Gander Outdoor Truck Series

NCWTS: Fear Lurks in the Distance for Championship Four

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EASTON, Pa. — Talladega Superspeedway has been labeled as the land of speed records, killer infield parties, monster crashes and what’s believed to be the location of an ancient American Indian burial ground. Although the myths of such burial ground have never been documented, the speedway has had its share of spooky occurrences.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series legend Dave Marcis once said, “I’m sure people thought, ‘Oh, the spirits don’t want us racing here.’ But really, the spirits weren’t doing anything. It’s just that the track is so fast and so intimidating that it scares some people.”

“Bobby Isaac comes in with the lead with 10 to go and tells you he heard a voice? You have to believe it!” – Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

For the Camping World Truck Series, its return to the track will include a tight fight for the championship among four drivers who will have to put the “Dega spooks” in the rearview. Matt Crafton stands as the veteran of the bunch with 333 career NCWTS starts and five career victories. He is also the only driver to have a championship in his back pocket after last years reign.

Johnny Sauter is teammates with Crafton at Thorsport Racing. It has been a dream year for the team as they have continued to lead the top two spots in the points for a majority of the season including the last seven straight races. With numbers like 18 top-fives, 26 top-10s and 381 laps in the lead, it is no wonder why they have been the class of 2014.

Wait a minute. In this current age of fresh young racers, dominating all the national ranks of NASCAR, do not forget about Ryan Blaney and Darrell Wallace, Jr — two close friends who happen to be separated by just six points for third, are each firmly involved in the championship fight with Thorsport.

Wallace, Jr. has been bringing the right cards to the table this season as he has lifted the trophy twice including the second annual MudSummer Classic at Eldora Speedway back in July. With back-to-back second-place finishes — which totals five runner-up finishes in 2014 — Wallace, Jr. is proving that he can be a weekly contender for wins and a serious title fighter.

“It’s frustrating to finish second. We need the win and the points…” said Wallace, Jr. after last weeks short coming at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. “We have two weeks to let this one set in and then we’ll go to Talladega and try to finish one position better.”

After the biggest track in NASCAR, Talladega, the series heads to the shortest track in NASCAR and what many call the last anticipated wild card race, the Virginia track of Martinsville Speedway. ‘The Paper-Clip’ is a track where three of the four title contenders (Sauter, Wallace, Jr. and Crafton) have seen recent victory, winning the last three.

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About Zach Catanzareti

Zach Catanzareti serves as a Contributing Writer in the NASCAR department for Rubbings Racing and can be followed on Twitter (@zachracing) for the latest NASCAR updates. A native of Easton, Pennsylvania, he also follows IndyCar and Formula 1.

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