By: Ashley McCubbin
In past seasons, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has put on good shows with it’s trips to Eldora Speedway. A change in venue to Bristol Motor Speedway, and the tune has not changed.
From the drop of the green flag to the checkered, the Pinty’s Truck Race on Dirt was eye-catching, thrilling, and will hold it’s rank on the list of events this year. Whether it was side-by-side competition, or drivers slipping through the top and kicking dirt in the air, it’s what you’d expect.
The surprise on the day, though, was seeing Martin Truex Jr. in victory lane. He entered without any dirt experience, trying to utilize this event to learn for the NASCAR Cup Series. The student quickly succeeded, though, dominating as he won both stages and the race.
The victory marks the third in a row for Kyle Busch Motorsports, following in suit with John Hunter Nemechek and Kyle Busch at Las Vegas and Atlanta, respectively. Recall through 2020 there were only five wins all season – three for the boss, Raphael Lessard at Talladega Superspeedway, and Brandon Jones at Pocono Raceway.
Busch stated entering this season he was making changes to the program in an effort to get the team back to winning regularly and championship contention. Nemechek’s veteran lead thus far seems to be paying off, despite Chandler Smith having only one top-10 in five events.
Nemechek could have been a contender possibly as he showed speed early, though found himself on the sidelines early courtesy of contact with Matt Crafton. The result was frustration displayed by Nemechek with a clapping gesture for his fellow competitor, as well as comments from both crew chief and spotter. Bristol, even covered in dirt, came to true form with a confrontation post-race between crew members.
Knowing Crafton has been a solid front runner in the series for years and has a renewed confidence reunited with Toyota, combined with Nemechek leading the charge early, this could be the beginning a season-long rivalry.
Stewart Friesen could have also been a contender on Monday, as he showed speed early. Unfortunately, strategy instead relegated him to placing 12th as he elected to pit early, stay out late, opposite to several contenders.
The Trucks will get one more chance to get dirty this year with a trip to Knoxville. After seeing the bottom come in more so than the top through the late stages, it’d be interesting to see if we can get the grooves closer together. If you do that, you may get a better run to the checkered – and that’d be the icing on the cake.