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The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series made it's way to Homestead-Miami Speedway Friday night for it's season finale, the Ford Eco-Boost 200. The contest would be the Championship 4 race, where the 2017 NCWTS champion would be crowned. All the contenders, Christopher Bell, Johnny Sauter, Austin Cindric and Matt Crafton, had to do was finish better than the other three Championship 4 drivers and the series championship would be theirs. Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Chase Briscoe sat on the pole, his fourth of the season.
The Ford Eco-Boost 200 would be broken up into three stages. Stages one and two would be 40 laps each. The final stage would consist of 54 laps. The highest finisher among the Championship 4 drivers would leave Miami as the 2017 series champion.
Chase Briscoe led the field to green flag for the final race in the NCWTS 2017 season. Briscoe quickly jumped out front. Championship 4 contender Matt Crafton, who started eighth, worked his way up to third by the end of the first lap. Conversely, third place starter, and fellow Championship 4 contender, Austin Cindric fell to seventh. As the field approached the 10 lap mark, Crafton had closed in on the bumper of Chase Briscoe.
As the field logged laps, Crafton began to fall back towards third place driver Grant Enfinger. Christopher Bell began making his move towards the front, advancing from his 13th starting spot. Johnny Sauter held his spot just inside the top-10.
With seven laps to go, Christopher Bell made the pass around Chase Briscoe for the lead. He would stretch his lead to over three seconds as he took the green-and-white checkered flag to signal the end of an uneventful stage one.
Championship 4 contender finishes in stage one: Christopher Bell - Win, Austin Cindric - Sixth, Matt Crafton - Seventh, Johnny Sauter - Eighth
Stage one top-10 finishers, in order: Bell, Briscoe, Enfinger, Ben Rhodes, Ryan Truex, Cindric, Crafton, Sauter, Justin Haley, Timothy Peters
All the leaders came to pit road under this caution. Cindric called for tires and to be tightened up to cure being loose in turns one and two. Bell took tires and fuel and his crew loosened him up a little bit just to try and keep up with the track. Johnny Sauter had been complaining the entire stage about being too loose. His team would give him four tires and fuel and make adjustments to cure his ill-handling truck. Matt Crafton came in with the same complaint as Sauter. His crew's service mirrored the No. 21's with tires, fuel and adjustments to fix his loose condition. All the other leaders took four tires and fuel as well.
Top-Seven off pit road: Briscoe, Bell, Cindric, Truex, Rhodes, Crafton, Sauter
The restart was a drag race to turn one between Briscoe and Bell. They raced side-by-side through turn two. As they came off the corner, Ben Rhodes dove to the inside from his third row starting spot and powered to the lead. Bell fell back into third and looked to keep from getting swallowed up by the field.
Bell fought back and closed on Briscoe. As Christopher attempted to pass, he and Briscoe made slight contact. Bell took over second and ran off to try and catch Cindric and Rhodes.
Crafton and Sauter battled each other for sixth position. Crafton looking for grip up high and Sauter trying to hug the yellow line. Crafton opened some space and the Championship 4 contenders settled in to their running positions.
Around the halfway point in the stage, Johnny Sauter's truck started to come to him. He disposed of Crafton and with 10 laps remaining, Sauter passed Austin Cindric for fourth. Ryan Truex followed Sauter through the hole opened up on the inside during the pass and took fifth from Cindric. Sauter would eventually give up fourth to Truex.
Ben Rhodes demonstrated how strong his truck was tonight, pulling out to over a five second lead over Bell. Rhodes would win stage two.
Championship 4 stage two finishes: Bell - Second, Sauter - Fifth, Cindric - Sixth, Crafton - Eighth
Top ten at the end of stage two, in order: Rhodes, Bell, Briscoe, Truex, Sauter, Cindric, Timothy Peters, Crafton, Noah Gragson, Justin Haley
The Championship 4 drivers, along with all the other leaders, would take advantage of the caution period between stages. Cindric and Crafton would come in for four tires and fuel. Bell and Sauter, looking for an advantage in track position, took fuel only, as did leader Ben Rhodes.
Top eight off pit lane (Tires): Briscoe (4), Rhodes (0), Bell (0), Cindric (4), Truex (4), Sauter (0), Gragson (4), Crafton (4)
As the field came back onto the track to line up, NASCAR announced a penalty for the No. 16 of Ryan Truex. He had crew members over the wall too soon. Truex would have to restart from the tail end of the longest line.
Chase Briscoe rocketed to the lead as the field took the green flag for the start of the final stage. Rhodes would quickly chase him down and retake the lead. The Championship 4 were running in fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth.
As Briscoe attempted to apply pressure to Rhodes for the lead, Christopher Bell and Austin Cindric entered a side-by-side battle for third. As they raced, Johnny Sauter drove up from behind to see if he could take advantage. Bell would fight to the front of the group and grab the third position.
Noah Gragson had a flat tire with 42 laps to go. He would make it back to pit road, would take fresh rubber, and head back to the track laps down. The race would stay green.
With 40 to go, Briscoe made a bid for the lead. Rhodes fought, but to no avail. Chase advanced to a lead of over one second within a couple of laps. During this battle, Sauter would overtake Austin Cindric for fourth.
With 35 laps to go, the Championship 4 contenders ran in third, fourth, fifth and sixth.
Inside of 20 to go, Bell was eating up the distance between him and Ben Rhodes in second. He also stretched to over seven seconds ahead of Johnny Sauter in fourth. Cindric continued to run fifth and Crafton was in sixth.
Ryan Truex, battling back from his penalty on the previous pit stop, started to slice through the Championship 4 drivers. He took positions from Crafton and Cindric and quickly began to catch Sauter. All the contenders but Bell would need a caution, or Christopher to suffer a disaster, to take the championship.
With ten laps to go, Briscoe still held the lead. Christopher Bell continued to hold a comfortable lead over Johnny Sauter for the championship. There would need to be an incident for there to be a change in either race.
Ben Rhodes came to pit road with five laps to go due to being out of fuel. This suddenly made fuel a possible issue for all of the leaders. It would at least make some crew chiefs nervous as the last few laps wound down on the 2017 season.
Chase Briscoe would win the Ford Eco-Boost 200 for his first career NCWTS victory. He would win by over two seconds. It would be a win for BKR in their last ever race before closing up shop at the end of the season.
After the race, Briscoe had some comments on winning and the end of BKR, "It's felt like a long time coming. I'm so proud of all these guys. To know that they're not going to have a job next year and to continue to bring good trucks even though we were outside the playoffs. It's just such a testament to how good these Brad Keselowski guys are".
Christopher Bell would finish second and win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 2017 championship. It would be Bell's first championship in any NASCAR national touring series. Christopher ends the season with five wins and 21 top-10 finishes. It is the second drivers championship for KBM in the NCWTS.
Bell on winning the championship, "A dream come true doesn't even describe it. For me to be at KBM as long as I have and to go out as a champion there is something that I'm really proud of".
Championship 4 final standings: Bell - Champion, Johnny Sauter - Second, Austin Cindric - Third, Matt Crafton - Fourth
Top ten finishers, in order: Briscoe, Bell, Sauter, Truex, Cindric, Crafton, Stuart Friesen, Enfinger, Haley, Peters
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races next at Daytona in February 2018.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series qualifying for the Ford Eco-Boost 200 rolled off at 3:30 p.m. ET this afternoon. The session would set the field for tonight's Championship 4 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway (8 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Starting position, and pit selection, would be sure to play a part in determining the 2017 series champion when contenders Christopher Bell, Johnny Sauter, Austin Cindric and Matt Crafton hit the track later tonight. The qualifying session would see drivers making single truck runs in two rounds. Positions 13 - 32 would be set in round one. Round two would set the top-12 positions.
Round one would offer some excitement. Matt Crafton recorded a time that looked to be borderline on making the cut to round two. Crafton recorded a lap of 32.627 sec. As more drivers made attempts, his time would edge closer and closer to dropping from the top-12.
