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John King Buzzes On After Victory In Daytona

Jeff Hood | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, March 30 2012

John King's Camping World victory in Daytona was one of the feel-great stories coming out of Speedweeks. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Brian Lawdermilk)

By Jeff Hood | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Who is John King?

Five weeks ago, the unknown rookie from Tennessee showed up at Daytona just hoping to log laps during the season opener for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in his eighth career start.

On Friday, he was still walking on air as he sat before the assembled media at Martinsville Speedway to reflect on his improbable victory at the 2.5-mile trioval last month and look ahead to Saturday’s Kroger 250, the second race of the season for the truck series.

“We went to Daytona with just the intent of finishing the race and ended up with a victory. It’s definitely changed my life,” said King, who will celebrate his 24th birthday on Sunday.

“We’ve been wide open talking to people nonstop. I went home and spent some time at home finally.

“I got to do a lot at Bristol (Motor Speedway). We were awarded the key to the city and it’s really neat how supportive my whole hometown was when we went back.”

King’s win in Daytona was just the third victory overall in his relatively short career, which was hatched at the age of 16.

“I started on dirt, crate Late Models and moved to Super Late Models in 2008 and made the switch at the

John King was happy after winning the Camping World Truck Series race in Daytona and he remains happy at Martinsville. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Christa L Thomas)

end of 2008 to asphalt Late Models and ran nothing but that in 2009 and since then,” he said.

“We ran some truck races in 2010 and 2011, so I feel like we’ve been able to get up to speed fairly quick no longer than we’ve been able to races.”

“We hit the road pretty much immediately when we started racing dirt and I feel like we were able to learn a lot going to a different race track every weekend traveling all over the southeast.”

In his first of seven truck series starts at Bristol in 2010, King scored a 15th-place finish at Bristol.

But things went downhill from there, including failing to qualify for a truck event at Nashville Superspeedway last season.

Despite winning on the grandest stage in NASCAR, King has no plans to reset the expectations he put in place for himself entering the season.

“The (Daytona win) was definitely unexpected,” King said. “I’m going into the rest of the races with the same intent. I’m a rookie, I’ve got limited laps or no laps at the majority of these tracks and I just need to gain the most amount of experience that I can.

“My intent is to finish all the laps and finish the race every week. I feel like if we do that, we’ll get in the groove where we’ll have consistently good finishes.”

– Jeff Hood can be reached at jhood@racintoday.com

Jeff Hood | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, March 30 2012
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