Truck Series Back to Work at Kansas

Kansas

Johnny Sauter (pictured) is tied with Timothy Peters for the points lead as the Camping World Truck Series heads to Kansas Speedway for Friday's SFP 250. (Photo: Getty Images)

For the first 2½ months of the 2014 season, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has moved in slow motion with just two races run so far.

But for the next seven weeks, the schedule becomes a blur as teams and drivers get busy in a six-race stretch that opens with Friday night’s SFP 250 at Kansas Speedway.  As the Truck Series gathers steam in its 20th season, there’s a red-hot points battle shaping up with Timothy Peters and Johnny Sauter presently sharing the top spot.

Since the Truck Series debuted on the Kansas City oval in 2001, there have been 13 different winners in the 13 races.  Sauter is on that list.  Peters is not - which is something he’d like to rectify come Friday night.

"Kansas Speedway is our first mile-and-a-half track this season," Peters notes.  "We tested at Charlotte Motor Speedway and worked on our downforce program.  Now, I’m optimistic.  We’ve got a fast Toyota for this weekend."

Kyle Busch won the opening race of the season on a superspeedway at Daytona International Speedway and defending series champion Matt Crafton followed with a victory on the half-mile at Martinsville Speedway.  Next up is one of those pesky intermediate ovals, where Peters finished ninth the last time the tour raced on a 1.5-mile track – last fall at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

This weekend in Kansas, he’ll have one eye on race setup and the other on the tight points battle with Sauter.

"I know we’re only two races in, but I definitely feel like we have a shot at winning the Truck Series championship," said Peters, who finished 10th in last year’s final standings.  "We’ve worked hard to improve and having (crew chief) Marcus (Richmond) on board has been great for team chemistry."

Peters finished second to Busch in the season opener at Daytona and followed with a sixth-place run when the series last competed in late March at Martinsville.  He finished 10th in last year’s stop at Kansas Speedway.

As for Sauter, he’s coming off a fourth-place finish at Martinsville with hopes of becoming the first repeat winner in 14 races at Kansas.

"We’ve been so good at Martinsville, it’s hard to be happy with fourth place," said Sauter, a two-time winner on the Virginia half-mile.  "But we learned a lot, and we’ll go through some of those things and get better next time."

For Sauter, Peters and 29 others on the official entry list, the "next time" is this weekend at Kansas Speedway, where the Truck Series will get its first crack at group qualifying.  The new NASCAR format was put in place for this season, but time trials have been rained out for each of the year’s first two stops.

The Truck Series garage at Kansas Speedway will be dotted with Sprint Cup Series regulars including Busch, Austin Dillon and Joey Logano.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series teams will qualify Friday at 4:40 p.m. (ET) to set the field for the third race of the season.  Motor Racing Network – “The Voice of NASCAR” – will have live flag-to-flag coverage of the Truck Series, presented by Keystone Light.  Air time for the SFP 250 is 8 p.m. Friday, with live streaming at MRN.com.

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