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Trucks back from spring break

The Kansas City Star

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck series will be racing at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday. Remember the truck series?

If you don't, don't feel too badly.

There hasn't been a race in more than a month — the last truck race was at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 13. The race before that was at Daytona during Speedweeks, which was in mid-February.

Remember Speedweeks?

Yes, it's kind of tough to be a fan of the trucks at this time of the year. Long memories are required.

It can also be hard to be a series competitor this time of the year.

“A month off,” said driver Bobby Hamilton, who won the Atlanta race “is too long.”

“You're building excitement internally with the employees, more or less, and a few customers,” Hamilton said. “You run Daytona and then you're off a month. You've got to work real hard to get the excitement back up again and then you're off for another month. That's the kind of hurdle we're facing right now.”

Teams and drivers will find things to do during the breaks between races. Steve Park, for example, spent time with family and friends. That was good, but confusing for one family member — his dog.

“Harley looks at me kind of weird” when he's home for so long, Park said.

Hamilton said the long breaks in the early part of the season are roughest on those who pay the bills. He said the sponsors need to get their names out there more than once a month. And, he said, they need to be in the top markets.

“We've talked to NASCAR about this and they are well aware of it,” Hamilton said. “I think we'll see some changes for next year with some new venues they've talked about.”

The venue Saturday is an interesting one. The Martinsville (Va.) track is .526 miles around and shaped like a paper clip.

Its size and shape promotes the bending of fenders, and that promotes the fraying of nerves, and that promotes driver rage.

Also, good drivers tend to do well there and lucky drivers do even better.

“I think we have everything we need to get a win,” former series champion Jack Sprague said. “We just need luck to ride with us as well.”

If not, Sprague and the rest of the truck entries will have to wait another month to try it again.

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