This week, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will be racing Friday night under the lights at Gateway International Raceway.
It's race No. 11 of 25. Gateway is a 1.25-mile oval, that's egg-shaped and has two unique sets of turns.
Turns One and Two are banked at 11 degrees, then Turns Three and Four have a sweeping nine degree banking.
Here are my top-five picks for the race, along with my Raybestos Rookie of the Race pick, and my sleeper pick.
1) Todd Bodine
In five races at the track, Bodine has compiled one win, three top-fives, four top-10 finishes, led 70 laps, has an average start of 8.4, and an average finish of 6.8.
Bodine will have one of his older and favorite chassis this weekend, should unload with a fast truck, and will qualify top-10.
He may dominate the race, but if not, he'll work his way to the lead and battle for the win in the closing laps.
2) Johnny Sauter
As a rookie last year, Sauter started the race in third, ran a great race, and ended up finishing second.
Sauter will have a wicked fast Kevin Harvick Inc. chassis, should unload fast right off the hauler, and should qualify strongly in the top-10.
He very easily could dominate the race, but expect him to be amongst the lead pack and with a good truck. Sauter could battle hard for the win or the best possible finish.
3) Aric Almirola
In two races at the track, Almirola has compiled one top-five, two top-10 finishes, has an average start of 18.5, and an average finish of 7.0.
Almirola will be another with a decent Toyota, he should be fast right off the hauler, and should qualify top-10 or better.
He should be amongst the lead pack, could challenge for the win or just battle for the best possible finish.
4) Ron Hornaday Jr.
In seven races at the track, Horn has compiled one win, three top-fives, three top-10 finishes, led 343 laps, has an average start of 6.3, and an average finish of 12.6.
Horn will have another wicked fast KHI chassis, should unload off the hauler fast, and qualify top-five.
He very easily could dominate this race, but he'll lead some laps early and be there in the end battling for the win or the best possible finish.
5) Mike Skinner
In seven races at the track, Skinner has compiled one win, two top-fives, three top-10 finishes, led 55 laps, has an average start of 10.6, and an average finish of 16.4.
Skinner will have the oldest chassis in his truck fleet at Gateway, it'll be fast, and he'll need to qualify well.
He should run most of the race in the top-10, could challenge for the win, but should battle hard for a top-five finish.
My Raybestos Rookie of the Race pick is: Austin Dillon
Dillon will be making his debut start at Gateway, but he's driving the same chassis he had in Iowa and he'll have another great race.
Dillon will have his favorite chassis this weekend again, not only will it be fast, but also on rails and will be on the pole or in the top-three.
He very well could have another dominating performance, but I think he will pick-up another top-five finish, and just miss out challenging for the win.
My Sleeper Pick is: James Buescher
As a rookie, he started the race 16th, lost a right-front tire, and crashed into the wall finishing 23rd.
Buescher will be another one with a wicked fast KHI chassis, should be fast, and will need to qualify well.
He could be the spoiler. Since he came back to trucks full-time he has just been running so much better than last year.
We could see another first-time winner at Gateway with Buescher winning Friday night.
Matt Crafton, Kevin Harvick, and Timothy Peters just missed the cut.
Ricky Carmichael, Steve Wallace, Brad Keselowski, Brian Ickler, and David Starr could all factor in as well.
Gateway is a unique track, that has led to some exciting racing in the Truck Series over the last 12 years, and Friday night will be no different.
We could see three champions become the first to repeat (Ron Hornaday Jr., Todd Bodine, and Mike Skinner,) see a driver win at Gateway for the first-time, or we could see another first-time winner in the series.
Photo Credit: zimbio.com
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