It's rumored that Toyota maybe leaving the Truck and Nationwide Series, pulling the financial support but continuing on with engineering and tech support like GM, Ford and Chrysler.
This is actually untrue. Over the past year, Toyota has restructured it's funding based on the importance of the Series to the manufacture, and they will continue to operate this way in the future.
SS Greenlight Racing has announced that Jason Young will make his debut in the Trucks at Memphis, driving the No. 07 Chevrolet and will have support from his team 3BR Racing.
The team didn't have a sponsor lined up. They won't be racing in Memphis with McCumbee and would have been sitting at home.
They hope by making this deal, it will help keep the No. 07 in the top-10 in points. McCumbee is still the team's primary driver; he'll be back at Kentucky with the tiwi back on board as sponsor.
Ryan Sieg will be back driving the No. 39 Sieg Racing Chevy at Kentucky. The team plans to run under seven races, so he'll maintain his rookie starts for 2010.
His lone start in trucks came at Martinsville with GunBroker.com Racing.
Michelle Theriault will be driving No. 72 MaysSolution.com Chevrolet, for James Carter at Memphis.
Hal Martin will be making his debut in Trucks at Memphis, with Fast Track Racing in the No. 48 Sea Support/Fast Track Chevrolet.
Chris Fontaine is back in the No. 84 Glenden Enterprises Chevrolet, with his own team at Memphis.
J.J. Yeley is back in the No. 73 Tagsby Racing Chevrolet at Memphis and the sponsors still needs to be announced.
Billy Ballew Motorsports Update
First, Aric Almirola will be back in the No. 15 at Memphis and no sponsor has been announced yet.
Second, Brian Ickler will be back in the No. 51 Miccosukee Resorts/Samsung Instinct Toyota at Memphis.
Kevin Harvick Inc. Update
First, Ricky Carmichael will be driving the No. 4 Monster Energy Drink Chevrolet at Memphis.
Second, Ron Hornaday Jr. will have the Longhorn sponsorship back on his No. 33.
News and Notes
The Coolest Trophy
For most fans, it's the Harley Earl Trophy, maybe the Brickyard Trophy or it's the Championship Trophy that's your favorite trophy.
For me, it's the Elvis Trophy. I think it's one of the coolest given in NASCAR, and sadly it's in it's last year. It's a 27" tall, bronze statue that weights 60 lbs. and based on a statue of Elvis that stands on Beale Street.
It came about through a partnership between Memphis Motorsports Park and Elvis Presley Enterprises, that created it. Only 12 were minted by MTM recognition.
One will always be on display at Memphis Motorsports Park, one was given to Graceland, and five each starting in 2005 ending in 2009 were awarded to Truck race winners in the Summer and Nationwide race winners in the Fall.
It's been won in the Truck Series by Brandon Whitt in 2005, Jack Sprague in 2006, Travis Kvapil in 2007 and Ron Hornaday Jr. in 2008.
After Saturday's race, the last one will be given out to the race winner. It'll be a bummer for me, since I think it's pretty unique trophy to give a race winner and wish they kept giving them out.
At least I can hope that MMP replaces it in 2010 with another unique cool looking trophy and not just another generic one.
Here's a picture of the trophy.
At Memphis, there are 34 Trucks entered to race Saturday night in the MemphisTravel.com 200 presented by O'Reilly Auto Parts.
It's two trucks shy of a full field. The breakdown is 25 full-time teams and nine part-time teams.
The Points Tighten
We've run 10 races, have 15 more left to run to complete the 2009 Camping World Truck Series season.
The series is known for it's great point battles, the last two seasons have came down to the final lap wave of the checkers at Homestead.
So far in 2009, the points are no different. Even with a tough economy, we've seen five different changes with the points leader. Now Hornaday is back leading for a second time.
The top four are a mere 89 points separated, then fifth through 10th are over 200 points back, but only 57 points separate them. It's just one bad race by the leader to close the gap back up.
It's definitely going to be exciting to watch another awesome points battle unfold. Don't be surprised to see three or more drivers roll into Homestead with a shot to win the championship.
It's back to back tracks that we may just see Ron Hornaday just dominate the race.
He's the defending race winner, and last year he led 134 of 204 laps.
In fact, according to the loop data statistics, Horn, in his four previous races at the track, has led 274 of the last 478 laps. No one's close to that total driver-wise.
More impressive is that he's completed 1,208 laps; every one in the six races he's run at Memphis.
He should unload with a fast truck and qualify on the pole. He wants that guitar for his trophy room and we should see another dominating performance by him.
