Steven B. Wilson
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Youth has been served once more in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Christopher Bell, 22, completed an outstanding sophomore campaign by capturing the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship following Friday night’s Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
To capture the crown, Bell, who finished second, outdueled fellow Championship 4 contenders Johnny Sauter (third-place finish), Austin Cindric (fifth) and Matt Crafton (sixth) at the South Florida track.
At 22 years, 11 months, 1 day, Bell is the fourth-youngest champion in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series history.
Scoring a series-high five wins and winning the regular season championship, Bell dominated the 2017 season to earn a second-consecutive spot in the Championship 4. Bell punched his ticket to the playoffs early, winning the second race of the season at Atlanta. From there he continued his winning ways with regular season victories at Texas, Kentucky and Pocono. Bell’s momentum continued in the playoffs, where he captured a win in the playoff opener at New Hampshire.
Bell finished this season with five wins, and series highs in both top fives (15) and top 10s (21).
A former dirt standout, Bell will run fulltime with Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2018.
Bell’s No. 4 Toyota won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Owner Championship, the fifth consecutive title for Kyle Busch Motorsports, and sixth overall. The No. 4 Toyota also won the owner title in 2015 with driver Erik Jones.
Chase Briscoe captured the 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year. Driving for Brad Keselowski Racing, Briscoe ended the season in stirring fashion, collecting his career-first win, at Homestead, to collect his 10th top five of the season.
Toyota won its record-extended 10th Manufacturers Championship, and fifth in a row. After a strong season that included 12 victories, a single Toyota needed only to start tonight’s race to ensure the title.
For their final race together, Ryan Blaney and the Wood Brothers team will start the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway from a familiar position.
Blaney, crew chief Jeremy Bullins, and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team bounced back from a mediocre practice session to advance through all three rounds of knock-out qualifying and earn the 11th starting spot for Sunday’s finale of Ford Championship Weekend.
It was the 26th time in 36 races this season that Blaney and the No. 21 team have qualified among the top 12.
“Ryan and the crew made some changes after practice, and obviously they were right ones,” team co-owner Eddie Wood said. “It’s really satisfying to be among the top 12 in our last race together, and I’m glad they were able to find some good speed tonight since they’ve been so good in qualifying all season.”
Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team were 20th fastest in Friday’s opening practice, with a best lap at 168.972 miles per hour.
After some tuning on the No. 21 Fusion, Blaney was 14th fastest in the opening round of qualifying with a speed of 172.590 mph.
He ran a lap at 173.055 mph in Round Two, which was ninth fastest of the 24 drivers and earned him a spot among the elite 12 qualifiers.
His final lap, a 171.255 mph, earned him the 11th starting spot for Sunday’s season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400.
“We made improvements from the first round to the second round, but we fell off for the third round,”
Blaney said in his post-qualifying comments. “We missed a bit on that last adjustment. It was a good effort.”
Blaney also said the increase in his speed in qualifying compared to his speed in practice was due in part to the fact that practice was held during the day and qualifying at night.
“We made some adjustments to the car between practice and qualifying, but the biggest difference is the temperature,” he said.
Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 is set to get the green flag just after 2:30 p.m. with TV coverage on NBC.
Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 car for Joe Gibbs Racing, will lead the field for Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway after winning the Coors Light Pole with a lap of 31.038 seconds, 173.980 mph.
Hamlin earned his second pole and 24th top-10 start in the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, and his second pole (2015) in 13 races at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Hamlin has four top-5 and eight top-10 finishes at Homestead-Miami Speedway, which includes wins in the Ford EcoBoost 400 in 2009 and 2013.
“Honestly, it was a great run and we did great adjustments there,” said Hamlin. “Our car was obviously very fast that last run. I love this race track and wish we would have our chance, but that will be another day, another year for us.”
The Championship 4 drivers – Martin Truex Jr., Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick – will be starting within the top-10 positions for Sunday’s championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Truex will start alongside Hamlin in the front row in the second position, while Busch will start in third. Keselowski will begin the 267-lap championship race in fifth and Harvick will start in the ninth position.
“It was a good day overall,” said Truex following the qualifying session. “We missed it a little bit that last round and lost more grip than I anticipated. We made some adjustments and knew it was going to go that way, but just not far enough. I can’t say enough about this group, just a really strong day – five one-thousandths away from it being a perfect day. Just proud of everyone and they did what they needed to do today and we’ll get to work tomorrow.”
