10:33 p.m. – Post-race comments from race winner Austin Dillon:
“When you can come to a track and unload fast, that’s great. I’d never been here and we unloaded on top of the board – that just says how much (crew chief Danny Stockman) has been doing and the guys have been doing to make our trucks very good."
"We made mistakes at the beginning of the year and now we’re finally coming around to where we think we can run with the top guys and we’re showing it. It’s been an awesome year and I can’t thank everybody enough.
“All wins are awesome so I don’t know if there’s a sweeter one or not. This one was cool because I’d never seen the track before. We showed up here at the track this morning and I took a rental car ride around the track and that was all that we really needed. The truck was so good that I could go out there and run laps that were going to be good for the race run. It was awesome. I just had to go finish it off.”
(On his grandfather Richard Childress’ tough week with the penalties against Clint Bowyer’s No. 33 car in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.) “I talked to him earlier in the week ... and he said, ‘Man, you’ve got to go win this race for me out here.’ To come out here and do it is pretty awesome. You dream about stuff like this and when it comes true, it’s great. Now I hope the Cup guys can go out and finish off the weekend and prove to everybody that Clint Bowyer was legal.”
10:18 p.m. -- Post-race comments from second-place finisher Johnny Sauter:
“I don’t know about almost (winning back-to-back races at LVMS); that kid (Austin Dillon) was like three-tenths faster a lap. It was a good night for our FarmPaint.com/Curb Records Chevy. At the beginning of the race, we were tight and we just kept making air-pressure adjustments and got it pretty good and then came in and made a couple more air-pressure adjustments.
On that last pit stop, I got stuck in fourth gear and I couldn’t get it out of fourth gear so we had no choice but to jack it up and go underneath the truck. I lost a ton of track position, came out like 15th and I think we were up to second in pretty much no time. I went from eighth to third in one corner. It was a solid truck but just nothing for the 3 truck; he was lights out.”
10:08 p.m. -- Post-race comments from third-place finisher James Buescher:
“I don’t know about good restarts; our truck didn’t take off very good at all on the restarts – especially on the initial start. I think I lost six spots before I got to turn 1. The Wolf Pack Rentals Chevy was fast once I got through turn 1 and got up to speed. We were good through probably the middle part of the race. We took fuel only one time and that was probably the best our truck ever was. It didn’t work out where we could do that at the end because the tires were kind of falling off. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get back to that same point that we were at in the middle part of the race and we slowed down a little bit at the end. We were probably a second-place truck at the beginning and a third-place truck at the end so we finished third. That 3 truck (Austin Dillon) was fast – he was killing us all.”
8:42 p.m. – Austin Dillon grabbed the lead from James Buescher with 34 laps remaining and pulled away to post a commanding victory over Johnny Sauter in the 14th Smith’s 350 Saturday night at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Dillon’s 5.588-second margin of victory was the largest winning margin in 14 Truck Series races in Las Vegas.
Buescher finished third, series points leader Todd Bodine was fourth and Matt Crafton was fifth. Aric Almirola, Brian Ickler, Justin Lofton, Ricky Carmichael and Ken Schrader rounded out the top 10.
8:23 p.m. – Debris on the track brings out the seventh caution of the race on lap 116. Austin Dillon and James Buescher have swapped the lead several times since the last restart but Dillon continues to lead on lap 116. Buescher is second, Johnny Sauter is third, Aric Almirola is fourth and Matt Crafton is fifth with 30 laps remaining.
8:15 p.m. – The top 10 with 40 laps remaining: Austin Dillon, James Buescher, Todd Bodine, Aric Almirola, Ricky Carmichaal, Matt Crafton, Brian Ickler, Johnny Sauter, Tayler Malsam and Justin Lofton.
7:40 p.m. – The top 10 after 60 of 146 laps: James Buescher, Ron Hornaday Jr., Johnny Sauter, Austin Dillon, Matt Crafton, Brian Ickler, Aric Almirola, Tayler Malsam, Todd Bodine and Narain Karthikeyan.
