Truck Series Thunders Into Kentucky
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone on June 26, 2013 | 4:47 P.M. EST
Burton trails series leader Matt Crafton by 23 points heading into Thursday's race. (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)
SPARTA, Ky. – The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is ready to tackle Kentucky Speedway in Thursday night’s UNOH 225.
After a three-week break, Truck Series drivers are chomping at the bit to get back behind the wheel and compete on the high speed, 1.5-mile oval.
"I’m excited to get back to the track this week, especially after the success we had in Texas a few weeks ago," said rookie Jeb Burton, who scored his first career victory the last time the trucks competed. "We had never raced at Texas Motor Speedway and pulled off a win, so I think we’re more prepared than ever to tackle Kentucky Speedway. I’m hoping that with our new truck and the momentum from our win, we can make back-to-back trips to Victory Lane."
Burton trails series leader Matt Crafton by 23 points heading into Thursday's race. His biggest challenge may come from James Buescher, his Turner Scott Motorsports teammate. The defending series champion swept both Kentucky races last year and not surprisingly, is anxious to shoot for a three-peat.
"Kentucky Speedway is one of my favorite tracks, for obvious reasons," said Buescher, who competed in last weekend’s Nationwide Series race at Road America. "We had dominating runs here last year, and I hope we can come back and continue that trend this weekend."
There have been 15 Truck Series races held at Kentucky dating back to the division’s debut there in 2000. Veteran Ron Hornaday has won three of those and the four-time series champion feels he’ll have a solid shot at victory No. 4.
"Kentucky is a very fast racetrack, but it’s also a very bumpy track," Hornaday said. "It’s unlike a lot of the other mile-and-a-half tracks we go to because it’s not banked as high through the corners as some of them and you really have to have your truck set up right to handle the rough surface. It’s always a handful, but we’ll be ready."
Kyle Busch returns to the Truck Series and will try again for a weekend sweep at Kentucky. He came up just short of completing the Bluegrass State trifecta in 2011 when Busch won the Truck and Sprint Cup races but finished sixth in the Nationwide Series event.
Busch remembered the challenge of two years ago but is optimistic for a better result this time around.
"In 2011, when I did the triple, it was the first time the Cup cars were at Kentucky so with the open testing that first day, it added another six hours in a car," Busch explained. "I think that day of the Truck race - between Cup testing, Nationwide Series practice and Truck practice, qualifying and the race - I got in a race vehicle at, like, nine in the morning and was in one the whole day in the heat and humidity.
"By the time the Truck Series race was over, I needed to go and get some fluids. With the schedule this year, it will be more like the schedule every other weekend that I’m driving in all three."
Motor Racing Network - "The Voice of NASCAR" - will air live coverage of Thursday’s UNOH 225 beginning at 7:30 pm (ET), with live streaming at MotorRacingNetwork.com.