It was a warm Summer day on July 22, 2011 as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rolled into Music City USA for a Friday night under the lights race, that you race fans did not want to miss! Every truck series driver had two thing in mind when they started the race: Getting a good finish, but also winning and receiving the amazing trophy: A Sam Bass custom-painted Gibson Les Paul guitar.
The Biggest story going into Nashville was that Kyle Busch was not going to race in his #18 Toyota Tundra. 2009 and 2010 World of Outlaws Late Model Champion, Josh Richards received a great opportunity to drive for Kyle Busch Motorsports Friday night. On July 7th at the Kentucky truck race, Todd Bodine’s team announced that they would be parking the truck for the Iowa and Nashville Events due to a lack of Sponsorship. It’s amazing how in a couple weeks a lot can change- Todd Bodine was at Nashville , driving for the #5 Randy Moss Motorsports Toyota. Nashville has a reputation for first time winners in the truck series, so keep your eye on those young guns. Austin Dillon has had a really frustrating couple of races. Dillon and his team have seen victory slip away from them 3 times! Going into the race Friday night, Austin was determined to head out of Nashville as the winner.
Before qualifying and the race started, I had the privilege of asking some race fans, what they thought was going to happen in the truck race, and I also asked them if they had any favorite drivers in the truck series.
“I like a lot of truck series drivers. Austin Dillon and Todd Bodine are old favorites, I am really excited with seeing the youngsters in the truck series. The truck series does get wild, Tonight, its possible that we may see a wild race.” -Mark H.
“I believe it's going to be a fun and exciting race tonight, and I think the favorites are Johnny Sauter, Austin Dillon, Ron Hornaday and I am hoping Ricky Carmichael can maybe pool off a win tonight. I believe it will be an awesome race tonight.” -Tyler M.
I think it will be a pretty good race since Kyle Busch isn't in the race loll. I don't really have a favorite in the Truck Series right now since Mario Gosselin isn't racing this year, but I do like Ron Hornaday a lot. Timothy Peters and Nelson Piquet Jr have a good chance at getting the win tonight. I say Ron Hornaday or Johnny Sauter will probably win though.” -Cody H.
Before the race , the trucks were out on the track practicing and qualifying. 21 year old Austin Dillon won the Keystone Light Pole Award for the Lucas Deep Clean 200 with a lap time of 30.603 seconds,(156.808 Mph). That was Austin’s 10th career NASCAR Camping world Truck series pole and his 1st pole in 4 races at Nashville Superspeedway. In the first practice - Austin was 12th fastest and he was 1st in the second and final practice. Austin’s Teammate 21 year old rookie, Joey Coulter qualified 2nd with a lap time of 30.681 seconds, (156.410 Mph). Joey Coulter was 3rd fastest in practice #1 and 10th fastest in practice #2. It was a Kevin Harvick Inc second row, with Elliott Saddler starting 3rd with a lap time of 30.734 seconds, (156.140Mph). Elliott Saddler was 5th in practice #1, and practice #2 he was 11th.Elliott’s teammate Ron Hornaday started 4th with a lap time of 30.734 seconds, ( 156.140 mph). Ron was in the top 10 in both practices. Timothy Peters was pretty good in practice, he was 2nd in the first practice and 4th in the second and final practice. Timothy qualified 5th , with a lap time of 30.813 seconds, (155.800 mph). Kyle Busch Motorsports driver, Josh Richards really struggled in both practice sessions. He was 20th in the first practice and 23rd in the final practice. Josh qualified 12th with a lap time of 31.080, (154.402 mph).Todd Bodine (nicknamed The Onion)was 4th in the first practice, and 7th in the Final practice. Todd really struggled in qualifying, he ended up starting in the 21st position. Todd’s lap time in qualifying was 31.285 seconds (153.390 Mph).
As the sun began to set at Nashville, the trucks rolled out on the track to start the race and to trade some paint in Music city- USA! As the green flag waved, Austin Dillon got an excellent start and charged away from the field. Austin led 4 laps until the first caution for Johanna Long came out, it appears she was coming off of turn 2, nearly lost control of her truck, and got into the grass. She got her truck back up to speed and joined the rest of the field.
Lap 8, the restart: Austin Dillon gets another great start and pulls away from the field quickly. At lap 28, former truck series champion Todd Bodine made his way up to the 13th position and Josh Richards found himself struggling in the 21st position. Lap 30, after Austin led 29 laps, Timothy Peters charges up to the front, and snatches the lead away from Austin Dillon on the back straight away of the track. Pit stops took place at lap 62: The leader, Cole Whitt, came off the track to get on pit road- he locked the front brakes up and missed pit road! 49 Laps to go: the second caution comes out for debris. Final Pit stops: Austin Dillon rolled out of pit road first and made his way back into the lead.Johnny sauter goes on the inside of Austin Dillon at lap 107 and takes the lead! With 44 laps to go, the third caution comes out: Max Papis blows an engine and the truck ends up engulfed in flames. Fire shot out from underneath the truck and a little inside the truck. Max Papis did thankfully get out of his truck and walked away in good condition. Michael Waltrip: “It’s a good thing he’s got Geico, so he can get that fixed. He would probably save 15% too.” The green flag flew back into the air with 37 laps to go. Johnny Sauter took the lead, but Austin Dillon was running really close behind him. Austin Dillon passed NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points leader Johnny Sauter on lap 127 and didn’t look back.
So who’s dream of winning at Nashville Superspeedway came true? It was 21 year old Austin Dillon who crossed the finish line as the winner Friday night! Championship point leader, Johnny Sauter finished in the 2nd position, Timothy Peters finished in the 3rd position, and Kevin Harvick Inc driver Nelson Piquet Jr. finished 4th. Parker Kligerman finished in the 5th position. Definitely keep your eye on Parker, I’m sure he will get his first win soon. Former Truck series champion- Todd Bodine finished in the 6th position, and Josh Richards finished in the 22nd position .
After the truck race ended, some race fans talked about their reactions of the race via email.
“I thought it was a pretty good race, I knew it would either be Austin Dillon, Johnny Sauter, or Ron Hornaday getting the win. I’m just so happy for Austin and I loved the slide in the grass he did! ha-ha.” -Tyler M.
“It was a pretty solid race, I’m proud of Austin Dillon, but I’m not a big fan of Nashville Superspeedway.” -Cody H.
Overall the truck race brought most race fans an exciting “Friday night under the lights” race to watch. The Nashville race is definitely not the last win for Austin Dillon. Austin is 2nd in the championship points standings only 18 points out of 1st. The young, 21 year old, in my opinion, is going to continue winning. He has an excellent shot at claiming the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship at the end of the year. Keep your eye on this young gun - next year he will be in the Nationwide Series full time. In a few years, I’m sure he will be in the Sprint Cup Series! One day, I’m sure we will definitely hear the name Austin Dillon as a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion!
To All Race Fans: Don’t miss the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Lucas Oil Raceway, this Friday- 7:30pm ET only on Speed!
To Austin Dillon: Congratulations on your 3rd career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory and good luck next weekend at Lucas Oil Raceway!