NASCAR’s Camping Truck Series will be transporting their tailgate party to Arizona’s valley of the sun at the Phoenix International Raceway. Friday night’s running of the Lucas Oil 150 is expected to be a perfect format for these high energy racing trucks. That’s because this speedway is a virtually flat one mile oval. That means PIR is considered to be a short track by modern day NASCAR standards and everyone, who follows this series, knows that NASCAR’s truck series shines on the short tracks.
THE STORY BREAKDOWN
The Phoenix event is the next to the last race of the season and it appears that Todd Bodine will be presenting Germain Racing with their second championship. Going into Friday night’s race the Toyota Tundra drivers holds a 230 point advantage over Aric Almirola while Johnny Sauter holds down third in the standings 304 points back. By the way that’s the second largest points lead in series history. If Bodine finishes the Phoenix race with at least a 195 points lead then the title is his. That’s very possible because Bodine has some very good stats at this track. He’s a former race winner there and, in six official series starts, he’s only finished outside of the top ten twice.
Still at issue is the coveted Owner’s Points Championship. Bodine also wants to present that trophy to the Germain brothers as well but it’s not going to be easy. Kyle Busch has similar plans for this title and would love to see his motorsports team take the owner’s title during its rookie season. Three weeks ago the Bodine team had a 39 point lead in the standings. But Busch has been on fire lately and now holds a 72 point lead going into Friday night’s race. While the lead is not mathematically insurmountable, it will be tough for Bodine and company to overcome this deficit with only two races left.
Is Indy Racing League superstar Dan Wheldon coming to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series next year? That’s one of the hot garage rumors these days. Sponsorship issues has left some serious question marks regarding Wheldon’s future IRL plans. The rumor mill is now saying that Wheldon has been having exploratory talks with Kyle Busch Motorsports regarding a future NASCAR ride for next year.
Series champion Ron Hornaday Jr may be performing double duty at Phoenix this weekend. Depending on the stork’s delivery schedule, Hornaday may be taking over the wheel of Ryan Newman’s #39 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet for Sunday’s Sprint Cup race if Newman has to hurry home on maternity leave. The Newmans are expecting the arrival of their first child literally any day now.
THE RACE BREAKDOWN
The Lucas Oil 150 is 150 laps/150 miles around the Phoenix International Raceway’s one mile, practically flat, oval.
The race has 36 entries for a 36 truck event. That means the go or go home teams, those outside of the series’ top 25 in owner’s points, will get a free pass this week and all entries will make the race.
There has been 19 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races at Phoenix that has sent 11 different winners to victory lane. Ron Hornaday Jr and Mike Skinner leads the PIR win list with two each. Other previous race winners, in the the field Friday night, include Todd Bodine, Kyle Busch and David Starr.
The defending race winner is Kevin Harvick who is not entered in Friday night’s race. Harvick’s Childress Racing, Sprint Cup, team mate Clint Bowyer will be making his first series start since 2007 in Kevin Harvick Inc’s #2 Chevrolet Truck.
Friday night’s Lucas OIl 150 will be broadcast live by the SPEED Channel with the pre race set up show beginning at 730 pm eastern time.