NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, 37 Kind Days 250 at Kansas Preview

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is back in action for the 37 Kind Days 250 at Kansas Speedway starting at 8:30 pm ET on Friday, May 11th. Pre-race coverage starts at 8 pm ET on FOX Sports 1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Distance: 250 miles (167 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 40),

Stage 2 (Ends on lap 80), Final Stage (Ends on lap 167)

What to Watch For:  Kansas Speedway has proven to be a hard venue to predict victory. There have been 15 different race winners in 17 races and 13 different pole winners.

Matt Crafton and Kyle Busch have each won twice and both are entered in Friday night’s race.

Crafton has a series-best eight top-ten finishes.

The top-five drivers in the championships standings are separated by only 35 points. Johnny Sauter holds a 29-point lead over second place Grant Enfinger. Fifth place Noah Gragson is 35 behind Sauter.

The race has been won from the pole position only twice. Kyle Busch won from pole in 2014 and Ron Hornaday did in 2008.

Front row starters, however, have won eight of the 17 races.

There are three former winners entered this weekend – Busch, Crafton, and series points leader Sauter, who won at Kansas in 2010.

Brandon Jones will be making his first truck series start of 2018.

The late Ricky Hendrick won the inaugural truck race here in 2001.

Up for Grabs

The 37 Kind Days 250  has historically been one of the most unpredictable events on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule.

With 15 different winners in 17 races and only three former winners – Kyle Busch, Matt Crafton, and championship leader Johnny Sauter – in the field this weekend, it may again prove too tough to call. And that’s always good for fans.

Toyota-powered trucks have won the last five races with Busch and Crafton responsible for two trophies each during that span at Kansas.

Now steering a Ford, Crafton may well be in line to break that Toyota streak. He’s won twice and finished runner-up twice in the last five Kansas races.

A victory would certainly be a big boost to the two-time former series champion who is ranked sixth in the points standings. The championship chase is tight entering Friday night’s race – only 35 points separate Sauter from fifth-place Noah Gragson, a 19-year old who won the pole position last week at Dover, Del. and was runner-up at Atlanta earlier in the season.

Let’s Go Night Racing

Last weekend at Dover International Speedway, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series returned to the track after a month-long hiatus. Johnny Sauter was victorious at the Monster Mile, leading 137 laps and winning his second race of the 2018 season. His first win was at Daytona.

It was also Sauter’s second win in a row at Dover after he won last year in the No. 21 Allegiant Airlines Chevrolet, having led the last 33 laps of the race.

This year marks Sauter’s 15th year in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and at the finish of last season, he had the most season wins of his career with four. This season, he has already taken home two victories with a lot of racing left (18 races, to be exact).

Sauter only had one finish outside of the top-three this season – Martinsville, where he finished 19th.

Sauter is currently leading the driver standings with 238 points; followed by Ben Rhodes in the No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions Ford with 187 points, and Noah Gragson placing third in the standings in the No. 18 Safelite Auto Glass Toyota with 180 points.   

Taking a Look Back at Kansas

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races at Kansas Speedway have seen some trends in recent years, including the winning manufacturer for the last five years.

From 2013 to 2017, a Toyota has been the victorious manufacturer at the 1.5-mile track at Kansas Speedway, a record for the track.

Will a Toyota win again and make that six years in a row?

Quite possibly, as Kyle Busch will be returning to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Kansas where he won the race last year and in 2014.

Busch hasn’t raced in the NASCAR Camping World Truck series since Las Vegas on March 2, when he won.

Profile: Mike Hillman Jr.

Mike Hillman Jr. will be back in the pit box on Friday, May 11 for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 37 Kind Days 250 at Kansas Speedway. This time, he’ll be working with Brandon Jones in the No. 51 Lyons Bathtub & Showers Toyota.

So far, in 2018, Hillman Jr. has been the voice in the ear of three different drivers.

He was crew chief for Spencer Davis in the No. 51 Toyota the opening two races. At the start of the season, the duo started eighth at Daytona International Speedway and finished seventh. In Atlanta, they started fourth and finished 13th.

At Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Hillman Jr. took the reigns for Kyle Busch in the No. 51 Cessna/Beechcraft Toyota where they started in the pole position and walked away with the victory.

At Martinsville, Harrison Burton worked with Hillman Jr. in the No. 51 DEX Imaging Toyota, where they started 13th and finished the race in the eighth spot. This was Burton’s second career top-five finish.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series returned to action at Dover International Speedway for the Monster Mile after a four-week long hiatus last weekend. Hillman Jr. was back with Burton where they finished fifth after starting in the 17th position.

