top 10s in just a single season. So how did the team get to where it is today? To find the answer, we’ll start the very beginning.
I can’t believe it’s time for our last diary already. After this one, we’re done until Daytona.
Looking back at Texas, it was a bit of a frustrating race. I don’t want to be crying all the time about our performance, but every race is almost like a movie. We ran well at Texas in practice — ninth in the first one and second in the last one — and we qualified fourth. The Diabetes paint scheme we ran means a lot to me. It means a lot to me to run well and to represent something that’s so important. But as soon as the race started, we were tight. You can ask anybody — if you have a snug truck in qualifying, as soon as the night falls, you’re going to have to free it up. We were super tight all race long. It didn’t matter what we did and we still kept going backwards.
*In a Nutshell:* Johnny Sauter took the checkered flag 2.199 seconds ahead of Parker Kligerman to win the WinStar World Casino 350 at Texas Motor Speedway Friday night. The driver of the No 13 SealMaster / Curb Records Toyota led 28 of 147 laps en route to a sweep at the 1.5-mile oval this season. Polesitter Nelson Piquet, Jr., Kyle Busch, and rookie Ty Dillon rounded out the top 5.
Having gone into Martinsville Speedway as the points leader, Ty Dillon suffered his worst career finish of 28th after a blown right front tire caused significant damage to his No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet. As a result, James Buescher has taken a pretty substantial 21 marker advantage heading into the type of track Turner Motorsports has accelerated at for much of the year–intermediate. Early season leader Timothy Peters find himself just 25 points behind in what is likely now just a three horse race.
*Truex, Merrell Set to Debut*
If all goes well in qualifying on Saturday morning, the Kroger 200 will feature two drivers making their Truck Series debuts. Ryan Truex has partnered with Hillman Racing, who fielded the No. 27 for a Jeb Burton 13th-place result at the paperclip in the spring event earlier this year. Though it’ll be his first Truck Series start at the 0.533-mile oval, Truex does have a 2010 K&N East Series start where he brought home a runner-up finish for Michael Waltrip Racing.
The Camping World Truck Series takes another week off in its final extended break before the end of the year. While most of the drivers are taking their time to relax and refresh, I’ve got a few more odds and ends to take a closer look at before everyone heads back to the track next weekend at Martinsville Speedway.
*Truck Series on Dirt in 2013?*
Earlier this week, “ESPN.com’s David Newton reported”:http://espn.go.com/racing/nascar/truck/story/_/id/8513382/truck-race-possible-eldora-speedway-dirt-sources-say that NASCAR may be looking at the possibility of hosting a Truck Series event on the dirt at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. According to Newton, “multiple sources with the series said they’ve been told a dirt track could be added to the 2013 schedule.”
With the Camping World Truck Series off for the next couple weeks, it’s time for teams and drivers alike to take a step back and regroup in preparation for the final four races of the season. Of course, along with off weeks comes a lack of news coming out of the series. In fact, it’s almost as if the series doesn’t exist during their breaks, so this week, I bring you a few random thoughts and observations.
*Record Breaking Year*
Parker Kligerman’s victory last weekend at Talladega Superspeedway marked the eighth different first-time winner (John King – Daytona, James Buescher – Kansas, Justin Lofton – Charlotte, Joey Coulter – Pocono, Nelson Piquet Jr. – Michigan, Ty Dillon – Atlanta, Ryan Blaney – Iowa) the series has seen this season. It breaks the previous record of seven set in 1997 and matched in 1998.
I had a stomach sickness two or three days prior to the race at Las Vegas, and I thought I’d get better but I didn’t. Before the race I went to the infield care center and had an IV. That made me feel a little better. As far as the race itself, I was glad it was at night–it wasn’t as hot as last year. We had a good truck. During the only practice, we made a mistake so we ended up putting it back to the exact same setup that we had when we unloaded. When we went to qualify, I qualified seventh and I was really happy with the qualifying effort. Once the race started, I was average to snug, but on the long runs I was getting better. Then I was a little free because the track was changing and the temperature was changing. At the end, the guys did awesome on pit stops–I think the best pit stops we’ve had all year long. We gained spots every time, and on the last pit stop, we came in tenth and went out fifth.
DEARBORN, Mich., October 1, 2012 – While advances in computer simulation models and wind tunnel technology have given race teams the ability to predict what conditions they may encounter on any given weekend, there’s no real substitute for actual on-track testing. As the countdown towards February’s Daytona 500 and debut of the 2013 NASCAR Fusion continues, Ford …