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2011 Truck Series: Camping World Rankings

Mark Taylor

Taylor is RotoWire's senior NASCAR writer. A five-time FSWA award winner, Taylor was named the Racing Writer of the Year each of the last two years. He is also a military historian, specifically the World War II U.S. Navy in the Pacific.

1.Kyle Busch/Other Drivers
No. 18 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota After a series-leading eight wins and 21 Top-10 finishes, Busch's Toyota team enters the new season a top our rankings. 2011 should see little change with this team. Owner/driver Busch should make somewhere close to 15 starts for this team, with other drivers filling the remainder of the schedule. At the time of this writing the possibility exists that No. 18 Toyota may not run the full schedule, but you can bet they'll be the most dominant truck on the track when they show up to race.

2.Todd Bodine
No. 30 Germain Racing Toyota Bodine captured his second career truck series championship in 2010. Considering that it was only his sixth full season in this racing series, that's a remarkable accomplishment. Even more remarkable is the fact that this team was on the verge of closing just one season ago due to sponsorship and financial struggles. Bodine should mount another title challenge in the upcoming season with about three victories and approximately 18-20 Top 10's.

3.Ron Hornaday Jr.
No. 33 Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet Four-time truck series champion Hornaday hopes to rebound in 2011. His previous season didn't measure up to past success. Hornaday posted a mere two wins and 13 Top 10's last season and finished a disappointing seventh in the final driver standings. The No. 33 team and this driver are much better than those numbers. Hornaday should rebound to five-win and 20 Top 10 territory in the upcoming season. He'll factor in the championship outcome once again.

4.Kevin Harvick/Elliott Sadler/Other Drivers
No. 2 Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet With five victories and 16 Top-10 finishes last season, this would have been a championship contending team with a single driver. Instead the No. 2 Chevrolet will boast a rotation of Harvick and Sadler with a handful of other drivers mixed in. Despite the multi-driver rotation, this team will still perform at an elite level. Harvick grabbed three of those five wins, so always give this team a long look when the owner is in the driver's seat.

5.Austin Dillon
No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet The prodigy has turned to championship contender virtually over night. Dillon's first full season in the Camping World Truck Series was a smashing success with two victories and 16 Top 10's in 2010. He will return to his grandfather's team in 2011 and mount a serious threat for the championship. Dillon shouldn't be a cause for sophomore slump concern, but he should develop even more consistency in the upcoming season and post even better numbers this year.

6.Matt Crafton
No. 88 ThorSport Racing Chevrolet Hands down, the No. 88 team was the best team in the truck series last year to go winless for the season. Crafton has failed to visit victory lane in each of his last two campaigns, but that hasn't stopped him from being a championship contender. He's finished second and fourth in the driver standings the last two seasons and posted a gaudy 41 Top-10 finishes during this span. Look for the same consistency from the star of ThorSport's stable in 2011.

7.Johnny Sauter
No. 13 ThorSport Racing Chevrolet Crafton isn't the only ThorSport driver making waves right now. Sauter has done what his teammate couldn't the last two seasons, and that is visit victory lane. The No. 13 team has won one race each of the last two seasons, and Sauter has finished sixth and third in the driver standings in these two seasons for ThorSport Racing. Sauter returns to a team completely intact and surging entering this season. He has the potential to climb these rankings in the upcoming season.

8.Travis Kvapil
No. 5 Randy Moss Motorsports Toyota After a disappointing 2010 season RMM let veteran driver Mike Skinner go in the off-season and hired Kvapil to take over the team's Toyota. He is the 2003 Truck Series champion and a capable replacement for Skinner. Kvapil will be joined by new crew chief Rick Viers in an effort to change the fortunes of this team. The last time Kvapil raced in the truck series full-time he posted four wins and 12 Top 10's for team owner Jack Roush. There's no reason to believe this ability has left the veteran driver during his brief hiatus from the truck series.

9.Timothy Peters
No. 17 Premier Motorsports Toyota The only change to this quality race team in 2011 is the move of Butch Hylton to crew chief position. Other than that, all pieces and parts return intact for the upcoming season. Peters won his second career truck series race in 2010 with a victory at Daytona to open the season, and he posted a career-best 16 Top-10 finishes. While he ended last season in a bit of a slump, that should be much of a concern. Peters is only going to continue to get better in the near future.

