Johnny Benson plans to visit Bristol Motor Speedway for the O'Reilly 200 on Aug. 19, and the only thing stopping him will be unforeseen circumstances.
JB is still recuperating at home from surgery to repair a separated shoulder and other injuries suffered during a fiery wreck during a Supermodified race at Berlin Raceway.
Hermie Sadler, will be driving the No. 48 Andy Hillenburg Motorsports Chevrolet at Bristol Motor Speedway for the Aug 19 O'Reilly 200, and in a truck prepared by Kevin Harvick Inc.
He'll have Victory Junction and the Hermie and Elliott Sadler Foundation as sponsors and thanks to the generosity of Joe Denette.
Denette won the Mega Millions Lottery jackpot back in May and will be contributing $100,000 to both charities that'll be on the truck.
Both Kyle Petty and Rutledge Wood are to be team members for Sadler.
Tommy Joe Martins, a possible Raybestos Rookie candidate in 2010, has been approved by NASCAR after the Nashville race to run later in the season at Chicagoland.
Tim Bainey Jr., will be making his third start in Trucks at Bristol in his family owned No. 00 Aaron's Lucky Dog Team.
Steve Park, hopes his success in the NASCAR Camping World Series East will lead to driving opportunities in either the Nationwide Series or Camping World Truck Series.
News & Notes
Rating's Up at Nashville
According to the Nielsen Household Ratings, Speed TV announced that the stand alone Camping World Truck Series race at Nashville was a 59 percent increase from the previous season.
Speed scored a average mark of .59 (439,000 Households), then peaking at .83 (614,000 Households), compared to last year with a average rating of .37 (268,000 Households) and peaking at .51 (368,000 Households).
Trucks Racing on Sunday in 2010
Kansas Speedway has announced that both the Indy Car and the Truck Series are returning in 2010 again as a double header race weekend.
For the first time, the Indy Car's race on Saturday, May 1st in the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 and the Truck race will be on Sunday, May 2nd in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 250.
The Points Battle
With the tear Ron Hornaday Jr. has been on in the 2009, with 14 races down and 11 to go, he has surged to a 216 point lead on Matt Crafton in second and 248 point lead on Mike Skinner in third.
Horn's 216 point lead is the largest ever in the Series after 14 races, and it eclipses Jack Sprague's 165 point lead on Greg Biffle in 1999.
Even with a lead like that, the points battle is far from being over. We'll see it come down again to the checkers at Homestead, or at least Horn will have to finish, say, 13th or better.
With 11 races left in the season, the points battle is far from over, and it's basically a one race cushion for Horn.
One mistake by him and Matt Crafton, Mike Skinner, Todd Bodine, and Brian Scott will be ready to pounce on his lead like a bunch of hungry coyotes and gobble up as many points as they can.
The one that worries me the most is Brian Scott, who sits in fifth, 373 points back, seven points out of fourth, and it's rumored that he'll race the rest of the season with that cast on his right wrist.
Since he broke his wrist at Michigan, Scott has been the one running just as consistent as Horn.
No doubt it'll be exciting to see if anyone can catch Horn. Will he bobble or will the wily veteran just go for the knockout by continuing to keep padding his points lead each race and claim his fourth championship?
Pretty sure crew chief Rick Ren keeps him aware that they gave one away last year with the 2008 Championship.
That kept the fire in the belly, keeps him hungry, focused, and determined to wrap up the Championship before Homestead.
Or will we see the "One Armed Bandit", AKA Brian Scott, reel him in and win his first championship in NASCAR?
Or will the pair of champions, Mike Skinner or Todd Bodine, reel him in and claim their second championships?
Or maybe the "Blue Collar driver" Matt Crafton will keep points racing Horn, not worry about the other drivers, and try to steal the title at Homestead?
Of course he needs to get some wins and collect more bonus points.
Whichever way it happens, it'll be one to remember and exciting. At least for me, it will top the 2008 epic battle between JB and Horn.