With three trucks left to make attempts, Christopher Bell made his way onto the track. Crafton sat in 10th. Unbelievably, Bell (32.666 sec.) laid down a lap slower than Crafton's. With two drivers to go, this would lock Crafton into the top-12 and would suddenly put Bell in position to drop out.
Kaz Grala and Johnny Sauter were the final two qualifiers in round one. Both topped Bell's time, with Sauter recording the fastest time in the round. Christopher Bell would be forced to start the Championship 4 race from the 13th starting spot.
Advancing to round two: Sauter, Austin Cindric, Chase Briscoe, Ben Rhodes, Grala, Noah Gragson, Justin Haley, Grant Enfinger, Ryan Truex, Myatt Snider, Stewart Friesen, Crafton.
Starting positions 13 - 32, in order: Bell, John Hunter Nemechek, Regan Smith, Cody Coughlin, Timothy Peters, Austin Wayne Self, Dalton Sargeant, T.J. Bell, Chris Windom, Jordan Anderson, Robby Lyons, Wendell Chavous, Camden Murphy, Josh Reaume, Norm Benning, Joe Nemechek, Mike Senica, Bayley Currey, Ray Ciccarelli, Jennifer Jo Cobb
Drivers would qualify from slowest in round one to fastest, which would put Matt Crafton out first. His lap in round two was slightly faster than his lap from round one and would keep him in the bottom half of the top-12. Stuart Friesen would slot in front of Crafton and then Myatt Snider's attempt would place him behind the No. 88.
Grant Enfinger would grab the top spot and hold it through several others' attempts. Enfinger would be knocked from the top by Ben Rhodes who ran an excellent lap that looked as though it might land him the pole position. Rhodes grasp on the top spot would be short lived, however.
Chase Briscoe would qualify next. His lap would be good enough to shoot him to the top spot. Austin Cindric would make a good run, but not good enough to take the first position away from Briscoe. Austin would slide into the third spot.
Johnny Sauter would be the last driver to make a qualifying attempt in the NCWTS 2017 season. Sauter would suffer from a push coming out of turn two and could not recover enough time to take the pole. He would qualify 11th.
Chase Briscoe would take the pole for the evening's Ford Eco-Boost 200. It is the fourth pole of Chase's career, all of them coming in 2017.
The Championship 4 driver qualifying results - Christopher Bell - 13th, Johnny Sauter - 11th, Austin Cindric - Third, Matt Crafton - Eighth
Positions 1 - 12, in order: Briscoe, Rhodes, Cindric, Enfinger, Noah Gragson, Ryan Truex, Justin Haley, Crafton, Stewart Friesen, Kaz Grala, Sauter, Myatt Snider
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series runs the Ford Eco-Boost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway tonight, Friday, Nov. 17 (8 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series thunders into Miami, Florida this Friday night for the Championship 4 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Friday, Nov. 17 at 8 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The Ford Eco-Boost 200 will determine who will be the 2017 series champion when the first of the Championship 4 drivers takes the checkered flag and the series championship trophy.
The Championship 4 drivers, Christopher Bell, Austin Cindric, Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter, represent all three manufacturers (Toyota, Ford, Chevrolet) currently competing in the NCWTS. They also come from four different teams (Kyle Busch Motorsports, Brad Keselowski Racing, ThorSport Racing, GMS Racing). Three of the four (Bell, Crafton, Sauter) participated in the Championship 4 in 2016, with Johnny Sauter taking home the crown. Austin Cindric is a Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate and is racing in his first Championship 4. Cindric hopes to be the first rookie to take the crown since Erik Jones in 2015.
Here is a quick review on how each of the Championship 4 drivers got to the final race and what their prospects may be to win the title:
Johnny Sauter - No. 21 GMS Racing Chevrolet Silverado
Johnny Sauter is the defending series champion and is looking to protect his crown at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Friday night. He is currently on a two race win streak. In last years season finale, Sauter was able to finish third to earn the championship trophy. It was Johnny's first ever series title. If he can retain his title on Friday, Sauter would be only the second repeat champion in series history.
On the year, Johnny reached a career high win total of four, notching victories at Dover, Chicago, Texas and Phoenix. He had achieved a high of three wins twice before, in 2013 and in last year's championship campaign.
In the 2017 playoffs, Sauter only has two finishes outside of the top-10. He has earned two wins. Sauter has an average finish of 6.0 in the six playoffs races held so far. Johnny's playoff finishes have been: New Hampshire - Ninth, Las Vegas - 10th, Talladega - 12th, Martinsville - Third, Texas - Win, Phoenix - Win
In his 10 career races at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Sauter has an average finish of 10.8 including one win (2011) and seven top-10 finishes.
Austin Cindric - No. 19 BKR Ford F-150
Sunoco Rookie of the Year Candidate Austin Cindric earned his spot in the 2017 playoffs when he pulled off a last lap pass in a memorable race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. It was Austin's first career win. Cindric led the way for Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidates in the 2017 playoffs, with Chase Briscoe and Kaz Grala joining him in the championship field. This will be his first career race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
2017 was good for Austin Cindric. He scored his only career win. Austin had seven top five and 15 top-ten finishes on the season.
In the playoffs, Cindric has top-10 finishes in every race. He has an average finishing position of 6.3 in the six playoff races. Austin's playoff finishes have been: New Hampshire - Eighth, Las Vegas - Fourth, Talladega - Fifth, Martinsville - 10th, Texas - Second, Phoenix - Ninth
Matt Crafton - No. 88 ThorSport Chevrolet Silverado
Matt Crafton made the 2017 playoff field by winning the series' lone dirt track race at Eldora. He was able to escape Phoenix with a 21st place finish and just enough points to advance to the Championship 4. Crafton is the only driver to win consecutive NCWTS championships when he took the 2013 and 2014 crowns.
To this point in the 2017 season, Matt has racked up one win, five top fives and 15 top-10s. Crafton carries a 9.5 average finish in 2017. In 16 starts at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Matt has led 141 laps and had an average finish position of 11.4. He has one win (2015), three top-fives and eight top-10s while racing in Miami in the NCWTS.
In the first six races of the 2017 playoffs, Crafton has an average finish of 9.0. He has had a top-10 finish in every playoff race but one, which was at Phoenix when he was caught up in an accident and finished 21st. Matt's playoff finishes have been: New Hampshire - Sixth, Las Vegas - Seventh, Talladega - Ninth, Martinsville - Second, Texas - Ninth, Phoenix - 21st
Christopher Bell - No. 4 KBM Toyota Tundra
Christopher Bell had a breakout season in 2017. He led the series in wins (Atlanta, Texas, Kentucky, Pocono, New Hampshire), poles (Atlanta, Kansas, Charlotte, Talladega), top-fives (14) and top-10s (20). Christopher has compiled a 5.9 average finish over the course of the season and has led in every race but three (Dover, Bristol, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park).
Bell returns to the Championship 4 for the second year in a row, along with Matt Crafton and defending series champion Johnny Sauter. In the 2017 playoffs, Bell has taken one win (New Hampshire), collected two poles (Talladega, Phoenix) and has finished in the top-10 in every race. Christopher has a 4.0 average finishing position in the playoffs this season. Bell's finishes in the playoffs have been: New Hampshire - Win, Las Vegas - Second, Talladega - Second, Martinsville - Eighth, Texas - Third, Phoenix - Eighth
In his NCWTS career, Christopher Bell has competed at Homestead-Miami Speedway twice. He finished in eighth last year, which earned him third place in the final season standings. Bell finished 25th in Miami in 2015.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competes in the season-ending Eco-Boost 200, this Friday, Nov. 17 at 8 p.m. ET (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series ran the Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix Raceway on Friday night. The 150-lap race would set the Championship 4 Round for next weekend's race at Homestead. Johnny Sauter is locked into the final round with his win at Texas last week. Christopher Bell, Matt Crafton, Austin Cindric, Ben Rhodes and John Hunter Nemechek would all be on the hunt for one of the remaining three spots.
