John King has been treated with royalty since winning the Camping World Truck Series season-opener five weeks ago at Daytona.
Just days after his surprising victory at Daytona, the rookie driver in trucks this year appeared on CNN's "John King USA." The duo had exchanged messages on Twitter following his win.
King also received the keys to his native hometown, Kingsport, TN, two weekends ago during the Sprint Cup Series pre-race ceremonies at Bristol.
King's first truck win came in just his eighth start. He is driving the No. 7 Toyota for Red Horse Racing this year.
After a four-week hiatus, the series will run its second race of the season on Saturday at Martinsville Speedway. King comes to Martinsville with a five- point lead over second-place and teammate Timothy Peters.
"It's pretty cool to be the points leader for five weeks," said King, who will celebrate his 24th birthday on April 1. "The win at Daytona is good for the whole organization and gives us a lot of confidence and a lot of momentum going into this next race. We've got some really nice trucks for Martinsville and the rest of these races."
King has competed in one truck race so far at Martinsville, starting 27th and finishing 19th in the October 2010 event. He also has three late model starts at this 0.526-mile track, with his best finish of 12th coming in 2009.
Peters, who hails from nearby Danville, VA, claimed his first win in the Truck Series in Oct. 2009 at Martinsville.
Johnny Sauter won last year's spring race at Martinsville. Kyle Busch held the lead late in the race, but after the final restart with four laps remaining, Sauter, who started on the pole, chased down Busch and then passed him for the lead right before the white flag was displayed for the final lap. He beat Busch to finish line by a half-second for the win, collecting the track's famous grandfather clock trophy.
"My roots are in short track racing, so this is always a track I enjoy racing at, and I look forward to it even more now that we've got a win there," Sauter said. "Anytime you return to a track where you have a win or a pole, you go in with a certain amount of confidence, because you know you've conquered it, that you can conquer it.
"We had two really great races in Martinsville last year, and we're bringing back the same truck, so we know we're going in with something that works. Now the goal is to make it even better and bring home another grandfather clock trophy."
Sauter finished fourth at Martinsville last October. Prior to the 2011 season, he had finished no better than 15th in his first six truck races there.
Forty-two teams are on the preliminary entry list for the Kroger 250. Kevin Harvick and David Reutimann are the only Sprint Cup regulars competing in this race.
Series: NASCAR Camping World Truck. Date: Saturday, March 31. Race: Kroger 250. Site: Martinsville Speedway. Track: 0.526-mile oval. Start time: 1:30 p.m. (ET). Laps: 250. Miles: 131.5. 2011 winner: Johnny Sauter. Television: SPEED. Radio: Motor Racing Network (MRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Satellite.