As the series revs up, we look at the preseason favorites.
As the 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series revs up, we look at the preseason favorites.
1. Ty Dillon (above left)
Without back-to-back tire failures late last the year, Dillon might have become the first rookie to win the series title, driving grandfather Richard Childressâ No. 3. Expect to see more of the same, following in brother Austinâs footsteps to a title in his sophomore season before moving on to the Nationwide Series in 2014.
2. Timothy Peters (above right)
Last season was the best Peters had posted in his career in the Truck Series, with career highs in wins (two), top 5s (10) and points finish (second). Heâs paired with powerhouse Red Horse Racing and an intact crew, so thereâs no doubt heâll stay competitive. The organization will experience change, though, as Todd Bodine was released in the offseason in favor of John Wes Townley and his familyâs Zaxbyâs money. This move may not be as bad as one would think, as the wrecked equipment will cancel out while the money is a boon.
3. James Buescher
Winning back-to-back championships has proven impossible in the Truck Series thus far. However, with the amount of resources and the marked improvement Turner Motorsports showed throughout 2012, itâs hard to believe Buescher wonât be a factor â unless he jumps to the Nationwide Series instead.
4. Nelson Piquet Jr.
Itâs hard to bet against anyone from Turner Motorsports after the numbers the organization put up in 2012 â seven victories spread among three different drivers. Piquet earned two, then ended the season with four straight top-10 finishes, a clear sign heâs developing championship consistency. Expect the third full-time season to be the charm here, especially if the Brazilian becomes Turnerâs No. 1.
5. Joey Coulter
After grabbing his first career victory with Richard Childress Racing last year, Coulter looks to continue that success with Kyle Busch Motorsports. He hasnât been the king of consistency, but the 22-year-old posted back-to-back third-place results to close 2012 and will bring that momentum along with him.
6. Matt Crafton
Back with ThorSport Racing for a 12th year in the Truck Series, this veteran mainstay hopes to make a championship push after his No. 88 team struggled in the transition from Chevrolet to Toyota. After a rough start to 2012 (one top 10 in five races), he quietly recovered while setting a career high in laps led (125).
7. Miguel Paludo
The Brazilian is returning to Turner Motorsports behind the wheel of the No. 32 Duroline Chevrolet, but perhaps whatâs more important is that Jeff Hensley remains atop the pit box. Late in 2012, the duo began taking detailed notes of every practice and qualifying session in an effort to make the most of their setups. Improvement was slow but steady, as they closed with a fifth at Homestead in the season finale, leaving them optimistic about 2013.
8. Jeb Burton
Though he made only five 2012 starts, Burton (right) impressed with three top-13 finishes, including an eighth at Charlotte. That was enough to open eyes at Turner Motorsports, which now gives him resources to contend. With father Ward lending a guiding hand, this 20-year-old is poised to become another one of NASCARâs next-generation stars.
9. Johnny Sauter
Coming off of his worst season, when he posted only nine top-10 finishes, Sauter looks to shake off the bad luck that plagued his ThorSport Racing No. 13 Toyota throughout 2012. While heâs been a championship threat in the past, winning four races the past two seasons, itâll take more consistency for him to get solidly back in the hunt.
10. Ron Hornaday Jr.
After struggling in his first season away from Kevin Harvick, Inc., the organization that helped him win 25 races and two championships, Hornaday looks to utilize a merger with Joe Denette and NTS Motorsports to find his way back to Victory Lane. After career lows in top-5 results (two) and a 13th-place points showing, thereâs nowhere to go but up.
âBy Beth Lunkenheimer