It was pretty exciting to see Johnny Benson Jr. at Bristol on the Set-Up Show with host Krista Voda. JB looked great even though, he's still on the mend from injuries suffered June 13 at Berlin Raceway during a super-modified race.
"Everything is going pretty good," Benson said after a recent doctor's appointment. Most everything is in pretty good shape."
"I'm pretty much healed except for the shoulder aspect of having surgery three weeks ago," Benson said. "I just started therapy and things are moving along fine. All my other stuff is all healed up so I feel pretty good about that."
JB's spirits are high, he is excited about going back to racing but with his shoulder needing three months that puts him coming back in November. Which would be close to the end of the season. More realistic it could be 2010, before we'll see him back on the track. He's also a free agent right now. So let's hope he finds a new ride, either putting it together himself or approached by one of the owners to drive for in 2010.
DGM Racing will have three entries in the EnjoyIllinois.com 225 at Chicagoland. Michelle Theriault will be in the No. 72, Mario Gosselin in the No. 12, and Johnny Jackson in the No. 92.
Brad Keselowski Racing will have Mikey Kile in the no. 29 Greased Lightning Cleaning Chevrolet at Chicagoland Speedway.
Tim Andrews will be making his Truck series debut at Chicagoland Speedway, driving the No. 63 Mittler Brothers Machine and Tool Ford.
He's run races in NASCAR in the Camping World Series East, the Nationwide Series and ARCA Re/Max series.
Tommy Joe Martins will be back driving the No. 44 Martins Racing Ford and making his third start in Trucks at Chicago.
Ryan Sieg will be back driving the No. 39 S & W Services Chevrolet, for Susan Bates and being a rookie candidate in 2010.
He running only five races this year and Chicagoland will be his fifth start.
Brent Sherman will be driving the No. 90 Great Clips Toyota for Stringer Motorsports at Chicagoland Speedway.
Billy Ballew Motorsports Update
First, Aric Almirola will be back in the No. 15 BBM Toyota and his sponsor still needs TBA.
Second, Rowdy Busch will be piloting the No. 51 Miccosukee Resorts/Red Top Auto Auction.
Kevin Harvick Inc.
First, Ricky Carmichael will be back in the No. 4 Monster Energy Drink Chevrolet and he's fresh off of the X Games.
Where he won the gold medal, in the Moto X Set-up, and defended his title.
Second, Ron Hornaday Jr. will have Turtle Wax as sponsor on his No. 33 Chevrolet.
WinStar World Casino is now the title sponsor for both Truck races, held at Texas Motor Speedway and the Nov. 6 race will now be called the WinStar World Casino 350K.
David Starr will have Careerbuilders.com as a sponsor on his No. 24 Zachry/Harris Trucking Toyota for the Chicago race.
James Buescher will carry a "Chicago Connection" paint scheme on his No. 10, as his sponsors Navistar's International Truck/Maxx Force Engines are headquartered in Chicago.
News & Notes
For the inaugural EnjoyIllinois.com 225 at Chicagoland Speedway will have 40 entries and means four teams will be going home.
The breakdown is; 25 full-time teams and 15 part-time teams.
New To The Series, But Not Some Drivers
While the inaugural EnjoyIllinois.com 225 maybe making it's debut in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series but for many of it's drivers already have logged miles racing at the track.
Since 2001, both the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and it's Nationwide Series have raced at the track.
Kyle or Rowdy Busch as he's known in trucks has won at Chicagoland in the past having won in 2008 the Lifelock.com 400 and also won the companion Nationwide race the Dollar General 300.
Raybestos Rookie Johnny Sauter has also previously won at Chicago, having also won the 2002 Dollar General 300.
Todd Bodine not only won the pole in the inaugural Cup event in 2001, but also won the pole for the 2002 the General Dollar 300 and finished second to Sauter.
Ron Hornaday Jr. has made four starts in the Nationwide, recording a top five finish in 2002, and two top-10 finishes.
Then Mike Skinner ran three Cup races, one Nationwide race, were he almost won the inaugural Sam's Club Presents The Hill brothers Coffe 300 and ultimately finished second.
Stacy Compton has logged over 1,400 miles at Chicago, in seven combined races in the both Cup and Nationwide.
So it's not equal footing for all drivers but that doesn't mean we will see one of these drivers win or one that's racing on the track for the first-time.
But here's an interesting stat with inaugural races among active NCWTS drivers:
Ron Hornaday Jr. 10
Mike Skinner 6
Mike Bliss 3
Butch Miller 1
Ken Schrader 1
Believe it or not. Even with Speed TV's sub-par coverage of the O'Reilly 200 at BMS, even not airing either practice session or qualifying.
Speed's Nielsen Ratings increased six percent from last years race to this year. They scored a 0.67 (492,000 households) compared to last years 0.63 (460,000 households).
Even Kyle Busch had a four percent increase in the Nielsen Ratings between his back to back wins at the track.
Over all the ratings at this point of the season with 10 races to go, the ratings are up seven percent from last year. They're averaging 0.91 (665,000 households), compared to last years 0.85 (615,000 households).
Even the pre-race, the Set-Up Show hosted by Krista Voda are up 175 percent from last year. But could the spike last two increases be because of Ron Hornaday Jr.'s five race win streak and with their lack luster coverage will it drop back down.
Camping World's Vendors Donate Supplies
At Chicagoland Speedway each team in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will be receiving the following from title sponsor Camping World and it's vendors.
1.) Each team will be receiving a ADCO custom truck covers with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series logo. Which will protect the trucks in transport from dust and the elements.
2.) They also will be getting Carry-All Satellite dishes from Winegard. It'll help the teams be in constant communication and up to the minute information pit-side.
