Iowa Speedway in Newton is one of just seven tracks on the 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule that the Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) No. 18 Tundra, which has 16 victories since debuting in the series in 2010, has yet to conquer. After three straight top-10 finishes with Jason Leffler behind the wheel, the team seeks continued growth with its veteran driver in Saturday's American Ethanol 200, as they aim to harvest their first win in the Hawkeye State and first Truck Series victory of 2012.
The California native found immediate success driving in the NASCAR Nationwide Series at Iowa and will be looking to do the same in his first trip to the .875-mile tri-oval as a competitor in the Truck Series. Leffler, who grew up racing on short tracks in his home state, finished third behind winner Brad Keselowski and runner-up Kyle Busch in the inaugural Nationwide Series race at the bumpy speedway. When the series returned to the Hawkeye State in 2010, Leffler once again scored a podium finish, with Busch capturing the victory, and fellow Sprint Cup Series regular Kevin Harvick coming home in the runner-up spot. Last season, Leffler's 13th-place finish in the August NNS race was his best result in two trips to the Newton track.
Leffler isn't the only member of the Shore Lodge Racing team that took an immediate liking to the Rusty Wallace-designed short track; crew chief Eric Phillips visited Victory Lane at Iowa in the inaugural Truck Series race. Phillips' driver, former Truck Series champion Mike Skinner, dominated the field, leading 180 of the 200-lap race. Brian Ickler piloted KBM's No. 18 Tundra for the veteran crew chief each of the last two seasons, mustering two top-15 finishes.
The veteran driver-crew chief tandem, each who has experienced prior success at the challenging course cradled in the confluent cornfields of Central Iowa, will be working together Saturday in an effort to bring home the victory and cross another track off the KBM hit list.