We're here at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan, for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race today, the VFW 200. I'll be in and out of the pressroom with notes about how the boys from Sandusky-based ThorSport Racing perform.
The race goes green at 12:30 p.m. For those of you in the Sandusky area with basic Buckeye Cable (and no SPEED Channel), turn to nascar.com for the "race buddy," an online video broadcast of secondary cameras to go along with the broadcast.
– Matt Crafton won the pole for today's race with a two-mile lap of 40.566 seconds, or 177.489 mph. His truck was reportedly a little loose in practice Friday, but with minor adjustments Bud Haefele and the No. 88 team buttoned it down. Crafton claimed pit box No. 2 (No. 1 is empty), at the end of pit row.
– Today is only Crafton's fifth Truck Series pole in 262 starts. He took one in 2005 (Loudon), two in 2009 (Chicago and Texas), one in 2010 (Texas again). This is his first pole this season, and a welcome addition to the big display cases in the lobby of the new ThorSport Racing headquarters. He'll answer without prompting that Atlanta is his favorite place to race, but this track is moving up his list.
– The top five qualifiers: Crafton, Todd Bodine, Ron Hornaday, Mark Martin, Parker Kligerman.
– Johnny Sauter qualified 14th with a lap of 40.966, just four-tenths of a second behind the leader Crafton. Sauter will start next to Kyle Busch. Dakoda Armstrong qualified 21st of 33 trucks with a lap of 41.388.
– Since the Sprint Cup is in town, too, the Truck Series regulars will have to tussle with the likes of Martin (starting 4th), Kevin Harvick (6th), and Busch (13th). Sauter is the only Truck Series driver to take down the Sprint Cup guys this season. Busch has been particularly vicious to the Truck Series — In nine starts, Busch has a ridiculous five victories and two second-place finishes. One of those seconds was behind Sauter at Martinsville in the fourth race of the season.
– SPEED Channel is showing the video they shot during the grand opening of the new shop Wednesday. It's notably different in tone, in my opinion, than the teaser before Daytona. It's not about them being the "other," this time, it's just about the new shop. There was only two references to Sandusky being outside the 'hub,' and many more to the team. There was a long tail segment about Cedar Point, with hilarious video and audio of Johnny Sauter's first — and judging by his screams, probably the last — ride on the Maverick. It will likely be up online later, courtesy of ThorSport Racing's youtube.com channel.
– Post-race, Kevin Harvick won: I came here expecting a Truck Series race, but ended up with a demolition derby. Michigan was great to ThorSport in the beginning, but turned sour around lap 75 and stayed there. The only positive coming from today's race for ThorSport is that Sauter somehow managed a 13th-place finish, despite a truck held together by tape at the end.
– Armstrong and Crafton got caught up in a wreck with 10 laps to go and basically finished where they landed. The No. 88 team made a valliant attempt to get back out on the track, but the damage was just too great to overcome.
Look for a full rundown in Sunday's Sandusky Register.