Kasey Kahne Delivers Turner Motorsports First Truck Win At RockinghamBy Chris Knight
Kasey Kahne went into the record books and will have his name officially inscribed to “The Rock” sitting at the entrance of the one-mile oval as he took the victory in the third race of the 2012 season. It was Kahne’s fourth NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win in five starts and third year in-a-row.
It was impressive drive for the driver of the No. 4 Rockwell Tools Chevrolet Silverado as he would start the inaugural Rockingham event from the tail of the field after friend and Turner Motorsports teammate Brad Sweet qualified his Chevrolet Silverado fifth yesterday afternoon. Overall, it was a strong weekend for the newly turned 32-year old. On Friday night, he finished third in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race and seventh in the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet Impala for Hendrick Motorsports at Texas Motor Speedway.
“I knew I would have a good truck, all of the guys at Turner Motorsports put a good couple good days in,” said Kahne. “I knew the truck was fast. The truck was loose, really loose – but the guys made the change and this was a big win for Turner Motorsports and it’s great to be back here at the Rock – winning.”
Kahne also expressed that he had a hands on-pick for having Sweet practice and qualify his entry prior to Sunday afternoon’s race. “Brad did a great job,” the winner said. “He was worried that I was going to be mad that the truck wasn’t going to be setup right, but it was an awesome truck. He thought that the truck was going to be too tight, but it actually turned out to be loose; I felt like we were like a fifth place truck but the last run we made the right changes.”
Turner Motorsports teammate James Buescher finished second in the No. 31 Koike.com Chevrolet Silverado giving the Mooresville, North Carolina-based team a 1-2 finish. The first time in their NASCAR CWTS tenure.
“The run started off good, but we qualified terrible. We qualified 16th, but we raced into the top-10 in like 25 laps. We didn’t go enough on adjustments on a run and went backwards but Shelton (Mike, crew chief) and the guys did a great job on the last pit stop to put us next to Kasey there on the last run. It was a good 1-2-finish for Turner Motorsports and we’ll go to Kansas,” offered Buescher.
Matt Crafton, who led 40 laps in his No. 88 Menards / Ideal Door Toyota Tundra for ThorSport Racing finished third while teammate Johnny Sauter wasn’t far behind in fourth while NCWTS veteran Timothy Peters rounded out the top-five. Crafton called the weekend “Awesome and (I) had so much fun running a truck at Rockingham. The fans were awesome too,” he mentioned.
Early on, pole sitter and Brazilian driver Nelson Piquet Jr. stomped the field and despite an early race caution, the driver of the No. 30 Qualcomm / Auto Trac Chevrolet Silverado checked out from the field and led the first 67 laps which included lapping all the way up to the 11th position before the second caution flag waived. Piquet Jr. would eventually return to the lead but his chances at his first career truck victory would be foiled by a late-race speeding penalty on pit road – forcing the pole sitter to give up what would have been a second-place restarting position to the tail end of the field which was 12th overall but behind a gaggle full of race trucks.
An understandably aggravated Piquet Jr. drove the wheels off his truck during the final run and was able to crisscross through the lap traffic and fight his way to seventh when the checkered flag flew. A little controversy though transpired as Piquet Jr. crowded the No. 3 of Ty Dillon coming to the start-finish line off of turn four nearly wrecking the two. Both drivers conversed with Dillon understanding his fellow drivers frustrating but relayed that there was no need to tear up equipment coming to the checkered flag. The second-year driver did lead the event three times for a race high 107 laps.
Ahead of Piquet Jr. and Dillon was Richard Childress Racing teammate Joey Coulter who notched his best finish of the 2012 season with a sixth place run.
Former Rockingham Speedway winner Parker Kligerman in the lone RAM in the field claimed ninth while Justin Lofton extended his streak of top-10 finishes to three with a 10th place outing in the No. 6 CollegeComplete.com Chevrolet Silverado for Eddie Sharp Racing.
