JGR Leads The Pack
Joe Gibbs Racing has never won an Xfinity race on the 1.5 mile track but all three of their drivers had great speed during all three qualifying sessions. Kyle Busch, Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez will all lead the field to green when the 200-lap race rolls off later this afternoon.
Busch led round one in the No. 18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota with a lap time of 29.522. Busch bettered his time by .086 in round two with 29.436. He went on to grab his 50th Xfinity pole in the five-minute dash known as round three, posting a time of 29.559.
Jones had solid qualifying laps to earn a front row starting spot. He recorded a lap of 29.566 in the final round and will start second in the No. 20 Interstate Batteries Toyota.
Suarez wasn't far behind his teammates in the qualifying rounds. He will start third behind Busch in the No. 19 ARRIS Toyota. Suarez is currently ranked second in the Xfinity standings, just three points behind Elliott Sadler.
Tune into FS1, PRN and Sirius XM Channel 90 for race coverage starting at 12:30 PM PT, 3:30 PM ET.
Here's how the qualifying session stacked up:
1. Kyle Busch
2. Erik Jones
3. Brandon Jones
1. Kyle Busch
2. Daniel Suarez
3. Erik Jones
Top 10 Starters
1. Kyle Busch
2. Erik Jones
3. Daniel Suarez
4. Chase Elliott
5. Brandon Jones
6. Justin Allgaier
7. Elliott Sadler
8. Brendan Gaughan
9. Ty Dillon
10. Aric Almirola
NXS Preview - Dillon Looks To Repeat
Austin Dillon is the defending race winner and he is hoping for a repeat in the No. 2 Rheem Chevrolet. If that would happen, Dillon would become the first driver to win back‐to‐back series races at Las Vegas. The double‐duty driver for Richard Childress Racing led 183 laps in 2015's race to capture the victory. Dillon has three starts, one win, three top‐10's and an average finish of 4.7 at the intermediate track north of the strip.
Along with Dillon, there are four other drivers running both Saturday's and Sunday's races. One of them is Kyle Busch in the No. 18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota. The Vegas native is coming off a win in Atlanta a week ago, which marked his 77th victory in the series. On his home turf, Busch has made 11 starts, earned three top fives and an 18.2 average finish.
Ones to Watch
While it's possible this race could be dominated by cup regulars, let's take a look at the Xfinity favorites and contenders:
‐ Elliott Sadler is the current points leader, three points over Daniel Suarez. It's early in the season but, according to loop data, the No. 1 One Main Chevrolet driver is seventh in average running position with 8.5. and has a eighth‐place driver rating of 97.6. Sadler has nine starts at Vegas with an average finish of 12.3.
‐ Daniel Suarez is currently ranked second in the standings behind Sadler. The No. 19 ARRIS Toyota driver has only one start at Vegas in which he finished 10th.
‐ Erik Jones is the leading rookie in the bunch. The reigning NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion started third and led seven laps before getting into an accident in last year's Vegas Xfinity race. Jones will be looking for better results when he straps into the No. 20 Interstate Batteries Toyota.
‐ After taking flight with the US Thunderbirds at neaby Nellis Air Force Base, 22‐year‐old Ryan Reed will make his 75th Xfinity start in the No. 6 Lilly Diabetes/American Diabetes Association Ford Mustang. The Roush‐Fenway driver has been able to not only promote awareness for diabetes but beat the odds of the disease himself.
‐ Brendan Gaughan is another hometown favorite that must not be forgotten. The No. 62 South Point Chevy driver returns to his home track ranked sixth in the Xfinity standings. He's made five previous starts and earned one top five as well as three top‐10 finishes in his own backyard.
Qualifying will begin Saturday morning at 9:45 AM PT (track time), 12:45 PM ET and can be seen on FS2. Then you will want to return to the couch for the main event, which will kick off at 1:00 PM PT, 4:00 PM ET on FS1, PRN and Sirius XM Channel 90.