“Definitely was pole worthy, so I hate it that we weren’t able to get the number one pit stall,” said Busch about his qualifying run. “I felt like that was a great opportunity. I felt like when Truex ran the .043 that there was a shot out there for a 90-something. That’s kind of what I was shooting for. I was trying to find that 90 and being able to be number one.”
Tickets to Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 championship finale, in addition to tomorrow’s XFINITY Series Ford EcoBoost 300 championship race, are available and can be purchased by calling (866) 409-RACE (7223) or visiting www.HomesteadMiamiSpeedway.com
The Ford EcoBoost 400, which will air on NBC and MRN Radio/Sirius XM, will start at 2:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, November 19.
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Fan favorite Danica Patrick announced Friday, Nov. 17 she plans to race in the 102nd Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil in May 2018, the last start in her barrier-breaking career as a race driver.
Patrick, from Roscoe, Illinois, has made seven career starts in "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" from 2005-11, setting a number of milestones for female drivers.
Her best finish - third in 2009 - and start - fourth as a rookie in 2005 - both are records for female drivers in the "500." She also has led 29 laps during her "500" career, including 19 in her electrifying debut in 2005. Both also are race records for a female driver.
"This will be my last season as a full-time driver," Patrick said of 2017. "I'm not totally done. I'm going to do the Daytona 500 and Indy 500 next year, and I'm really excited about that. I think it's going to be a great way to cap it off."
Patrick, 35, intends to complete a "Danica Double" comprised of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 18 at Daytona International Speedway and then the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on Sunday, May 27 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the last two starts in her career.
She has raced full time in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series for Stewart-Haas Racing since 2013, including five consecutive starts in the Big Machine Brickyard 400.
Patrick did not reveal during the press conference at Homestead-Miami Speedway the team with which she will make her final Indianapolis 500 start.
"We're glad Danica plans to return to the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil next May," IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. "Her final career start will make what's already shaping up to be a terrific Month of May even more interesting for our fans.
"It's also fitting that Danica is wrapping up her career at the place and in the race where she became a household name and captured the world's attention in 2005 - the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500. We're looking forward to seeing her back in an Indy car next May alongside all of the tremendous drivers of the Verizon IndyCar Series."
Tickets for all Month of May events in 2018 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, including the fifth annual INDYCAR Grand Prix and the 102nd Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, are on sale now at IMS.com and the IMS Ticket Office.
Kids 15 and under will continue to be admitted free to all 2018 racing events at IMS when accompanied by an adult General Admission ticket-holder.
Visit IMS.com or visit the IMS Ticket Office to buy tickets for the Month of May 2018. The IMS Ticket Office is located on the first floor of the IMS Administration Building at 4790 W. 16th St. in Indianapolis. It's open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday and also can be reached at 800-822-4639 or 317-492-6700.
Danica Patrick has announced today at Homestead-Miami Speedway her retirement from full-time racing. Announces will run the 2018 Daytona 500 and Indy 500 for yet unnamed teams.
On November 22, YouTube Red will debut a brand new series from top creator Roman Atwood and Studio71. Known by millions of fans for some of the most ridiculous and outrageous feel-good moments on the internet, ROMAN ATWOOD’S DAY DREAMS will take that outrageousness to the next level with extreme projects that make people’s dreams come true. The series is executive produced by Atwood and John Fitzpatrick and Studio71’s Dan Weinstein and Rabih Gholam.
In this new series, Atwood -- along with his family and team of volunteers -- take on challenges that only an Atwood could pull off. From creating an enormous monster truck playground in Roman’s backyard to a never seen before tricycle backflip at Nitro Circus, the team will tap into people’s wildest dreams and bring them to life right in front of viewers’ eyes.
Roman Atwood said, “This was an opportunity for me to do something different in partnership with YouTube Red and to focus on doing great things for some amazing people. I’m excited for the world to see the life changing results.”
Nadine Zylstra, Head of Family Entertainment and Learning at YouTube Originals said, “Roman Atwood has always created the kind of content that appeals to people of all ages. We are sure that his current fans will be eager to check out his new series, and new viewers will be thrilled to discover him.”
YouTube Red is a subscription that gives you access to YouTube Red Original movies and series, a premium music service and an uninterrupted experience across YouTube. YouTube Red is currently available in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and Korea.
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