The race would be broken up into three stages. The first two stages would consist of 40 laps. The final stage would be 70 laps in length.
Christopher Bell would lead the field to green with Noah Gragson grabbing the lead past the line. The rest of the field was diving for the bottom groove as they funneled into turn one. The race would go clean and green for quite some time. Bell would catch Gragson on lap nine and wrestle the lead away. T.J. Bell would slow and bring his truck to the garage area and would eventually return many laps down. Joe Nemechek, Mike Senica, Jennifer Jo Cobb and Ted Minor all took their trucks to the garage early as well.
Christopher Bell would continue to lead comfortably for the majority of stage one. The other playoff contenders all continued to hold steady within their group. All ran solidly within the top eight throughout the stage.
Johnny Sauter began to gain decent chunks on track to the lead, but never got close enough to the front, as Bell completed a fairly dominate run to win stage one by over 4 seconds. With this stage win, Christopher cliched is spot in the Championship 4 Round on points.
Top ten finishers in stage one, in order: Bell, Gragson, Matt Crafton, Ben Rhodes, John Hunter Nemechek, Johnny Sauter, Austin Cindric, Todd Gilliland, Grant Enfinger, Ryan Truex.
All of the leaders pitted during the caution period after stage one. All took two tires. The top five off pit road: Bell, Gragson, Rhodes, Crafton, Cindric. The free pass went to Justin Haley. ARCA series regular Dalton Sargeant was penalized for being too fast on pit road.
Christopher Bell chose the outside for the start of stage two. He gained the lead as trucks battled behind. It sorted out to a single file run along the bottom groove as they finished lap one. The championship contenders all continued to run inside the top eight. Ben Rhodes and Austin Cindric ran in a dead heat for the final spot in the Championship 4 Round, with Matt Crafton distancing himself somewhat from the cut line.
With four laps remaining in the stage, Grant Enfinger made hard contact with the outside wall. The No. 98 seemed to blow a right front tire heading into turn one and suffered a hard hit. Enfinger would exit under his own power and take the mandatory ambulance ride to the infield care center.
Christopher Bell would win stage two under this caution. As they finished the stage, Matt Crafton would be above the cut line by 27 points, Austin Cindric and Ben Rhodes would be in a dead heat for the final spot to advance and John Hunter Nemechek would be 41 points behind the cut line and in need of a win to have a chance to win the 2017 NCWTS championship. Matt Crafton's finish would gain him enough points to lock in the third position in the Championship 4 Round, leaving only one spot open for the three drivers remaining on the outside of the points battle. Austin Hill would receive the free pass.
All of the leaders would come for service under this caution. Bell would lead the race off pit road after taking four tires, followed by Gragson. Justin Haley would come out third, gaining 13 spots by taking only two fresh Goodyears. Dalton Sargeant would also take two tires and leave the pits in fourth. Ben Rhodes, with four tires, would follow in fifth. Kaz Grala took two tires and came out sixth. Johnny Sauter, Ryan Rruex, John Hunter Nemechek and Todd Gilliland rounded out the top ten, all taking four tires and Sunoco fuel. Austin Cindric's team would struggle on this stop, dropping him to 11th after piting from the fifth position. Rhodes would be up five points on Cindric for the final spot to advance as they ran after this round of pit stops. John Hunter Nemechek would have to win the race if he wanted to advance.
At the drop of the green flag, Bell and Gragson battled for the lead as the remainder of the field fought for track position. Gragson took the lead and others struggled two and three wide behind them.
Austin Cindric would lose a spot to Matt Crafton, not helping his bid to advance in the playoffs. The No. 19 BKR Ford F-150 would need to make up spots if it was going to advance to the Championship 4 Round.
Lap 115 saw contact between a slowing Norn Benning and Jesse Little, who was pressing to stay up with the leaders. Benning would make contact with the wall, almost knocking the nose off his truck. The No. 6 got out of the groove and made his way to pit road without causing a caution. Little continued even though he showed some right side damage. Johnny Sauter was running the fastest laps on the track and began to stalk the lead from the third position.
With 29 to go, Josh Reaume appeared to blow an engine. He would not make it back to pit road and the caution would fly.
The leaders would be left with the decision at this point to stay out or to pit. Rhodes and Cindric, separated by seven points as they ran, would need to make critical decisions. Both drivers would come to their teams for service.
Rhodes was the first truck down pit road. John Hunter Nemechek, Austin Cindric and Matt Crafton would be the only leaders to follow. All other lead lap trucks stayed out. Those that pitted would hold position as they left. This round would put Rhodes only one point ahead of Cindric for the final spot in the Championship 4 Round.
As Gragson lead the field to the green flag, Austin Cindric got into the back of Ben Rhodes and turned him into the inside wall. As Rhodes came back across the track he collected the No. 88 of Matt Crafton. Both trucks would not be able to continue. The incident would cause a scramble for the final spot to advance and would also bring out a red flag due to extensive cleanup. This would end Rhodes quest to advance to the Championship 4 Round. Cindric will have had another questionable incident allowing him to advance in the playoffs. Rhodes' crew would call the move a "cheap shot". Cindric's assessment over the radio, "...but it's unfortunate. I really hate to have it happen that way. He was running a great race. We were trying our hardest. And uh, obviously nothing intentional there. I think you clearly see I tried to get a run and held my ground and kinda how it went but it's unfortunate but we gotta keep our nose clean for the rest of the race and hopefully get these BKR guys to run for a championship in the final year and the final race".
Once the red flag was lifted, Cindric came to pit road for repairs to his right front. Everyone else on the lead lap stayed out.
Noah Gragson led the field back to green with 16 laps to go. As the field headed to the dog leg on the back stretch, Ryan Truex, Jesse Little and Dalton Sargeant tried to make it through three-wide going for 12th and could not make it happen. The three drivers all made contact and slid hard into the outside wall. Truex's truck became airborne on the rear end momentarily during the melee. All three drivers would exit under their own power and take the mandatory ambulance ride to the infield care center. This incident would bring out another red flag.It would last 14 minutes.
Christopher Bell led to the green flag with 10 laps to go. John Hunter Nemechek restarted fifth and needed to get a win to advance to Homestead. The battle on points being already decided in Austin Cindric's favor.
The pack swept down deep into the dog leg once again. Bell and Gragson battled for the lead side-by-side. Johnny Sauter sat back in third, waiting on the leaders to make a mistake, and they eventually did .
Bell and Gragson made contact and slid into the outside wall going into turn four. Bell continued but looked to need a stop to repair damage. Gragson's race would be over. Justin Haley would be caught up in the incident and would also be unable to continue. Another red flag would be displayed so that the front stretch could be cleared.
Once this red flag situation was lifted, Bell came to pit road handing the lead to Sauter. It was obvious that John Hunter Nemechek, restarting in second, would be more than aggressive trying to advance in the playoffs.
The restart would come with two laps to go. Nemechek needing to win to advance. Otherwise, Austin Cindric would advance on points.
At the restart, Sauter shot to the lead. Nemechek tried his best to put pressure on the No. 21 but just could not get close enough. At he white flag, John Hunter dove hard into turn one but could not make it stick. Johnny Sauter would hold off all contenders and win the Lucas Oil 150.
Top ten finishers, in order: Sauter, Nemechek, Cody Coughlin, Chase Briscoe, Kaz Grala, Stuart Friesen, Todd Gilliland, Christopher Bell, Cindric, Bayley Currey.
The four drivers advancing to the Championship 4 Round: Johnny Sauter, Christopher Bell, Matt Crafton, Austin Cindric.
