Both the 30th annual Kroger 200, benefiting Riley Hospital for Children, NASCAR Nationwide Series race and the AAA Insurance 200 Camping World Truck Series race held during Kroger SpeedFest were named as the Top 10 NASCAR races of the 2011 season by SPEED.com.
In articles written by Tom Jenson, senior NASCAR editor for Racer magazine and for TruckSeries.com, the two events were among the highlights of the ultra competitive season.
“We are very proud to once again be recognized as holding two of the top events in the recently completed NASCAR season,” said Wes Collier, general manager of Lucas Oil Raceway. “As home to the Nationwide Series for the past 30 years and the Camping World Truck Series since the inception of the series since 1995 we have prided ourselves on the high level of racing at the facility.”
Those in attendance at the 30th annual Kroger 200 witnessed a dominating performance by Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who led the majority of the event. As the laps drew to a close Brad Keselowski mounted a charge that placed him near the front of the field and in a position to get his first career NASCAR win at Lucas Oil Raceway.
Because of the intense battle the article named the Kroger 200 as the ninth best race of season. Following is a excerpt from the article:
“Ricky Stenhouse Jr. dominated the night’s action at Lucas Oil Raceway, leading a race-high 189 laps around the Indiana short track. But defending NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Brad Keselowski ran down Stenhouse, making the winning pass with just seven laps to go. “We rubbed a little bit,” said Keselowski of his race-winning pass. “I didn’t take him out by any means. I just raced him hard like I’m sure he would for the win. Ricky deserved to win this race with the car he had, but things fell our way.””
The AAA Insurance 200 race was named the third highest race of the season in the Camping World Truck Series thanks in large part to the win by Timothy Peters. This was the only win of the season for Peters and helped propel him to a top five finish in the points. The article stated of the race:
“A mid-race flat tire caused Timothy Peters to spin, sending him to the pits and out of sequence with the leaders at Lucas Oil Raceway near Indianapolis. But the tide eventually turned and the unscheduled pit stop allowed Peters to have the advantage over the competition in the final laps and chase down James Buescher, had who led 97 laps, with six laps remaining to score the upset victory.”
The NASCAR Nationwide Series events at Lucas Oil Raceway have been honored in the past as the 2003 race was named the top race of that year and of the 2000’s because of the duel between Brian Vickers and Shane Hmiel.
One of five drag racing facilities owned and operated by the National Hot Rod Association, Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis was built in 1960 and has presented organized racing events since 1961. From March through October, the facility hosts more than 120 dates of racing on three tracks, a quarter-mile drag strip, a .686-mile paved oval and a 2.5-mile road course. Home to drag racing’s biggest event, the NHRA Mac Tools U.S. Nationals over Labor Day weekend, the drag strip runs more than 50 days of point-to-point action, from national events to street legal community programs. The oval track draws racing’s biggest events, including annual visits from USAC, ARCA and CRA and others. The road course provides a home for several racing sanctions, while providing a resource for driving schools, corporate outings and open-road tests for professional drivers.