10.Brendan Gaughan
No. 62 Germain Racing Toyota The journeyman driver will return to the truck series in 2011 after a two-year hiatus from this racing series. Germain Racing formed a new team and signed Gaughan to race alongside Todd Bodine and Justin Lofton in the upcoming season. Gaughan has eight career wins in this racing series and has enjoyed his most success racing the trucks. He should quickly rediscover that success and shake off the disappointment of his two-season experiment in the Nationwide Series.

11.James Buescher
No. 31 Turner Motorsports Chevrolet With Hendrick Motorsports engines, and Buescher behind the wheel this team could accomplish big things in the new season. He posted a respectable 10 Top 10's with this small race team in a part-time schedule last season. Buescher returns to the No. 31 truck in 2011, but now the team has more funding and resources. This should only indicate improvement and the possibility of Buescher climbing these rankings a few notches.

12.Justin Lofton
No. 77 Germain Racing Toyota Lofton has signed on to race with Germain Racing in the upcoming Camping World Truck Series season. The 24-year-old had a successful first season racing in the truck series last year. Lofton posted eight Top 10's and finished a respectable 12th in the driver standings in his rookie year. Were it not for prodigy Austin Dillon, Lofton would have likely been rookie of the year in this racing series. This season he joins the reigning Camping World Truck Series champion Todd Bodine as a teammate. All the parts to succeed would seem to be in place.

13.Nelson Piquet Jr.
No. 8 Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet This new truck series team was formed to give Piquet a shot at the Rookie of the Year award in 2011. The former Formula One driver is continuing to invest in a NASCAR racing career that started in 2010. Piquet made five starts in the Camping World Truck Series and collected a surprising three Top-10 finishes in those starts. Team owner Kevin Harvick liked what he saw and signed Piquet to pilot the new No. 8 team for the upcoming season. Given the driving talent and the performance level of this team owner, we expect big things and an inside track on the ROTY.

14.David Starr
No. 81 SS-Green Light Racing Toyota Starr returns to the No. 81 team that he finished last season with in the truck series. This will be the 14th season for the veteran driver in this racing series. Starr managed nine Top 10's and finished ninth in the final driver standings despite an unstable season. Given his deep racing resume and past experience we expect a few more Top 10's in the upcoming season and some more consistency for this race team.

15.Ricky Carmichael
No. 4 Turner Motorsports Chevrolet The former motocross star will come back for another season with the No. 4 team in 2011. Carmichael now has two seasons of truck series racing under his belt, and is improving with each start. After collecting nine Top 10's and finishing 13th in the final standings in 2010, the focus will shift towards winning his first race and cracking the Top 10 in the driver standings. Carmichael is capable of achieving both. In fact, we believe this driver and team has as much upside as any in this area of the rankings.

16.Jason White
No. 23 SS-Green Light Racing Toyota As of the time of this writing, White has not officially announced that he's returning to this team in the upcoming season, but it would seem to be the case. White is a veteran of 145 NASCAR sanctioned starts and 104 of those have come in the truck series alone. Last year saw him enjoy a career-best season with seven Top 10's and a brilliant 10th-place finish in the point standings. White should enjoy similar success if he returns to the No. 23 team, and could even improve if a better opportunity becomes available.

17.Joey Coulter
No. 22 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Another strong Rookie of the Year candidate in this season's deep field will be Coulter. The 20-year-old is fresh off two fantastic seasons in the ARCA Series. In 41 starts over there, Coulter picked up one win, two poles and 23 Top-10 finishes. He has signed on to drive a strong RCR Chevy truck in 2011. Coulter has been paired with respected crew chief Harold Holly so success shouldn't take long for this young driver.

