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NASCAR Truck Series Notebook Friday

by Dave Grayson
Friday, February 20, 2009

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Max Papis in his Toyota qualified a respectable 10th
Toyota
After a very exciting season opener at Daytona last week, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series moves on to the second race of their schedule this Saturday at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana-California. Here's the break down for the San Bernardino County 200:
  • The race is 100 laps around the Auto Club Speedway's two mile, D shaped, oval, and will be aired by the Fox Network at 3 pm eastern time.
  • The race has 38 official entries meaning two of the teams will be sent home. There are 17 trucks on the go or go home list.
  • Kyle Busch, and the #51 Billy Ballew Motorsports Toyota Tundra, is the defending race champion and is expected to be a big factor in this year's race.

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ON THE INSIDE TRACK.

There are quite a few favorites on this list to visit the Auto Club Speedway's victory lane Saturday. Chief among them is Todd Bodine, driver of the #30 Germain Racing Toyota, who won the season opener last week in Daytona for the second year in a row. Bodine's team is searching for a primary sponsor to replace the recently departed Lumber Liquidators. However, they do have a one race deal with Geico Insurance to cover the expenses of the trip to California. In Friday's happy hour practice session the former series champion topped the speed charts at 171.278 MPH.

You can never overlook the presence of three time series' champion Ron Hornaday Jr in Kevin Harvick's Camping World Chevrolet who is second on the final practice charts. Also expected to be strong in this event is former champion Mike Skinner, in the Randy Moss Motorsports/Exide Toyota, as well as reigning series champion Johnny Benson in the Red Horse Racing Toyota. It goes without saying that everyone is going to be watching Kyle Busch.

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TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS.

Every racing fan in the country is aware that Kyle Busch won 21 races in NASCAR's three up tier racing levels in 2008. This year Busch will be running a total of 80 races in all three series. Commenting on three different types of race vehicles in three different series he said "you can  jump back and forth between them, but if you drive them all the same, then you're going to struggle. You have to know what tendencies you need to run in the truck, the Nationwide car and the Sprint Cup car. Understanding all of that is what makes you a good race driver."

Ricky Carmichael, driver of the #4 Monster Energy Drink Chevrolet for Kevin Harvick Inc, comes home to California this weekend where his status as an AMA Motocross champion is legendary. Of his 150 AMA wins, 26 of them came in San Bernardino and Anaheim just a short hop down the freeway from the Auto Club Speedway. Commenting on Saturday's San Bernardino 200 he said "the goal this week is to continue learning. We want to be realistic and I want to be a sponge and learn as much as I can every lap."

Gabi DeCarlo will be attempting to make her official debut in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at the Auto Club Speedway driving the #90 Great Clips Toyota. Her resume includes driving in the ARCA/REMAX Series for the past two seasons. If she can turn up a good qualifying lap then DiCarlo will become only the 12th female to start a truck series event.     

Mike Curb is the principal owner of the #13 Fun Sand/Curb Records/Rodney Atkins Chevrolet driven by Johnny Sauter and he's very much looking forward to a home coming to his native San Bernardino. Curb's professional resume is quite impressive. He's been responsible for producing and distributing some classic songs over the years. He's also a past California Lieutenant Governor. His Curb Records logo was on King Richard Petty's Plymouth when he won his historic 199th and 200th NASCAR Sprint Cup races.

In a case of you get what you give: Curtis Key, owner of the #40 Oakdale Metal Buildings Chevrolet driven by Mike Bliss, may have his Alabama based sponsor for quite awhile because he did what he felt was the right thing. The sponsor signed on with the team at the last moment prior to last week's season opener at Daytona. Unfortunately Bliss got caught up in somebody else's lap 6 crash and the team's day was over before it even got started. Feeling that the sponsor didn't get their money's worth, Key informed Oakdale Metal Buildings that he was going to put their logo on his truck, for the Auto Club Speedway race, at no charge to them. The sponsor in turn called back and informed Key that they are going to support him for at least two more races at Atlanta and Talladega.

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