Mike Skeen is making his first Camping World Truck Series start this weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park and so far, he is off to a solid start. He led the first practice with a lap of 82.795 seconds and then led the second practice with a lap of 81.449 seconds. He was 0.338 seconds quicker than the second-place truck of German Quiroga in the second session.
"We gave it a little bit of time for everyone to go out and sort themselves out and then we went out for a short run, got right up there to pace real quick," Skeen commented. "Fortunately, we unloaded with a quick truck. We tested a couple weeks so we knew right where we’d be. Very happy with the equipment already."
The thing is while Skeen may be a rookie of the series, he is now a rookie of Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. In his past four Pirelli World Challenge GT Series starts at CTMP, he has four poles and four wins. Skeen currently sits sixth in the World Challenge GT Series standings after winning at Lime Rock earlier this year.
"Anytime you have that much success with a track you’re comfortable with it," Skeen commented. "But this is a whole other world. I’ve had very little time in stock cars and not certainly any round here."
Skeen says so far, it's been learning about how far he can push the truck before it gets out of shape, and then learning his competition.
"I’ve only been watching these guys on TV so I don’t know have a good feel of who I am going up against," he commented. "I think that’s a big thing when you’re in a new series – trying to get the personalities of the drivers you’re going to go up against. Certainly trying to learn that and probably won’t learn that till race time. That’s the biggest unknown for me, but certainly very confident."
He also says that he will to the style of racing in how the race plays out.
"Every series and style of racing has a different pace and seeing how that develops will be key," he commented. "Certainly the driving aspect I’m not too worried about because I can get enough practice time out here before the race. But certainly the overall feel of a race is what I don’t know."
Helping Skeen with his Camping World Truck Series debut is veteran crew chief Bryan Berry, who has crew chiefed in over 200 races in the Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series since 2000, working with Brendan Gaughan and Jason Keller in the past.
Looking down the road, Skeen would like to make more starts at any of the NASCAR National levels as he enjoys the stock car style of racing.
"Any opportunities that I can get to do more of it, I certainly would love to," he commented. "Certainly the road racing is my background so I’d see more opportunities on the road courses, but I’d love to try out some oval racing, do it a little more full-time."