17 February 2012

2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Season Preview

It was another exciting season in the Camping World Truck Series in 2011 with a youngster, Austin Dillon, claiming the championship, the first youngin to claim the title since Travis Kvapil way back in 2003 in what has been a series dominated by the cagey veterans. But Dillon will not be back to defend his title as he is off to compete in the Nationwide Series. So will take the crown in 2012? Here's the B-FLO 360 2012 Camping World Truck Series season preview.

Sprint Cup Preview
Nationwide Series Preview 

1. Matt Crafton, #88 Menards Toyota, ThorSport Racing
Crafton has been Steady Eddie in the Truck Series, finishing in the top nine of the final points standings every year since 2004, save for 2006, but he has not been able to break through with a series championship, coming closest in 2009 when he finished second in the standings. He is coming off a somewhat disappointing 2011 by finishing 8th in the standings but I think this is the year he breaks through and wins the title. ThorSport Racing has developed itself into one of the elite teams in the Truck Series and he has a talented teammate in Johnny Sauter to work with.

2. Johnny Sauter, #13 Curb Records Toyota, ThorSport Racing
Speaking of the devil, Sauter came damn close to winning the title last year, finishing six points behind champion Austin Dillon. Sauter has been awesome since coming to racing trucks, finishing sixth or better every season since coming to ThorSport. His hard-charging style has been a natural fit to the series and he is a major championship contender, even as I think he will fall just short yet again, this time to a teammate.

3. James Buescher, #31 Wolfpack Rentals Chevrolet, Turner Motorsports
You know what is pretty impressive? Finishing third in the points after running one less race than anyone else and that is precisely what this young Texan did last season, after failing to qualify in the second race of the season at PIR. Buescher had ten top fives and 19 top tens as well as three poles last season as he showed remarkable consistency for a young racer. I'd be surprised if he did not find victory for the first time this season.

4. Joey Coulter, #22 TBA Chevrolet, Richard Childres Racing
RCR had a great season in the Truck Series last season with the series champion as well as the seventh place finisher in Coulter. Coulter has a tremendous 2011 as the young Floridian had five tops fives with 13 top tens and finished hot as well with three straight top sixes. Look for him to take a big leap forward and possibly win a race or two as RCR is now running a third truck in most races to help him out on the racetrack.

5. Ron Hornaday, Jr., #9 Anderson's Maple Syrup Chevrolet, Joe Danette Motorsports
As Kevin Harvick shut down his truck teams, Hornaday was without a ride but he announced at Homestead that he was hooking up with JDM for the full season. JDM is not on the same level KHR was and there is no sponsorship for the full season but Hornaday is one of the aces of the truck series and he will be a contender no matter what.

6. Timothy Peters, #17 TBC Retail Group Toyota, Red Horse Racing
Peters is another driver who does not have sponsorship for the full season but that has been the case for a couple years now for this team. Peters has improved every season running full-time in trucks and has developed himself into one of the better short track racers on the circuit as two of his best tracks are Martinsville and ORP. 

7. Ty Dillon, #3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing
Dillon has some big shoes to fill in his brother's, who is coming off the series championship. Now while I'm not sure if Ty Dillon is as talented as his brother is, he has a full-time ride with sponsorship for a championship caliber team and should be in the top ten. Dillon obviously can drive and is coming off a dominating season in the ARCA Racing Series.

8. Todd Bodine, #11 TBA Toyota, Red Horse Racing
Bodine is one of the best racers in the Truck Series but this season does not have sponsorship for the full season and probably will not run if there is no backing for the full slate. He probably will run most if not all of the races but will definitely be at Daytona for the opener and he will be a favorite as always as he is one of the elite plate racers.

9. Parker Kligerman, #29 Cooper Standard/Cequent Ram, Brad Keselowski Racing
Kligerman will be the lone Ram running the full season as he was last season and the talented 21-year old Connecticut native put together a very good season in his first full season in trucks, finishing tenth with four top fives and eight top tens. Look for Kligerman to take another step forward this season.

10. Justin Lofton, #6 College Complete Chevrolet, Eddie Sharp Racing
Lofton has had two solid but not great by any means seasons in the Truck Series but he will return to the same team for the first time with ESR. Look for this young Californian to take another step forward and finish for the first time in the top ten in the final points standings. 

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