Monday, Jan 17

Grant Enfinger will win the Fred’s 250 at Talladega Superspeedway. This is his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. GMS Racing will sweep the superspeedway races in 2016 as the victor. Enfinger was the 2015 ARCA champion.

 

“It’s unbelievable. This is my home track. It’s just so special for everybody thats here. We came here as fans; thats how this whole deal started. This is for these guys (the team) right here. It’s pretty unbelievable,” said Enfinger in a post race interview.

 

The first half saw Enfinger taking an early lead after starting on the front row. He attempted to block the momentum from both the outside and inside lane. However, the bottom lane had the momentum in the early stages of the race. The caution flew for John Hunter Nemechek, who blew up as the field was on the backstretch. When the field went back to green, the inside lane continued to have the momentum. Korbin Forrister dropped back of the pack because he was shuffled out of the back. After shuffling Austin Cindric out of the lead of the outside lane, Timothy Peters was able to lead the outside lane to the front. Cody Coughlin was shuffled out of the draft, but stalled on the backstretch. After going back to green, the caution flew due a spin by John Wes Townley, who was battling for the lead, that caught Daniel Hemric, who was racing his way out of being eliminated. Peters was the leader, William Byron was second, Ben Rhodes was third, Ben Kennedy was fourth, and Brandon Brown rounded out the top five as the race entered the second half.

 

At the beginning of the second half, Peters started as the leader, but the outside lane pushed Kennedy to the lead. However, the caution flew after a spin by Dylan Lupton that caught Brandon Hightower and Cody Ware on the front stretch. When the field went back to green, the inside and outside lane had the same momentum, but the caution flew for a big wreck that started when Ben Rhodes shot to the outside wall and went back down into the pack to collect numerous cars. After a lengthy cleanup, the race went back to green with Enfinger as the early leader, but Matt Tifft continued to swap the lead. The outside lane lost momentum as drivers were working on the bottom. The caution flew for a single car spin by Hemric. When the field went back to green, it was a GMS Racing trio with Enfinger, Gallagher, and Kennedy, but the caution flew as Crafton blew an engine. The field went back to green with two laps remaining, but Enfinger ended up with the victory, Gallagher finished second, Peters finished third, Rico Abreu finished fourth, and Kennedy rounded out the top-five.

 

The race saw seven cautions for 33 laps. The average speed of the race was 119.161 mph. The time of race was 2 hours, 5 minutes, and 54 seconds. The margin of victory was 0.107 seconds.

 

Hemric and Nemechek are the two drivers who will not advance to the “Round of 6” in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series chase. Going into Martinsville, Byron will be the top seed with his win in New Hampshire. Bell, Peters, Kennedy, Sauter, and Crafton remain in the Chase.

 

Next up for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will be the Texas Roadhouse 200 at Martinsville Speedway. Fox Sports 1 and Motor Racing Network will have the call at 1:30 p.m. EST.

Cole Custer will start from the pole position in today’s Fred’s 250 at Talladega Superspeedway. This is his fifth career pole, and his second pole of the season. This is his first start at Talladega.

 

The first round of qualifying saw drivers warm-up on the high line, and run on the bottom during their timed lap. Qualifying was stopped for Dylan Lupton as he was stopped at the entrance of pit road. Qualifying was also stopped for debris from the car of Clay Greenfield. Chase drivers who did not advance to the second round of qualifying will be Matt Crafton who will start 13th, Christopher Bell who will start 14th, and Daniel Hemric who qualified 17th. The four drivers who will be packing and heading home will be Parker Kligerman, Jennifer Jo Cobb, Ryan Ellis, and Clay Greenfield. Timothy Peters was fastest in the first round at 177.936 mph, Johnny Sauter was second at 177.893 mph, Grant Enfinger was third at 177.867 mph, Custer was fourth at 177.854 mph, and Spencer Gallagher rounded out the top five at 177.639 mph.

 

The second round of qualifying went without incident. Custer qualified first at 178.417 mph, Enfinger qualified second at 178.380 mph, Gallagher qualified third at 178.168 mph, Ben Kennedy qualified fourth at 178.145 mph, and Sauter rounded out the top-five at 177.811 mph.

 

The Fred’s 250 will begin at 12:30 p.m. EST on FOX and Motor Racing Network.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series gambled their way out of Las Vegas to head to Talladega Superspeedway for the Fred’s 250.  This is the first elimination race of the inaugural Chase.

 

35 drivers will strive to compete for 32 spots. There will not be a presence made by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers.

 

Talladega Superspeedway is the largest and steepest track on the NASCAR circuit at 2.66-miles in length and is banked at 33 degrees. After Daytona was built in 1959, Bill France Sr. wanted to build something bigger and better for the stars of NASCAR to race on. The speedway hosted its first event in 1969. The first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race held at Talladega was in 2006 won by Mark Martin.

