Here are five drivers to watch when the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races on Friday night at Kansas Speedway:
Johnny Sauter, No. 98 Toyota
Sauter, who is the teammate of 2013 series champion and Kansas Speedway winner Matt Crafton at ThorSport Racing, won three races in 2013, but a 25-point penalty for an unapproved fuel cell at Kansas Speedway derailed his bid for his first truck series title. Sauter, 35, is tied with Timothy Peters for first in the standings. He won the 2010 race at Kansas Speedway.
Ben Kennedy, No. 31 Chevrolet
Kennedy, 22, is a contender for both the championship and rookie-of-the-year honors, having finished 15th at Daytona and third at Martinsville, placing him fifth in the overall standings. Kennedy, a nephew of NASCAR chairman and chief executive officer Brian France, graduated May 3 from the University of Florida with a sports management degree.
Ryan Blaney, No. 29 Ford
It’s going to be a busy weekend for Blaney, the 2013 Camping World Trucks Series Rookie of the Year. Blaney, son of Sprint Cup veteran Dave Blaney, will compete in the truck race for Brad Keselowski Racing and also make his Sprint Cup debut on Saturday night for Team Penske.
Jeb Burton, No. 13 Toyota
Burton, son of former Daytona 500 winner Ward Burton, moved to ThorSport Racing in the offseason and, though he wasn’t satisfied with finishing seventh at Daytona and 21st at Martinsville, he should benefit from the expertise of teammates Crafton and Sauter, both former Kansas Speedway winners. Burton, 21, has one truck series win, last year on the 1.5-mile track at Texas, which is similar to Kansas Speedway.
Joe Nemechek, No. 8 Toyota
Nemechek, who won the Sprint Cup and Nationwide series races at Kansas Speedway in 2004, and his son, John Hunter Nemechek, are the first father-son to share a full-time ride in one of NASCAR’s national series. John Hunter Nemechek, 16, is not old enough to race on a 1.5-mile speedway, so the elder Nemechek, 50, has a chance to become the only driver to win in all of NASCAR’s three national series at Kansas.