[media-credit name=”Dan Sanger” align=”alignright” width=”238″][/media-credit]Following a busy Saturday at Michigan last weekend, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series returns to action, on a rare Wednesday night, for the running of the Volunteer 200 at the Bristol Motor Speedway.
This race will be the truck series’ first look at the recent alterations that changed the new Bristol Motor Speedway back to the old Bristol Motor Speedway. Following the speedway’s annual NASCAR weekend last March, a massive reconstruction, on the concrete covered half mile oval, was performed. A milling, or grinding, process was used to erase the progressive banking in the upper groove of the turns. It’s expected that this will make racing on the bottom of the track vital and will bring a return of using the chrome horn to pass a competitor. In other words, they will be going back to the old Bristol racing format that made the track so famous and filled the 100,000 plus seat that completely surrounds the facility. The empty seats, observed during the NASCAR weekend last March, combined with fan and driver input, was reported to be a catalyst for this reconstruction.
The return of the old style Bristol racing, with its well remembered racing is rubbing format, could conceivably create a huge impact on the series’ points standings. Going into Wednesday night’s race, Timothy Peters and Ty Dillon are tied at the top of the standings with 449 points each. Dillon’s sixth place finish last weekend at Michigan compared to Peters’ 13th place finish was the numerical equation that created the tie.
However there are two other series’ young guns who are very much involved in the championship picture. Three time race winner James Buescher has 443 points which places him third in the rankings and only six points away from first. Justin Lofton, currently fourth and 17 points from the top, is also very much a part of this championship profile.
It was no real surprise last Saturday when Nelson Piquet Jr took his first win at Michigan. Many series observers have been saying all season long that it was just a matter of time before this talented, second generation, driver from Brazil found a NASCAR victory lane.
Piquet will be looking to use that momentum to score a second win at Bristol. He will also be using some advertising space on his Turner Motorsports Chevrolet Truck to promote the letter “B”. It turns out that “B” is a cachaca, (rum), mixed with honey and lime. “B” was founded by Piquet Jr in his native Brazil and will be available to U.S. customers in 2013.
THE RACE BREAKDOWN.
The Volunteer 200 is race number 13 of 22 on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ schedule. The race is 200 laps/106.6 miles around the Bristol Motor Speedway’s .533 mile all concrete oval.
The race has 40 entries vying for the 36 starting positions. 15 of those entries are on the go or go home list meaning they are not guaranteed a starting berth because they are currently outside of the series’ top 25 in owner’s points. These teams will have to rely on qualifying speeds to make the race.
There will be no repeat winner from last year. Kevin Harvick, the 2011 winner, is not entered in this race.
In recent years this event has had the names of several NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers on its entry list. There is only one Cup visitor in Wednesday night’s truck race. Brad Keselowski will be driving his self owned #29 Reese Tow Power Dodge and he’s going to be very busy at Bristol. Keselowski will be attempting the Bristol triple threat and will be seeking wins in the truck, Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series races during the course of the racing weekend.
The Volunteer 200 will be broadcast live by the SPEED Channel with the set up show beginning at 730pm eastern followed by the green flag at approximately 8pm et.