Interview

Diverse Schedule is a Hit Among Drivers

(EXCLUSIVE) Featuring short tracks, intermediate tracks, a pair of restrictor plate races, a road course and dirt race, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule is the most diverse of NASCAR’s three premier divisions.

“I think the schedule is great, to be honest,” @BenKennedy31 commented. “It’s great that we’ll be able to kick it off at Daytona and get back it the swing of things. Then we have a little bit of a break, and I think that’s good for the teams. It allows everybody to get back into the swing of things and start really preparing for getting into the meat of season.

“I think it’s great that we start at Daytona and finish at Homestead – just like the Sprint Cup Series does. I think it’s great to be at companion events because I think you can gain so much experience by going over to the next garage over, asking questions and getting involved as much as you can. I like the schedule the way it is now.”

The diversity brings forth a welcome challenge for the drivers en route to championship glory. @BryanSilas99 says the diversity brings out the true champion because you have to be good on a variety of tracks over the course of the year.

Silas added that he’d like NASCAR go one step further, though, and possibly add more dirt and road courses to the schedule.

“I raced ARCA a couple years ago, and they had a very diverse schedule,” he continued. “If we can get somewhat to what their schedule is, it’d definitely be a positive.”

Both Eldora Raceway and Canadian Tire Motorsports Park will enter their second year on the schedule, and both events have produced thrilling races over the past two years.

The inaugural Mudsummer Classic at Eldora will forever be remembered by Norm Benning qualifying for the field in dramatic fashion through the last chance event. The main event was good, too, as well, featuring a solid battle between @austindillon3 and @KyleLarsonRacin. Last year, Larson made himself part of the headlines once again as he used up every bit of his truck and the outside wall trying to catch @BubbaWallace for the lead and victory.

The dirt is a favorite on the schedule, but could be slightly adjusted to make it that much better, according to @JWTownley.

“It’s fun for a few laps, but I think it’d be a whole lot more fun if we had some wider tires,” he commented. “I think having a wider contact patch on the tire would give us more speed. I really would like to see that.”

The inaugural Chevrolet Silverado 250 at CTMP brought the trucks north of the border for the first time and brought a dramatic fashion. Fighting for the lead coming to the flag, contact happened between @tydillon and @chaseelliott9, resulting in Elliott taking home the victory with Dillon suffering heavy damage. Then last year, @Blaney would edge @germanquiroga at the line for the victory.

“To be honest, it’s not one of my strengths, but they’re fun and a challenge,” Townley commented. “It’s nice to be able to do something a little different once and a while; it’s nice to turn right after a whole year of turning left.”

Though beyond the pair of unique events, there are other races that drivers are excited for.

Silas noted that he can’t wait to get to Martinsville Speedway in hopes of doing better than last year following a pair of finishes outside the top 30 due to incidents. @JHNemechek is also looking forward to Martinsville as he will make his 2015 debut at the paperclip. He commented that he is “looking forward to getting there and having a good run” after posting 11th and 13th place finishes last year.

Looking for improvement seems to be a theme, as @Mason_Mingus is hoping to do better at Bristol Motor Speedway this year following a 22nd place finish last year.

“I really liked going to places like Salem, Winchester Speedway – they kind of resemble Bristol a little bit and I really looking forward to that one last year,” he noted. “We didn’t nearly as well as I would’ve hoped there so I’m looking for some redemption this year as I feel that is a place that we should run well and suits my driving style.”

Townley commented that he is looking forward to getting to Dover International Speedway and Michigan International Speedway.

However, before they can get to any of these tracks, the season first needs to find its kick-off point, and that is Daytona International Speedway. The race is obviously on the excitement radar for many due to the start of the season, but for some, it means more.

For Kennedy, its home as he grew up around the 2.5-mile oval, working odd jobs as a kid.

“Every part of Daytona is special to me,” he commented. “It’s kind of like my backyard; I know it like the back of my hand, so to speak. I love the place, everything about the race track. I’ve worked odd jobs around the race track; it gives me a lot of appreciation for everything that everybody does around there. To be able to actually take a race truck around there with 31 other trucks, it’s really special to me.”

Kennedy had a solid debut last year at Daytona, sitting on the pole and leading 52 laps en route to finishing 15th.

“I honestly can’t wait to get to Daytona and get this off-season over with so we can get back into the swing of things,” Kennedy added. “I’m the worst guy when it comes off-seasons in sitting around and waiting.”

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @ladybug388

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