S.M.'s Camping World Update, Issue No. 22

Horn FanSenior Writer IDecember 14, 2008


It's official Johnny Benson, Trip Bruce, and several pit crew members from the 23 team are now with Red Horse Racing. He'll drive the No. 1 truck, be a teammate to David Starr and sponsorship is still being worked out.

Germain Racing had another round of layoffs this past week due to Lumber Liquidators backing out and not re-signing. Also seems Christy Wallace due to lack of sponsor may not run in a second truck for the team.

The Wood Brothers Racing truck program is gone, they ran with cousins Kevin and Jon Wood sharing the ride and the team laid off the eight employees who worked on the trucks.

Ernie Cope who crew chief the No. 2 truck last year for Kevin Harvick, Inc, has been promoted to be the crew chief for the teams No. 33 Nationwide car and be exciting to see him paired with Happy, full-time.

Since they click last year whenever he filled in at Nationwide races and the two truck races Happy ran.

Truck Owner Jim Rosenblom was honored by the NYFD, being designated the battalion Chief in the Fire Department of the City Of New York. He's used his truck team to raise funds for the Widows and Children's funds for the FDNY, also for the NYPD and other local Fire Departments all over the United States.

Top Performances Of 2008

Top Drivers

Johnny Benson, Jr. won his first title in the series by seven points, it was the second closest finish in series history, won five races, three in a row even, and recorded his third straight win at the Milwaukee Mile.

Ron Hornaday, Jr. came with in seven points of being the first repeat champion or becoming a four-time champion, won six poles, had six wins, swept Texas, became the first three-time winner at New Hampshire and led a career best 1,326 laps in 2008.

Todd Bodine finished third in the season ending points, his fourth top five finish in a row in seasoning ending points, he won three races and bookmarked the 2008 season with wins.

Top Rookie

Colin Braun became the series youngest Raybestos Rookie Of The Year winner, sixth driver from Roush-Fenway Racing to win the award, best finish was a third place and finished thirteenth in the points.

Top Owner

Bill Davis won his first NASCAR Championship, finished second in both 2006 and 2007, compiled the following stats last year with his three teams eight-poles, seven-wins, 24-Top Fives, and 47-Top 10 finishes.

Break Through Performer

Matt Crafton recorded his first career win, finished second twice, had a career best nine-Top Fives, was as high as second for several months in the points, and finished the year in fifth.

Comeback Driver of the Year

Dennis Setzer won the Spring Martinsville race, giving Dodge it's final win in the series and BHR-VA it's final win. He rebounded from a 13th place finish last year to finish eighth in 2008 and he's now won for four different organizations. 

Surprise of the Year

Scott Speed with his success in ARCA, was given the chance to add some truck races to his schedule by Red Bull Racing and did he ever prove he was the man. Recorded his first win at Dover, also won a pole at Kentucky, had four-Top Fives and ran some great races at tracks he visited for the first time.

Crew Chiefs of the Year

Trip Bruce what a year he and JB had winning the title, week in week out he battled with Rick Ren on pit road, while their respective drivers battled it out on the track. Bruce made all the right moves, gambled on races and had the confidence to rally not only JB, but his pit crew as well. They compiled, five-poles, five-wins, 14-Top Fives, and 18-Top 10s in 25 races.

Rick Ren stood toe to toe with Bruce, rolled the dice, gambled with four tires and came up 20 yards of repeating with Hornaday. But what a year, he's had not only keeping RH calm and focused, but as leading the 33 team on pit road and they just don't make mistakes. They compiled, 6-poles, 6-wins, 14-Top Fives, 18-Top Tens and add 1,326 laps lead along with several other stats Hornaday led.

Sorry I could not pick one and leave the other out.

Top Five Races of the Year, With two Honorable Mentions

1. American Commercial Lines 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway (March 7th.) - Seven drivers swapped the lead 18 times, before Kyle Busch won pulling away from Ron Hornaday on a green/white/checkers finish.

2. AAA Insurance 200 at Dover International Speedway (May 30th.) - Scott Speed would race like an old pro, come from no where to record his first truck series win, using pit strategy he'd pull away from KHI teammates Jack Sprague and Ron Hornaday.

It was the second race in a row won by a rookie and the third in a row for first-time winners.

The race had five lead changes, between five drivers leading various stages of the race.

3. Cool City Customs 200 at Michigan International Speedway (June 14th.) - Erik Darnell would hold off Johnny Benson by inches, winning by .005 seconds in a photo finish and the closest finish since the advent of computer scoring.

It was exciting too watch JB, reel in Darnell on his home track and just come up short of winning. The race had 15 lead changes among eight drivers.

4. Chevy Silverado 350K at Texas Motor Speedway (Oct. 31st.) - The Speed Crew really were over the top with their Wizard Of Oz themed pre-race show on Halloween night and one I'll remember like "Buffet Benny" years from now.

It was a Truck or Treat night, that saw Ron Hornaday steal a win away from Rowdy by having the best truck when it counted and it was exciting to see him win doing it with the VFW colors.

Prior to the race, Billy Ballew Motorsportslost the 51 hauler to fire, it was great to see all the teams rally to help the team and even I'll admit it would have been cool to see Rowdy win with a crispy fried truck.

The race had 7 lead changes, among three drivers.

5. Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway (Nov. 7th.) - Yeah, I know Kevin Harvick swapped the lead four times with Kyle Busch. But that's not why I loved this race so much, it was the problems both Ron Hornaday had on Lap One, JB must have felt he had a bulls eye on him with his misfortunes the near misses and finally wrecking out.

Really did we ever imagine we'd see a Ford team help a Chevrolet team. But we did when Erik Darnell's crew assisted Ron Hornaday's team with repairing the 33 truck, along with the No. 2 guys, TRG Motorsports, a few other crew guys from Chevrolet teams and a few guys in street clothes.

It was cool, too watch When Speed TV showed them working on the 33 Truck while they ran under caution and the great repeated work done by JB's crew on the 23.

Did we ever imagine after Hornaday's mistake, that the points would change from six to three and that's why I loved this race. The race had four lead changes between two drivers.

Honorable Mentions

The O'Reilly 200 at Memphis Motorsports Park (July 28th.) - This one was my first race recap, I wrote on B/R so I've add it here.

Ron Hornaday dominated the race, leading 139 laps, won it by pulling away on a green/white/checkers finish. The race currently for at least one more race, awards the coolest trophy in motorsports "the Elvis Trophy" and have add a picture of it from Yahoo.

The race had three lead changes, among three drivers.

The Ford 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 15th) - Todd Bodine would bookmark the 2008 season with wins, but it was the great points battle between Johnny Benson and Ron Hornaday which came down to the final lap coming to the checkers. Which saw JB crowned champion by finishing 20 yards ahead and seven points ahead of Hornaday.

The race had 13 lead changes, among seven drivers.

Biggest Prediction of 2008

Well did you think, I wouldn't include myself in this. I said the day it was announced that Camping World was talking to NASCAR, that they would be the new title sponsor for the series and I was right.

Hope you enjoyed the top performers for the 2008 CTS season and now the CWTS. I got the idea from reading Jayski's, but added a bunch of categories they didn't and made it my own.

Please note JB refers to Johnny Benson and RH refers to Ron Hornaday.


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