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Future can be good for truck drivers

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races Saturday night at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and offers a chance to watch veterans along with some young drivers who could become the sport’s next big stars.

Proven racers like Mike Skinner, Ron Hornaday and Todd Bodine are content to remain in the truck series. The money is pretty good and a 25-race schedule beats the heck out of the grueling 36 races Cup drivers must endure.

Complementing them are Brian Scott and Colin Braun, a pair of 21-year-olds who have each won a race this year and are fourth and fifth, respectively, in the points chase.

Scott drives the No. 16 Toyota and is a native of Boise, Idaho. Braun, a Texan, will be in the No. 6 Ford owned by Roush Fenway Racing.

No owner has been more successful in truck races at Las Vegas than Jack Roush, whose trucks have won three times. He’s paraded Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards through here in trucks; each is competing in the Sprint Cup Chase, although Busch is doing it for Penske Racing while Biffle and Edwards have remained with Roush.

It’s fun to think back to past truck races.

Like the inaugural one in 1996 when the field included winner Jack Sprague, Bill Elliott, Michael Waltrip, A.J. Foyt, Ernie Irvan, Harry Gant and Las Vegan T.J. Clark. Skinner finished seventh and Hornaday was 10th that year. Sorry I missed that one.

In 1999, Biffle finished first and kept the title after he failed tech inspection and lost the season points he had earned. Two years later, Kyle Busch — then 16 years old — placed ninth behind winner Ted Musgrave and gave a hint at what could be expected.

And the most popular winner ever at the speedway was Las Vegas native Brendan Gaughan in 2003.

Be certain to read Saturday’s Las Vegas Review-Journal (and lvrj.com) for a story on Skinner and what makes truck racing special. Also check out the info box to help you have an enjoyable day at the speedway.

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