NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Preview-Kentucky

by Briar Starr On Tue, Jul. 10, 2018

Christopher Bell, driver of the #4 Toyota Toyota, celebrates with the checkered flag to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Buckle Up In Your Truck 225 at Kentucky Speedway on July 6, 2017 in Sparta, Kentucky. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images).

It will be the 12th race of the scheduled 22 race season for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series once the trucks hit the track Thursday night for the annual Buckle Up in Your Truck 225 at Kentucky Speedway.

Currently, there are 33 trucks entered on the preliminary entry list this week.

Here’s a look at who might be competing for the win in Thursday night’s truck race.

  1. Matt Crafton – Crafton has competed in 19 races at Kentucky, earning one win, five top fives and 14 top-10 finishes, along with an average start of 9.9 and an average finish of 10.3 and he has also led 79 laps in his career. He’ll need a win here soon before the Playoffs start at Bristol and Kentucky just might be the place where Crafton will break out and earn his first win of the year. If he doesn’t win this week, the next race at Eldora will mark one year since he has won. In the past five races, he finished eighth twice, won in 2015, sixth, and 10th, respectively. When the stages were implemented last year, Crafton finished third but fell out of the top-10 in the second stage after getting involved in an accident early on. Despite the finishes this year, he could sneak his way into victory lane Thursday night in the Bluegrass state.
  2. Parker Kligerman – While Kligerman might not end up in victory lane, he is certainly the one to watch when it comes to the Trucks Series when running a part-time schedule. At Kentucky, he has made six starts with the best finish of second coming in his first race in 2011 driving for Brad Keselowski. However, times have changed since then, and he now drives the No. 75 Henderson Motorsports entry. In last year’s race, Kligerman started 30th and finished seventh after running as high as sixth. In the 2018 season, he only has four starts coming at Daytona, Atlanta, Dover and Charlotte, with the best finish coming at Charlotte placing seventh. It’s easy to overlook drivers like Kligerman, but he could finish inside the top-10 once more, or possibly earn a top-five finish.
  3. Johnny Sauter – Kentucky hasn’t really been Sauter’s cup of tea, as he’s had mixed results at the 1.5-mile racetrack in Sparta. In the previous five races, he has finishes of ninth, fifth, 12th, ninth, and 12th. His best finish at the track came in 2010, finishing second and his worst finish was 24th in 2011 after having transmission issues. In the past two years, however, Sauter led a combined 40 laps. But with the way his 2018 season has been going so far, it’s hard to stop someone who has been dominant and having his career best season to date. Sauter just might cross Kentucky off the tracks he hasn’t won at yet. If he doesn’t do it this year, Sauter will definitely win here before his career is over.
  4. Brandon Jones – Jones could continue with the Jones name to victory lane this weekend after Erik Jones won at Daytona last Saturday night. He has three starts here earning one top five and three top-10 finishes, with his best finish of second coming in last year’s race. His average finish at Kentucky is 6.3. In the 2018 season, however, Jones has made three starts with two top fives and three top-10 finishes for Kyle Busch Motorsports. His best finish is third at Charlotte. He’ll pilot the famed the No.51 KBM entry with sponsor SoleusAir/Menards.
  5. Noah Gragson – Another driver who has been close to victory lane multiple times this year, has been the No. 18 Kyle Busch Motorsports driver Noah Gragson. Gragson competed in this race last year as a rookie. He started 11th and finished fifth after leading 32 laps. Gragson ran as high as first and as low as 20th. This earned him a driver rating of 95.5 and he has made 22 quality passes. Kyle Busch Motorsports has won the last two races at Kentucky.

The Truck Series has competed here since 2001 and has a list of who-who when it comes to visiting victory lane. The list of winners includes Greg Biffle, Scott Riggs, Mike Bliss, Carl Edwards, Bobby Hamilton, Dennis Setzer, Ron Hornaday Jr, Mike Skinner, Johnny Benson, Todd Bodine, Kyle Busch, James Buescher, Ty Dillon, Matt Crafton, William Byron, and Christopher Bell.

Of those winners, only three drivers have been able to repeat. Those include Kyle Busch, James Buescher, and Ron Hornaday Jr.

Qualifying will be important here as the past five races, the winners have come from second, third, first (twice), and 22nd. The highest a race winner has come was first with those coming in 2015, 2014, and 2009. The lowest a race winner has ever come from was 22nd in 2006 and 2013.

Thursday’s event will be an all-day show with a busy day on tap. Two practice sessions are scheduled for 9:05-9:55 a.m. ET with the final practice at 11:05-11:55 a.m. ET with no live coverage.

Qualifying is slated for Thursday afternoon at 5:10 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1.

Race coverage is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET with an approximate green flag at 7:49 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1 and MRN Radio. Stages will be broken up into 35/70/150.

** The opinions expressed on this site are not necessarily those of the publisher. All comments other than website related problems need to be directed to the author. (c)SpeedwayMedia.com. **

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