Thursday, July 12, 2012
Notes from the NASCAR Nation: A Tail Gate Party in Iowa
by Dave Grayson
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will be bringing their high energy tail gate party to the beautiful Iowa Speedway for Saturday night's running of the American Ethanol 200. This is race number nine on their schedule and promises to be one of their better events of the season on the Iowa Speedway's very challenging 7/8ths of a mile oval.
THE STORY BREAKDOWN
The big storyline to Saturday night's race is the skin tight championship points battle between the top four drivers in the standings. Timothy Peters, from Red Horse Racing, currently leads those standings. He will be looking to improve his Iowa stats because the track has not been that kind to him in the past. He has an eighth place finish there in 2009, a 21st place finish in 2010 and he finished 11th in last year's event.
Peters will have to look out his front windshield to rectify those numbers but, at the same time, he will have to keep a close eye in his rear view mirror for the presence of Justin Lofton and Ty Dillon who are only four points behind him in the standings. Also very much in the series' championship profile is Texas driver James Buescher, fourth in the standings and only nine points away, who is the series' only two time winner this year.
Ty Dillon will be making his first truck series start at Iowa Saturday night but he won't be racing on the track for the first time. In fact, he has quite a few miles logged there. Dillon won the ARCA Racing Series event there last year and, also last year, he finished second in a combined NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West Series race.
It's sad to note that series rookie driver Max Gresham and Joe Denette Motorsports have decided to part company after only eight races. This appears to be a simple case of numbers. The numbers associated with the cost of doing business versus the driver performance numbers simply were not close enough to continue the relationship. Gresham, in eight starts, was 20th in the points, 23d in the owner's points and had an average finish ratio of 23.8. He's regarded as being a truly talented young driver and here's hoping he finds a new ride in NASCAR's national touring arena soon.
THE RACE BREAKDOWN
The American Ethanol 200 is 200 laps/175 miles around the Iowa Speedway's 0.875 mile oval.
The race has 39 entries vying for the 36 starting positions. 13 of these entries are on the go or go home list meaning they are not guaranteed a starting berth because they are currently outside of the series' top 25 in owner's points.
Matt Crafton is the defending race champion. Previous editions of this race has been highly competitive in nature. Three races has resulted in three different winners and three different second place finishers.
The Iowa Speedway has been described as being a short track with a super speedway feel to it. It's located in Newton-Iowa, 30 miles east of Des Moines and is owned and operated by the U.S. Motorsport Corporation. The track was designed by former NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, turned television racing broadcaster, Rusty Wallace. The speedway currently has regular grandstand seating for 30,000.
The American Ethanol 200 will be broadcast live by SPEED beginning at 8 pm eastern time.