7:25 p.m. – The race is under its third caution as a result of Mike Skinner’s run through the infield grass after contact with Johnny Sauter. The top 10 on lap 40: Ron Hornaday Jr., James Buescher, Timothy Peters, Austin Dillon, Johnny Sauter, Brian Ickler, Matt Crafton, Tayler Malsam, Todd Bodine and Narain Karthikeyan.
7p.m. – Greg Pursley brings out the first caution of the race on lap 12 when his engine blows between turns 3 and 4 and drops fluid onto the track. Pursley started the race 14th.
6:51 p.m. – Austin Dillon leads the 36-truck field to the green flag to start the Smith’s 350. Dillon is making his 22nd career start and is in search of his second victory of the season and second of his career.
6:41 p.m. – The drivers have been given the command to “start your engines.” The 14th NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Smith’s 350 will begin shortly.
4:01 p.m. – Austin Dillon saved the best for last. Dillon, the last driver to make a qualifying attempt, grabbed the pole for tonight’s Smith’s 350 with a lap of 174.509 mph. James Buescher was second fastest at 173.958 and Matt Crafton qualified third at 173.516. Johnny Sauter, who won last year’s Smith’s 350, also was clocked at 173.516 and will start fourth and Ken Schrader (173.033) will start fifth.
3:15 p.m. – Qualifying is under way and Norm Benning is the first truck on the track in the No. 57 Chevrolet. A total of 41 trucks are scheduled to make qualifying attempts this afternoon. – Qualifying is under way and Norm Benning is the first truck on the track in the No. 57 Chevrolet. A total of 41 trucks are scheduled to make qualifying attempts this afternoon.
2:45 p.m. – Some quick facts about the Smith’s 350: Johnny Sauter’s 2.474-second margin of victory in last year’s race was the largest MOV in the history of the Truck Series at LVMS. ... Last year’s race tied an event record for most lead changes (15) and set a record for most leaders (9). ... Although he never has won a Truck Series race at LVMS, Ron Hornaday Jr. has a series-best average finish of 7.667 in nine career races here.
The Smith’s 350 has been won from the pole five times and 12 of the 13 races have been won from a top-10 starting position. ... Ken Schrader, driving a Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet, is making his first Truck Series start at LVMS in 13 years. Schrader finished eighth in the 1996 race and 18th in the 1997 event.
2:20 p.m. – Todd Bodine enters this evening’s Smith’s 350 with an admittedly comfortable 257-point lead over Aric Almirola in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers’ standings and said he doesn’t intend to change the way he has raced all season.
“We go after wins every week and that’s what we’re going to do tonight,” said Bodine, who has four victories this year. “Our philosophy is if you can’t win the race, then you do the best with what you’ve got. If that’s fourth place, that’s what you take.”
With only six races remaining in the season and a 257-point edge, Bodine said he and the No. 30 Germain Racing team can afford to take some chances in order to win races.
“It does make the strategies a little easier to call because you can sometimes take a little gamble,” Bodine said of his points lead. “We try to run the races the same every week and do the things that we do that got us to this point. If we just finish every race in the top 10, we’re going to be fine. We’ve just got to make sure we don’t have any hiccups and get in trouble.”
1:30 p.m. – Las Vegas Motor Speedway has announced the introduction of the Mobile Fan Guide, a next-generation mobile application designed to enhance the entire racing event experience and grant fans unprecedented access to Speedway and race information directly on their mobile device.
The LVMS Mobile Fan Guide gives race-goers the ability to discover everything around them at the racetrack. From locating retail and refreshment areas to watching instant replays, the Mobile Fan Guide is the ultimate race companion. Users can download the application for free on their Apple iPhone or Google Android device and begin using it immediately.
For additional information or to download the application, visit http://t-sciences.com/ubiquity-lvms.