This would be Johnny Sauter's first career win at Phoenix. Sauter attributed the win to the "Best group of people I've ever been around". He indicated that he was worried about all the red flags and restarts but knew that if he got a good restart that he could get a win.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship 4 Round races at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Friday, November 17 at 8 p.m. ET (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rolled out for qualifying for the Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix Raceway (8:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) this afternoon, just hours before the green flag was scheduled to wave. The session was broken into three, multi-truck rounds. Round one would set positions 32 - 25 with 24 drivers advancing to round two. In round two, 12 drivers would advance to the final round while positions 13 - 24 would be set. The final round would set the pole position, as well as the rest of the top 12 starting positions.
Round one would be a clean round. The Round of 6 championship contenders would all lay down laps good enough to advance them into round two, with Christopher Bell taking the top spot with a speed of 133.949 mph. A handful of drivers clocked times of nearly three seconds or more off the top spot (Mike Senica, Ted Minor, Ray Ciccerelli, Jennifer Jo Cobb, Norm Benning) and they would fail to advance. Josh Reaume (126.868 mph) was the fastest driver that would not move on to round two. The other drivers failing to advance were Mike Harmon (125.879 mph) and Jordan Anderson (126.605 mph).
Advancing to round two, in order: Bell, John Hunter Nemechek, Austin Cindric, Matt Crafton, Todd Gilliland, Noah Gragson, Chase Briscoe, Ben Rhodes, Johnny Sauter, Cody Coughlin, Justin Haley, Grant Enfinger, Dalton Sargeant, Ryan Truex, Stuart Friesen, Kaz Grala, Austin Hill, Joe Nemechek, T.J. Bell, Robby Lyons, Bayley Currey, Jesse Little, Austin Wayne Self, Jason Hathaway.
Early in round two, playoff drivers dominated the top of the speed chart. Ryan Truex would lay down a lap that looked as though it may not be fast enough to advance him to the final round. ARCA regular Dalton Sargeant had a decent lap, but would not be fast enough to advance. Notables Kaz Grala and Justin Haley would fall in line behind Sargeant on the speed chart and also fail to advance. Truex would make a run within the last minute of the round that would improve his previous time enough to advance him to the final round.
Christopher Bell (135.849 mph) would once again hold the top spot, sweeping the first two rounds of qualifying. Drivers failing to advance were: Little (No Attempt), Hathaway (127.132 mph), Self (127.859 mph), Currey (128.388 mph), Lyons (129.046 mph), Joe Nemechek (129.097 mph), T.J. Bell (129.315 mph), Hill (130.605 mph), Haley (132.445 mph), Grala (132.787 mph), Sargeant (133.087 mph), Coughlin (133.205 mph).
Drivers advancing to the final round of qualifying, in order: Christopher Bell, Gragson, Rhodes, Crafton, Cindric, John Hunter Nemechek, Sauter, Gilliland, Truex, Friesen, Enfinger, Briscoe.
Final round qualifying would be a five minute dash to see which driver would earn the pole, and which drivers would start inside the top 12 positions. This round would be very important due to the fact that 24 of the 26 NCWTS races held at Phoenix Raceway have been won from drivers starting within the top 10 positions.
The start of the round saw a flurry of action on the track, as nearly all 12 drivers took to the track one after the other. Christopher Bell would set the top speed early and no one would challenge. Bell's speed of 137.012 mph topped second place qualifier Noah Gragson by 1.393 mph, or .27 seconds. It would be Bell's fifth career pole and fifth pole of the season. It is his first pole at Phoenix. Christopher swept all three rounds of qualifying.
Top 12 qualifiers, in order: Bell, Gragson (135.619 mph), Rhodes (135.359 mph), Crafton (135.318 mph), Gilliland (135.014 mph), Nemechek (134.812 mph), Cindric (134.645 mph), Briscoe (134.323 mph), Enfinger (133.740 mph), Sauter (133.556 mph), Turex (133.462 mph), Friesen (133.146 mph).
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series runs the Lucas Oil 150 tonight, November 10, at Phoenix Raceway. (8:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series goes to Phoenix Raceway this week for the final race in the Round of 6, the Lucas Oil 150 (8:30pm ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). This 150-lap race around the 1.022-mile track will set the field of contenders for the Championship 4 Round at Homestead next week.
Defending series champion Johnny Sauter locked his spot into the Championship 4 Round last week with his win at Texas. He will be looking to add to his momentum, and possibly his trophy case, Friday night in Phoenix. The other five contenders still alive in the playoffs, Christopher Bell, Matt Crafton, Austin Cindric, Ben Rhodes and John Hunter Nemechek, still have some work to do to advance. Here is a brief overview of each drivers’ prospects to make it into the Championship 4 Round at Homestead:
Johnny Sauter – 1 Win this round, 3131 Points: Sauter is locked into the Championship 4 Round by his win last week at Texas. He will defend last year’s championship at Homestead next week.
Christopher Bell – 0 Wins this round, 3135 Points: Christopher will clinch a spot in the Championship 4 Round with a win or by earning six points if there is a new winner. If Sauter were to win again this week, Bell would only need one point to advance.
Matt Crafton – 0 Wins this round, 3104 Points: Crafton would advance by earning 32 points if Sauter wins, getting 37 points if there is a new winner, or by winning the race himself.
Austin Cindric – 0 Wins this round, 3085 Points: If he were to win the race, Cindric would advance to the Championship 4 Round. If not, Austin would advance with 50 more points as long as Sauter does not win. IF Sauter does win, then Cindric would need help to advance on points. He is currently five points above the cut line.
Ben Rhodes – 0 Wins this round, 3080 Points: To clinch on points, Ben would need for there to be a new winner this round and he would also need help. Rhodes would automatically advance if he were to win. He currently sits five points below the cut line.
John Hunter Nemechek – 0 Wins this round, 3046 Points: It would be a long shot, but John Hunter could advance on points if there were a winner other than Johnny Sauter and if he received a lot of help from the other drivers. As with all the other contenders, Nemechek would automatically advance with a win Friday night.
There have been 16 different winners in the 26 NCWTS races held over the series’ history at Phoenix Raceway. Six times those winners came from the pole, with Erik Jones being the last to do so (11/7/2014). The race record was set by Kevin Harvick on 11/8/2002 (108.014 mph). Joe Ruttman is the oldest winner at Phoenix. He was 55 years, 4 months old when he won the race held on 3/18/2000. The youngest winner ever is Erik Jones. When he won on 11/8/2013, Erik was aged 17 years, 5 months.
The qualifying record was set at Phoenix by William Byron on 11/11/2016 (138.254 mph). Erik Jones (18 years, 5 months) is Phoenix’s youngest ever pole winner with his run on 11/7/2014. With his qualifying attempt on 3/18/200, Joe Ruttman became the oldest pole winner (55 years, 4 months).
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series runs the Lucas Oil 150 on Friday, November 10 at 8:30pm ET. (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
The JAG Metals 350 at Texas Motor Speedway was race number two in the Round of 6 for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The race on the 1.5-mile quad-oval would be broken into three stages. Stages one and two would be 35 laps in length. The final stage would consist of 77 laps. The six playoff drivers that remained, Christopher Bell, Johnny Sauter, Matt Crafton, Ben Rhodes, Austin Cindric and John Hunter Nemechek, were all looking for a win and the guaranteed spot in the Championship Round associated with it.
Justin Haley would lead the field to green after capturing his first career pole and setting a track record in qualifying earlier in the day. As they crossed the starting line, trucks scrambled for the bottom groove. Matt Crafton had a bad wiggle coming through turns one and two on lap 4. The nose of Crafton's truck shot towards the outside wall. Matt was able to regain control before hitting the wall, but he would lose several positions.