 

There have been 10 races run at Talladega. For each race, a new driver has set on the pole. The youngest pole winner at Talladega is Tyler Reddick; Ron Hornaday Jr. is the oldest pole winner. Despite having different pole winners each year, there have been only seven different winners. In 2012, Parker Kligerman became the youngest race winner at 22 years; In 2011, Mike Wallace became the oldest winner at 52 years. Three races have been won from the pole with the last race being last year when Timothy Peters snagged the checkered flag. In 2008, the race record was set by Todd Bodine at 145. 513 mph. In 2014, Tyler Reddick set the qualifying record at 186.827 mph.

 

Two will be eliminated and dreams dashed will be for their hopes at a championship. With his win at New Hampshire, William Byron is a lock into the next round. Daniel Hemric and John Hunter Nemechek are the sole drivers who must win or have strong finishes in an effort to keep the hope alive for a championship. Ben Kennedy, Timothy Peters, and Johnny Sauter are the three drivers near the cutoff line, but still have hope for a chance at a championship.

 

The Chase drivers talk about their approach to Talladega.

 

"Talladega has not been my friend the last two years. I was doing well last year but got caught in The Big One toward the end. I'm pretty confident this team will run well though. I saw what GMS was able to do at Daytona, winning the pole and the race, and how they ran at Talladega last year so I know their superspeedway trucks can compete,” said Kennedy.

 

“I'm looking forward to going to Talladega Superspeedway, and I know there's a lot on the line for this No. 19 team. I think we learned a lot for our superspeedway package from the third truck we ran in Daytona with Austin Theriault, and hopefully that transfers over to myself, Tyler Reddick and Austin Cindric. Having an extra teammate to work with, especially given our current Chase points situation, definitely won't hurt. We've got to utilize each other to maximize our day and show what we can do together. We have to unload with decent speed and follow the process of everything it takes to get to the front in a superspeedway race from the very first practice, both on the racetrack and on pit road. That's the key to having a solid day,” said Hemric.

 

“I’m just going to try to go as hard as I can. I want to learn more restrictor-plate racing styles and techniques that I wasn’t really able to learn in the beginning of the year since it was my first race. I think we’ll just go with that mindset and hopefully try and get a win and do a good job,” said Byron.

 

All practice sessions for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will be held on Friday at 1:00 p.m. EST and 3:00 p.m. EST on Fox Sports 1. Qualifying will be held at 10:30 a.m. EST on Fox Sports 1. The Fred’s 250 will be on FOX beginning at 1:00 p.m. EST. Motor Racing Network will have the call of the Fred’s 250 at 12:30 p.m. EST.

Fire up the scanners, it is time for Crew Chatter with Speedway Digest writers. This week we tackle Talladega with the question, “With the Chase for the Sprint Cup reaching its halfway point, who is hot and who is not going into the second half?”

 

Brett Winningham

The two drivers I'm really surprised by is Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski. I thought those two drivers were gonna be on fire in this years Chase. I think you could also say the same about Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott. I felt going into this thing that they would be atop the standings throughout the entirety as well. 

Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson, who already have their tickets punched into the next round of the Chase, were definitely expected. As well as Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards. One driver I thought would be higher up a little bit in this round is Martin Truex Jr. 

It'll be interesting to see if a driver facing elimination can add their name to the win column this weekend. With it being Talladega, and that anything can happen, it probably won't surprise us if a driver facing elimination does win. 

 

Katie Williams

If I had to pick someone who's hot right now, it's Jimmie Johnson. He won races earlier in the regular season, then he was quiet all summer. Fans were asking 'what's wrong with Jimmie?' Absolutely nothing. I think some drivers have their peak times during the year, just as I seem to on the back of a horse. 

Once Johnson got to the Chase, there were some pit road problems that probably cost him winning a race in the 'Round of 16' but he won Charlotte to move into the 'eight'. He finished fourth at Kansas, not a trip to Victory Lane, but enough to keep him at the top of the playoff standings with 3048 points. Who knows what will happen at Talladega but he's safe.

I'm staying in the Hendrick camp for my driver 'who's not' hot, Chase Elliott. It seems like he's hot and then he's cold during every race. Has been in the hunt for a win but it always seems to escape him. For instance, last week, he ran in the top five and led laps but a smoking left rear tire dampened his chances again. I think he needs to capitalize on a win to stay in the Chase. Even if he doesn't get caught in the 'big one', he's still in 'Elimination Station'.

 

Davey Segal

Who's hot: Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick (obviously). The only two drivers with bids into the Round of 8 can rest easy heading into Talladega. For the other 10 drivers, that's not the case. However, there are a couple more drivers who are hot.

They include a couple Toyota's in Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. The defending champion is in solid shape heading into the final race of this round and has been the brightest spot for JGR throughout the season.

As for the No. 78, despite his struggles this round, when you look at his round one and the fact that he's to the good as of now, he has been one of the dominant cars throughout the Chase.

Who's not: Austin Dillon and Chase Elliott. Dillon was an unpopular pick to advance to the Round of 12. Yet, here he is: tied with the man who swept this round one year ago, Joey Logano, for the final transfer spot. He has been okay, but not dazzling. He has to dazzle on Sunday at 'Dega (his favorite and statistically best track) if he wants to advance.

