Gander Outdoors Truck Series News (5935)

Gander Outdoors Truck Series News

Panhandle Motorsports announces plans to race the entire 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) schedule, beginning with the first four NASCAR-sanctioned events. 18-year-old driver from the Panhandle stable, Johanna Long - fresh off a successful learning season in the NCWTS and a confidence-building historic win at the 43rd Annual Snowball Derby - will pilot the No. 20 Panhandle Motorsports Toyota Tundra. Long, the youngest female Derby champion and only the second to win the prestigious "Superbowl of Short Track Racing" trophy, is returning to the NCWTS with two goals in mind - to continue to gain experience at the 25 Series tracks, many of which are a first time for the young driver; and to race for the Raybestos Rookie of the Year in 2011. She will begin by cutting her teeth at some of the most challenging tracks of the Series - Daytona International Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway, Darlington Raceway and Martinsville Speedway.
"Every track that I go to, I strive to soak in and gain as much experience as I can - and that's exactly what we did last year," said Long. "We had our ups and downs, and that led to a lot of learning experiences in NASCAR. This year is about moving forward and soaking in as much experience as I can, as well as being in contention for the Rookie of the Year title. It's a huge commitment to run a full season, but hopefully we can put ourselves out there enough while continuing to knock on doors to attract marketing dollars. We're still actively seeking out marketing partners to round out the year, but we'll be doing our best to get to every single racetrack on the 2011 schedule in order to make that rookie dream happen."
Continuing the national Girl Scouts of the USA partnership this year - with over 4 million young women in empowering programs across the world - Long will also continue to inspire local Girl Scouts in each city she races. The groundbreaking teenage driver will continue to speak about her journey in motorsports, hard work and determination in whatever they choose to do in life. She will also have her "honorary pit crew" members cross the stage with her at driver introductions at various racetracks.
"I'm extremely blessed to have the opportunity to do what I love to do and be able to race at tracks that I've only dreamed about - such as Daytona," Long continued. "From the beginning of my career, I was always told that it wasn't about gender - it's all about being a competitor. That's exactly how I see myself continuing this season. I'm looking forward to what this season brings - getting experience at new tracks as well as bringing lessons learned to the tracks I was able to run in 2010. There is a 'youth movement' that is the next generation of NASCAR, and I'm learning day by day that several people look to me to help inspire that group. I hope that I can do them justice in representing them!"
Long made seven starts in the NCWTS in 2010, in addition to 18 starts in late models and the famed Snowball Derby. A native of Pensacola, Fla., she began her racing career in go-karts at eight years old and then moved on to Legends cars. She then made the big jump to the Pro Late Model division as a 15-year-old at her home track of Five Flags Speedway, where she won the championship and became the youngest champion in the history of the track. She went on to win three Blizzard Series races as well as the championship, along with the SUNOCO Gulf Coast Series Championship at age 17.
In 2010, she made another major jump in the racing ranks, moving to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with Panhandle Motorsports - running a limited schedule to gain track knowledge and experience on the Speedways. Her season-best finish of 17th came at Indianapolis Raceway Park. She also has qualified among the top 20 in all seven of her starts, with a top qualification of 9th at Texas Motor Speedway in November 2010.

Veteran crew chief Kevin "Cowboy" Starland has all the confidence that his young driver can make her mark in the 2011 NCWTS Rookie class. "I see the drive in this girl's eyes every day," he said. "The level of drive, determination and preparation she goes to in the quest for someday going Cup racing - I wish I could bottle that for every driver. The combination of her hunger and passion to learn and get better, paired with her innate ability and natural-born talent at 18, is really a recipe for good things in 2011. Watch out for this young driver - she's going to be a competitor this year."

CREDIT: Panhandle Motorsports PR

Alli Owens, with a little help from her friends, is looking to make her NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut this February at her home track, the Daytona International Speedway during Speedweeks. Owens, who lost primary sponsorship at the end of the 2010 season, has asked local companies and her friends, via Facebook and Twitter, to help raise the $35,000 needed to compete in the event. Owens currently has a commitment from one team owner to race if the funds can be collected.