Just as Crafton gathered his truck back together, Tommy Joe Martins made hard contact with the outside retaining wall when something appeared to break on his truck. With the loss of control caused by the first impact, Martins came back down across the track and made more contact with the inside wall. Martins would climb from his truck under is own power and take the ambulance ride to the infield care center. He would eventually be released from the care center with no issues. Chase Briscoe was the only leader that pitted under this caution. His team was trying to fix a loose condition.
The restart came with 10 laps remaining in stage one. Justin Haley still had command of the field at the green. Christopher Bell challenged Haley side-by-side for the first lap, nearly clearing the No. 24 going into turn three, but Haley would power past and regain a solo lead at the point. In the challenge, last week's winner Noah Gragson overtook Bell for second.
The top three began to yard the field, with several truck lengths separating each of them within their group. Gragson lost second to Bell with 18 to go in the stage. As the leader, Hayley, overtook the truck of Norm Benning off of turn two, Gragson nearly made contact with the now lapped No. 6 and had to get out of the gas. That allowed Bell to get around and assume the runner-up position.
Lap 25 brought excitement and disappointment. Christopher Bell caught Justin Hayley and passed him for the lead. Noah Gragson then challenged for the second position. Then, trouble on the backstretch. Patrick Emerling spun coming out of turn two. He would make contact with the inside wall and would not continue. He would take a ride to the infield care center.
Pit stops would happen as a result of this caution. The majority of the leaders would come to their crews for service, which included two tires and fuel. Justin Haley would be the first off pit road, followed by Gragson, Crafton, Kaz Grala and Myatt Snider. Ryan Truex would be the sixth truck to emerge from the pits after being the only front runner to take four tires. Crafton was the only playoff contender to come for service. Bell, Sauter, Rhodes and Cindric all stayed out. John Hunter Nemechek took a bit of a gamble and stayed out. He was reporting a chatter from his right front tire and was afraid it was going down. His crew advised him to stay out and complete the stage before coming for service.
Top ten coming to the restart, in order: Bell, Sauter, Cindric, Rhodes, JH Nemechek, Austin Hill, Jordan Anderson, Haley, Gragson, Crafton.
Bell would lead the field to green with 4 laps left in stage one. Sauter did not offer much of a challenge and would struggle in the outside lane to hold the second position. He and Austin Cindric battled hard for valuable stage points. Sauter would eventually secure the position.
Bell would win stage one by a healthy margin at the green-and-white checkered flag. The six championship contenders making up the entire top-six finishers in the stage.
Top ten at the conclusion of stage one, in order: Bell, Sauter, Cindric, Rhodes, JH Nemechek, Crafton, Snider, Grala, Hill, Gragson.
Those that did not pit in the earlier caution period took advantage under this one. Christopher Bell lead those drivers off pit road after taking four tires and fuel. Cindric, Rhodes and JH Nemechek all followed, with all taking four tires. Austin Hill took two tires and was the fifth driver to leave. He was followed by Johnny Sauter, who took four tires and had issues during his stop. The No. 24 of Justin Haley pitted under this caution as well and spent extra time getting attention from his crew. Haley felt that he had a loose wheel, so his team changed all four tires and sent the No. 24 back into battle. He was the seventh truck off pit road.
Top ten at the restart, in order: Crafton, Snider, Grala, Gragson, Stuart Friesen, Ryan Truex, Young, Briscoe, Regan Smith, Grant Enfinger.
The field took the green on lap 43. Crafton being challenged by Snider through three and four where Snider took the lead. Crafton fell back into a three wide battle for fourth that might have resulted in some contact.
After a furious first two laps, the pack settled into single-file racing in the bottom groove. Gragson did pull up to pressure Snider from behind. Myatt settled into a groove and put a few truck lengths between him and the No. 18 after a couple of laps.
Kaz Grala and Ryan Truex soon moved up to pounce on Gragson in seond. Grala took the position on lap 14 of the second stage. Truex would fall back after getting loose underneath Gragson trying to pass for position. Truex and Crafton would begin a battle for fourth.
Running hard trying to catch the lead, Grala got a little loose and allowed Gragson to catch and eventually pass him for second after battling for a few laps. Grala then started to fall back into the clutches of Crafton and the fight would be on for third.
With 12 to go, contact between teammates would bring out another caution. Battling for the 14th position, Johnny Sauter dropped below Justin Haley going into turn one. Sauter's truck washed up the track just enough to make contact with the left rear quarter of Haley's machine, sending the No. 24 into a long slide through the corner. Neither truck would sustain serious damage. Haley would come to pit road for fresh tires. Team communications appeared to indicate that neither driver was happy with the other.
Many trucks decided to take advantage of this caution and came down pit road for service. The top five trucks stayed out. Both Hayley and Sauter came for attention.
Top ten at the restart, in order: Snider, Gragson, Grala, Crafton, Truex, Bell, Rhodes, JH Nemechek, Cindric, Hill.
The restart would come with seven laps remaining in stage two. Myatt Snider, in control of the field, start to feel some heat from Gragson through turns three and four. Gragson completed the pass heading into one. Crafton, Rhodes and Cindric battled for the sixth spot, with Crafton coming out the loser and Rhodes the winner.
Noah Gragson took the win in stage two with around a .75 second advantage over Myatt Snider. It was his second stage win of the season.
Top-ten finishers in stage two, in order: Gragson, Snider, Bell, Grala, Rhodes, Crafton, Nemechek, Hill, Enfinger, Tyler Young.
Most of the leaders would head to pit road under this caution. Christopher Bell was the first out after taking two tires. Hill followed after taking no tires. Gragson took two and was the third to leave. Enfinger and Cody Coughlin followed, each without any fresh rubber. Truex, Crafton and Snider followed, each of them taking four tires. Staying out were Austin Cindric, Johnny Sauter, Justin Haley, Regan Smith, Chase Briscoe, Stuart Friesen and Tyler Young.
Championship contender Matt Crafton suffered a penalty on this stop. The crew had members over the wall too soon and Crafton would need to restart from the end of the longest long.
Top ten at the start of the final stage, in order: Cindric, Sauter, Haley, Smith, Briscoe, Friesen, Young, Bell, Hill, Gragson.
The restart on lap 77 saw Austin Cindric hold the lead while Sauter and Haley battled for second. Haley would take the position.
Noah Gragson got way out of the groove coming out of turn four and made contact with the right rear quarter of his truck with the outside retaining wall. He dropped back outside of the top 15 after restarting in 10th. He would continue.
As Gragson continued to fall through the field and Matt Crafton was stalking his way back towards the front, they met at the 18th position. They battled for a couple laps, but Crafton eventually won as Gragson continued to struggle after contact with the wall. They fought nearly .9 seconds behind the lead.
The leader, Austin Cindric, began to fight lapped traffic with 53 laps to go. Second place Justin Haley used that to his advantage and, with 50 laps to go, began to put some real pressure on the leader., cutting a .35 second lead down to less than .15 seconds.
Many of the leaders started to approach their pit window as the lead tallied lap 100. All trucks would need to pit at least one more time, but those who did not pit during the last caution were approaching decision time regarding green flag stops. Pit strategy seemed that it would be a major play in who would win the JAG Metals 350 and what drivers would move closer to advancing into the Championship Round of the playoffs.
With 44 laps to go, Johnny Sauter started to apply pressure to the second place truck of Justin Haley. The pressure lead to a slight mistake by Haley, as he got loose and moved up the track, allowing Suater to take the second spot. The bobble also allowed Chase Briscoe to take third place from Haley.
Just inside of 40 laps to go, Sauter laid the pressure on Cindric and forced a mistake from the No. 19. Cindric bobbled and moved up the track, giving Sauter the opportunity to jump around him and take control of the lead. Christopher Bell then moved into a position where he might be able to take advantage if Cindric made another mistake.
With 30 laps to go, the top-ten was, in order: Sauter, Briscoe, Bell, Cindric, Haley, Smith, Rhodes, Truex, Enfinger, Grala.
