Truck Series: Chocked Full of Surprises After One-Third of the Season
After nine races in the 2010 Camping World Truck Series, it's been an untypical season compared to last year and one that's full of surprises.
The Trucks is undergoing a youth movement this season versus as in the past, with the wily veterans dominating most of the season and prevailing over youth.
That's not to say that it hasn't been less exciting than past seasons.
It makes it all that more exciting, as we'll see several drivers move up at season's end to the Nationwide and a couple to Sprint Cup.
We've seen Timothy Peters, Aric Almirola, and Todd Bodine all lead the points at some point this season.
So here we go, a look at some of the surprises from the first-third of the 2010 Truck season, but in no order and I purposely started with Jennifer Jo Cobb.
You'll also find no mention of Kevin Harvick or Kyle Busch as drivers, only because I tried to shine the spotlight on the drivers that run week in and week out.
I also chose to leave KBM off, because I support all the little guys caught up in the dispute over the construction of his new race shop.
Jennifer Jo Cobb
Cobb's been defying the odds, running out of pocket with the exception of two races and earned a lot of respect with in the series.
More importantly, you can see her improvement from race two to race nine.
She's picked up her first top-15, sits third in the rookie points and sits 17th in the points.
Cobb's earned my respect; she's doing it the right way by making a full-time effort and I hope that she'll have a few sponsors help her out over the final 16 laps.
She's got heart, drive, determination, talent, and that's what it takes to make it in NASCAR.
It'll be huge to see her finish the season top-15 in the points and I'd call her season a success.
Photo Credit: sports.yahoo.com
Todd Bodine leads the points by 55 over Aric Almirola in second.
The Onion, as he's known in the series, also became the first driver in Trucks to win six races at one track, and accomplished the feat at Texas Motor Speedway.
Ron Hornaday Jr.
The preseason favorite and four-time champion Ron Hornaday Jr., has yet to win a race, and this is the deepest he's gone in a season without a win.
Horn has also rebounded nicely from a uncharacteristic start to the season, and sits fourth in the points, 170 back of the leader Todd Bodine.
Don't count Horn out yet, since the wily veteran basically rewrites the record book every year, adding new categories or padding ones that he already lays claim to.
Photo Credit: kevinharvickinc.com
No surprise that Aric Almirola has been the breakout driver this season, winning at Dover and Michigan, and he sits second in the points.
Almirola always had the talent, it's just that no one has given him the chance like Billy Ballew has—and with no pressure to perform in x number of races.
He's a championship contender; the season he's having could easily see him get offers for the Nationwide or Sprint Cup rides.
Photo Credit: zimbio.com
Timothy Peters won the season opener at Daytona, led the points for several weeks, and currently sits third in the points.
Never thought I'd hear a driver say, "Winning at Daytona was great, but it doesn't compare to winning at Martinsville". But that's exactly what Peters said and I have to agree with him.
He cut his teeth running in lower series at the track; his dad was a big supporter of his racing career and he passed away in 2001.
So it was special for Peters to get his first NASCAR win were he and his father spent many a weekend preparing his car to race on the historic Martinsville track.
Photo Credit: redhorseracing.com
Jason White is another driver that's been a big surprise and was nowhere on the radar of the preseason rankings.
He won the pole at Daytona, led a portion of the race even, and for a while it looked like he just might pull the ultimate upset by winning the race.
White is seventh in the driver points, has one top five and two top 10 finishes, and won one pole. He just seems to hold his own every week, battling to stay in the top 10.
Nelson Piquet Jr.
Nelson Piquet Jr. is one of two former Formula One drivers now in the Truck Series and has three top 10 finishes in four races.
Piquet, at 25 years old, has a legitimate shot at running in Cup one day, but he has the talent and it will take him more time to develop to that potential.
Rookie Austin Dillon has been proving his doubters wrong and you can no longer argue that he doesn't have talent or hasn't impressed you.
He's won two straight poles in the series, sits 11th in the points with two top fives, and four top 10s, and leads the Raybestos Rookie standings.
We very well could see Dillon pick up his first win on one of the tracks that the series will revisit later in the season.
Johnny Sauter, last year's Rookie of the Year, continues to impress. He won at Kansas, where he had to do a little drift racing to get the win.
Let them get all the bugs worked out with their race setup, and stop using the tire pit strategy, saving a set of fresh tires late in the race.
Look out, because Sauter could very easily be a threat to win every week and still is a championship contender.
Photo Credit: johnnysauter.com
It's great to see Ken Schrader back racing in competitive equipment for KHI in the Trucks, and a big thanks to the Harvicks for letting race the No. 2 for you.
Schrader has run three races, picked up one top five and two top 10 finishes, and we'll see him in eight more races.
Photo Credit: kevinharvickinc.com
This could be the year that the two titles in the Truck Series are divided. Where we'll have one driver win the driver's title and another the owner's title.
It's never happened before in the series, but after nine races, a mere 93 points separates first through fourth in the owner's standings, and it'll be a battle all the way to the season finale at Homestead.
Photo Credit: Cory Icenhour
They are a first year team that's been running like a veteran team in the Trucks, with Ricky Carmichael and with James Buescher coming aboard in a second truck.
Carmichael just looks so good, picking up in nine races, with one top five and three top 10 finishes. But he's had a few races where he's just plain beat himself and let him figure it out.
Look out because the G.O.A.T. will win a mess of races.
Buescher in five races with Turner, has two top fives and three top 10 finishes.
He's running like I thought he would as a rookie at Circle Bar Racing, but guess when you get really good equipment from KHI and not hand-me-downs or seconds like he got at CBR, you're going to run like he has been.
This kid will break through to victory lane with his first win in NASCAR and it'll be the first of many.
It's great, even with a bad economy, to see new teams come into the sport and be successful like TMS has been.
The wins will come for them; a big plus is that they are affiliated with KHI, and they'll have a bright future in the series.
Phot Credit: teammotorsports.com