Owens has also dedicated her website to her fans to help donate and show them what they will receive in return for different levels of sponsorship. So far, Owens has collected over $3,000, and has even taken $1,000 from her own wedding fund to help her race. Owens plans to get married this spring in victory lane at the Daytona International Speedway.

"I'm just really grateful for all my fans right now," said Owens. "We have some support from some local businesses, but we need to raise a little bit more to make this happen. My fans have been such great supporters of mine throughout my career that we decided to reach out to them and communicate with them every day using Facebook and Twitter. It's been great. Every day, almost every hour I can update everyone on our progress. It's been a great tool and something the fans have been excited about.

Owens has three top-10 finishes in the ARCA Series and started on the outside pole at Daytona in the series in 2009. She's looking to make her first NASCAR start in Daytona, no matter at what cost, including dipping into her wedding fund.

"Yeah, maybe our honeymoon will be cut a bit short," said Owens. "But, my husband-to-be has been very supportive of my efforts. He knows how much this means to me to race at Daytona and make my first NASCAR start."

Fans who are interested in helping Owens reach her goal may log onto where they can donate via paypal.


Credit: Alli Ownes PR

Camping World Truck Series racer Justin Lofton will return to his roots this weekend, racing a Class 1 Unlimited buggy in the SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge in Laughlin, Nevada.
"Since the NASCAR season ended in Homestead, I've been working on getting everything ready for this race and for my charity golf tournament. I'm so excited to get back out in the desert. The race will be a lot of fun," Lofton said.
Before making the move to asphalt ovals, Lofton followed in his father Bob's footsteps, racing in the open, sandy desert. The talent proved hereditary, with the younger Lofton also becoming one to reckon with in off-road racing. In 2004, he earned the Best in the Desert Rookie of the Year honors in addition to three wins in the Desert Buggy Class, as well as the Class 1000 championship.
This weekend's SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge is a three-day event, which kicks off on Friday with practice, followed by the Laughlin Leap. The race itself will take place on Saturday and Sunday. The starting positions for the event are electronically drawn, with Lofton drawing seventh in Class 1 Unlimited. Sunday's starting position will be based on the finishing position from Saturday.
Over 100 racers and 20 classes will participate in the event, racing over a 6.25-mile course. The final positions are determined based on the number of laps and overall time each entry has logged spanning the two-day run. Rusty Szymanski will be along for the ride, serving as Lofton's navigator.
"It's been a few years since I've raced in the desert. I'm real excited about getting back out there. We'll see what we can do," Lofton added.
Lofton's partners for the event include Lofton Cattle, BF Goodrich Tires, MasterCraft Safety, JIMCO Racing, and Rusty's Motor Car Inc.
Following this weekend's SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge, 24-year-old Lofton will prepare for his inaugural charity golf tournament on January 22nd. The event will be held in Brawley, California with all proceeds benefiting the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Imperial Valley. The event includes a golf tournament, awards dinner, auction, and a concert. More information about the tournament is available on .
For more information on this weekend's event, visit
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Credit: Justin Lofton Racing PR

Turn One Racing announced today that Justin Marks will drive the No. 66 Chevrolet Silverado full-time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, starting with the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway on Friday, February 18th.  The team has also signed a new major primary sponsor for Marks’ Silverado; however details will be announced leading up to the NextEra Energy Resources 250 at the “World Center of Speed”.

“It’s a great thing for me personally to have the opportunity to come back into the Truck Series after spending a few years racing in other divisions,” Marks explained.  “I’ve always had a lot of respect for Stacy Compton and his team, both when it was Wyler Racing and now as Turn One Racing.  What’s great about being able to experience NASCAR like I did in 2008, and come back after a couple years out of it, is the perspective I’ve gained from reflecting on that time and learning what kind of program I need to come back to in order to be successful.  Stacy has been refreshingly honest with me and given me the blueprint for success in 2011.  I’m thrilled for what’s ahead and am already working hard on being the best I can be and making this year count.”

