This week, all the attention at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and Saturday night’s Smith’s 350.
The trucks always put on a great show on the 1.5-mile superspeedway. Dating back to the famous duels of the late 1990s between Ron Hornaday and Jack Sprague to last year’s late-race battle between teammates Johnny Sauter and Matt Crafton, each year the truck race seems to keep fans on the edge of their seats.
This year’s race offers an interesting blend of talent. You’ve got the cagey veterans such as championship points leader Todd Bodine, perennial contender Hornaday and two-time LVMS winner Mike Skinner. Then there are the up-and-coming young drivers such as Aric Almirola, Timothy Peters and Justin Lofton. We also have legacies as Austin Dillon, the grandson of longtime NASCAR team owner Richard Childress, and Jeffrey Earnhardt, the grandson of seven-time NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt, will be in the field.
We have an international flavor as well. Nelson Piquet Jr. of Brazil, and son of the Formula I legend, is entered in one of Billy Ballew’s trucks, while Narain Karthikeyan of India will be driving for Stacy Compton in the Wyler Racing entry. We also have two female drivers in the race. Jennifer Jo Cobb has been racing all season and is garnering points for rookie of the year, while 18-year old Floridian Johanna Long will be making her fourth Truck Series start of her career.
There’s also a local tie. While Kyle Busch will be in Dover, Del., this weekend competing in the Sprint Cup and Nationwide races, his truck will be here in Las Vegas driven by California’s Brian Ickler. This is a big race for Kyle Busch Motorsports as Busch trails Bodine’s Germain team by just 25 points in the owner’s championship. After Saturday, Busch will drive the truck for the remainder of the year to attempt to win the owner’s title.
But there’s also more than just the race. On Friday afternoon, Schrader, Bodine, Dillon and Ickler will be at Smith’s at Nellis and Stewart to race with four lucky race fans through the grocery store. They also will do media interviews to promote the race. Later that night, approximately 25 of the drivers will be at the Stratosphere for a free autograph session beginning at 7 p.m.
On Saturday afternoon before qualifying, Speedway Children’s Charities will host a track walk. This will allow fans to make a donation to charity and walk a lap around the track.
It’s going to be a fun weekend here at the speedway. Don’t forget to stop by your local Smith’s store to find out how you can win four free tickets to this Saturday’s Smith’s 350.