With 29 to go, Sauter, Cindric and Haley hit pit road for green flag stops. Cindric took right side tires and fuel. Sauter took fuel only. Haley took two tires and fuel. His front tire changer struggled and had a slow stop.
Chase Briscoe pitted on the next lap, as did Regan Smith and Stuart Friesen. Briscoe took right side tires as did Friesen and Smith. Smith's crew struggled to get fuel into the truck, causing an extremely slow and bewildering stop.
The next lap saw Ryan Truex come to his crew for service. He would take no tires, a wedge adjustment to the left side and fuel.
After this round of green flag stops, Christopher Bell inherited the lead, but he would give it up after a couple of laps to come in to the attention of his crew.
While waiting for Bell's stop, Kaz Grala came in for two tires and fuel as did Matt Crafton. Crafton's crew put together an excellent stop.
Myatt Snider came in for attention, which included two tires and fuel.
With 21 to go, Christopher Bell made his stop, taking only right side tires and fuel. Ben Rhodes followed. He also took right sides and fuel. Rhodes had a bit of a hesitation leaving his pit box, possibly having some confusion on when to leave or possibly not having his truck in gear when the jack dropped, signaling him to leave.
Ben Rhodes returned to pit road almost immediately. His crew, as well as the driver, thinking that they did not get the right front lug nuts tight. His crew hit all the lug nuts again and sent him back in to battle. The stop took a long time as the tire changer had to go back to the wall for another nut. Rhodes lost a ton of track position. His status as a contender for the championship appeared to be in jeopardy.
Following this flurry of pit activity, John Hunter Nemechek emerged as the leader. Johnny Sauter and Austin Cindric battled for second. Hitting some lapped traffic allowed Suter to open up some distance on Cindric.
John Hunter Nemechek, hoping for a caution, eventually came to pit road with 12 laps to go as he ran out of fuel. It took some time to get his truck re-fired. His opportunity to challenge for the championship seemed to fade even more as he was caught speeding exiting pit road and would have to suffer a pass though penalty.
After Nemechek's stop, Johnny Sauter assumed the race lead. He was followed by Cindric, Bell, Briscoe, Haley, Grala and Enfinger. There were seven laps to go.
Johnny Sauter held off a very determined Austin Cindric to win the JAG Metals 350. The win punched Sauter's ticket to the Championship Round in Homestead. It was Johnny's fourth career win at Texas Motor Speedway and his third win of the season.
Top ten finishers, in order: Sauter, Cindric, Bell, Briscoe, Haley, Grala, Enfinger, Truex, Crafton, Gragson. Championship contender Ben Rhodes finished 18th. John Hunter Nemechek, also a contender for the championship, finished 19th.
Playoff Standings, in order (Unofficial): Sauter, Bell, Crafton, Cindric, Rhodes, Nemechek. Suater (Win) and Bell (Points) have locked themselves into the Championship Four.
In victory lane, Sauter was asked how he and his team were able to execute throughout the race, Johnny stated, "Just a total team effort. Can't thank thank everyone at GMS and on our ISM Connect Chevrolet. Hendrick horsepower's 400th win tonight. Um, I gotta thank Hillbilly in the suspension room cause last time I didn't say his name. So Hillbilly, that's for you. Everybody at GMS, was just unbelievable. I was actually pretty worried about our truck after qualifying. It was pretty loose and all we did was lower the track bar a half a round".
The last race in the Round of Six takes place at Phoenix Raceway as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series runs the Lucas Oil 150 on Friday, November 10 at 8:30 p.m. ET. (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series qualified for the JAG Metals 350 at Texas Motor Speedway this afternoon, Friday, November 3, for the race later this evening (8 p.m. FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The JAG Metals 350 is the second race in the Round of 6. Qualifying would be a single-truck format broken into two rounds. Round one would set positions 13 - 32. The final round would set positions 1 - 12.
The first truck onto the 1.5-mile quad oval was Ted Minor (158.344 mph). His sit atop the pole was short-lived, as Josh Reume, the second qualifier, turned a lap of 169.710 mph to jump to the top. Norm Benning (162.333 mph), Mike Senica (153.387 mph) and J.J. Yeley (173.405 mph) followed, with Yeley being the only driver to best the lap of Reume.
Gray Gaulding took his attempt and he jumped to the top of the pole with a speed of 178.448 mph. Gaulding was followed by Joe Nemechek (177.416 mph), Ray Ciccarelli (168.871 mph), Jennifer Jo Cobb (167.276 mph), Wendell Chavous (177.989 mph), Patrick Emerling (175.256 mph) and Jordan Anderson (174.520 mph). No of those qualifiers were able to knock Gaulding from the top spot.
Austin Wayne Self made his attempt and was able to take the provisional pole away from Gaulding with a speed of 180.650 mph. From this point, the spot atop the pole saw a lot of action.
Regan Smith (181.867 mph) bested Self with the very next qualifying attempt. Matt Crafton (183.874 mph) was the next driver on the track and he beat out Smith. Cody Coughlin (181.641 mph), Stewart Friesen (181.159 mph), Tyler Young (182.359 mph) and Austin Hill (181.020 mph) gave the top spot a rest when they could not run faster than Crafton.
Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Chase Briscoe was next to make an attempt. Briscoe put up a speed that placed him second at the time at 182.513 mph. But the next driver, Ryan Truex, blew Briscoe's time away.
Truex's qualifying speed of 184.609 mph shot him well on top of the grid. Ryan had taken the pole position at the last two 1.5-mile tracks where the NCWTS had raced.
Christopher Bell (184.043 mph), Kaz Grala (183.119 mph) and Ben Rhodes (183.886 mph) all made attempts. None were able to force their way to the top but all would advance to round two.
Noah Gragson (184.206 mph) jumped to second with his turn. John Hunter Nemechek, looking for a good starting spot after a disappointing finish at Martinsville in race one of the Round of 6, turned a lap of 182.476 mph. Defending series champion and defending race winner Johnny Sauter (184.514 mph) would follow. All three would have speeds good enough to advance to the final round of qualifying.
All of these first round attempts would lead up to the main event. Justin Haley set a new track record with a speed of 185.370. That speed would be enough to place Justin in the top position going to the final round of qualifying.
Austin Cindric (184.219 mph) and Myatt Snyder (184.451 mph) would make attempts that would get them into the final round. Grant Enfinger, the fastest truck in practice, would get sideways on his qualifying lap, laying down a disappointing speed of 180.427 mph and missing a chance to qualify for the pole in the final round. Tommy Joe Martins did not make a qualifying attempt in round one. All six remaining playoff drivers would make the final round of qualifying.
Starting positions 13 - 32, in order: Young, Smith, Coughlin, Friesen, Hill, Self, Enfinger, Gaulding, Chavous, Joe Nemechek, Emerling, Anderson, Yeley, Reaume, Ciccarelli, Cobb, Benning, Minor, Senica, Martins.
Advancing to final round qualifying: Haley, Truex, Sauter, Snider, Cindric, Gragson, Bell, Rhodes, Crafton, Grala, Briscoe, John Hunter Nemechek.
The first truck to hit he track in pole qualifying belonged to John Hunter Nemechek. His speed of 182.051 mph was slower than his time in round one and would net him the 11th starting position.
Last week's pole winner, Chase Briscoe, was next to make an attempt. His speed of 183.849 mph was better than his time in round one, but Chase would only net the 10th starting position with this lap.
Kaz Grala went out third. His speed of 184.571 mph was better than his speed in round one and would garner him the seventh starting spot.
Matt Crafton's lap (184.351 mph) from the fourth qualifying spot would place him eighth on the grid.
Ben Rhodes would end up just behind Crafton in the fifth starting spot. Rhodes qualifying speed was 183.861 mph.
Christopher Bell's attempt would be the starting point from where the real show of speed would begin. Bell's speed of 185.982 mph would set a track record, although it would be short lived.
