By K.J. Pilcher
Special for NASCAR Wire Service, as distributed by The Sports Xchange
NEWTON, Iowa -- A drive for 25. At least that is what some NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers would relish.
With the 2013 NCWTS season schedule expected to be released soon, some drivers shared their opinions for the series to expand back to 25 races in a Friday news conference before opening practice for the American Ethanol 200 at Iowa Speedway.
"I'm hearing a lot of that chatter in the garage," Points leader Timothy Peters said. "I think it would be great to get back to 25 races."
The last time the season consisted of less than 25 races was 22 in 2002. This season started Feb. 24, and the 22-race season is a little more than one-third finished. June was the first month this season with three race weekends, competing only once in February and March.
Fewer races spread out the first part of the schedule. If a driver falters, he doesn't receive a quick chance to rebound.
"Hopefully next year they'll get 25," Matt Crafton said. "If you race and have a bad weekend, usually back to back weekends you can recover the next weekend, but we have to have salt in the wound for a whole month."
Races are more frequent from here on out, squeezing 14 in from today until Nov. 16. The drivers prefer race weekends over extended ones.
"I'm looking forward to the rest of the season," Rookie Ty Dillon said. "I'm really excited to get to some races where we race back-to-back weekends and stop having so many long weekends off."
Crafton said he would like to see an addition of road courses and even an extra race at Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway on the new schedule. Peters has heard the possibility of a schedule that suits his short-track history.
"Everybody is curious for a couple weeks when it does come out," Peters said. "I can't wait. Hopefully, we get that mixture of short tracks and road courses."
Dillon's history leads to good feelings
Ty Dillon is searching for his first win in the NASCAR Camping World Trucks Series. A successful history at Iowa Speedway provides a boost of confidence heading in to the American Ethanol 200 on Saturday.
"I've got a good feeling about this weekend," Dillon said. "You've got to have confidence coming in here after the good runs and success that we've had here."
Dillon, who is tied for second in overall points trailing Peters by only four, won the ARCA Series Prairie Meadows 200 last year and was second in the 2010 ARCA race. Older brother, Austin Dillon, won the NCWTS race at Iowa Speedway in the same black Chevrolet No. 3 truck for their grandfather's Richard Childress Racing in 2010. The younger Dillon said the track fits their driving style, and they will share notes.
"Last year and the years before I was watching the practices, spending every moment with him while he was here racing," Dillon said. "I'm sure after practice I'll be calling him and make sure to see the things I have to learn and the different things I can tell him I'm learning now."
Dillon expects some of his old tricks from his NASCAR K&N Pro Series and ARCA performances at the 0.875-mile oval to transfer to trucks competition.
"I will probably have to drive a little bit harder with these trucks. They have so much downforce and that big windshield," Dillon said. "I'm sure I'll have to tweak the driving style a little bit, but little things I've always used here at this race track will probably stay the same."
A trip to Victory Lane is the one thing the front-runner for Sunoco Rookie of the Year is missing. He has top-10 finishes in all eight starts this season, and two at the end of last year give him 10 in 11 starts. He said he'd give his team a "C" grade since they are in the top three of a heated points race; a jump to first or second would garner an "A" or "B," respectively.
"My approach is to win races," Dillon said. "You have to finish the race to win it, so if we finish it my team's good enough to finish in the top 10, but we need to be able to win them to win the championship."
Peters plans patient aggressiveness
Red Horse Racing's Timothy Peters is leading the truck points standings. The racing veteran knows his margin for error is slim to stay on top, considering the top four drivers are separated by a mere nine points, with the top seven within 50 points of the lead.
"Everybody's going to be tough," Peters said. "We just need to be a little bit better.
"We still have some fine-tuning to do. I'm proud of what we've put together, to have this momentum and to be able to compete."
Peters has yet to win, but has a series-high five top-five finishes and seven in the top 10. He has plenty of motivation to capture his first victory and overcome the challenge from his consistent competitors.
"We feel they're right there," Peter said. "They're not making mistakes. They're racing smart. That's what we're going to have to do as well."
Armstrong tops practice
Rookie Dakoda Armstrong, who is 16th in points and looking for his first top-10 finish, was the fastest in the only on-track action for the truck series Friday, posting a fast lap time of 23.341 seconds (134.956 mph). Joey Coulter was second in the 80-minute practice session with a time of 23.506 and 2011 Iowa Speedway winner Matt Crafton was third.
NCWTS drivers will have a final one-hour practice session beginning Saturday at 1:30 p.m. ET. Pole qualifying will begin at 5 p.m. with the 200-lap race set for 8:30 p.m. ET.