Marks, 29, is coming off of an impressive season in the ARCA Racing Series where he finished sixth in the 2010 driver point standings after scoring one win, seven top-five and 13 top-10 finishes in 20 starts.  Marks also took the pole at New Jersey Motorsports Park and led 132 laps in the series overall.

“We are very happy to have Justin join our driver lineup this season,” said Team Owner, Stacy Compton.  “He is coming off a very successful year in the ARCA Racing Series where he proved his talents as a driver.  Adding Justin to our driver lineup will help build our program and put us in a position to win races and championships in the future.”

Marks made his NASCAR debut in the Camping World Truck Series in 2007 and ran a partial schedule in 2008, where he claimed the pole at Texas Motor Speedway.  In total, Marks has made 22 starts in the series.  Over the last three years, Marks has also competed in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, where he has made seven starts.

Former race winning crew chief and NASCAR veteran Doug Wolcott will lead the team in 2011.  Wolcott was most recently a crew chief at Randy Moss Motorsports where he called the shots for drivers Tayler Malsam and David Starr, among others.  Prior to joining RMM, Wolcott was a crew chief at Bill Davis Racing, where he guided driver Scott Speed to a win at Dover in May of 2008 and helped that truck to 11th place in the owners' standings with four different rookie drivers.

“Doug is a guy that has been around this sport a long time and he’s worked with and won with young guys,” said Marks.  “He brings a wealth of knowledge and an unmatched work ethic.  We already have a good working relationship that’s growing by the day so I think by the time Daytona rolls around; we’ll be firing on all cylinders.  This is the first time in my career that I’ve been able to bring a crew chief into a program and work with him to build the effort around us and our goals so I’m pretty excited.”

Wolcott, who has more than 30 years of experience in the sport, grew up driving asphalt modifieds in the northeast and cut his teeth racing at Wall Stadium in New Jersey.

Marks will begin his full-time Truck Series effort when the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series tackles the high banks of Daytona International Speedway in a 100-lap, 250-mile battle on Friday, February 18, 2011.


Credit: Turn One Racing PR

Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) announced today that NASCAR veteran Chris Carrier will lead the organization's third Truck Series team as crew chief in 2011. The addition to the KHI stable, which will carry the No. 8, will be driven full time by Brazilian driver Nelson Piquet Jr.

Carrier, who has more than 30 years of experience in the sport, has wins as a crew chief in each of NASCAR's top-three series. The Bristol, Tennessee native began his career in grassroots racing at the local level as a teenager and graduated from East Tennessee State University with a degree in Manufacturing Engineering Technology. Carrier has served as crew chief at Morgan McClure Motorsports, Andy Petree Racing and Penske Racing. The 50 year old most recently led Penske's driver development program with driver Parker Kligerman.

"I'm really looking forward to this experience with Nelson Piquet Jr.," said Carrier. "I enjoy working with young drivers and I have a lot of respect for Nelson. Coming from Formula 1, I know that he has a lot of talent, he has good car control, and he won't be afraid to go fast. I'm excited to get started."

For KHI, the choice of the No. 8 also carries significance for both the driver and co-owner Kevin Harvick. "The No. 8 was my very first go-kart number when I started racing, so it was always a number I wanted our team to use," said Harvick. "Nelson had also mentioned to me that he liked the number since he grew up racing the No. 33, and the curves of the No. 8 are reminiscent of that number. All in all it seemed like a good fit."

Piquet will begin his full-time Truck Series effort in the No. 8 on February 18 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway with sponsorship to be announced at a later date.

About Kevin Harvick Inc.

Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI), established in 2001 by Kevin and DeLana Harvick, is an over 80,000 sq. ft. facility located in Kernersville, N.C. KHI enters 2011 in its eighth full year of competition with three full-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series teams and two full-time NASCAR Nationwide Series teams. With a roster comprised of both up-and-coming and veteran championship-caliber drivers, KHI will compete for the 2011 Truck Series and Nationwide Series championships and continue to establish itself as one of the top teams in NASCAR competition. For more information about KHI and its teams, please visit

After a solid rookie season in 2010, 24-year-old Justin Lofton will join Germain Racing for his sophomore effort in 2011, racing a Germain entered No. 77 Toyota Tundra full time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
"I am very excited to be teaming up with Germain Racing. Fresh off of their 2010 championship, it was clear to me that Germain was the best place for me," Lofton said.
"Todd (Bodine) served as a mentor to me through my rookie season and really helped me learn the ropes of the Camping World Truck Series. To have him, Max (Papis) and Brendan (Gaughan) as teammates, I am really excited about the upcoming season."
Lofton, who hails from Southern California, earned the 2009 ARCA Racing Series championship after winning six of the 21 races. He moved full time to NASCAR last year, notching four top-five and eight top-10 finishes with a best finish of third, giving him a solid 12th place finish in the driver point standings.
"I'm really excited about having Justin as a teammate at Germain Racing as we've become friends over the last season. He's a real good kid and I think he's got real potential as a race car driver," said Bodine, who thinks Lofton will play a key role in the expansion of Germain Racing's Tundra fleet. "I'm looking forward to Justin's input and seeing him grow as a driver."
Germain Racing entered truck competition in 2004 and has since accumulated 22 race victories, nine pole awards and two division championships. Germain Racing earned Toyota's first Truck Series title in 2006, and repeated the feat in 2010, earning the No. 30 Tundra team the nod as the most dominant Tundra team in active competition.
"Germain Racing takes a lot of pride in the championships we've won for Toyota and our record of having the leading Tundra team. We've gotten to where we are having a team that's been a blend of youthful ambition and veteran skills. Adding Justin Lofton to our Tundra lineup gives our Truck Series program a fresh, young driver who can bring Germain Racing more wins and more championships for many years to come," said general manager Mike Hillman Sr.
At 24, Lofton will be the youngest driver in the Germain Racing stable.
"I wish the season started sooner because I am very excited to go racing with the Germain team. They have established themselves as the team to beat in the Truck Series," Lofton added.
Lofton's crew chief will be announced at a later date.
For more information on Justin Lofton, visit
For more information on Germain Racing, visit
Credit: Germain Racing PR

Billy Ballew Motorsports (BBM) announced today that the team has merged with Vision Aviation Racing (VAR) to continue to field the No. 15 and No. 51 entries in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.  The announcement was made today by Ballew and Vision Aviation Racing General Manager Tom Davis.

The team will compete under the Vision Aviation Racing banner and race with the same winning equipment and resources Billy Ballew Motorsports is known for.  Ballew will keep an ownership stake in the team.  Up-and-coming drivers Justin Johnson and Dusty Davis, who both competed in the Super Late Model and K&N Pro Series West divisions in 2010 for VAR, will make their Truck Series debut in 2011.  The team will remain supported by Toyota.

“Partnering with a winning and committed team like Vision Aviation Racing was a great way to keep the Billy Ballew Motorsports brand alive in the series.” said Ballew.  “We’ve worked diligently since the season ended with Tom Davis and his organization to make this happen.  Vision Aviation Racing is well positioned to be a top contender and continue the winning tradition of Billy Ballew Motorsports.”

Vision Aviation Racing, already a winning team on the West Coast, will carry on the tradition of Billy Ballew Motorsports, which just completed a history-best season with two wins and a second-place finish in the drivers’ championship by Aric Almirola.  The team is also known for teaming with Kyle Busch to collect 16 wins before Busch started his own operation.

“This is an exciting time at VAR and we’re very thankful for Billy’s support with making this deal possible,” said Davis.  “We’ve built a winning operation with Justin and Dusty in late models, and moving into the truck series with Billy delivers the level of excellence on the track that we’re used to.”

The team merger is still in process with key personnel yet to be finalized.  The team will compete out of VAR’s Mooresville facility, located directly across from the former Billy Ballew Motorsports location.