Next out was Noah Gragson. His attempt to beat his teammate, Bell, would be successful. He would establish the record at 186.053 mph. With the speed being shown, Gragson's hold onto the pole, and the record, appeared to be short-lived as well.
Austin Cindric (184.887 mph) would find some impressive speed, but it would only be good enough to gain him the sixth starting position.
Myatt Snider would add some excitement to the round. Unfortunately it wasn't because of his speed, but it was attributed to his car control. Myatt got extremely sideways on his attempt, but made the save and stayed off the wall. His lap speed was 177.101 mph.
Reigning series champion Johnny Sauter ran a speed of 185.861 mph on his attempt. It began to look as though Gragson's speed may be fast enough to hold on to the pole.
The truck of Ryan Truex made a run at the pole, but could only find a lap of 184.894 mph. Not quite good enough to take the top position.
One last driver, Justin Haley, remained to make an attempt. He had been the fastest qualifier in round one. Haley laid down a blazing lap of 186.181 mph to take the pole for the evening's race.
Justin set two records with his qualifying attempt. He set the track record for the NCWTS at Texas Motor Speedway and he also became the youngest pole winner in series history. His lap was the fifth fastest of all-time in the series and is the fastest qualifying lap not run at Daytona or Talladega.
Positions 1 - 12, in order: Haley, Gragson, Bell, Sauter, Truex, Cindric, Grala, Crafton, Rhodes, Briscoe, Nemechek, Snider.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series runs the JAG Metals 350 at Texas Motor Speedway tonight, Friday, November 3, at 8 p.m. ET. (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rolls into Texas Motor Speedway this Friday night for race two in the Round of 6, the JAGS Metal 350 (8 p.m., FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Johnny Sauter, the defending series champion, is the defending race winner at the 1.5-mile, quad-oval. Matt Craft, a two-time series champion, finished second in that same race. Christopher Bell, the current championship points leader, won the NCWTS race here in June. Three other playoff contenders (Sauter, Crafton, Ben Rhodes) also had top ten finishes here in June.
There have been 39 NCWTS races held at Texas Motor Speedway. There have been 25 different pole winners. Mike Skinner is the oldest pole winner with his run in November of 2007(50 years, 4 months). Tyler Reddick is the youngest driver to ever win a NCWTS pole at TMS. He was 18 years and 9 months old when he won the pole in October 2014. The qualifying record is held by Noah Gragson at 185.134 mph (6/9/2017).
There have been 22 race winners on NCWTS history at Texas Motor Speedway. Five of winners have started from the pole position, with Todd Bodine being the last to do so in June of 2007. William Byron became the youngest winner on 6/10/2016 (18 years, 6 months). The oldest winner at TMS is Ron Hornaday, Jr. (52 years, 11 months) with his win in June of 2011. Erik Jones holds the race record of 158.002 mph, set on 11/6/2015.
After the opening race in the Round of 6, Austin Cindric and John Hunter Nemechek find themselves below the cut line to advance to the championship round in Homestead. Here is a look at how they stack up with the other four contenders in the Round of 6 standings:
Christopher Bell – 1st (3083 Points, 47 Playoff Points)
Johnny Sauter – 2nd (3080 Points, 27 Playoff Points)
Matt Crafton – 3rd (3068 Points, 14 Playoff Points)
Ben Rhodes – 4th (3049 Points, 14 Playoff Points)
Austin Cindric – 5th (3038 Points, 13 Playoff Points, -11 to Cutoff)
John Hunter Nemechek – 6th (3021 Points, 7 Playoff Points, -28 to Cutoff)
Any of these six drivers would advance to the Championship 4 with a win. Bell and Sauter could clinch a spot in the next round by points. Crafton could clinch by points with a repeat winner.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series runs the JAGS Metal 350 on Friday, November 3, 2017 at the Texas Motor Speedway in Ft. Worth, Texas. (8 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series ran the Fred's 250 Presented by Coca-Cola at Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday, October 14. It was the final race in the Round of 8, with two drivers being eliminated at the contest's conclusion. The race would be broken into three stages. The first and second stages being 20 laps long. The final stage would consist of 54 laps.
Christopher Bell won the pole less than two hours before the race was scheduled to begin, topping Johnny Sauter by .326 seconds. It is Bell's fourth career pole.
At the drop of the green flag, Bell lead two-by-two files of trucks into turns one and two. Johnny Sauter and Justin Haley shot to the lead down the backstretch, pulling into the bottom lane in front of Bell.
As the beginning laps began to click by, more and more trucks began to drop into the lower lane, making the pack single file with the exception of a handful going double file in the back. Kaz Grala, who had engine trouble during qualifying and had to start at the back of the field, was not making up much ground, mired around 24th.
With 14 to go in stage one, championship contender Chase Briscoe's machine started losing oil. Just behind, Myatt Snider received a windshield full of fluid as Briscoe moved high and faded to the back. Briscoe would head to the garage with his playoff hopes more than likely dashed.
Sauter would continue to lead a mostly single file group of trucks. With seven laps left in the stage, Noah Gragson dove to pit road with a flat left rear tire. Noah has been sick throughout the weekend and Erik Jones was on standby in the No. 18 pit to take the wheel if needed. On this stop, Gragson would remain in the truck. He would lose a lap while in the pits.
Austin Cindric would head down pit road with just a few laps to go. His team deciding to try some pit strategy to gain an advantage on the track. His teammate Chase Briscoe would return to the race at this point. His team discovered a pinched o-ring in one of the valve covers. Briscoe would return 10 laps down to the leader.
Caution flew coming to take the white flag for the end of stage one. Another championship contender, Kaz Grala made hard contact with the outside wall. Cody Coughlin, running ninth, got a little high and out of line coming off turn four. Trying to get back in line, Coughlin came across the nose of Chris Fontaine's machine, causing Fontaine to spin to the inside. In the stack-up behind the incident, Grala has hit from behind by Ryan Truex and spun to the outside, making contact with the wall with the front end of his truck, causing major damage. Grala, who missed round two of qualifying due to an engine problem, would be done for the day. Truex would head in for repairs, losing multiple laps and eventually retiring from the race. Fontaine would pit after avoiding any further contact. Coughlin would continue on to stop during the caution between stages. Ben Rhodes would suffer some rear-end damage in the melee as well. He made repairs during the caution. Spencer Boyd would receive the free pass.
Stage one top ten finishers, in order: Johnny Sauter, Justin Haley, Christopher Bell, Stewart Friesen, Myatt Snider, Matt Crafton, John Hunter Nemechek, Ben Rhodes, Cody Coughlin, Parker Kligerman. Chris Fontaine received the free pass.
The pit cycle during this caution saw most of the field head in for service. Most drivers did not take tires. Christopher Bell and Myatt Snider did get two fresh tires during their stops. Top five coming off pit road: Sauter, Crafton, Haley, Bell, Vinnie Miller.
Austin Cindric would lead the field back to green at the beginning of stage two. His team's earlier pit strategy appearing to pay off. The drivers stayed in double file formation for the first lap then the front began to stretch out single file, with Sauter again leading Justin Haley past the leader and down into the inside lane.
During the restart, the bed flap on Sauter's truck deployed, even though he was headed in the proper direction. This issue with the flaps had been a problem for a few drivers during qualifying and appeared to be having an affect on several during the race. These safety devices are being used for the first time in today's race. They are meant to keep the trucks from getting airborne if they get turned backwards at high speed.
Just before the pits closed at two laps to go in the stage, a few drivers headed to pit road hoping to gain an advantage through strategy. Christopher Bell and Noah Gragson were a pair of notable drivers trying to use these early stops to their advantage. Both took two tires and fuel.
Johnny Sauter commanded the stage and took the green-and-white checkered flag. John Hunter Nemechek, trying to capitalize on other playoff contenders' issues, clawed through the field to finish the stage in sixth.