Horn wants to claim that last Elvis trophy, so he'll have a matching set on his mantle.
He'll be racing the same chassis No. 027 at Memphis, and it's the same one he took to victory lane at Milwaukee. We could just see it go back to back.
The Rookie Chase
James Buescher would be the Raybestos Rookie of the Race at Milwaukee, where he started 19th on owner points and finished a career best of fifth place.
He started out with a tight truck and made two pit stops 14 laps apart to help loosen his truck.
He would go a lap down on lap 117, but regained it when green flag pit stops started happening.
His pit strategy helped him out. A caution flag during green flag pit stops was to his benefit, and placed him in the top five.
With a balanced truck he was able to maintain fast lap times and came home with a fifth place finish.
Tayler Malsam would over come a tight handling truck at Milwaukee, benefit from a caution during green flag pit stops and record a seventh place finish.
Johnny Sauter ran top 15 most of the race, stayed out of trouble, got caught a lap down making a green flag stop and never could get his lap back. He finished 14th.
Brian Ickler would start on the pole, based on owner points, lead a lap, but fought a loose handling truck all day and finished 15th.
Ricky Carmichael would fight a loose condition, never getting the handling right on his truck. He got caught by the caution during green flag pit stops and finished 24th.
2009 Raybestos Rookie of the Year Standings
Tayler Malsam 112
Johnny Sauter 105
James Buescher 95
Ricky Carmichael 61
J.R. Fitzpatrick 60
Brian Ickler 49
Brent Raymer 36
Chris Jones 26
Chase Austin 16
The Scott Minute
This Kid is awesome, cast and all. He kicked some serious butt at Milwaukee, finishing third and running top-10 all race long. You couldn't help but root for him to have a great finish.
Scott should have another good performance at Memphis. Last year as a rookie he qualified sixth and finished 13th.
He likes the track; it's all about getting through the corners, being able to get into the gas on the straightways.
It also helps to have track position and a good handling chassis is key to running well at the track.
He should have a fast truck, qualify well and run a decent race. With his cast, his team may use pit strategy with a late caution to get him the lead or up front to challenge for the win.
He'll be driving chassis No. 133 at Memphis. He got a eighth at Martinsville earlier in the season.
June 27: MemphisTravel.com 200 presented by O'Reilly Auto Parts at Memphis Motorsports Park on Speed at 5:30 p.m. (the set-up show) and 6:00 p.m. race time (Saturday).
July 18: Built Ford Tough 225 at Kentucky Speedway on Speed at 6:30 p.m. (the set-up show) and 7:00 p.m. race time (Saturday).
July 24: NASCAR Camping World 200 at O'Reilly Raceway Park on Speed at 7:30 p.m. (the set-up show) and 8:00 p.m. race time (Friday).
This week it's Memphis Motorsports park. The trucks have raced there since 1998 and it's one of my favorite tracks that the trucks race at.
Track Length: 0.75 Miles
Race Length: 200 Laps/150 Miles
Banking: 11* (Corners); 4* (Straightaways)
Lengths: 1,100 Feet (Front Stretch); 1,100 Feet (Back Stretch)
Race Winners: Ron Hornaday Jr., Jack Sprague and Travis Kvapil tied with two wins a piece.
Friday, June 26
3:00 p.m.-4:15 p.m. [4:00 p.m. -5:15 p.m. Eastern] First Practice
4:45 p.m.-6:00 p.m. [5:45 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Eastern] Final Practice
Saturday, June 27
1:00 p.m. [2:00 p.m. Eastern] Qualifying (Two Laps, All Positions)
5:00 p.m. [6:00 p.m. Eastern] Race Time (200 Laps/150 Miles)
2009 Manufacturer Championship Standings
2009 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Driver Points Standings
1.) Ron Hornaday Jr. 1518
2.) Matt Crafton -36
3.) Todd Bodine -88
4.) Mike Skinner -89
5.) David Starr -201
6.) Tayler Malsam -215
7.) Brian Scott -225
8.) Terry Cook -227
9.) Rick Crawford -251
10.) Dennis Setzer -258
I'm dedicating this one to Jason "Ardy" Arden. A talented crew member in NASCAR, who was killed last year on June 26th, right before the Memphis Truck race. He always had a smile on his face at the track. "Ardy will always be missed as he touched many drivers and fans hearts.
Sources for this article; truckseries.com, kevinharvickinc.com, speedtv.com, jayski.com, memphismotorsports.com, nascar.com, and catchfence.com
Photo Credits: sports.yahoo.com and memphismotorsportspark.com.