Talladega Starts Truck Season Finish
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on October 16, 2013 | 4:14 P.M. EST
Saturday’s Smith’s 350 at Talladega kicks off five consecutive weeks of racing for the series culminating in the season-ending Ford 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. (Photo: Getty Images)
The Camping World Truck Series season will end with a string of five straight weekends of racing starting with Saturday’s Fred’s 250 Powered by Coca-Cola at Talladega Superspeedway.
The 94-lap race kicks off five consecutive weeks of racing for the series culminating in the season-ending Ford 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Matt Crafton carries a 41-point lead over James Buescher into Saturday’s race but is not resting easy especially knowing the unpredictable nature of Talladega racing.
"Racing at Talladega is just like going out and buying a lottery ticket -- you're damned if you do and damned if you don't," Crafton said. "There's just no telling -- but you've got to play the game. You can have the fastest truck and lead every lap, or be struggling to hang on."
Crafton, who had finished inside the top-10 at every race this season until his 11th place performance at Las Vegas three weeks ago, has his sights set on a strong end to the year and a potential championship.
"We've just got to keep doing what we've been doing -- we can't go to a points-racing mode or just riding around or anything stupid like that," Crafton said. "We've just got to keep on doing what we've been doing, which is racing to win each and every week -- being aggressive when we can be -- but above all, being smart.
"The guys on this team just have to keep doing their jobs as good as they have been and we'll be fine."
Defending series champion Buescher is hoping to do just that and run down Crafton over the next month-and-a-half of racing. He has put together a strong of six consecutive top-10 runs of his own and looks to improve on his 6.8 career average Talladega finish this weekend.
"Unlike some drivers, I am really looking forward to returning to Talladega this weekend,” said Buescher. “A lot of people think this is a wild card event, but I am looking at this weekend as another opportunity for my Turner Scott Motorsports team to gain ground in the points. My team has a good track record at the superspeedways; I hope we are able to stay out of trouble and be in position to grab our third win of the season."
Last year’s race winner Parker Kligerman looks to steal the spotlight from the title contenders with back-to-back Fred’s 250 victories. The Kyle Busch Motorsports Nationwide Series driver landed a ride with BRG Motorsports. Although it’s been a year since he crossed the finish line first, Kligerman says he still has a great deal of confidence heading back to Talladega on Saturday.
“We expect to have a strong truck with a Joe Gibbs Racing engine under the hood of our Toyota so heck yes I’m confident,” said Kligerman. “Whenever you go back to a race as the defending race winner you have a sense of confidence and a feeling that you can get it done again. Talladega’s a challenge to be sure but I like the style of racing there and am really looking forward to trying to make it two straight trips to Victory Lane.”
Motor Racing Network - "The Voice of NASCAR" - will provide live coverage of Saturday’s Fred’s 250 beginning at 3:30 p.m. (ET), with live streaming at MotorRacingNetwork.com.