KBM Closing In
September 26, 2013 | 4:11 P.M. EST
The team has closed to within 18 points of the lead in the battle for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series owner’s championship. (Photo: Getty Images)
Chad Hackenbracht will make his fourth start of the season for Kyle Busch Motorsports and it comes at an important time for the No. 51 Toyota team.
Thanks to Hackenbracht’s second-place finish at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and team owner Kyle Busch’s victory at Chicagoland Speedway, the team has closed to within 18 points of the lead in the battle for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series owners' championship.
Hackenbracht will try to keep the team’s streak of five consecutive top-10 finishes going at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Saturday night’s Smith’s 350. If his most recent performance is any indication, he could keep the pressure on the No. 88 ThorSport Racing Toyota driven by series points leader Matt Crafton.
"The truck race in Canada was a lot of fun, but it was almost a month ago, way too long ago, and I’m ready to get back to it," Hackenbracht said. "Although Canada and Vegas are two totally different tracks, every time I get back into these trucks I learn something. I’ve never been to Vegas, but I have a really strong support system around me. Now that I have a few truck races under my belt, my expectations are to complete all the laps this weekend and finish in the top 10. I want to keep this team competing for the Truck Series owners' title."
Thanks to team owner Busch’s four wins this season, the No. 51 team is within striking distance of the owners' crown with six races remaining. Erik Jones has also collected a runner-up finish for the team at Iowa Speedway in July. The team’s nine top-five finishes in 16 events is best in the series in 2013.
Kyle Busch Motorsports won the NCWTS owners' title in 2010, its first season in the series.
Crafton continues to enjoy a comfortable 41-point advantage in the drivers' championship standings. He has one victory at Kansas Speedway, in April. The Tulare, Calif., driver has finished second three times in his most recent four starts at Las Vegas Motor Speedway including a year ago, when he was passed on the final lap by Nelson Piquet Jr.
Crafton’s worst finish in the past five races is fifth. His average finish in eight LVMS starts in 9.0, second among entered drivers to ThorSport teammate Johnny Sauter, the race’s 2009 winner.
Saturday's race will mark Hackenbracht's final start with KBM this season.
"My plans moving forward are to focus on my remaining two races in the Nationwide Series and continue to pursue sponsor opportunities for 2014," Hackenbracht said. "I hope to be back at KBM in some form next year in the Truck Series."
Motor Racing Network - "The Voice of NASCAR" - will have live coverage of Saturday's Smith's 350 from Las Vegas starting at 8 p.m. (ET), with live streaming at MRN.com. Nelson Piquet Jr. won last year's event. The MRN broadcast will be anchored by Dave Moody and Dan Hubbard.