NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers Todd Bodine, Ken Schrader, Austin Dillon and Brian Ickler participated in today’s Smith’s 350 press conference at the Smith’s Food & Drug store at N. Nellis Blvd. and Stewart Ave. in Las Vegas today.
The quartet will be joined by 38 other drivers tomorrow when Smith’s 350 qualifying begins at 3:15 p.m. “Kevin Harvick asked me to drive his Truck for seven races this year and when I found out Vegas was one of them I was really excited about that,” said Schrader, who raced in the inaugural NASCAR Camping World Series race at LVMS in 1996. “I’m just really happy to be here.”
“I’m really excited. The mile-and-a-half tracks have been really good for us,” said Dillon, who is the grandson of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team owner Richard Childress. “We’ll just have to see how everything goes. It should be an awesome race, the Truck Series has been a lot of fun this year.”
Ickler is driving in the Smith’s 350 for Kyle Busch, who is leading the owner’s points standings. “There’s a lot of pressure on us. I know we’re battling Todd (Bodine) for owner’s points. This is Kyle’s hometown and we have M&M’s on board as a sponsor so this is a big weekend for us.”
Between the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series, the 2010 Smith’s 350 will mark Todd Bodine’s 17th start at LVMS.
“I expect to win. Schrader can finish second, since he’s so old,” Bodine joked. “I love Las Vegas. I loved the old track, I love the new track. It’s always great to come out here and the fans have been incredible to us in every division and we come out here a lot. I think we have a great Tundra for the race. It’s won the other four races this year. Hopefully it can win five.”
Following the press conference, each driver was paired with a lucky fan who won the opportunity to partner with one of the four stars to compete in a shopping cart race inside the store. Each driver-and-fan team had to find one of the four featured grocery items on the shelves and race back to the finish line. The carts of Todd Bodine and Austin Dillon made contact at the green flag and wiped out part of an end-cap snack display. Dillon won the mad market scramble and Bodine finished a close second. Ickler was third and Schrader was a distant fourth. The four carts, each decorated with the driver’s number and participating media outlet, never will be the same.
“I’ve never won a shopping cart race before, but we came here to win. We had to create a diversion on the start – just knock into ‘em a little bit,” Dillon joked. “I headed to an aisle, knocked stuff out of the way – we did a good job. It was teamwork and teamwork always wins.”
Qualifying is set for 3:15 p.m. Saturday. Driver introductions are scheduled to take place at 6 p.m., followed by the Smith’s 350 at 6:30 p.m.
Tickets for the Smith’s 350 may be purchased by calling LVMS at (702) 644-4444 or online at www.LVMS.com.