Interview

Truck Series Break Met With Mixed Feelings

The Camping World Truck Series schedule is unique in motorsports.

After taking part in two triple-header weekends to open the season at Daytona and Atlanta, it was a month before the series returned to the track. If that wasn’t enough, the trucks are in the midst of a five-week hiatus after the Alpha Energy Solutions 250 at Martinsville.

For some fans, it becomes frustrating in not being able to follow the series from the start of the year on a consistent basis. When you survey the garage, it’s a split decision. Some teams would like to run every week, while others use the weeks off for preparation.

“I understand why they do it,” Tyler Young told POPULAR SPEED. “Speedway stuff is totally different, so you work on your mile-and-a-half for Atlanta, and then get a little time off to work on your short track stuff for Martinsville.”

With another month off, most teams will spend the break getting their program set up for the next three races, which are immediate tracks, and rest of the season.

ThorSport Racing expanded to four teams this year, providing the Ohio-based team a new challenge in terms of having a full fleet of trucks.

“Being the fourth deal [team], we started off a little late in putting together the trucks in January,” said Eddie Troconis, crew chief for Thorsport Racing’s Cameron Hayley. “That little bit of break that we had in March allowed us to gear up better and then these next four weeks is where we’re going to finalize the rest of the truck inventory for the rest of the season, or at least next half of the season.

“I know that people say that if they could, they’d be racing every week, but it gives us more time to be prepared.”

Despite sitting atop the points, NEMCO Motorsports has fewer resources than a multi-truck team. That’s why crew chief Gere Kennon says they’re putting emphasis on getting additional trucks prepared on a just-in-case basis.

Despite the break helping preparation, Kennon points out some noticeable drawbacks.

For example, Kennon says racing every week would only help young wheelman John Hunter Nemechek as he climbs the racing ladder. He’s also concerned about his team losing its momentum.

“If you have a break, you kind of have to get back into the rhythm of everybody knowing what they do,” Kennon said. “I like racing every week. It’s second nature to me.”

The long break could also take a toll on teams that got off to a poor start.

“Going through the break makes it tough,” Daniel Hemric said. “Whether you have a good race or bad race, you want to get to the next one really quick and get [in] a groove.”

“That’s why it’s important to run as good as you can before the break because you can kind of use the momentum and motivation in the guys,” Young said. “Those first couple of races are important, really.”

Hemric acknowledges the break can be tough, so he’s trying to stay busy by helping around the shop.

“It does make it tough to get into a rhythm, but at the end of the day, if you do your job and spend the time at the shop that needs to be spent, it gives you an opportunity to be more one-on-one with the team,” Hemric said. “I just try to make sure that I’m involved in day-to-day operations at the shop.”

For Hemric, the extra time in the shop and getting to know his guys better could pay off as he continues his debut season with Brad Keselowski Racing.

“I want us to feel like we’re not just a race team. I think we can be family as the weeks go by,” Hemric said. “I think that relationship is going to be huge when we get further into the season and the weekends get tougher on everyone. We know we’ve got each other’s backs, and that’s what it’s all about.”

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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