Timothy Peters and Johnny Sauter will take 82 points and the truck series lead into Kansas for the third stop on the 2014 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series calendar.
The 167-lap race checks in at just over 250 miles on the 1.5-mile track and will begin on Friday evening, as the race moves under the lights for the first time.
As we look ahead to Friday's race, it was Camping World who stole the news this week—extending their sponsorship of the series. The Twitter account for NASCAR Trucks shared the announcement:
Toyota took the top two spots in this race in 2013 with Matt Crafton taking the win and Joey Coulter coming in second. In an interesting stat, Crafton became the 13th different winner of this event in its 13 races.
The last race for these drivers came at Martinsville Speedway. Crafton took the checkered flag in that outing, and will now be looking to make it two wins in a row in the series and at Kansas.
Qualifying, Practice and Press Conference Info (All Times ET)
Thursday Practices: 2:30-3:30 p.m.; 4-5:30 p.m.
Thursday Press Conferences: Ryan Blaney at 1:45 p.m.; Matt Crafton at 2 p.m.
NASCAR.com provides a live stream for the press conferences here.
Friday Qualifying: Keystone Light Pole Qualifying beginning at 4:40 p.m. and broadcast on Fox Sports 1
Start Time: Friday, May 9, at 8:30 p.m. ET
Location: Kansas Speedway, Kansas City, Kansas
TV: Fox Sports 1
|5||Ron Hornaday Jr.||76|
|7||German Quiroga Jr.||71|
|8||Darrell Wallace Jr.||61|
Full standings can be viewed via NASCAR.com
Checking in on Top Contenders
Defending series champion Crafton will be looking to build on the momentum of his win at Martinsville after finishing in 13th at Daytona to start the season. This has left him just four points behind Peters and Sauter.
This is the series' first stop on a track of intermediate distance, and the intermediate tracks served Crafton well last year. He had seven finishes inside the top 10 on such tracks.
Crafton, along with Sauter and Ron Hornaday Jr., is one of three drivers on the entry list for this race who have won a truck race at Kansas.
The intermediate length has also been kind to Sauter, as five of his nine career victories in the series have come on intermediate tracks. Sauter has been remarkably consistent thus far. He finished third and fourth in the two series' stops this year.
Last year, however, he won both of those races and still lost the championship to Crafton.
The other driver sitting with 82 points, Peters, has not had as much success at Kansas. He was 10th here last year, and his average finish in this event is 15.3.
However, that modest average finish isn't keeping Peters from being optimistic. PaddockTalk.com quoted Peters saying:
Kansas Speedway is the first mile and a half race for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series this season. So we tested at Charlotte (Motor Speedway) and really worked on our downforce program. I'm very optimistic. We've got a fast No. 17 Toyota Tundra for Kansas and I'm looking forward to getting back out on the track.
As Kentucky Speedway highlights, no driver has spent more time in the lead so far this truck season than Peters:
All of this is setting up for what should be an entertaining day of racing, and I'm siding with Crafton. His consistency since the start of last season can't be ignored.
On top of that, his team is geared to succeed at this race length. Crafton will be in a strong position to steal the series' lead after this event.
Following Kansas, the next series stop comes on May 16 for the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.