ThorSport’s Sauter, Crafton Eye Records At Rockingham
ThorSport Racing has much to celebrate this weekend in Rockingham, N.C.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ longest, continually operating organization enters the third race of the 2013 season with all three drivers – Johnny Sauter, Matt Crafton and two-time champion Todd Bodine – ranked among the top 10 in the standings.
The Sandusky, Ohio-based Toyota team ran the table at Martinsville Speedway, where Sauter and Crafton finished one-two for the third time since their pairing in 2009.
Points leader Sauter goes for an unprecedented third consecutive victory after joining Mark Martin (2006) as the only competitor to win the season’s first two races.
“This is great to start the year off with two in a row and I couldn’t be prouder,” said Sauter. “We still have 20 races left and there’s a lot that can happen. We just need to keep it all in focus and take it all in stride and go to Rockingham where we finished fourth a year ago and go in Kansas where we’ve won in the past.”
Crafton, meanwhile, sits third in series standings and will compete in his record 297th consecutive race at Rockingham. The Tulare, Calif., veteran is poised to erase a record held by Terry Cook, the driver he succeeded at ThorSport Racing in 2001. Crafton’s streak began Oct. 28, 2000, when ThorSport entered trucks for both Cook and Crafton at Auto Club Speedway. All but the 25 races Crafton ran in 2004 for Kevin Harvick Inc. have come in a ThorSport truck. Cook’s record ran from Jan. 18, 1998, through Nov. 13, 2009.
Larson, Logano To Battle With NCWTS Teens
He’s back. Kyle Larson, whose string of top-10 finishes at the conclusion of the 2012 NCWTS season confirmed the NASCAR Drive for Diversity competitor as a future star, will drive the No. 30 Turner Scott Motorsports Chevrolet in Sunday’s North Carolina Education Lottery 200.
Larson finished second last November at Phoenix after being crowned 2012 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion. He competes full time in the NNS and will do a transcontinental “double” after opening the weekend Friday night at Texas Motor Speedway. The Californian won’t be the weekend’s only double-dipper. Joey Logano will compete in Saturday’s NSCS race in Texas then fly to North Carolina – following the same route as Kasey Kahne, last year’s inaugural Rockingham winner. Logano will drive the No. 19 Brad Keselowski Racing Ford owned by his Penske Racing teammate.
There will be no shortage of young guns in this week’s field, led by Jeb Burton, 20, and Darrell Wallace Jr., 19, who comprised the front row of last week’s Martinsville Speedway race. Burton finished third. Wallace, Chase Elliott, 17, and Erik Jones, 16, finished fifth, sixth and ninth, respectively, the first time in series history three teenagers scored top 10s in the same race.
Eclectic Stand-Alone Schedule Begins At Rockingham
Sunday’s event at Rockingham is the first of seven events on the NASCAR Camping World Truck schedule apart from other NASCAR national series.
The stand-alone events represent a third of the 2013 season and comprise an eclectic mix of tracks. Rockingham’s one-mile, high-banked oval played a significant role in NASCAR’s history but stood idle until new owner Andy Hillenburg revitalized the facility.
Two new facilities new to NASCAR will host truck events later this summer: Eldora Speedway in eastern Ohio will present the series’ first dirt track race July 24. The series’ first road race since the 2000 season will be held Sept. 1 at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park near Toronto, Canada.
Additional stand-alone events are set for Iowa Speedway, a .875-mile short track (July 13 and Sept. 8); and Texas Motor Speedway (June 7) and Las Vegas Motor Speedway (Sept. 28), two 1.5-mile intermediate layouts.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Etc.
More than 40 entries have been received for the North Carolina Education Lottery 200. Forty-one drivers attempted to qualify for the 36-truck field a year ago.
Andy Seuss, a regular competitor on the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, will attempt to make his first truck start this weekend at Rockingham. Seuss, a native of Hampstead, N.H., has 12 career wins in the NWSMT and has 98 starts combined in both Whelen Modified tours.
Timothy Peters was sworn in as a deputy sheriff over the past weekend with the Safe Surfin’ Foundation based in Bedford, N.C., that hunts down sexual predators on the Internet. Peters joins a list of celebrity spokespeople that also includes Shaquille O’Neal, Kathy Ireland, Erik Estrada, Lou Ferrigno and William Lee Golden of the Oak Ridge Boys, among others.