18.Justin Johnson/Dusty Davis
No. 51 Billy Ballew Motorsports Toyota This team takes a significant downgrade this season. Aric Almirola piloted this Toyota Tundra to two victories and 21 Top-10 finishes in 2010, extending a streak of success in the truck series for owner Billy Ballew. This year some big changes happen behind the wheel. Relative newcomers Johnson and Davis will split this ride. The young duo has only four combined NASCAR sanctioned starts between them. Since their talent is largely unknown, we have to be a bit pessimistic about this team's chances in the upcoming season.

19.Tayler Malsam
No. 25 Randy Moss Motorsports Toyota Malsam will return to the RMM team that he finished the 2010 season racing with. The 21-year-old sat out a significant chunk of last season after having a great rookie campaign in 2009. Malsam only managed one Top 10 in his 11 starts last season, but it came in the season finale at Homestead for RMM. This was a good morale booster heading into this season. Malsam will hope to rediscover the form that saw him collect 10 Top 10's and finish 12th in the final driver standings in 2009. He has the ability, now RMM only has to put truck under him that can deliver.

20.Brad Sweet/Justin Allgaier/Other Drivers
No. 32 Turner Motorsports Chevrolet This is a new, third team for Turner Motorsports this season in the truck series. Sweet will get the vast majority of the action, with Allgaier only stepping in on occasion. Sweet is short on experience with only 10 career starts in this racing series to his credit, but he does have some success in those limited starts. When Allgaier is behind the wheel the No. 32 team will get a pretty good bump in performance. The 2008 ARCA Series champion and budding Nationwide Series veteran has the ability to make this team very competitive.

21.Stacy Compton
No. 60 TurnOne Racing Chevrolet The veteran driver returns to the No. 60 team again in 2011. This team only saw 15 starts with Compton last season, but they hope to have in the truck full-time in the upcoming campaign. He managed five Top 10's despite only making 15 of the 25 starts in 2010. Compton is far removed from his days of cracking the Top 10 in this NASCAR racing series, but there's no reason to believe he can't forge nine or 10 Top 10's for this team if given the full 25 starts.

22.Miguel Paludo
No. 11 Red Horse Racing Toyota The Brazilian will get his first full season of NASCAR action in 2011. Paludo made a handful of starts last season for the No. 11 team and enjoyed immediate success. In just four starts he forged two Top-10 finishes, including the season finale at Homestead. The performance earned him a full-time seat with this team for the upcoming season. Watch Paludo closely early in the schedule, if he races well he could climb these rankings considerably.

23.Justin Marks
No. 66 TurnOne Racing Chevrolet TurnOne Racing has formed this new team and has paired Marks with veteran crew chief Doug Wolcott for the upcoming season. Marks had to compete in the ARCA Series last season due to limited opportunities in the truck series. However, he piled up some good finishes in that racing series. Marks forged one win and 13 Top 10's en route to sixth-place final ranking in the ARCA driver standings. He can still get it done behind the wheel, and Marks should push this small race team to their full potential.

24.Max Papis
No. 9 Germain Racing Toyota After several seasons of part-time participation in all of NASCAR's major touring series, Papis will get his first full-time gig in the sport. The Italian racer will pilot the No. 9 Toyota in the truck series for the full 25-race campaign. Papis drove for this team last season in eight starts and compiled one Top 10 vs. three DNF's. He still has a lot to learn about stock car racing, but should continue to improve with a full season ahead.

25.Tony Jackson Jr.
No. 07 SS Green Light Racing Chevrolet This team has had its share of success over the years, but they've also had a lot of different drivers as well. Jackson made seven starts for the team in 2010 and compiled an average finish of 19.1 with only one Top 15 in those efforts. The team appears poised to return in whole in 2011 and give Jackson a shot at winning Rookie of the Year. While that's not likely to happen, we should see him improve with more seat time this season.

26.Craig Goess
No. 46 Eddie Sharp Racing Toyota Like many of this season's rookie candidates, Goess is a product of the ARCA Series. He finished runner-up in the point standings in that racing series last season with 15 Top 10's in the 20 events raced. So Goess' driving ability is well established. He picked up a couple of truck series starts with this team in 2010 and collected respectable 10th- and 12th-place finishes in those efforts. That performance has earned him a full season run with the No. 46 team. Goess will have to overcome some obstacles, but he brings a lot of upside to the table.

