By Joe Dunn
When Jason White showed up in Daytona earlier this week with SS Green Light Racing’s new Ford Truck for the season opener, NextEra Energy Resources 260 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, he knew he had a fast truck. In the second practice session he turned the fastest lap of 48.596 at 185.200mph. When he got back to the garage he knew that he had a lightening fast truck, but he thought that even before practice.
So confident that his new truck was so good, he jokingly started taking bets among drivers and crew members that he would indeed sit on the pole for Friday’s race. Some members of the media even jokingly jumped on the band wagon, so when Jason went out first, in his GunBroker.com No. 23 Ford, and recorded a 50.697 at 177.525 mph, a lot of the snickering and laughing started to quite. As one truck after another took their laps, White waited on pins and needles, he knew he had a great lap, but there were some pretty big guns to go out after his GunBroker.com Ford. Elliott Sadler rolled out 4th in the Hunt Brothers Pizza No. 2 Chevrolet, and turned a fast lap at 177.002, The 10th truck out would be defending race winner Todd Bodine who was fastest in the first practice and second to White in the second practice. Justin got a sigh of relief when Bodine’s best lap, in the Germain Racing No. 30 Toyota, was only good for a speed of 175.510, and again when Mike Skinner, in the International Trucks/ Monaco RV No. 5 Toyota, went out 21st and managed a 174.476.
There he was, halfway through the field, and he was still sitting on the pole, but he knew better than counting out reigning Series Champion Ron Hornaday or the hottest driver in NASCAR Kyle Bush. Hornaday would go out 36th, being a go or go homer now that his points earned last year were transferred to the 4 truck of Elliott Sadler. Bush was to go out 40th as he too was a go or go homers as a new team owner with zero points. Hornaday, in the Longhorn Smokeless Tobacco No. 33 Chevrolet, turned a 176.291 that eventually was good for a 5th place start, but gave White a temporary relief, at least until Kyle Bush went out. When Kyle finally hit the track, his normal magic just was not with him, Kyle, in his HelluvaGood No. 18 Toyota, turned a disappointing lap at 175.380 relegating him to a 16th place starting position. Bush was visibly upset after qualifying and quickly but politely cut short interviews.
After the Bush run, Jason White knew that he finally had his first pole, and what better place to do that than at Daytona International Speedway, on the biggest week of racing of the year. He starts out front Friday night, but those other big names are not going to sit back and watch White, his biggest challenge for the week is ahead of him now.
Some other surprises from Thursdays NASCAR Camping World Truck Series qualifying were Elliott Sadler, starting second and Austin Dillon, who in only his third Truck Series race will start 3rd, in the Bass Pro Shop No. 3 Chevrolet. Ricky Carmichael starts 4th in his Monster Energy No. 4 Chevrolet, while Bush’s teammate Tayler Malsam starts 6th in his unsponsored No. 56 Toyota.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series , NextEra Energy Resources 250 will be broadcast on SPEEDTV Friday February 12th at 8pm est.