S.M.'s Craftsman Update, Issue No. 18

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S.M.'s Craftsman Update, Issue No. 18

Rumors

Johnny Benson's No. 23 will be sponsored by Exide Batteries at Homestead and will not be unsponsored.

Travis Kvapil will be driving the No. 09 Zaxby Ford for Roush-Fenway at Homestead.

Taylor Malsam will be driving the No. 52 Stocks For Tots Toyota, with Ken Schrader listed as owner, but it's a fourth Bill Davis Racing team truck at Homestead.

James Buescher will be driving the No. 15 Ergon Hyprene Toyota for Billy Ballew Motorsports at Homestead and will be exciting to see this kid racing in trucks.

Chrissy Wallace will be driving the No. 9 Construct Corps/Crocs Toyota at Homestead for Germain Racing.

This will be the last race for the Germain Racing No. 9 team. As the race team expands into Sprint Cup part-time with Max Papis in 2009 and expanding it Nationwide program, it looks like they'll only race the No. 30 truck with Todd Bodine in the CWTS next year.

Max Papis will be driving the No. 07 Germain Racing Toyota at Homestead.

Kevin Woods will be driving the No. 21 Aquasun Ford for the Wood Brothers team at Homestead.

J.R. Fitzpatrick will be driving the No. 71 Mammoet.com Chevy in the season finale for TRG Motorsports at Homestead.

Timothy Peters will be driving the No. 117 Hayes Iron Metal/Strutmasters.com for Premier Racing and the team will be racing in a Toyota now.

Kevin Harvick, Inc. Update

Kevin Harvick, Inc. will only have two trucks in Friday's truck finale and not three. It's no brain Ron Hornaday, will be driving the No. 33 Camping World Chevy truck.

It's no surprise that Kevin Harvick will be driving the No. 2 American Commercial Lines Chevy truck as his teammate.

Now Ryan Newman will be driving the No. 33 Camping World car in Saturday's Ford 300 for the KHI team.

Hm, maybe their really was company orders at Atlanta and someone wasn't listening to Delana.

2009 Team News

Kevin Harvick, Inc. and the Veterans Of Foreign Wars Of The United States have renewed their eight race sponsorship agreement for 2009, with the teams Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series programs.

The VFW will sponsor Kevin Harvick's No. 33 Nationwide entry at Charlotte in May and Daytona in July. Ron Hornaday will carry the VFW at Atlanta in March, Dover in May, O'Reilly Raceway Park in July, Martinsville in October, both Texas and Phoenix in November.

"Everyone at KHI is excited to continue working with the Veterans of Foreign Wars on their NASCAR effort to bring exposure to the many services the VFW provides," Harvick said. "VFW is an incredible organization, and we expect this program will continue to help educate the public about the great work they do to support our country's heroes."(scenedaily.com)

"The VFW is the nation's oldest veterans service organizations and it's mission is to honor and ensure the rights of American War Veterans through advocacy, support and community service, while promoting patriotism." (scenedaily.com)

"Our racing program is designed to raise awareness of veteran's issues and increase support for the VFW's programs", VFW's National Commander, Glenn Gardner, said. "Most Americans would be surprised at the wide range of support the VFW provides to Veterans and their families, from financial assistance for families of deployed troops to dedicated VFW service officers to aid veterans in filing benefits claims.

"We believe the exposure we'll get from our continued partnership with KHI will help us to meet the growing demands for our services." (scenedaily.com)

I added these three quotes because, this is one of the charities I support and it's one of the coolest race programs in NASCAR.

News

That Epic Points Battle

It's the end of the road for the best points battle in NASCAR and I can't be the only fan bummed about seeing it end Friday Night at Homestead.

Johnny Benson and Ron Hornaday the defending NCTS Champion, are separated by a mere three points, all year, it's changed between the two, as they battled it out and now it's the closest points race in series history.

It's one the fans, will remember for a long, long time and I'd love it if they kept right at for another 25 races.

Ron Hornaday's a three-time series champion. This isn't his first dramatic finish, twice he's won the title in closest point battles. In 1998, he won coming into Homestead leading by 13 points and last year he won coming back from 29 points back. In fact this year means he participated in three of the five closest point battles in Series history.

Now with the announcement Johnny Benson will be leaving Bill Davis Racing at season's end, add the rumor that Trip Bruce and some of his teams going with him. I have to give the edge to Ron Hornaday, his 33 teams on the same page and he's got a great lady being Delana Harvick who will inspire the team come Friday night.

Hornaday's Corner

Both Ron and Johnny have 14-top fives and 17-top 10 finishes.

Hornaday holds the tie breaker with six wins, to his five wins.

He's finished higher than Benson in 13 of the last 24 races and it's seven of the last 10, if you count just the last 10 races.

In eight starts at HMS, Hornaday has recorded one win, has three-top fives and seven-top 10 finishes.

Should Hornaday win the 2008 Truck Series Title, he becomes the first four-time champion in the 14 year history of the series and also the first repeat champion.

Hornaday would also tie Jeff Gordon for third on the all-time career championships list in NASCAR's three elite divisions.

Source for these stats comes from truckseries.com

Speed Bump

Red Bull Racing has had a interesting week, first a one race deal with Mark Martin driving the No. 84 at Homestead was nixed by GM. So now they swap rides with Brian Vickers and Scott "the Speed Demon," so Vickers has to qualify the No. 84 on speed and Speed's guaranteed a spot due to the top 35 rule.

What a joke, it's all over 17 points, come on if you lack the faith that Speed can't make it up, why promote him to Cup in the first place and maybe if you gave him a better car this would not matter. He'd be higher in the top 35, this would not be a issue and he'll be in the first five races in 2009.

Now Speed will be in his last truck race, making his first start at Homestead on Friday night, driving the No. 22 Red Bull Toyota for BDR.

Up Coming Racing

Nov. 14th - Ford 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Speed at 7:30PM (Friday)

Top Five Picks For Homestead

1. Ron Hornaday—he's going to qualify well, he's been great on 1.5 mile tracks,maybe another pole, he won't make any mistakes this Friday, he'll be leading when it matters and should win.

2. Johnny Benson—he has to qualify well at least top ten, he'll points race Hornaday like he's done down the stretch, no mistakes, should the Shrub be in the way don't be shocked to see him use the bumper on him after all he does owe him one, with 20 laps to go he'll be vying for the win.

3. Todd Bodine—bet he wishes he didn't lose 50 points in penalties earlier this season, he'll qualify good, and be their in the end vying for the win.

4. Kevin Harvick—he'll qualify well, sure he'll pick the pit stall in front of Benson, he'll be up front and should JB have issues we'll see him race Hornaday for the win.

5. Kyle Busch—he needs to be a man, let the men race for the title should they be around him. Now he'll be up front, sure he'll use pit strategy for a late caution and he doesn't want it to be four races in a row he let get away.

My Sleeper Pick is, Erik Darnell. It's his last truck race, never thought I'd like a Ford driver, but I do, he's going to be a great driver and will follow his career in the Nationwide series.

He'll qualify well, be up front, stay out of trouble, with a good truck he'll be vying for the win and accomplish his goal of finishing the season in the top five in the final points standing.

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Points Standing

1. Johnny Benson                            3574

2. Ron Hornaday                                 -3

3. Todd Bodine                                -143

4. Erik Darnell                                  -292

5. Mike Skinner                                -296

6. Matt Crafton                               -299

7. Rick Crawford                              -323

8. Dennis Setzer                              -532

9. Jack Sprague                               -552

10. Terry Cook                                 -640

Photo Credit: 2008 VPS Motorimages for truckseries.com

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