New Truck bodies debut at 1.5-mile track

 

MARTINSVILLE, VA - MARCH 30:  Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Ideal Doors / Menards Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 30, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

MARTINSVILLE, VA – MARCH 30: Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Ideal Doors / Menards Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 30, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – The Kansas race represents only the third race for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. A very welcome return to action as the teams and drivers have not been on a track in ages – since the Martinsville race at the end of March.

“It’s been an eternity since we’ve been on a race track,” Matt Crafton, driver of the No. 88 Goof Off/Menards Toyota and the defending series champion, said.

The series did hold a test at Charlotte Motor Speedway recently, but tests are not races.

“Going back to Homestead (for the 2013 season-ending event), we’ve raced just three times in six months,” Johnny Sauter, driver of the 98 Nextant Aerospace / Curb Records Toyota truck, said. “It’s good to be back.”

Moreover, with major body changes made to the trucks prior to the start of the 2014 season, and just the Daytona superspeedway and the Martinsville short track hosting their use, some in the garages are looking at Friday’s race at the 1.5-mile intermediate Kansas Speedway track as very important to the new-truck learning process.

“I don’t know how exactly it’s going to handle in traffic,” Crafton said of the new trucks, which feature a very different nose. “The first time we’ve ever had our Menards Toyota Tundra on a mile-and-a-half was a week or two weeks ago when we had a two-day test in Charlotte.  They didn’t drive that much different by themselves so I haven’t been in traffic with them to see how they handle, but I don’t see that they’re going to be that much different.  We have three of them built to be able to run mile-and-a-halves, but at the same time we don’t know exactly what we’re looking for in our wind tunnel numbers.  It will be very interesting.”

Said Sauter, “You can test in the wind tunnel all you want, you can simulate all you want, but until you do it in a race, you just don’t know” how the trucks will do.

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