Trucks Set for Short-Track Thunder

BMS

Truck teams will have two practice sessions before tonight's race. (Photo: Getty Images)

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BRISTOL, Tenn. - The Camping World Truck Series will make its fourth trip to a short track this season with the annual visit to Bristol Motor Speedway for tonight's UNOH 200.

Timothy Peters comes into Bristol as the defending race winner and has enjoyed the most success on tracks less than a mile in length this season with one win (Iowa), two top fives and an average finish of 3.7. Last year in this event, Peters became the second driver (other Ron Hornaday in 1997) to lead every lap, running out front for all 204 trips around the half-mile oval.

"It's cool coming back to a place where we led every lap," Peters said. "Last year, I came in the same truck I won Iowa with and we're able to do the same thing again this year. Hopefully, that means the stars will align for us and we can bring our Parts Plus Toyota Tundra back into Victory Lane."

Peters finished sixth in the last race on a short track, that coming on dirt in the inaugural Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway last month. Tonight, Peters is back on the concrete high banks of Bristol, where he's finished in the top 10 in his last four attempts.

"You have the effects of it being concrete with the little ripples through it, but that’s what gives it character," Peters said. "They grounded a little bit of it to try and take the high line away, but it seemed like it gave it a tad more grip. It’s just fun. You still have the bump and run, the slide job, you can maneuver around with different grooves. I love the place. It's Bristol, Baby!"

Series points leader Matt Crafton has finished in the top 10 in all 12 races this season. Crafton finished ninth last weekend at Michigan International Speedway and his ThorSport Racing team was able to return to the shop quickly to get ready for Bristol.

"It's a little harder on the guys because we race on Saturday and you've got to be (back) at the racetrack on Tuesday," Crafton said. "So basically, it's two days to turn the truck around. But that's actually one of the cool things about being (based) in Sandusky, Ohio. Our race shop is only two hours from Michigan. That's a benefit for the guys, being that close to home."

Rookie Jeb Burton, who is second in the standings and trails Crafton by 51 points, is among a number of drivers making their first Bristol start. Although he only observed during a test session at Bristol earlier this month, Burton is looking forward to tonight's race.

"I've been waiting for this all season," said Burton, who scored his seventh top 10 of the year last weekend at Michigan International Speedway. "Our team keeps putting in the hours to make sure we have the best truck on the track and I couldn't be happier with where we're at right now. Bristol's going to get interesting, though. We're going to give it all we've got."

Burton's teammate and defending series champion James Buescher is coming off his first win of the season at Michigan. He will be making his fifth start at Bristol, where he's finished in the top 10 in his last two starts.

"We've had some strong trucks at Bristol," said Buescher, who climbed one spot to third in the standings with his win at Michigan. "Last year was probably one of our weakest races at Bristol (finished seventh). One of my teammates got to go test and we'll see what we can learn from that. Bristol is a place I really enjoy racing at and have had some solid finishes at."

Turner Scott Motorsports will also field a truck for Brandon Jones and provide support for Ben Kennedy at Bristol as both drivers will be making their series debut.

Kennedy will pilot the No. 96 Chevrolet with TSM's Chris Carrier as crew chief. The Bristol race is the first of four for Kennedy this season that includes Iowa Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway. Along with Jones, Kennedy does have experience at Bristol in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series.

"I wanted to go somewhere that I had a little bit of experience at," said Kennedy, who tested at Bristol. "Bristol is definitely one of those. We mixed it around with a bunch of different tracks and ended up landing at Bristol."

Chase Elliott, also with K&N experience at Bristol, will make his first Truck Series start at Bristol and fifth of the season. So far in his young Truck Series career, Elliott has yet to finish worse than sixth.

Tonight's UNOH 200 will also feature two Sprint Cup Series stars in the field, Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski. Busch leads all drivers in wins at Bristol, winning three straight from 2008-2010. Ron Hornaday is the only other repeat winner (2) in "Thunder Valley."

Motor Racing Network - "The Voice of NASCAR" - will have live coverage of tonight's University of Northwestern Ohio 200 at 7:30 p.m. (ET), with live streaming at MotorRacingNetwork.com.

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