Camping World Trucks at Darlington

Dale Wilkerson                                                                          March 2011

Race fans enjoyed a relaxed atmosphere at the Darlington Raceway last Saturday as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series battled the track known as The Lady in Black in the Too Tough To Tame 200.
Track President Chris Browning and his staff helped to make this a special day for the race fans as tickets where just $15 and fans could also take advantage of pre-race pit-passes for another $15.


                                                                                                                                                                 Bill Logan Photo Credit

Fans paying $15 got to stroll the pit area and get autographs, here Matt Crafton signs for a young fan.

Fans were able to meet drivers, get pictures and see one of these NASCAR trucks up close. Pit road was jammed with fans, which quickly returned to the seats in the Tyler Tower and grandstand to enjoy the race.
16 rookie drivers joined the veterans to make up the 36 truck field. Cole Whitt, one of those 16 rookies shattered the truck series qualifying record as he toured the 1.366 mile speedway at the speed of 173.933mph. In all, 15 drivers surpassed the mark set last August by Timothy Peters which was 170.845. 

                                                                                                                                                            Photo Credit C.D. McAbee  

Too Tough To Tame Pole Winner Cole Whitt #62 brings the field into turn one with Kasey Kahne flanking. 

This track has long been known for giving drivers the famed ‘Darlington Stripe’ and it wasn’t long after the green flag for the start of the race that trucks began to pick up their stripes, in fact it was in turn one of lap one as six trucks were swept up in the melee

                                                                                                                                                     Photo Credit C.D. McAbee

Lap one Travis Kavpil #5 spins along with Max Papis and 4 other trucks in Turn 1

Four drivers swapped the lead nine times with pole winner Cole Whitt leading 30 laps. James Buescher and Elliott Sadler also held the top spot for a while but Kasey Kahne, driving for Kyle Busch, was the class of the field.
Veteran drivers Ron Hornaday and Todd Bodine took their shoots at Kahne on a couple of late restarts but Kahne was able to fend off their challenges.
The race was slowed by 10 cautions the worst of which involved Ricky Carmichael. As the pack rumbled through turn four Carmichael had contact with the safer barrier, he fought for control but again found the wall. As he spun toward the start/finish line, other trucks spun to avoid but Johanna Long made heavy contact with Carmichael and the inside wall. The race was red-flagged for track crews to clean up the incident. All drivers were okay after being checked out in the infield medical center.

                                                                                                                                                                Photo Credit C.D.McAbee

Kevin Harvick INC Crewmen work on the KHI #8 truck driven by Nelson Piquet Jr

Kasey Kahne led 95 of the 147 laps on the way to the victory. “I love racing at Darlington and I want to thank Kyle for giving the chance to race for him here. The crew was great on pit road and the truck handled very well all night,” said Kahne.
Rounding out the top five were Ron Hornaday, Todd Bodine, Matt Crafton and James Buescher. For Bodine the top five finish was just what his team needed. “We have crashed out in the first two races and this will help us get back on track. I had a good luck at Kahne on the restart but couldn’t quite get past him,” said Bodine.
James Buescher and his Turner Motorsports team rebounded strong from their results at Phoenix. The team failed to qualify out west but with this fifth place run at Darlington, the team stands 11th in the drivers’ points standings.
The trucks will take a few weeks of before returning to action at the Martinsville Speedway next month.