NOTES FROM THE NASCAR NATION: Truckin’ in Talladega

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will be bringing their high energy tail gate party to the massive Talladega Super Speedway for Saturday’s running of the Mountain Dew 250. In a racing environment where literally anything can happen within the blink of an eye, this race is expected to be yet another example of the close quarter action and dramatic finishes NASCAR’s truck brigade has treated its fans to all season long.

THE STORY BREAKDOWN

The official engraver of NASCAR may as well start the process of placing the name Todd Bodine on the series’ championship trophy. With four races left in the 2010 season, Bodine has an insurmountable 282 point lead which guarantees that second series championship his team, Germain Brothers Racing, has worked so hard for.


American Muscle

But the real points battle in this series remains to be the owner’s championship. When it comes to coveted trophies, this title is second only to the driver’s championship. The principals are Steve Germain, owner of record for Todd Bodine’s #30 Toyota, and Kyle Busch, the owner/driver of the #18 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota. Germain left the last race at Martinsville 39 points ahead of Busch. With only four races left in the season this battle is still too close to call.

Both drivers has enjoyed success at Talladega in the past. Busch is the defending race winner from last year. Bodine won the Talladega races in 2007 and 2008 and is the series’ only multiple winner there. By the way Bodine will be using the same race truck that went to victory lane following the team’s four super speedway wins.

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The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series hasn’t been completely left out of the traditional silly season rumor mill. The hot garage topic this week surrounds rumors that states four time series champion Ron Hornaday Jr may be talking to other teams regarding the 2011 season. His 2010 tenure with Kevin Harvick Inc hasn’t exactly been a banner year for Hornaday. He only has one win, after six wins last year, and his currently seventh in the championship standings.

Team sponsorship for the #33 KHI Chevrolet has also been an issue this year. The team began the year with a solid sponsorship program from Longhorn Smokeless Tobacco. But that ended last June with the implementation of a new federal law that prohibited tobacco companies from advertising their products during national sporting events. Since that time KHI has been forced to piece meal sponsorships on a race to race basis. There has been eight different companies on the hood of the #33 truck during a span of 20 races. But the same rumor mill also states that Hornaday would love to see a solution for this situation because he would much prefer to remain with KHI.

Also from the series’ silly season comes word that Roush Fenway Racing may be looking at returning to truck racing following a one year absence. RFR pulled out of the series, at the conclusion of the 2009 season, following the Ford Motor Company’s decision to pull factory support from the teams.

But the one thing that made the truck series so attractive to RFR still exists: it’s an excellent program for the operation’s driver development program. The latest garage rumor states that RFR will be returning with two truck teams in 2011.

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Long time fans of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will not be the least bit surprised to learn that their favorite form of truck racing has shown consistent increases in television ratings. It’s the only one of the three NASCAR national touring series to increase viewership according to figures released by Nielsen Media Research who monitors the ratings for television networks.

The numbers from last weekend’s Martinsville race alone was up 41% while reaching a reported 536,000 households. Those numbers are especially impressive in light of the fact the Martinsville race was televised on a Saturday afternoon during the midst of a cornucopia of televised college football.

There has only been two truck races this year that failed to show an increase in the television ratings. The first was the season opener at Daytona whose ratings were hampered by a postponement due to rain. The second one was the event at the Gateway International Raceway where a power failure caused a lengthy delay in the start of the race.

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THE RACE BREAKDOWN

The Mountain Dew 250 is 94 laps, 250.4 miles, around the Talladega Super Speedway’s massive 2.66 mile quad oval.

The event is the series fifth race at the speedway.

The race has 35 entries for an event that can start 36 trucks. That means that all entries will start the race and “knock out qualifying” procedures will not apply.

The Mountain Dew 250 will be broadcast live by the SPEED Channel this Saturday beginning at 3 pm eastern time.


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