Credit: VAR Press Release


NASCAR driver and team owner Jennifer Jo Cobb appeared on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360" this week to discuss extreme living with Dr. Sanjay Gupta. The interview was recorded in New York City on December 21 and is tentatively scheduled to air on Tuesday, December 28.
Cobb's fast-paced lifestyle made her a natural focus on the subject of extreme living. As a team owner and driver in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) and NASCAR Nationwide Series, she is ready to thrash out the thrills, risks and rewards associated with stock car racing. The interview will focus on the on-track and off-track exploits of the driver's lifestyle.
"It was exciting to talk with Dr. Sanjay Gupta about extreme living," Cobb said. "This was a great opportunity to discuss the lifestyle associated with a NASCAR driver. Most race fans only see what takes place at the race track. They don't get to see what we're like when we aren't at a speedway. I get lots of questions about what I do in my spare time and what I enjoy doing when I'm not racing. Hopefully this will give the folks at home some insight into the sport, and what drivers are all about."
Cobb finished 17th in the final 2010 NCWTS point standings, making her the highest-finishing female in history in one of NASCAR's top-three national touring series. Her accomplishments have been written about in the Associated Press and Professional Motorsports World magazine. SPEED and ESPN2 have also covered her progress since joining the NASCAR ranks full-time this season.

Hot on the heels of 'crashgate', a new scandal involving Nelson Piquet and his son is set to emerge.

The Brazilian news weekly Veja reports that the racing driver pair are accused of tax evasion and money laundering.

The report said triple world champion Piquet, and his 25-year-old son who is known as Nelsinho Piquet, allegedly laundered income by directing it through the automobile federation of the Brazilian state of Ceara.

Tax was also allegedly evaded by filtering money between 2004 and 2008 into the foreign accounts of son Piquet Jr, who contested 28 F1 races before admitting he crashed his Renault on purpose during the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

Former Williams and Benetton driver Piquet, 58, is reported to have confirmed the amount in question is just short of EUR 3 million.

The report said the matter is being investigated by the Brazilian federal police.


Credit: GMM Newswire

Nelson Piquet Jr. is going NASCAR Camping World Truck Series racing full time, and, after a taste of the Truck Series this season, he’s more than ready.

“The racing, the atmosphere, the whole environment – it really attracted me,” Piquet Jr. said Monday. “I was used to racing in Europe with a cold environment and people difficult to work with. It’s very competitive in NASCAR. You live healthy. There are good people around you. There’s no one stabbing you in the back.”

Piquet Jr. and Kevin Harvick announced Monday that they will team in 2011, Piquet driving one of Kevin Harvick Inc.’s vehicles full time in the Camping World Truck Series.

Piquet, 25, formerly drove in Formula One. He ran five Camping World events for Red Horse Racing this season, finishing sixth in his first race at Daytona International Speedway in February. He also drove in one Nationwide Series race, finishing seventh at Watkins Glen, N.Y. Piquet is the son for former F1 champion Nelson Piquet. He is from Brazil but is living in Charlotte, N.C. He drove for Renault in F1 competition in 2008 but lost his ride with the team the next season.

He said Monday he is committed to NASCAR and hopes to learn quickly. He said his goals next season are to win a few races and the series Rookie of the Year award.

“My choice was to go for the best team,” he said. “Obviously, I need to learn a lot before winning a race, but being with such a good team should help me get good results. I think they can help me with the transition from open wheel to NASCAR.”

Piquet said he is more concerned with the technicalities of setting up and racing a truck than with the actual on-track competition.

“The different part for me is setting up the car,” he said. “Knowing what to do is difficult — the track bar, tire pressure, wedge, how the tires work, how the tracks work with temperature dropping and the different kinds of tracks — asphalt and concrete differences. And night and day racing differences.”

He said he hopes to race in Sprint Cup but doesn’t want to outrace himself.

“I never know what’s going to happen the first year,” he said. “Obviously, we’re expecting the best. If things go well the first year and we’re fighting for the championship, maybe we’ll have a chance to race Nationwide. There’s a long-term plan to reach Cup when I’m prepared, but I don’t want to start jumping series and thinking I deserve to be in Cup. I know that’s not how it works.”

At KHI, Piquet will join Ron Hornaday Jr., Elliott Sadler and Harvick as drivers.


Credit: Mike Hembree,

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