3.) Teams will also receive a battery charger from battery Tender and help keep every engine race ready.
Well the streak is over, it's back to earth for Horn, Ren, and the entire No. 33 KHI team.
Hornaday has 45 career wins in the truck series but 10 of those wins are at inaugural events and that's the most in the series. He's the best on the 1-2 mile tracks in Trucks, with 22 career wins and they have run well on 1.5 miles this season. Horn will have a slight advantage, with his crew chief Rick Ren's notes, and having tested at the track last year.
They'll also be able to ballpark his No. 33 Turtle Wax Chevy, by using owner Kevin Harvick's Nationwide set-up and notes from the July 10 General Dollar 300.
Horn will be racing chassis No. 034. It's a brand new chassis that has not competed a single lap on any track.
During his five win race streak, he won at both Kentucky and O'Reilly with brand new chassis and he'll have another wicked good brand new truck on Friday night. Horn should qualify top five, unload with a fast truck, fine tune it on test day Thursday, be up front most of the night, and be battling Brian Scott for the win.
The Rookie Chase
J.R. Fitzpatrick was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race winner, with a 11th place finish at Bristol and won his second rookie honors of the season.
He qualified 27th, ran a great race, patiently worked his way to the front, his team used pit strategy to get track position on lap 41 and he spent the remainder of the race battling in the top 10.
James Buescher finished 13th, ran a really great race, picked up his ninth top-15 finish of the season, and made up ground in the rookie standings.
Johnny Sauter would have another race were his truck was never to his liking, would ultimately finish a lap down in 18th place and ran most of the race in the top 25.
Tayler Malsam started 30th at Bristol, was working his way through the field, when on lap 35 while racing hard with Todd Bodine. When they made contact, both wrecked, and would suffer a 31st place finish.
The 2009 Raybestos Rookie of the Year Standings
1.) Tayler Malsam 156
2.) Johnny Sauter 155
3.) James Buescher 146
4.) Ricky Carmichael 93
5.) J.R. Fitzpatrick 79
6.) Brian Ickler 67
7.) Chris Jones 53
8.) Brent Raymer 52
9.) Chase Austin 16
10.) Ryan Hackett 5
The Scott Minute
B/R's Brian Scott is preparing for his first inaugural event of any kind in NASCAR and he's excited about Friday's EnjoyIllinois.com 225. He and his crew want to put their names in the record books as the first winner in trucks at Chicagoland Speedway.
Scott's riding a streak of momentum with four top fives in the last six races, add five top-10 finishes, a 12th place finish and he's been slowly reeling in Horn the points leader.
His crew chief Jeff Hensley will once again be a big asset for him and they'll make the truck set-up like if they were racing at Kansas.
Normally Scott's Xpress team unloads with a fast truck but one set up race ready and ready to roll.
Since NASCAR has add an extra practice session, with one three hours and three hours and 15 minutes on Thursday and his team will use those two extended sessions to set the truck up.
e'll be racing chassis No. 52, in it's last two outing's in 2009. He's finished third at Kansas and sixth at Kentucky after wrecking the truck while leading.
Expect Scott to qualify top three, then go onto win the race, he'll battle both Horn and Rowdy for the win but he'll get it done and we won't see another second.
He also should leave Chicago, third in the points.
Aug. 28: EnjoyIllinois.com 225 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 9:15PM the Set-Up Show and 9:45PM Race Time (Saturday).
Sept. 12: Copart 200 at Gateway International Raceway on Speed at 2:00PM the Set-Up Show and 2:30PM Race Time (Saturday).
This week for the NCWTS it's, Chicagoland Speedway, which is a inaugural event and replaces the fall Atlanta Truck race.
Track Lengths: 1.5 Miles
Race Lengths: 150 Laps/225 Miles
Banking: 18 degrees (Turns); 11 degrees (Tri-Oval); 5 degrees (Backstretch)
Lengths: 2400 Feet (Frontstretch); 1700 Feet (Backstretch)
Race Winners: Inaugural Event
Thursday, Aug. 27
11:00PM to 4:00PM [2:00PM to 5:00PM Eastern] First Practice
5:45PM to 8:00PM [6:45PM to 9:00PM Eastern] Second Practice
Friday, Aug. 28
10:40AM to 11:45AM [11:40AM to 12:45PM Eastern] Final Practice
3:10PM [4:10PM Eastern] Qualifying (Two Laps/ All Positions)
8:00PM [9:00PM Eastern] Race Start (150 Laps/ 225 Miles)
2009 Manufacturers Championship Standings
2009 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Owners Points Standings
1.) Delana Harvick No. 33 2,458
2.) Rhonda Thorson No. 88 -211
3.) Billy Ballew No. 51 -212
4.) David Dollar No. 5 -305
5.) Joe Scott No. 16 -383
6.) Tom Deloach No. 17 -443
7.) Jim Harris Jr. No. 24 -445
8.) Stephen Germain No. 30 -464
9.) Jack Roush No. 6 -527
10.) Randy Moss No. 81 -557
2009 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivers points Standings
1.) Ron Hornaday Jr. 2,458
2.) Matt Crafton -211
3.) Mike Skinner -305
4.) Brian Scott -383
5.) David Starr -445
6.) Todd Bodine -464
7.) Colin Braun -527
8.) Dennis Setzer -543
9.) Tayler Malsam -557
10.) Rick Crawford -567
Sources: Quotes from the JB Update from Nascar.com, all statistical info. from truckseries.com, kevinharvickinc.com, racingone.com, jayski.clom, xms16.com, and speedtv.com.
Photo Credit: racingone.com