Jeb Burton, the son of former Daytona 500 champion Ward Burton performed magnificently in his No. 27 State Water Heaters Chevrolet Silverado for Hillman Racing. Despite his 27th place starting position, the young-gun showed patience and throttle control throughout the entire race and flirted inside the top-10 during the late stages before eventually having to settle for 11th. In his debut at Martinsville, he finished a noteworthy 13th.
David Starr in the No. 81 Zachary.com Toyota Tundra was the final truck on the lead lap in 13th with rookie Dakoda Armstrong delivering a solid effort in 14th and Miguel Paludo, the other Turner Motorsports pilot finishing 15th.
Other notables in the top-20 included: Cale Gale (17th), Max Gresham (18th), David Reutimann (19th) and John Wes Townley (20th).
Jason White in the No. 23 GunBroker.com Ford F-150 despite struggling throughout the weekend showed strength during the 200-lap shootout but pit road miscues cost the GB Racing team sadly which eventually resulted in a 24th place showing.
Ross Chastain in the No. 08 Florida Watermelon Association Toyota Tundra was a driver everyone was keeping their eyes on but after an early-race slap with the wall, the handling quickly changed on his Japanese nameplate with the Floridian unable to recover and finishing 25th.
Outside pole sitter Paulie Harraka surprisingly was never a factor on Sunday afternoon despite setting on the outside pole in his No. 5 Send A Solider To The Rock / Wauters Motorsports Ford F-150. Handling issues subdued the rookie and he sank to the back of the field where he stayed eventually landing in 26th, five laps off leader Kahne.
Two-time Rockingham Speedway winner Todd Bodine passed the No. 33 Cale Gale for the “lucky dog” spot on the second restart of the race but Bodine’s No. 11 Toyota Care / Red Horse Racing broke loose and slammed the outside wall bringing the two-time champion to pit road and erasing him from competition and limping to a 31st place run.
Bryan Silas, a former Rockingham Speedway in the CARS Pro Cup Series would find himself a victim of circumstances and plowed into the back of the No. 92 of David Reutimann, when the NSCS star lost control of his Chevrolet Silverado on lap 122. Silas finished 32nd.
Jason Leffler driving the No. 18 Dollar General Toyota Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) was battling fellow Toyota teammate Matt Crafton for the runner-up position on lap 18 when his motor seized and ultimately ending his afternoon at Rockingham.
John King, the point’s leader entering Rockingham Speedway had early trouble on lap three when his No. 7 Consol Energy Toyota Tundra spun on the backstretch after breaking loose. He eventually returned to the track looking like a modified before shortly returning to the garage and claiming a discouraging 33rd. He also dropped to eighth in the championship standings now 28 points behind his teammate Peters.
There were two start-and-park entries on hand at Rockingham Speedway. SS Green Light Racing was unable to find a driver for their No. 07 entry, so they parked the truck driven by Johnny Chapman after 16 laps and the same goes for Turn One Racing and driver Grant Enfinger who qualified inside the top-10.
The Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200 presented by Cheerwine took 1 hour, 51 minutes and 54 seconds to complete with an estimated crowd of 27,500. Four cautions for 25 laps slowed the field bringing the average speed to 107.239 miles per hour. Kahne’s margin of victory was a whopping 1.478 seconds.
Some notables in attendance for NASCAR’s return to the Rock included: Johnny Benson Jr., Richard Childress, Mike Dillon, Bobby Ray Earnhardt, NASCAR president Mike Helton, Steve O’Donnell, Larry McReynolds, Ted Musgrave and Mike Skinner.
Next up for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is a trip out west to Kansas Speedway for the running of the SFP 250 on Saturday, April 21. Timothy Peters holds a slim six-point lead over Lofton with Dillon just seven markers behind the RHR pilot heading into round four.
Views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Catchfence
Article Tags: "The Rock", 2012 Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200 presented by Cheerwine, Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200, Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200 presented by Cheerwine, Kasey Kahne, NASCAR, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, NCWTS, Rockingham, Rockingham "The Rock" Speedway, Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway, Rockingham (NC), Scoring, Scoring & Timing, Scoring and Timing, Timing, Timing & Scoring, Timing and Scoring, Turner Motorsports