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Truck: Carmichael showing promise in truck series

Ricky Carmichael's rookie season in the Camping World Truck Series has been highlighted by two top-ten finishes going into his 14th race Saturday, the Las Vegas 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

They don't compare with the five top fives and nine top tens by leading rookie contender Johnny Sauter or the nine top tens by rookie Tayler Malsam, nor should they. Sauter, Malsam and the rest of the rookies grew up racing on four wheels. Carmichael grew up racing on two.

“I'm close to 40 races in cars and trucks,” Carmichael said. “Not too many. That's been the biggest challenge. Considering how many starts I've had in late models and trucks, I've been able to hold my own and that's important.”

Carmichael, 29, is regarded as the greatest motocross and Supercross rider of all time. He won 15 national championships and 150 races before retiring following a partial season in 2007. Carmichael jumped into late models that same season and moved into the Camping World East Series last year. In 13 starts, Carmichael had three top-five, eight top-10 finishes and was sixth in the points standings. He caught the eye of Kevin Harvick, who signed him to drive the #4 Chevrolet.

“Running in the East series, it was pretty easy to get top tens, and we were searching for top fives every race,” Carmichael said.

The truck series was a major step up. In addition to rookies Sauter and Malsam and emerging talents Colin Braun and Brian Scott, the series has tough, fast, savvy veterans including Ron Hornaday Jr., Matt Crafton, Mike Skinner and Todd Bodine.

Carmichael doesn't regret making the move despite his limited experience.

“I'm happy that I did it,” Carmichael said. “You have to take advantage of every opportunity that you get.”

Carmichael's best finish was seventh at Kentucky, the same 1.5-mile length as Las Vegas. He also was eighth at two-mile Auto Club Speedway in California and eleventh at 1.5-mile Texas.

“We have good trucks at every track, but they're a little bit better on the bigger tracks,” Carmichael said. “For me, it's been a little bit easier learning to drive on the bigger tracks. I've had a more difficult time adapting to the shorter tracks.”

Carmichael's single test day this season was in an ARCA car at Kentucky.

“We put the same carburetor in it that the truck uses so I'd have the same horsepower,” Carmichael said. “I learned a lot. It shows you how important testing is.”

Carmichael's fame and solid transition to four wheels has brought sponsor Monster Energy along with him from motocross. It is backing him for 16 races this season and negotiations for them to return in 2010 are moving forward. Carmichael hopes to return to Harvick's team for a full season.

“The plan is to do the full season, and we're pretty close to getting the sponsor deal tied down,” Carmichael said. “It would be great to run the whole truck series.”

by Tim Tuttle/Sporting News


Tagged as: truck , Ricky Carmichael

Related Pictures

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Moto-x ace Ricky Carmichael prepares for the NASCAR Truck Series race at Auto Club Speedway   [pic credit: Getty/NASCAR]
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Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the series championship and placing ninth in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 ToyotaCare Toyota, pits during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, and his daughter Elladee take part in pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)
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Matt Crafton drives the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota during practice for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 13, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Menards/Hormel Toyota, pits during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 7, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Menards/Hormel Toyota, stands on the grid with his daughter, Elladee, prior to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 7, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Erik Jones, driver of the #51 Dollar General Toyota, and Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Menards/Hormel Toyota, lead the field in a restart during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 7, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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