27.Jeffrey Earnhardt
No. 1 Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet The son of NASCAR driver Kerry Earnhardt and grandson of NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Sr. will saddle up for a full schedule and ROTY run in the truck series this season. Earnhardt made five starts in the series last season with this small race team and posted a top finish of 18th at Las Vegas. At 21-years-old Earnhardt has a long way to go in developing his skills, but he still sports a pretty deep resume. He has 25 career starts in the K&N Pro Series East with 13 Top-10 finishes in that series. Earnhardt will face a steep learning curve in 2011.

28.Justin Johnson/Dusty Davis
No. 15 Billy Ballew Motorsports Toyota This is the second Billy Ballew team and they have enjoyed tremendous success with an array of drivers in recent seasons, most of those Sprint Cup Series drivers. This season the No. 15 Toyota will rotate relative newcomers Johnson and Davis each week. While this is not an ideal situation, it is still a pretty solid race team. There is some talk entering the season that this team could be part-time and that could limit their performance quite a bit.

29.Ryan Sieg
No. 39 Sieg Racing Chevrolet Sieg made some strides in 2010, especially late in the season. He raced his first full season in the truck series last year and the learning curve was steep. Sieg managed to post two Top-10 finishes over the full campaign and he generally finished on the lead lap most weekends. Despite being a small, underfunded race team Sieg managed a moderate level of success. We expect similar results for him in 2011, with the possibility of slight improvement.

30.Mario Gosselin
No. 12 DGM Racing Chevrolet At the time of this writing no plans have been announced, but it is anticipated that Gosselin will return to the No. 12 team for a fourth straight season. The Canadian raced his first full schedule in 2010 and showed improvement over the course of the year. While his talent is still developing, you have to take note of the nine DNF's that Gosselin was tagged with last season. Those inconsistencies are really holding this driver and team back, but hopefully that will improve going forward.

31.Jennifer Jo Cobb
No. 10 Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing Ford Returning for her fourth season of Camping World Truck Series action the owner/driver of the No. 10 Ford looks to continue improvement. After making all 25 events last season, Cobb managed only a mere 23.3 average finish with no Top 10's for her race team. She hopes to run the full schedule again in 2011 with enough sponsorship coming on board late in the off-season. Cobb will likely finish in the mid-to-low 20's each week and not factor in the Top 10 picture in most truck series events.

32.T.J. Bell
No. 50 Make Motorsports Dodge Bell is a veteran of 75 truck series starts, so he's not short on experience. However, he may be short on equipment in 2011. Bell will race for the No. 50 team that he made a scant three starts for last season. Two of those three starts led to DNF's. Bell demonstrated his driving talent in 2009 in a full tilt with Red Horse Racing. He scored five Top 10's and finished a respectable 15th in the driver standings. Bell faces an uphill battle in the upcoming season.

33.Johanna Long
No. 20 Panhandle Motorsports Toyota Long will be taking on her first full season of Camping World Truck Series racing in 2011. The Pensacola native is just a tender 18-years-old, but has already carved out quite a racing reputation in the Florida racing circuits. Long made seven starts in the truck series last season with three Top-20 finishes to her credit. She will be a Rookie of the Year candidate this season, but faces equipment short comings that others in the deep rookie field won't face.

34.Brent Raymer
No. 85 Brent Raymer Racing Ford Raymer will return for a fourth straight season of racing in the Camping World Truck Series. He posted career bests with 23 starts and an average finish of 26.7 in the series last season. However, the year was far from expectations with 13 DNF's. This amounts to what is called a start-and-park team in the Sprint Cup Series. Raymer will likely bring his No. 85 Ford to every event again in 2011, but they will be far from competitive.

35.Mike Garvey
No. 93 Sieg Racing Chevrolet The veteran driver will return for another season in the Camping World Truck Series. Garvey made 16 starts for this team in 2010. Unfortunately they only finished one of those events and posted 15 DNF's in the others. Garvey has the ability to compete as is 12th-place finish at Talladega last year demonstrates, but the equipment deficiency of this small race team is just way too much to overcome.