Daytona Beach, Fla. (June 1, 2011) — The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series was born from a simple conversation between Bill France Jr. and four off-road racing owners who wanted to explore the possibility of pickup truck racing at the NASCAR national series level.
Two decades later, that intimate discussion has morphed into a success story 400 races long.
The series has bridged the gap from the local short tracks to the high-banked – and high-profiled – superspeedways, producing champions along the way. NASCAR champions such as Kevin Harvick, Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch all got their NASCAR national series start racing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
With rising stars like Cole Whitt, Austin Dillon and Timothy Peters competing head-to-head with seasoned veterans Ron Hornaday Jr., Todd Bodine and Johnny Sauter, the future of the sport indeed looks promising. The O’Reilly Auto Parts 250 at Kansas Speedway this Saturday will mark the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ 400th race.
Over the last month, NASCAR media members have voted on their top-10 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series moments with the 2003 three-truck photo finish at Daytona International Speedway taking the top honors.
Here’s the top 10:
1. Race No. 193 (Feb. 14, 2003): Rick Crawford breaks a 120-race winless streak in a three-wide photo finish with Travis Kvapil and Robert Pressley to open the 2003 season at Daytona.
2. Race No. 11 (July 15, 1995): First photo finish is recorded at Colorado National Speedway on July 15, 1995. Television replays were used to determine that Butch Miller beat Mike Skinner by the depth of the paint on his front bumper cover. The race pre-dated the use of electronic scoring, so no official margin of victory was available.
3. Race No. 1 (Feb. 5, 1995): First race, first finish of less than a 10th of a second – 0.09 – by Mike Skinner over Terry Labonte.
4. Race No. 352-356 (June 20-July 24, 2009): Ron Hornaday Jr. wins a series-record five-consecutive races – only third NASCAR national series driver to do so – between June 20 and July 24, 2009 at Milwaukee, Memphis, Kentucky, Indianapolis and Nashville.
5. Race No. 389 (Oct. 30, 2010): Kyle Busch beats Aric Almirola and Johnny Sauter by .002 seconds in a three-wide battle to the finish line producing the closest finish in series history since the introduction of electronic timing and scoring.
6. Race No. 366 (Nov. 13, 2009): A fourth-place finish at Phoenix International Raceway gives Ron Hornaday Jr. a 215-point advantage over Matt Crafton and a record-breaking fourth series title.
7. Race No. 342 (Nov. 14, 2008): Johnny Benson finishes seventh at season ending race at Homestead-Miami Speedway with Ron Hornaday Jr. in eighth. Benson wins the championship over Hornaday by a mere seven points.
8. Race No. 123 (Feb. 18, 2000): Daytona International Speedway is added to the series schedule in 2000. The race produces several spectacular accidents, 31 lead changes and Mike Wallace’s slingshot pass of Andy Houston on the final lap to seal the victory.
9. Race No. 217 (Nov. 14, 2003): Carl Edwards lands a seat in a Roush Fenway Racing Ford and won twice to capture the 2003 Rookie of the Year honors.
10. Race No. 243 (Feb. 18, 2005): The 2005 season begins with Jimmy Spencer in Victory Lane at Daytona – only to be replaced by Bobby Hamilton, who drafts past Spencer a split-second before the race was ended under caution.
Greg Biffle, the 2000 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion, will serve as the honorary pace-truck driver for Saturday’s race. The O’Reilly Auto Parts 250 from Kansas Speedway on Saturday, June 4 will air live on SPEED at 2 p.m.