NASCAR: Top Five Picks For The Lucas Oil 200 Truck Race
This week the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will be racing Sunday afternoon at Iowa Speedway and they're coming off of a three week break.
It's race No. 10-of-25. The .875-mile oval was a great edition to the series last season, and it's home to some of the most energetic fans in the Truck Series.
Here are my top five picks, along with my Raybestos Rookie of the Race and my sleeper pick.
1. Ron Hornaday Jr.
In the inaugural race, Hornaday started at 15th, but struggled with his set-up most of the race and rallied to finish fourth.
Horn will be breaking in a brand new KHI chassis, it'll be wicked fast, and he should qualify top-five or be in the front row.
He's the best short track driver in the series; he'll lead some laps early in the race, should be running amongst the lead pack, and will take the lead in the closing laps for the win.
2. Mike Skinner
In the inaugural race, Skinner started from the pole, he just dominated the event leading 180 laps, and won the race.
Skinner will have a decent truck, be fast, and will need to qualify well.
He should be amongst the leaders, will challenge for the win, but will get passed by Horn in the closing laps.
3. Johnny Sauter
In the inaugural race, Sauter started sixth, ran a decent race, and battled hard to finish fifth.
Sauter will have one of those wicked fast KHI chassis, be fast right off the hauler, and should qualify top-five.
He should be amongst the lead pack, but whether or not he'll challenge for the win will depend on whether or not his team uses pit strategy and how good of a truck he has in the closing laps.
4. Aric Almirola
In the inaugural race, Almirola started eighth, ran one of his best races last season to finish second, and led three laps.
Almirola will be another top competitor with a good Toyota; he should be fast and should qualify in the top-10.
He'll be running with the lead pack, but I think he'll get beat by saving tires for a late caution (where he doesn't get one) and will battle hard with Matt Crafton to finish fourth.
5. Matt Crafton
In the inaugural race, Crafton started third, ran a good race leading 17 laps and ended up finishing sixth.
Crafton will also have a tout KHI chassis, will be fast right off of the hauler, and will need to qualify well.
He'll run most of the race in the top-10, then in the closing laps he'll battle hard for a top-five finish.
My Raybestos Rookie of the Race Pick: Austin Dillon
In 2009, Dillon made his first start of the season at Iowa were he started ninth, and finished 12th on the lead lap.
Dillon will have a really good Chevrolet; he'll be fast and should win his third pole in a row or be up front.
He's had two top-fives in the first nine races, and I won't be surprised to see him win at Iowa.
I expect him to pick-up another strong finish inside the top-10.
My Sleeper Pick: Brian Ickler
In the inaugural event, Ickler started the race in seventh, and just never got the handling on the truck to his liking, finishing in 18th place, one lap down to the winner.
Ickler seems to be able to run Rowdy Busch's set-ups fairly good; he should have a fast truck and needs to qualify well.
He has two top-10 finishes in his other two starts for Busch, and expect him to battle hard for a top-five or better finish.
Todd Bodine, Timothy Peters, David Starr, and Ricky Carmichael just missed the cut.
James Buescher, Jason White, Steve Wallace, and Ken Schrader could all factor in as well.
I like the addition of Iowa, it's the perfect track to race the trucks on and nothing's better than seeing all the beatin' and bangin' going on the short track.
Photo Credit: pella.org
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