|Date: 9/16/2009 9:58:30 PM|
Truck Series is Great Addition to Pocono Line-up
By Dino Oberto … “Keeping Track”
(Long Pond, PA) With the announcement of the Camping World Truck Series making its first ever appearance at Pocono Raceway on July 31, 2010, the buzz has already began to swirl with anticipation.
The Pennsylvania 125 will be the lead-in race to the Pennsylvania ARCA 200 that same afternoon and both shows will act as the preamble to Sunday’s Pennsylvania 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event.
“I think this is a great opportunity for our truck series to come to a new area. We use to race Nazareth (Speedway) which was just down the road. Eastern Pennsylvania is a big market and the populous in this area is pretty large,” said 2006 CWTS champion Todd Bodine who was passing through the area on Wednesday on his way to race at New Hampshire this weekend.
“I think just bringing the trucks here shows the confidence that NASCAR has in the series. I wouldn’t say it (series) need to grow but it needs to grow in new market areas and getting back into this market place it’s a great day for not only the series but for the speedway itself.
“It’s going to be a great place to race. It’s going to be an awesome race. We did some testing up here the year before and it was pretty neat. The truck was real fast on the track and I feel it’s going to lend itself to being real competitive.”
The CWTS is NASCAR’s third tier series behind the Sprint Cup and Nationwide divisions. Although their events are shorter in length they are at most times much more competitive and the Pocono stop should easily provide for that type of action which is customary with them. With the race just 50 laps in length, it will be a flat out sprint from start to finish.
“I don’t quite understand why it’s so short but it’s still going to be a great race to watch. That’s the one thing about the Truck Series, when they drop the rag it’s every man for himself every lap. We race hard from the green and this one will be no different,” offered Bodine.
“The ARCA Series has been a great staple at Pocono for a long time and they’ve always put on good shows. I think that with the addition of the trucks that the Saturday show at Pocono will be one that a lot more people will want to come out and see.”
Pocono will join the likes of Talladega and Daytona as the longest tracks the trucks have raced on but without question the Tricky Triangle will be one of the most distinctive.
“I think that the uniqueness of the race track, and you look at some of the guys who have raced there in the Cup cars, Ron Hornaday, Mike Skinner, myself, Stacy Compton and there’s quite a few of us that have been there, we’ll have a little advantage in understanding the track.
“The guys that haven’t raced there it will be an experience to learn the track and how to get around it,” said Bodine who has won at Daytona the past two seasons with the trucks.
“I’m sure we’ll be helping all those guys in trying to figure it out and that’s the way things are in the trucks. The track is so unique which is why I think it is going to be a very interesting race.”
Since the trucks have never been to Pocono what the norm is with NASCAR is to allow them in on the Thursday prior to Friday qualifying for a daylong test session.
“That’s what we did at Iowa, that’s what we did at Chicago and that’s the time and practice for a new venue instead of opening it up for a test session say a month before,” said Bodine who has 17 career truck wins including two this season.
“I’d say if you’re going look at a favorite it would be the guys who have experience at the track. I think the guys who have run here in the Cup Series will have that little advantage. But after a day of testing I’d say that advantage is going to go away because the caliber of driver in our Truck Series is very good.”
With the track being about a 90 minute drive south of his hometown, Bodine, who hails from Chemung, NY, has close ties with Pocono. His brothers Geoff and Brett have both had success there.
Geoff raced in the very first 500 mile stock car race in 1971 with USAC and then went on to win three times with the Cup Series. Brett won the prestigious Modified Race of Champions on the defunct ¾-mile oval and also competed in Cup.
“I’ve been going there since I was a little kid watching Geoff and Brett. I changed tires on pit road with Brett’s modified and then was fortunate enough to race there in the Cup Series and even had a pole there.
“Our family has a lot of history there and aside from Watkins Glen it’s the closest track was have to call home. The fact that the three of us grew up going to Pocono it’s very much a home track for us. Victories are hard to get anywhere but to be able to get one at Pocono would definitely be icing on the cake. I know it would be a very special win, we’d have a lot of family and friends there.”
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