Top ten drivers, in order, at the end of stage two: Sauter, Haley, Snider, Cindric, Crafton, Friesen, J.H. Nemechek, Coughlin, Rhodes, Enfinger. Spencer Boyd received the free pass.
The leaders came to pit road during this caution. Most taking four tires and fuel. Myatt Snider's and Grant Enfinger's teams went with two tires and they led the race off pit road. Sauter, Crafton and Haley followed, each having taken four tires. Clay Greenfield used a two tire strategy to jump five spots after his stop.
The final stage of the final race in the Round of 8 began with Christopher Bell and Myatt Snider leading the field to the green flag. Unlike the previous restarts, the drivers stayed lined two-by-two for a few laps. Snider, pushed by Johnny Sauter, eventually cleared Bell and dropped to the inside, taking the lead. This NCWTS race is just the seventh of Snider's career and only his second on a restrictor plate track.
Cody Coughlin and Parker Kligerman pushed the outside lane to the front and they took the lead with 51 to go. Stuart Friesen, who has had a strong weekend at Talladega, took control of the outside lane and pulled even with Coughlin at the front. Friesen would clear and slide down in front of Coughlin, taking himself to the first lead in his NCWTS career. The top 12 fell into single file at this point.
Suddenly, disaster struck just behind the leader. Ben Rhodes clipped the left rear of Clay Greenfield, sending him spinning into the middle of the track. Matt Crafton plowed hard into Greenfield and managed to stay off the outside wall. The spinning Greenfield then trapped John Hunter Nemechek and Regan Smith into the outside wall with more hard contact. Crafton would need to pit to try and repair major front-end damage. Luckily, Matt had locked himself into the Round of 6 with his finishes in the first two stages. Unfortunately for Nemechek, we was still battling to take the next step forward in the playoffs, His team would attempt to repair front-end, rear-end and right side damage and get John Hunter back into the race. At his point, Nemechek and Briscoe would be tied for the final spot in the Round of 6. Greenfield would bring his machine to pit road to try and repair crash damage. Smith would retire from the race.
During the caution period, most of the leaders came to pit road for fuel. They were not inside of their pit window and should not be able to finish without pitting again without saving fuel or having another caution period. Friesen stayed out and in the lead. Kligerman, Sauter and Haley stayed out as well.
The field took the green with 34 laps to go. Friesen still leading and Kligerman trying to get in front as they headed into turn one. He would make the pass with some help from Christopher Bell. Kligerman was in first and Bell in second.
The field would get back to single file. Nemechek and Crafton were both able to reach minimum speed, so their five minute damage clocks would be reset, allowing them to make as many repairs as needed if another caution were to fly. Both were near the rear of the field.
With 32 laps to go, those who did not pit under the previous caution came to pit road for green flag service. Among them were the leader Kligerman, Friesen, Haley and Sauter. All went with fuel only. Friesen's crew had an issue getting the fuel can engaged and he would lose a lap. There was also a concern that he did not get full of fuel before leaving.
Cody Coughlin would inherit the lead with Kligerman and others heading to pit road. He would be followed single file by Enfinger, Bell, Gragson and Snider. Spencer Boyd, who to this point had taken two free passes, would hold down the sixth position.
With 25 laps to go, Clay Greenfield, in his damaged machine, led the outside line back even with the front. Greenfield and Coughlin would go side-by-side for the lead until Enfinger and Bell would be able to slide up into a small window as Greenfield fell back a couple of car lengths. Enfinger would lead Bell past Coughlin and into the top two positions.
Just as Enfinger was taking the lead through the tri-oval, trouble broke loose again, this time immediately behind the top two machines. Rhodes and Greenfield tried to go three wide past Coughlin. Cody lost momentum and backed up quickly. Myatt Snider wiggled a bit trying to check up and caught the right rear of Coughlin's No. 13. Coughlin spun to the outside in front of traffic. He collected Chris Fontaine and Ben Rhodes into the outside wall. Rhodes then spun to the inside and was hit by Wendell Chavous. Coughlin did become airborne for a brief moment, jumping on top of the hood of Fontaine's machine. Chris Fontaine took a seat on the pavement after being helped from his truck and before walking to a nearby ambulance. He would eventually be checked and released from the infield care center. This incident brought out a red flag.
Once the red flag was lifted, John Hunter Nemechek immediately came to pit road to try and make more repairs to his heavily damaged truck. His battle with Chase Briscoe was extremely close and Nemechek's team was doing everything possible to make sure the No. 8 could finish the race without further incident.
None of the leaders chose to pit under this caution. Stuart Friesen came in to make sure his machine was topped off with fuel, trying to recover from their mistake on the previous stop.
Christopher Bell and Grant Enfinger led the field back to green with 18 laps to go. The top nine trucks raced side-by-side, in a pack of their own, for the first few laps. Enfinger fought around the outside to take the lead. Johnny Sauter would follow him to the inside line in second place.
Enfinger led the single file lead pack while Nemechek and Briscoe battled side-by-side in a literal dead heat for the final spot in the Round of 6. Their battle raged near the back of the pack. Nemechek would continually race around the outside, trying to gain a position on Briscoe, only to fall back because he could not find any drafting partners.
The race for the lead heated up with 10 laps to go. Sauter pulled to the outside to challenge Enfinger for the lead. Others followed into the outside lane and drivers began shuffling positions. This started two and three wide shuffling throughout the lead pack. Enfinger would briefly prevail, but Sauter jammed his way back around the outside and into the lead. This left Enfinger hanging out in the middle lane and he faded back into the pack. Parker Kligerman made a move below the double yellow line, which would normally mean a penalty. It appeared as though Enfinger may have forced the No. 75 below the line, which could keep NASCAR from issuing the penalty. In all the pushing and shoving for position, Christopher Bell ended up in the lead.
With five laps to go, caution flew as Austin Wayne Self spun by himself. Self would pit for repairs and the field would reset behind the pace truck.
The race would go into overtime with Christopher Bell in the lead. Parker Kligerman would start on the outside of the front row. Nemechek and Briscoe continued their battle for the Round of 6, still in a virtual tie.
Kligerman and Enfinger would swing past Bell and to the front as they came through turns three and four to take the white flag. Drivers began fanning out, looking to move forward. As the field entered the tri-oval, Kligerman led across the line.
Aggressive driving coming under the white flag would cost several drivers. Sauter jumped to the outside just as the inside line lost some momentum. The inside line stacked up underneath the No. 21 and he would find himself on the outside of a three wide battle with Austin Cindric and Noah Gragson. Justin Haley tried to go four wide and there was contact. Sauter, Haley and Gragson would crash into the outside wall. Haley was hooked from behind and spun back in front of the pack. Several more trucks would get collected and suffer heavy damage. In all the carnage, John Hunter Nemechek found his way through and continued towards the checkers. He would finish sixth and would take the final spot into the Round of 6 over Chase Briscoe, who was collected and suffered front end damage. He was able to limp across the finish line.
Parker Kligerman took the checkered flag and the yellow flag as the field, and the race for the playoffs, became more scrambled behind him.
This was Parker Kligerman's second NCWTS win, both coming at Talladega. He also won the 2012 race. After arriving in victory lane Kligerman talked about how everything seemed to go his way in the closing laps, "You know, it was just crazy. Every move worked. Its just sometimes they click. Those last ten laps no matter if I went high, I seperate the pack, the bump and the run, every move just worked. And sometimes they go your way and it was awesome."
Top ten finishers, in order: Kligerman, Bell, Snider, Enfinger, Cindric, Nemechek, Vinnie Miller, Greenfield, Crafton, Tyler Young.
The drivers advancing to the Round of 6: Christopher Bell, Ben Rhodes, Johnny Sauter, Matt Crafton, Austin Cindric, John Hunter Nemechek.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series begins the Round of 6 at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday, October 28 when they run the Texas Roadhouse 200 Presented by Alpha Energy Solutions. (1 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)