By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
One of NASCAR’s most exciting series is set to hit the track once more. After a long and tumultuous offseason, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will have its’ first race of the 2018 season at Daytona International Speedway. Driver swaps, new teams, a Spec Engine, and manufacturer swaps are just some of the storylines heading into the season opener.
Coverage for the NextEra Energy Resources 250 is scheduled to start Friday night at 7:30 p.m. ET. The ‘World Center of Racing’ has held the season opener for the Truck Series since the 2000 season. In 18 races at the 2.5-mile Restrictor Plate track, 16 drivers have claimed victory. The last four years have produced four different winners.
The last time the Truck Series visited Daytona International Speedway, Kaz Grala took the victory after escaping a terrifying crash on the last lap. Nearly the entire field crashed as Matt Crafton’s No. 88 Menard’s Toyota Tundra took flight, pirouetting, before landing on the bed of Johnny Sauter’s No. 21 Chevrolet Silverado. Sauter is the only former winner entered in Friday night’s race.
By the Numbers
What: NextEra Energy Resources 250, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Season Opener
Where: Daytona International Speedway – Daytona Beach, Florida (Opened: 1959)
TV/Radio: Fox Sports 1, 7:30 p.m. ET / MRN and SiriusXM Channel 90
Track Size: 2.5-mile Tri-Oval
Banking: 31 degrees in turns, 18 degrees in tri-oval, 6 degrees on straightaways
Race Length: 100 Laps, 250 Miles (Three Stages, 20/40/100)
2017 Race Winner: Kaz Grala – No. 33 Kiklos Extra Virgin Olive Oil Chevrolet Silverado (Start on the Pole, 14 laps led).
Track Qualifying Record: Spencer Gallagher (47.332 seconds, 190.146 mph – 02/20/2015).
Storylines Heading Into the NextEra Energy Resources 250:
There are several storylines going into this weekend’s race to watch for:
- The NextEra Energy Resources 250 will be the in-race debut of the new Ilmor Spec Engine.
- ThorSport Racing has switched from Toyota Racing to Ford Performance, fielding four Ford F-150s. Drivers are Ben Rhodes, Grant Enfinger, Matt Crafton and Myatt Snider.
- GMS Racing Expands from three full-time Chevrolet Silverados to four. Johnny Sauter and Justin Haley are joined by Dalton Sargeant and Cody Coughlin as the teams’ drivers.
- Niece Motorsports Expands to field two full-time Chevrolet Silverados for Austin Wayne Self and Justin Fontaine.
- Premium Motorsports has also expanded to field two full-time Chevrolet Silverados for Robby Lyons and Wendell Chavous.
- Bo LeMastus will make his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut with the new No. 54 David Gilliland Racing – CROSLEY Group Toyota Tundra.
- Spencer Davis will make his NCWTS debut in the No. 51 JBL/SiriusXM Toyota Tundra.
- Josh Reaume will pilot the No. 33 R-Coin Chevrolet Silverado for the newly formed Reaume Brothers Racing.
- David Gilliland returns to compete in the series for the first time since 2015. Gilliland will drive the No. 4 Pedigree Toyota Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports.
Weekend Schedule (All Times Eastern)
Thursday, February 15
- NCWTS Practice 1 (11:35 a.m. – 12:55 p.m., on Fox Sports 1)
- NCWTS Practice 2 (2:25 p.m. – 3:25 p.m., on Fox Sports 1)
- NCWTS Practice 3 (4:35 p.m. – 5:25 p.m., on Fox Sports 1)
Friday, February 16
- NCWTS Qualifying (4:45 p.m., on Fox Sports 1)
- NCWTS NextEra Energy Resources 250 (7:30 p.m. – 100 laps, 250 miles – on Fox Sports 1, SiriusXM Channel 90, and the Motor Racing Network)