12:10 p.m. – James Buescher sat atop the speed chartat the end of the final practice for the Smith’s 350 with a lap of 174.701 mph. Austin Dillon was second fastest at 174.109 and Greg Pursley was third at 173.016. Brian Ickler (172.916) and Ricky Carmichael (172.673) rounded out the top five.
NASCAR has revised the qualifying procedure for the six remaining Camping World Truck Series races, beginning with tonight’s Smith’s 350 at LVMS. The order in which trucks will qualify for the 36 starting positions will be based on the fastest time recorded during practice sessions. Times will be inverted, allowing the slowest truck in practice to be the first out in qualifying and the fastest truck going out last. Qualifying begins at 3:15 p.m.
11:35 a.m. – Brian Ickler, who is driving the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports in tonight’s Smith’s 350, is no stranger to racing in Las Vegas.
Ickler, a native of San Diego, spent several seasons racing in the SCORE Desert Series before turning his attention to stock cars. While winning the 2003 SCORE season championship in the SCORE Lite class, Ickler posted race victories in Laughlin and Primm – as well as winning the prestigious Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 in Mexico.
“I love desert racing,” Ickler said. “I did it my whole life, really. I raced a lot around here in Las Vegas in the SCORE series but now I don’t have the opportunity to come back and do any off-road racing. I miss it.
“I still have a buggy and Kyle (Busch) and I come out here once a year to the Dumont Dunes – but just to mess around, no racing. My best friend growing up, Andy McMillin, races off-road constantly and he invited me to go down and pre-run (for the Baja 1000 in November) with him this year and, schedule permitting, I might go do that.”
Ickler, 25, earned a ninth-place finish last year in his first Truck Series start at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and returns to the track today hoping to help team owner Kyle Busch in his quest to win the series owners’ championship. The No. 18 team trails the No. 30 Germain Racing team by 25 points in the owners’ standings.
Ickler will be making his seventh and final Truck Series start of the season this evening for Kyle Busch Motorsports. The team owner is in Dover, Del., this weekend for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.
10:49 a.m. – The second and final practice session has started and the No. 95 Dodge of J.C. Stout is the first truck on the track. A total of 37 trucks (of the 42 entered) made it onto the track during the first practice. The final practice will run until noon and qualifying for the Smith’s 350 will begin at 3:15 p.m.
10:20 a.m. – The first practice session for this evening’s Smith’s 350 has ended and Austin Dillon remained atop the speed chart with a lap of 174.984 mph in the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet. Greg Pursley was second fastest in the No. 62 Star Nursery.com Chevy at 174.740 and Ron Hornaday Jr. was third fastest at 174.447 in the No. 33 ShopEZGO.com Chevy. James Buescher was fourth (174.098) and Matt Crafton fifth (174.025) as Chevy swept the top six spots in the session. The second and final practice session is scheduled to begin at 10:45 a.m.
9:30 a.m. – Austin Dillon sits atop the speed chart 30 minutes into this morning’s first practice session. Dillon posted a lap of174.876 mph in the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet. Ron Hornaday Jr. is second fastest in the No. 33 ShopEZGO.com Chevrolet at 174.447 mph and James Buescher, in the No. 31 Wolf Pack Rentals Chevrolet, is third fastest at 173.935 mph.
9 a.m. – Good morning from Las Vegas Motor Speedway and the 14th running of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Smith’s 350. It’s sunny and 75 degrees and the forecast calls for a high temperature of 99 degrees and “abundant sunshine.”
Practice for this evening’s 146-lap race has begun on the 1.5-mile tri-oval. Following this 75-minute practice session, the trucks will hit the track at 10:45 a.m. for the final practice. Qualifying is scheduled to begin at 3:15 p.m. and the Smith’s 350 will take the green flag at 6:30 p.m.
Be sure to check back here often, as we’ll be updating this blog throughout the day with news, stats and driver interviews.
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.