Elliott has shown speed throughout the Chase, but hasn't had the luck and circumstances fall his way. From getting hit from behind at Charlotte to tire issues at Kansas, the No. 24's results haven't been indicative of how he's ran so far. Nevertheless, he's in a must-win situation -- for all intents and purposes -- this weekend.

Denny Hamlin also is cooling off. He's experiencing more "Denny Hamlin Luck" in the Chase with blown engines, delaminated splitters and more. Being JGR car, he has the speed, but the luck might bite Hamlin once again in 2016.Who's hot: Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick (obviously). The only two drivers with bids into the Round of 8 can rest easy heading into Talladega. For the other 10 drivers, that's not the case. However, there are a couple more drivers who are hot.

They include a couple Toyota's in Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. The defending champion is in solid shape heading into the final race of this round and has been the brightest spot for JGR throughout the season.

As for the No. 78, despite his struggles this round, when you look at his round one and the fact that he's to the good as of now, he has been one of the dominant cars throughout the Chase.

Who's not: Austin Dillon and Chase Elliott. Dillon was an unpopular pick to advance to the Round of 12. Yet, here he is: tied with the man who swept this round one year ago, Joey Logano, for the final transfer spot. He has been okay, but not dazzling. He has to dazzle on Sunday at 'Dega (his favorite and statistically best track) if he wants to advance.

Elliott has shown speed throughout the Chase, but hasn't had the luck and circumstances fall his way. From getting hit from behind at Charlotte to tire issues at Kansas, the No. 24's results haven't been indicative of how he's ran so far. Nevertheless, he's in a must-win situation -- for all intents and purposes -- this weekend.

Denny Hamlin also is cooling off. He's experiencing more "Denny Hamlin Luck" in the Chase with blown engines, delaminated splitters and more. Being JGR car, he has the speed, but the luck might bite Hamlin once again in 2016.


Caleb Whisler

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chase has seen dominate cars during the regular season seem to fade away. Toyota has been matched by Hendrick Motorsports as the Chase for the Sprint Cup began. The hottest drivers right now have to be Jimmie Johnson and Harvick. The lukewarm drivers would have to be the Joe Gibbs Racing camp including the satellite of Marin Truex Jr. The cold drivers would have to be Austin Dillon, Chase Elliott, and Kurt Busch. Something has to happen for these drivers to  advance.

Crew Chatter: Kansas

Sunday, Oct 16

Fire up the scanners, it is time for Crew Chatter with Speedway Digest writers. This week we tackle Kansas with the question, “Should NASCAR limit the participation of Sprint Cup drivers in the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series Chase?”

 

Brett Winningham

 

This is an interesting question that is always popping up. I think this is something that should be left up to the drivers in the series as I have posed this question to the regulars numerous times and have yet to find one driver who said they shouldn't. The regulars love the Sprint Cup Series racers in the series because it makes them feel proud of themselves when they go out there and beat them. I will say that the races are much better when it's all series regulars. But if the regulars enjoy the challenge of having them there then why take it away because we don't like it? 

 

Katie Williams

 

Yes! I think it's a good thing they can't run at Homestead and I don't think they need to run during the rest of the Chase either. If they are not currently in the running for the Cup title, then things might be different. There might be some who aren't going to be factors in the XFINITY and truck race but they may still need some seat time. I thought it was just fine that the current 'Chasers' and double-duty drivers like Kyle Busch and Austin Dillon did not run both races at Dover when that race became a double header after being postponed for weather conditions.  Another thing is when you have a Cup driver 'stink up an NXS or truck show', not much can change in the Chase standings in those two divisions. 

 

 

Davey Segal

Absolutely.

 

The Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series Chases will have a champion that is a regular in that series. The races that make up the playoffs for those respective series should only include those drivers eligible for the championship in that series.

 

Or maybe NASCAR could limit participation from Cup Chase drivers in the lower series, and Xfinity drivers in the Truck Series. I'm a firm believer that the championship should be decided with the drivers who have fought tooth and nail all year long to get to where they are, and shouldn't have Cup regulars spoil the party.

 

You'll probably see that Homestead will be one of the best races of the season, due to the drama, high intensity and everything being on the line. And with no Cup regulars in the races, the drivers will be free of worry, and can put on a show.

 

 

Caleb Whisler

 

I believe NASCAR should limit that participation from Sprint Cup drivers. At Kentucky and Dover, we saw Xfinity Series regulars battle it out in an uninterrupted battle to win. New Hampshire and Las Vegas saw the same action without Cup participation for the Camping World Truck Series. There is many reasons why I believe that participation should be limited is because names have to be made in those series for those drivers to advance to the Sprint Cup ranks. However, I also believe that Xfinity and Truck regulars like that participation from Cup drivers because it shows that they can beat Cup drivers on any given week. Sponsorship is the main reason why Sprint Cup drivers drive in these two series. It will be interesting to see what NASCAR does after this year.

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