It's fitting that as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series heads to Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway for Saturday's Smith's 350, Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) will roll out its seventh different driver in the No. 18 Tundra this season. That driver, David Mayhew, will appropriately be making his 11th career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start, driving the Dollar General Toyota in Saturday's 146-lap race.
All six drivers to strap into KBM's flagship Tundra this season have recorded at least one top-10 finish, but after leading the Truck Series with eight wins in each of its first two seasons, the No. 18 Toyota has yet to record a win in 2012. Misfortunes plagued the team in three of the first four races of the season, but since then the No. 18 has been leading laps, knocking on the door of victory and moving up the owner's point standings.
The team has led double-digit laps in four of the last five races. Kurt Busch led 57 of 100 laps at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn on Aug. 18, Kyle Busch led 75 of 130 laps at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Aug. 31, Drew Herring led 19 laps in his Truck Series debut at Iowa Speedway in Newton on Sep. 15 and last week Brian Scott led 14 laps at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. Scott's fifth-place finish last weekend at Kentucky was the team's 50th top-10 in 66 starts since debuting in the Truck Series in 2010.
Over the last 10 races, the No. 18 Tundra team has recorded nine top-10 finishes and improved 10 positions - from 18th to eighth - in the owner's point standings. Over those 10 races, KBM's Toyota has scored 373 owner's points, tied for fourth most during that span. Only the No. 3 (380), No. 31 (379) and No. 22 (378) have scored more and the No. 88 has also scored 373.
Enter Mayhew, a four-time winner in NASCAR's K&N Pro West Series, who over 10 Truck Series starts has proven capable of running up front, when given the chance to drive top-notch equipment. In two starts for the Owner's Championship-winning No. 2 truck last season, the California native captured a pole, led 21 laps and posted a pair of third-place finishes (Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth 6/6/11 and Iowa Speedway in Newton 9/16/12).
While it will be the West Coast driver's first time driving for KBM, it will not be his first time on the 1.5-mile tri-oval at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and it will not be his first action this season. Mayhew led three laps and finished 15th in the 2010 event in the 'Sin City' and improved on that last year when he finished seventh in the 146-lap event. The 30-year-old driver has been behind the wheel of the No. 19 truck in each of the last two Truck Series events this season, producing a season-best 16th-place finish at Iowa Speedway.
KBM is hoping that its lucky seventh different driver this season will be able to 'pass' often and that the Dollar General Tundra will 'come-out' of Las Vegas with a 'win' in Mayhew's 11th career Truck Series start.