Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville Preview

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NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Next Race: Kroger 250

The Place: Martinsville Speedway

The Date: Saturday, March 28

The Time: 2:30 p.m. (ET)

TV: FOX Sports 1, 2:30 p.m. (ET)

Radio: MRN, Sirius XM Ch. 90

Distance: 131.5 miles (250 laps)

Custer To Pilot JR Motorsports’ No. 00 Chevrolet Silverado In Team’s Trucks Debut

Fresh off its first NASCAR XFINITY Series driver championship – powered by the efforts of then-18-year-old wunderkind Chase Elliott (the youngest title-winner in NASCAR national series history) – JR Motorsports makes its first foray into the Camping World Truck Series, debuting at Martinsville Speedway with another teenage prodigy – Cole Custer (the youngest NASCAR national series race and pole winner). 

Custer, 17, will pilot the No. 00 Haas Automation Chevrolet Silverado in Saturday’s Kroger 250, the first of ten scheduled races he will run for JRM this season. Last year in his first Camping World Truck Series campaign, he amassed one victory, two poles, two top-fives, six top-tens and 150 laps led in nine starts.

JR Motorsports, owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr., has fielded race teams since 2002 and launched its XFINITY Series program in 2006. The team boasts 23 XFINITY Series wins and 42 late-model victories, including track championships in 2012 and 2014. Elliott’s XFINITY Series championship paired with Regan Smith’s runner-up showing in points marked the first time in JRM’s history it secured a one-two finish atop the standings. 

Kyle Busch Motorsports Looks To Continue Martinsville Streak

For the last four years, Kyle Busch Motorsports has been a fixture in Victory Lane at Martinsville Speedway. The Mooresville-based racing team has won one race each season at ‘The Paperclip’ from 2011-14 (Denny Hamlin, 2011-12; Darrell Wallace Jr., 2013-14). Each of those races was in the fall though; and there were none won in the spring. KBM rival ThorSport has taken the last two checkered flags in the spring Martinsville showdowns (Johnny Sauter, 2013; Matt Crafton, 2014). Furthermore, Hamlin is not entered in Saturday’s Kroger 250 and Darrell Wallace Jr. has moved on to the XFINITY Series with Roush Fenway Racing, so a fresh face will have to continue KBM’s streak.

Three drivers will attempt to pilot their KBM Toyota Tundra’s past the finish line first: Erik Jones (No. 4), Daniel Suarez (No. 51) and Justin Boston (No. 54). Only Jones has competed at Martinsville. He claims finishes of ninth, 18th and fourth at the .526-mile track. Jones made his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series début at Martinsville in April 2013. 

John Hunter Nemechek Takes Father “Front Row” Joe’s Place For 2015 Debut 

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series got a taste of “Modern Family” at Auto Club Speedway last weekend when actor Eric Stonestreet served as the race’s Official Pace Car driver.

This Saturday, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will witness the third episode of its “Moto Family” when John Hunter Nemechek makes his 2015 début in relief of his father “Front Row” Joe Nemechek.

As a driver under the age of 18, Nemechek is only eligible to race on tracks that are road courses of 1.25 miles or less in length. Last season, he ran a split schedule with his father, logging six top-ten finishes in ten starts, with a best showing of fourth. Expectations are high for the younger Nemechek this season after his win at the Snowball Derby – one of the most prestigious events in short-track racing – in December.

Following this weekend’s race, Joe will compete in three of the next four events, lending the seat to John Hunter again at Dover. John Hunter turns 18 on June 11 and will take over the No. 8 NEMCO Motorsports Chevrolet full-time at Gateway on June 13. 

Standings Snapshot

After a month-long layoff, the high-octane Camping World Truck Series is back in action at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday.

Tyler Reddick is its current standings leader. The 19-year-old Brad Keselowski Racing driver leads Matt Crafton (-2), Erik Jones (-7), Johnny Sauter (-15) and James Buescher (-24).

Crafton is the two-time defending series champion. Jones leads all Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidates in the standings. Buescher took the Truck Series title in 2012.

Rounding out the top-ten are Bryan Silas (-27), Ben Kennedy (-29), Ray Black Jr. (-29), Joe Nemechek (-29) and Korbin Forrister (-31). 

Can Kennedy Build On Strong Atlanta Finish?

‘Ken’ he do it?

This weekend at Martinsville, Ben Kennedy will attempt to build off his strong Atlanta showing, where he won his first career Keystone Light Pole Award and tied his personal-best with a third-place finish.

History shows he ‘Ken.’

The No. 11 Red Horse Racing driver will try to top that career-high third-place finish he originally set at Martinsville last spring when he heads back to ‘The Paper Clip’ for Saturday’s Kroger 250. In two other starts at the .526-mile track, Kennedy owns finishes of fourth (fall of 2013) and 16th (fall of 2014). 

Rookies Readied For Martinsville at Test

At times, the Camping World Truck Series is unkind to rookies. The inexperienced drivers often struggle having to keep up with grizzled veterans like Matt Crafton, Johnny Sauter and Timothy Peters.

Fortunately, the Camping World Truck Series rookie testing rule allows first-year drivers to test on tracks they have yet to race.

Justin Boston, Daniel Suarez and Daniel Hemric put the extra work in, gaining valuable seat time last Tuesday at Martinsville Speedway – a track that is unforgiving if a driver is not technically sound.

NASCAR fans will see if practice made perfect in Saturday’s Kroger 250 at ‘The Paperclip.’ Boston and Hemric hope to land in the top-ten for the first time this season, while Suarez attempts to improve on his fourth-place Atlanta showing.

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