Seven To Watch This Camping World East Season by Penny Aicardi
Returning Drivers Who Might Make Their Mark in 2008
After what seems to be one of the longest winters in recent years, fans of the NASCAR Camping World Series East are ready and revving to go on the 2008 season, which kicks off this Saturday night at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in South Carolina. It's not too late to offer a few observations on the upcoming season, and a few of the drivers that should make big headlines this year.
1. Matt Kobyluck - The driver of the Mohegan Sun Casino Chevrolet has been a mainstay on the series since 1999, and with Mike Olsen's departure, should take over as the “Ironman” of the series with 142 consecutive starts. He's a veteran: a driver who he new and upcoming names can learn from. Kobyluck has an impressive 12-win record, yet he's been unable to seal up a series crown thus far. He came close in 2002 by finishing just nine points behind Andy Santerre. Will this be the year he finally makes the head table? It all falls down to one track - New Hampshire Motor Speedway. It's been his nemesis for years, and if he overcomes it, watch out because they'll be no stopping him.
2. Peyton Sellers - Peyton was fervent as an independent. Last season with one car and one engine, he pulled off a third place finish in the point standings. Now, he's teamed up with Andy Santerre Motorsports to drive the #44 Casella Waste Systems Chevy's, and it's going to be a strong combination. There's no doubt Peyton is going to be a threat at each and every race, and don't be surprised to see this driver get his first career win on the NASCAR Camping World Series East within the first couple of races.
Matt Kobyluck (#40) and Peyton Sellers (#83) fought for victories in 2007. They might be the favorites to fight for the title in 2008.
3. Jamie Hayes - Jamie was a rookie on the series in 2007, but his accomplishments were overshadowed by the remarkable season of Joey Logano. Hayes finished eighth in the seasons standings with an impressive record of five top-10's and one top-five. This year, Hayes is back with Ken Schrader Racing as part of an expanded two car operation with driver Ricky Carmichael. Hayes was a quiet contender last year, but expect some noise from him this year. I predict Hayes to be in victory lane on at least one occasion throughout the season.
4. Marc Davis - Back with Joe Gibbs Racing, Davis won't be hiding in the shadows of his
teammate Joey Logano anymore. This driver is consistent and smooth, and I expect him to be
a force to reckon with. He's already competed at Phoenix and proven he can lead the pack
(Davis led a good portion of the Jimmie Johnson Foundation 150). It's his turn to stand out.
5. Eddie MacDonald - MacDonald has not run a full season since 2005, but the new
partnership with Robert Grimm Racing will allow MacDonald to compete for the title. Last
season, MacDonald earned a win after starting only eight of the 13 scheduled races. That
record alone puts him in the driver-to-watch category despite having a career high of ninth
place in the overall point standings.
6. Max Dumarey - The Belgium-born driver is back with Fadden Racing and Mike Olsen for
2008. Last year, Dumarey missed a couple of races in his transition from Fitz Motorsports to
Fadden Racing, but still pulled off a couple of top-10's on the short tracks. Dumarey has
proven in the ARCA arena that he has a lot of talent on the superspeedway's as well. His
sophomore season should definitely be a break out year.
7. Bryon Chew - Chew, like Kobyluck, has been around the NASCAR Camping World Series
East for some time now. Last year, Chew finished the 2007 season 11th in the points. It wasn't
truly indicative of his runs, which were solid throughout the year. He lost the race at Adirondack
to Joey Logano on the last corner of the last turn, but then was all but disqualified after tech.
He was put in last place and lost his crew chief for three races. Chew is a competitive racecar
driver who will be looking for some redemption this season.