As the night was set to be a historic one at the Homestead-Miami Speedway for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series finale, Matt Crafton went on to take the final race of the 2015 season with a historic visit to victory lane at the 1.5-mile track.
While the headlines prior to the Ford EcoBoost 200 were centered on the championship race between Tyler Reddick and Erik Jones, Crafton – who had been in championship contention — entered the night with the most starts in the Truck Series with 361. While breaking a record for most starts previously set by Ron Hornaday, Crafton was looking to end his season with his sixth victory of 2015.
After falling out of the championship contention at Phoenix, Crafton stayed out front and dominated the season finale. The win at Homestead is Crafton’s first at the track and first win starting from the pole.
“I was having so much fun right there at the end,” said Crafton in Victory Lane. “And they were trying to slow me down, but I’m like, I want to see how far I can get out, but it’s all about these guys behind me. They built these trucks and I’m just the lucky guy who gets to drive them. It’s been awesome. “
Despite coming short of his third consecutive championship, Crafton said 2015 was a dream season and that the team will grow from it.
“Just six wins and as many laps as we led, it’s been awesome. I’ve said, like it’s been a dream season there, we just had too many mistakes. I mean I made mistakes, we've all made mistakes and we're all human, but 2016 we're going to be stronger from it,” said Crafton.
Although Crafton made the trip to victory lane at Homestead, Jones went on to take the 2015 championship. Jones also made Truck Series history by becoming the youngest driver to win the championship. Austin Dillon was the last to have that feat when he won the title in 2011.
Along with winning the 2015 championship, Jones also captured the owners’ championship for Kyle Busch Motorsports. It will mark their fourth owners’ title in the series since forming in 2009. Jones’s Camping World Truck Series championship win is also the first driver title under the Kyle Busch Motorsports banner.
After spending the last two seasons as a part time driver for KBM, Jones said he couldn’t find a better way to thank KBM in his first full-time season.
“It was just so, so special for everybody here to close off this run like this,” said Jones. “I’ve had a great three years with these guys. I can’t think of a better way to repay these guys.”
Owner Kyle Busch was quite impressed with the accomplishment by Jones this season.
“Just really impressed to see what kind of kid he is,” said Busch. “He didn't want to be there for two part-time seasons, but he was. I think he learned a tremendous amount in those seasons.”
Despite running in the top five for most of the night, Reddick ended his championship quest by finishing third at Homestead and 15 points behind Jones in the standings. Regardless of the outcome, Reddick said that he will take the results of 2015 and move on to 2016.
“Our guys did great all year long, all season long. We had a great strong effort, all of our guys,” said Reddick after the race. “Unfortunately we were just a little short but work on it. Thank goodness I got next year to try to chip at it and try to get it done and that’s what we're looking forward to now. “
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will return to action at the Daytona International Speedway on Friday, February 19, 2016. The Nextra Energy Resources 250 will air live on FOX Sports 1 at 7:30 p.m. ET.
History in the Making in Truck Series Finale at Homestead
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at the Homestead-Miami Speedway will be an important one for drivers Erik Jones and Tyler Reddick. Not only are both drivers looking to capture their first national series championship, but also a shot of making history in the series.
The two drivers go into the season finale separated by 19 points in the driver standings. As they attempt to win the title, both drivers will have a shot at making NASCAR history by becoming the youngest Camping World Truck Series champion, a feat last accomplished by Austin Dillon in 2011.
With the opportunity to make history and to win the championship, both drivers look at the opportunity of bringing their respective race teams – Kyle Busch Motorsports and Brad Keselowski Racing -- their very first driver championship.
“I think it's definitely a pretty cool accomplishment, let alone winning the championship but being the youngest to do it,” said Jones in a press conference. “All along our goal at KBM has been for me to run for a driver's championship, and be able to get KBM its first driver's championship.”
“Obviously, I've been really wanting to come in here, and our goal this year was to win a championship, and hopefully we can do that,” said Reddick in a press conference. Being the youngest would be a bonus as well.”