Jones has yet to compete in the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season, as he’s racing a full-time NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule, so this Friday at Kansas Speedway will be his first of the season. Jones has visited Kansas once before in 2015 where he started in the third position but ended up finishing 30th due to a crash.

This is Hillman Jr.’s 12th year in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. He has a total of 259 races under his belt, 21 wins, 101 top-fives, 146 top-tens and 19 poles. He has been crew chief for 19 different drivers and in 2018, has worked with three separate drivers for the first time –Busch, Davis, and Jones. (He paired up with Burton for a race in 2017.)

This season’s win in Las Vegas was Hillman Jr.’s first win since 2013 with Jeb Burton at Texas.

Hillman Jr. has one win at Kansas Speedway, five top-fives, and eight top-tens. His win was in 2005 with Todd in Hillman Jr.’s first truck series visit to the track.

Kansas Speedway by the Numbers
Here’s a quick look at some numbers associated with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Kansas:

2 – Two times a driver started at the pole and won the race.

3 – Three times the race winner has started tenth – and that’s the lowest a race winner has started.
4 – Four times a Ford won the race.
6 – Six times a Chevrolet won the race.
7 – Seven times a Toyota won the race.
8 – Matt Crafton has finished in the top-ten eight times at Kansas, leading all drivers.
5.7 – Average starting position of the race winner at Dover.
15 – 15 different drivers have won at Kansas Speedway since 2001.
17 – The number of NASCAR Camping World Trucks Series races at Kansas Speedway.
2001 – The first truck series race at Kansas was run in 2001 and was won by Ricky Hendrick.

 

Kansas Speedway Quick Facts

With the KC Masterpiece 400 and 37 Kind Days 250 quickly approaching, here are some quick facts you should know about Kansas Speedway.

Length: 1.5 miles

Race Length: 250.5 miles (167 laps)
Track Surface: Asphalt
Turns: Four
Degree of Banking in Corners: 17-20 degrees

Degree of Banking on Straights: Frontstretch – 10 degrees; Backstretch – 5 degrees

Length of Frontstretch: 2,685 feet

Length of Backstretch: 2,207 feet

Races:  17

Pole Winners: 13

Youngest Pole Winner: Erik Jones (05/08/2015 – 18 years. 10 months, 8 days)

Oldest Pole Winner: Ron Hornaday Jr (05/02/2010 – 51 years, 10 months, 12 days)

Race Winners:  15

Youngest Winner: William Byron (05/06/2016 – 18 years, 5 months, 7 days)

Oldest Winner: Mike Skinner (04/27/2009 – 51 years, 9 months, 30 days)

Also Noteworthy…

Busch Is Back: Kyle Busch is returning to action at Kansas Speedway this weekend for the 37 Kind Days 250. Busch has participated in two races of the five so far for the NASCAR Camping World Series 2018 season, where he took home the victory at Las Vegas. In both races, he started at the pole position. He will be racing in the No. 4 Cessna Toyota this weekend. Busch has raced four times at the track and won twice. He is tied with Matt Crafton for the most wins at the track in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. 

John Hunter Nemechek Looks for Win at Kansas: John Hunter Nemechek has never won a race at Kansas Speedway but is hoping that the race this weekend might change that. In the No. 8 Fleetwing/D.A.B. Construction Chevrolet, Nemechek will check back in to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Nemechek has been to this track twice, the first time in 2016 where he started sixth but finished in 28th in the No. 8 Andy’s Frozen Custard Chevrolet. Last year, he started 14th but finished in the third position in the No. 8 Fire Alarm Services Chevrolet. In both of those races, Nemechek’s highest position was second at one point but he has not yet been able to pull off a win. This could be a challenging track for Nemechek as he has been racing in the NASCAR World Camping Truck Series for 6 years, participated in 79 races and only been to Kansas Speedway twice. So far this season, he has raced in three of the five races, winning at Martinsville.

Brandon Jones is Hoping for his First Win:  Brandon Jones has visited Kansas Speedway once before, in 2015, but he didn’t exactly get the finish he hoped for. Jones started in the third position but finished in 30th because of a crash in turn two. Jones, however, hasn’t been in a truck yet this year. This will be his first of the season but luckily for him, this isn’t the first race of the season for his crew chief Mike Hillman Jr.

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