It's been reported by ESPN.com that Danica Patrick will be racing in NASCAR in 2010.
She will run limited schedules in both the Nationwide and the Camping World Truck Series according to their sources, and she may possibly run some ARCA races also.
She plans to run the full IndyCar Series schedule.
It's believed Tony Stewart will be helping her but with no Nationwide or Truck programs and could use either JR Motorsports or Kevin Harvick Inc.
Stay tuned as the Danica saga continues; we'll learn in the coming weeks if this one is true or false.
MRD Motorsports will have Todd Kluever driving the No. 8 at Gateway; previously they announced that they were skipping the race with Setzer.
Not sure but it could be that he has a sponsor for the truck and he previously drove for Roush Fenway Racing in 2005.
Brad Keselowski Racing will have Mikey Kile driving the No. 29 Greased Lightning Cleaning Products Chevrolet at Gateway.
Ryan Sieg will be driving the No. 39 S&W Services Chevrolet at Gateway.
Jason Young will be back driving the No. 07 SS Green Light Racing at Gateway. It's his third start in the series, and like the other two starts, he brings a sponsor for the ride.
Dexter Bean will be driving the No. 73 Tagsby Racing Chevrolet at Gateway, and will be filling in for the injured J.J. Yeley.
Yeley fractured three vertebrae in his neck competing in a USAC Sprint race at Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City.
Ricky Carmichael will be driving the No. 4 Monster Energy Drink Chevrolet for Kevin Harvick Inc. at Gateway.
Billy Ballew Motorsports Update
Well, well, seems like Mr. Ballew is in the hunt for the owners championship, a mere 203 back, and he's made a defensive move with his team.
First, Aric Almirola will be driving the No. 51 Miccosukee Resorts/Graceway Pharmaceuticals Toyota at Gateway.
Second, Brian Ickler will be driving the No. 15 BBM Toyota at Gateway and the sponsor is TBA.
Germain Racing and Todd Bodine have signed Lumber Liquidators for four races as sponsor for the No. 30.
The deal started at Iowa, then will have them on board at New Hampshire, Las Vegas, and Martinsville.
News and Notes
Odds & Ends
-The trucks are down to their final two stand-alone races at Gateway and then Las Vegas, and the rest of the races will be with both Cup and the Nationwide.
-Both Colin Braun and Timothy Peters have both been climbing in the points standings. Braun moved up to sixth, then Peters up to eighth after the Lucas Oil 200 at Iowa.
-Aric Almirola, who's been racing in a fill-in role at Billy Ballew Motorsports, has recorded a career best runner-up finish at Iowa, and has recorded six consecutive top-10 finishes.
At Gateway for the Copart 200, there will be 41 teams on the preliminary entry list, only 36 will make the race and five teams will be going home.
The break down is 25 full-time teams and 16 part-time teams.
The Points Battle: Eight To Go
Ron Hornaday's 225-point lead over Matt Crafton in second, and his 281-point lead on Mike Skinner in third, can't be erased in one race.
For Crafton, Skinner, Scott, and Bodine, they have to live by the cliche "one race at a time" and just chip away at it.
With it eight to go, the opportunity is still available to catch him. The series history shows down the stretch we've seen some great finishes for the championship.
But with the Series at Gateway International Raceway this weekend, don't count on Horn giving them a chance to cut in his lead too badly. In the last two races at the track, he's finished second, collected a win, and leads the following loop data statistics.
Horn also has the best Driver Rating being 116.1, a Average Running Position of 6.6, he's run 73 Fastest Laps, and led 207 laps.
While Crafton has a Driver Rating of 83.2, a Average Running Position of 15.6, ran three Fastest Laps, and hasn't led a lap.
Then Skinner has a Driver Rating of 94.9, a Average Running Position of 15.0, he's run 19 Fastest Laps and led 49 laps.
Scott has a Driver Rating of 80.9, with a Average Running Position of 10.9, and has no Fastest Laps or led a lap at the track. But don't be fooled by his numbers, he's got crew chief Jeff Hensley as a asset, and with what I call the No. 2 pit crew in the series.
Oh FYI, don't underestimate him especially since he broke his wrist, because he's been a house of fire since the injury.
Surprisingly, it's Bodine in fifth who has the best shot to keep Horn from Victory Lane and increasing his points lead. He has a Driver Rating of 110.3, with a Average Running Position of 8.3, ran 47 Fastest Laps and led 66 laps.
With that said, he's also 478 points back, and it's not going to hurt giving up points to Bodine. But does it matter if Horn takes care of his truck, and just starts points racing for the best possible finish.
This week Ron Hornaday Jr. is looking to go back-to-back win wise at Gateway, becoming the second repeat winner and the first to do it consecutive years. Gateway is one of those unique tracks where qualifying is important, track position is important, and everything has to be in right with your truck.
While the track could be a challenge for Horn point wise, it could also be a blessing for him point wise, and he's one of the favorites for the win.
That's because his crew will play an important role at the track making flawless pit stops and will crew chief Rick Ren gamble using pit strategy. He'll unload with a pretty stout truck and be fast as he's racing chassis No. 027 at Gateway. In its three starts in 2009, it's recorded two wins and a second-place finish.
Here are a few interesting facts regarding Gateway and it's connection with KHI.