When the season began in February at Daytona, it would mark of the start of the championship hunt for Reddick – who began the season as BKR’s primary driver. At Daytona, Reddick was the first driver to make his way to Victory Lane in 2015, in a season that featured numerous race winners throughout the year. The win at Daytona was Reddick’s first career win in the Camping World Truck Series and a win that would later put him in the championship picture.
As the season progressed, Reddick went on to capture his second win of the season at Dover. Throughout 22 races, Reddick has captured two wins, 13 top five, and 18 top 10 finishes. He has averaged a start of 8.8 and an average finish of 6.5.
For Jones, 2015 was his first full-time season with KBM and a contender for Rookie of the Year honors. While Reddick went on to win the first race of the year, Jones started out with a second place finish at Daytona. When the series made its way to the Midwest at Iowa, Jones made his first visit to Victory Lane in 2015. He went on to win two more races – at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Texas – which catapulted him to the top of the driver standings.
In the 22 races so far in 2015, Jones has three wins, 11 top five, 19 top 10 finishes and five poles.
While both Reddick and Jones look to win their first respective NASCAR championship, another challenge they faced along the way was the defending and two-time champion Matt Crafton. Crafton’s title chances diminished at Phoenix after some contact with Jones while racing for the lead in the closing laps. Reddick and Jones may be the final two championship contenders, but Crafton had been close to competing for the series title, as he was 10 points behind Jones in the standings at one point.
Going into Homestead, it will be Jones’s first truck series race at the 1.5-mile track. Reddick has only one start in the series at Homestead last season where he finished sixth after starting the race in fourth. Both drivers also enter the weekend looking to deliver an owner’s title.
In the clinching scenarios in the championship race, Jones can win the title by finishing 15th or better, 16th by leading one lap or 17th with the most laps led of any driver. That same scenario applies in the owners’ championship hunt as well.
On the optimism going into Homestead and his chances of winning the championship, Reddick said, “Well, obviously, we've just got to have a good weekend as a team. Fortunately last year there we had a good bit of speed and we were fast, so we just go in and continue to work on the things we did when we were last there, I think we'll be fast. Obviously, the situation we're in, we're going to have to run very good. We're going to have to win and leave as many laps as possible to try and put Erik in a situation where he has to run 15th or so better.”
With a 19-point lead over Reddick going into the season finale, Jones feels comfortable with the point’s gap.
“Well, it's nice to have a cushion for sure. It's way better than going into the race and leading by three points or five points or something like that. So it's fortunate we are in a situation where we don't have to win the race. We don't have to run top 5. We don't even really have to run top 10. So I think it's going to be somewhat conservative of an approach, but I don't think we need to change our approach by a whole lot,” said Jones.
Erik Jones wins the American Ethanol 200 at Iowa Speedway
After coming close numerous occasions throughout this season, Erik Jones finally captured his first win of the 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season. The victory earned the Michigan native his second win at the 0.875-mile oval in central Iowa.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Jones in victory lane. “It sure feels good to get a win here at Iowa. This is kind of where we turned our season last year.”
Jones, who started the evening from the pole, finished the night with a margin of victory by 5.861 seconds over Brandon Jones in second. Jones fell shy of the win in several races this season, including Gateway last weekend.
“We’ve had fast trucks,” Jones said. “Things just haven’t been happening. Just kept fighting the good fight and waited for it to come around.”
Matt Crafton, who came into the race tonight searching for his third win of the season, battled with Tyler Reddick for the third-place finishing position in the closing laps. Crafton was not able to get around Reddick and had to settle for fourth.
Christopher Bell, who made his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut with Kyle Busch Motorsports, started his career off with a solid race. Bell had a clean race with a fifth-place finish after starting the night in 10th.
Crafton continues to lead the series point’s standings by 12 point’s over Tyler Reddick. Erik Jones moves up into third with the win on Friday night. Johnny Sauter will drop back into fourth after some trouble on the track.
The next race for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will be at the Kentucky Speedway on July 9. Fans can watch the race on FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports Go. You can also listen to the race on Motor Racing Network.