Top Five Picks for the Copart 200 Truck Race

Horn FanSenior Writer ISeptember 11, 2009

This week the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will be having a Saturday afternoon matinee at Gateway International Raceway.

It's race No. 18 of 25, it's one of those tracks where the best of the best from the series shine and it's always a classic.

Here's my top-five picks for the race, along with a sleeper pick, and my Raybestos Rookie of the Race pick.

1. Todd Bodine: In four races at the track, he has compiled one win, three top-fives, four top-10 finishes and led 66 laps.

Bodine should have a decent truck, be fast, qualify top five, run up front most of the day, and be there in the end vying for the win.

2. Ron Hornaday Jr.: In six races at the track, he has compiled one win, three top-fives, three top-10 finishes, and led 227 laps.

Horn will unload with a stout truck, be fast, qualify top three, and should be vying or leading late for the win. His Rick Ren led crew will be an asset for him.

I couldn't decide which one to pick as my winner, so I went with both figuring the one with the best truck for the green/white/checkers finish would win the race.

3. Colin Braun: As a rookie, he ran a great race finishing ninth. Figure he'll have a decent truck, qualify on the pole, have a fast truck, and be there in the end vying for the win.

Plus his Mike Beam led team is starting to click and Roush-Fenway Racing is always tough at this track.

4. Mike Skinner: In six races at the track, he has compiled one top-five, two top-10 finishes, one pole, and led 49 laps.

Skinner should have another decent truck, be fast, needs to qualify in the top-10, he'll be tough up front battling for the lead, and should be vying for the win in closing laps.

5. Rick Crawford: In 11 races at the track, he has compiled four top-fives, seven top-10 finishes and led 10 laps.

Crawford should have a decent truck, be fast, and needs to qualify well. He and crew chief Cowboy Starland could use pit strategy to get either the lead for the win or another top-five finish.

My Raybestos Rookie of the Race pick is Tayler Malsam. On one- to two-mile tracks the rookie has run 10 races, compiled four top-10 finishes, and led 13 laps.

Malsam should have a decent truck, needs to qualify well. His Doug Wolcott led crew is an asset for him and he should fare well with his never-give-up attitude.

My Sleeper Pick is Aric Almirola. In his lone start, he picked up a top-10 finish and ran a great race in 2006.

He's racing at BBM, in a fill-in role, has recorded six consecutive top-10 finishes and is ever so close to celebrating in victory lane. This could be the race where he's paired back-up with Richie Wauters and he factors into the outcome of the race.

Just missing the cut are Brian Scott and Matt Crafton.

I easily could have gone with previous winners Terry Cool and David Starr, along with Timothy Peters and Johnny Sauter.

Wish I could have added Johnny Benson or Ted Musgrave to my picks. It would have been harder having them in the mix to pick.

I've always liked the Gateway race. Mostly since the corners on the egg shaped oval are both different, the trucks have to be just right.

It brings the pit crews into the mix, as they play a role in the outcome of the race and it usually comes down to who used the best strategy.

I just hope the two stop rule doesn't take pit road out of the equation deciding the winner.

Photo Credit: Bob Hyten


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