After a two-week break, the Camping World Truck Series headed to Martinsville Speedway—where Kevin Harvick was looking to make it two in a row, and hometown hero Timothy Peters was looking to spoil the party.
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When Harvick drives his own equipment, he is the research and development of that organization.
Clearly, they are doing something right. Harvick's average finish in the CWTS is second.
Last Saturday, Harvick led 187 of 250 laps, and he recorded a perfect driver rating of 150.
In both races he has entered—Atlanta and Martinsville—he has won. That being said, he does not intend on running the full season in CWTS.
Harvick last ran at Nashville Superspeedway in 2006, but that was in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. He heads to this track for the first time in truck on Friday night.
I do not think that will change anything for this team.
They will be out front—and if you are going to win, you will have to beat Harvick.
It has been an impressive start to the season for Carmichael.
He finished a career-best sixth at Atlanta, and he was looking to continue that momentum at Martinsville—where he ran in the top 10 for most of the day.
While racing in the top 10, Jason White and Carmichael made contact. White suffered most of the damage, but it sent Carmichael to the pits to make repairs—and that really took him out of the top 10.
It was not the day his team expected—but Carmichael still finished 10th.
It was a very good rebound with a truck that suffered substantial damage. Carmichael comes to NSS for the first time this weekend.
Carmichael is having a solid season, and he really found his fit in this series. I expect him to be running in the top 10 again—and I would not be surprised if he challenges for a win.
History was made on Saturday when Karthikeyan became the first native of India to start in CWTS. Karthikeyan has had success in racing in Europe, but he knew coming in that racing at Martinsville is a whole different monster.
He had a decent race after falling off the lead lap on Lap 200, and he battled back to finish 14th.
What an impressive debut for him in this series. We saw some of the best struggles on Saturday.
He is only running a handful of races this season, but his finish at Martinsville will give him some confidence when he next hits the track.
Skinner started fourth on Saturday, but he struggled for most of the day. The team tried pit strategy, took four tires late, and climbed back into the top 10.
Skinner was battling for Hornaday and Johnny Sauter when Ron Hornaday got into Sauter. Sauter spun right into Skinner, causing a lot of damage. Skinner was forced behind the wall and ended up finishing 27th.
Since 2005 at NSS, Skinner has an average finish of 11th. Skinner's average running position is 5.7, so he runs up front or near the front. Skinner had a fast truck at Martinsville, and I think he will be a contender.
If Harvick had the best car all day, Sauter had the second-best truck. The one thing that held him back throughout the day was issues on pit road. Sauter had a loose tire land on his hood. He then had issues during one of his own pit stops.
He rebounded and aggressively worked his way back into the top five. Hornaday made contact with him, causing him to spin, and Sauter suffered damage to the front of his car. They hit pit road to make repairs, but with the laps winding down, he could not make his way to the front.
He finished 15th.
With one previous start at Nashville Superspeedway last season, Sauter should run very well this weekend. He finished sixth there in 2009, and I expect him to be running up front on Friday night.
Sauter will be coming to NSS with a chip on his shoulder—and with his run-in with Hornaday, he's got something to prove.
Jennifer Jo Cobb
Cobb was on my winners list for most of the race after starting 14th. She fell off the lead lap, but her goal each week is to finish races. She finished 26th on Saturday.
Cobb, a rookie this season, has shown a certain amount of determination.
She funds this team through her clothing lines.
Cobb is holding her own in a sport dominated by men. She does not carry the name recognition of Danica Patrick, nor does she have some of the best equipment.
Cobb is doing everything a rookie has to do with a handicap—and that is impressive.
If you walked through the garage at Martinsville, it looked like a salvage yard. The race at Nashville will be exciting.
I think one of the drivers to watch this weekend is Timothy Peters. He has a solid start to the season: a win and three top-10 finishes.
Aric Amirola is quietly sitting second in the standings and has two top-10 finishes this season. He has found his place at Billy Ballew Racing this season—and he is proving that with stellar runs early on.
My final driver to watch is Kyle Busch. He is back in the seat of his own truck this weekend, and he is looking to get back to victory lane and for the first time in his own equipment. If Harvick is the man to beat, Busch is right there behind him.
The race will be under the lights this weekend. As always, the action in the race will be from the drop of the green to the checkered.
The Nashville 200 will be broadcast at 7:30 p.m. EDT Friday, April 2, on Speed.