Having won five consecutive races, all that needs to be said is Horn's just been dominating races.
But it's when you look at the loop data statistics that you realize just how well he's run.
Over his five race win streak, Horn has some amazing numbers: a Driver Rating of 144.8, a 1.9 Average Running Position, 225 Fastest Laps Run, lead 566 laps, and run all 905 laps in the Top 15 for a 100 percent rating.
Let's tweak it to show just how dominant Horn has been over the five race span with showing the second best driver in these categories.
Driver Rating: Horn's 144.8 to Mike Skinner's 105.0
Average Running Position: Horn's 1.9 to Todd Bodine's 6.3
Fastest Laps Run: Horn's 225 to Skinner's 89
Laps Led: Horn's 566 to Bodine's 83
The Rookie Chase
Right now, the battle to be the 2009 Raybestos Rookie of the year is a close one and just three drivers have a shot.
Of course with Ricky Carmichael, Brian Ickler, and J.R. Fitzpatrick running only limited schedules it's kept them out of the running.
Malsam currently holds a mere four point lead on Johnny Sauter and has a 15 point lead on James Buescher in third.
The scoring system only counts the 14 best races, we've reached that and from here on out bad races get tossed.
For the next 11 races, the three will have to make each race count toward their total and could eliminate some of the bad finishes they may have in the first 14 races right now counted in the total.
Raybestos Rookie of the Year Standings
1.) Tayler Malsam 155
2.) Johnny Sauter 151
3.) James Buescher 140
4.) Ricky Carmichael 93
5.) Brian Ickler 67
6.) J.R. Fitzpatrick 61
7.) Brent Raymer 45
8.) Chris Jones 45
9.) Chase Austin 16
10.) Ryan Hackett 5
Aug. 19: O'Reilly 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway at 7:30PM the Set-Up Show and 8:00PM Race Time (Wednesday).
Aug. 28: Chicagoland 250 at Chicagoland Speedway on Speed at 8:30PM the Set-Up Show and 9:00PM Race Time (Friday).
Sept. 5: Lucas Oil 200 at Iowa Speedway on Speed at 8:15PM the Set-Up Show and 8:45PM Race Time (Saturday).
This week, it's Bristol Motor Speedway. The trucks have raced there since 1999, but didn't race at the track from 2000 to 2002.
Track Length: 0.553 Miles
Race Length: 200 Laps/ 106.6 Miles
Banking: 36* (Corners); 16* (Front & Back Stretches)
Lengths: 650 Feet (Front & Backstretches)
Race Winners: Ron Hornaday Jr. with two wins
10:00AM to 10:50AM—First Practice
12:00PM to 1:30PM—Final Practice
4:40PM—Qualifying Starts (All Positions, Two Laps)
7:30PM—The Set-Up Show w/Krista Voda
8:00PM—Race Starts (200 Laps/106.6 Miles)
2009 Manufacturers Championship Standings
1.) Chevrolet 103
2.) Toyota 102
3.) Ford 60
4.) Dodge 43
2009 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Owner Points Standings
1.) Delana Harvick No. 33 2,293
2.) Rhonda Thorson No. 88 -216
3.) Billy Ballew No. 51 -237
4.) David Dollar No. 5 -248
5.) Steve Germain No. 30 -366
6.) Joe Scott No. 16 -373
7.) Jim Harris Jr. No.24 -426
8.) Randy Moss No. 81 -462
9.) Jack Roush No. 6 -489
10.) Tom Mitchell No. 14 -508
2009 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Driver Points Standings
1.) Ron Hornaday Jr. 2,293
2.) Matt Crafton -216
3.) Mike Skinner -248
4.) Todd Bodine -366
5.) Brian Scott -373
6.) David Starr -426
7.) Tayler Malsam -462
8.) Dennis Setzer -478
9.) Colin Braun -508
10.) Rick Crawford -508