It's crew chief Rick Ren's home track. He's from Dannville, IL, and a mere 211 miles northeast of Madison.
Also it gives KHI General Manager/Spotter Rick Carelli bragging rights with Horn, since in the memorable inaugural event at Gateway 11 years ago, Carelli would beat him by 0.351 seconds for the win.
The Rookie Chase
Johnny Sauter was the Raybestos Rookie of the race with a fifth-place finish, his second top five in a row and seventh time he's won the honors.
He qualified sixth, ran a really good race, had a perfect truck and his pit crew made all the correct adjustments keeping him up front.
Tayler Malsam rebounded from a couple of rough races to score a top-10 finish. He qualified fifth and got as high as third before continuing handling issues dropped him back in the top 15 but he was able to gain positions to finish 10th.
Ricky Carmichael showed he could persevere after wrecking his primary truck in practice, then qualified 26th in his back up but ran a great race, finishing 13th.
James Buescher would qualify 25th, dodge a spinning truck on lap six, ran a really good race considering he fell back at one time to 30th and rallied to finish 14th.
Brian Ickler would qualify seventh, get as high as third place before his truck got so loose he could barely drive it, despite any adjustments his team made, and finished 18th.
2009 Raybestos Rookie of the Year Standings
Johnny Sauter 176
Tayler Malsam 163
James Buescher 151
Ricky Carmichael 112
J.R. Fitzpatrick 79
Brian Ickler 74
Brent Raymer 59
Chris Jones 59
The Scott Minute
B/R's Brian Scott and his Xpress Motorsports have compiled one win, six top fives, 10 top-10 finishes in 2009, and sits fourth in the points.
He'd love nothing more than to get the win at Gateway's tricky 1.25-mile oval and make up some points on his competitors.
As a rookie, Scott had a good truck, ran a really good race, his crew made adjustments as the race progressed, but ultimately he damaged his splitter and brought it home in 14th.
Scott's ready to go back to the track, he loves a challenging a race track, feels it fits his style and feels he'll have better race this time around.
With Gateway having different corners, it makes drivers and their crews choose which way to have the truck set up.
"You have one end that is a little bit like Richmond turns one and two, and then you have another end like a flat Loudon or Phoenix big sweeping corner," Scott adds.
"You just drive them differently and it's exciting because you're not going be perfect in one end or the other, or you're going be perfect in one end and not very good in the other end."
"That makes you have to work at driving it, and that makes you have to be able to drive multiple styles."
"You might be loose in one corner and tight in the other, and that I think plays into our benefit. I think that plays into my driving style. I think that helps us along the way, and I think that is why we can have success at Gateway."
Of course, having your team led by that wily veteran crew chief Jeff Hensley does give you a edge.
Scott will be racing chassis No. 133 at Gateway. In its three previous starts, it has collected a eighth at Martinsville, a 14th at ORP, and a second at Memphis.
Sept. 12: Copart 200 at Gateway International Raceway on Speed at 2:00 PM the Set-Up Show and 2:30 PM Race Time (Saturday).
Sept. 19: Heluva Good! 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Speed at 2:30 PM the Set-Up Show and 3:00 PM Race Time (Saturday).
Sept. 26: Qwik Liner Las Vegas 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Speed at 9:00 PM the Set-Up Show and 9:30 PM race Time (Saturday).
This week it's Gateway International Raceway, where the trucks have raced since 1998.
Track Lengths: 1.25 Miles
Race Lengths: 160 Laps/200 Miles
Banking: 11 degrees (Turns 1 & 2); 9 degrees (Turns 3 & 4)
Lengths: 1,922 Feet (Frontstretch); 1,976 Feet (Backstretch)
Race Winners: Ted Musgrave - two wins
Friday, Sept. 11
2:45 PM - 4:15 PM [3:45 PM - 5:15 PM Eastern] First Practice
6:15 PM - 7:15 PM [7:15 PM - 8:15 PM Eastern] Final Practice
Saturday, Sept. 12
10:05 AM [11:0 5PM Eastern] Qualifying (Two Laps, All Positions)
1:30 PM [2:30 PM Eastern] Race Start (160 Laps/ 200 Miles)
2009 Manufacturers Championship Standings
2009 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Owners Points Standings
1.) Delana Harvick No. 33 2,753
2.) Billy Ballew No. 51 -203
3.) Rhonda Thorson No. 88 -225
4.) David Dollar No. 5 -281
5.) Tom Deloach No. 17 -453
6.) Joe Scott No. 16 -461
7.) Stephen Germain No. 30 -478
8.) Jack Roush No. 6 -492
9.) Jim Harris Jr. No. 24 -558
10.) James Ballew No. 15 -583
2009 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivers Points Standings
1.) Ron Hornaday Jr. 2,753
2.) Matt Crafton -225
3.) Mike Skinner -281
4.) Brian Scott -461
5.) Todd Bodine -478
6.) Colin Braun -492
7.) David Starr -558
8.) Rick Crawford -590
9.) Timothy Peters -597
10.) Terry Cook -608
Sources: Brian Scott quotes from xms16.com, kevinharvickinc.com, truckseries.com, catchfence.com, nascar.com, jayski.com, speedtv.com and racingone.com
Photo Credit: racingone.com