Christopher Bell Is The 2017 CWTS Champion, Chase Briscoe Wins The Ford EcoBoost 200

Christopher Bell

The tandem burnouts filled the frontstretch at Homestead-Miami Speedway with a thick cloud of smoke, as Chase Briscoe celebrated his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory, and runner-up Christopher Bell exulted in his first NASCAR championship.

In a Ford EcoBoost 200 that ran caution-free except for the planned breaks after the first and second stages, Briscoe, the pole winner, passed Ben Rhodes for the lead on Lap 96 of 134 on Friday night and pulled away to beat Bell to the finish line by 2.887 seconds, after Rhodes ran out of gas on Lap 129.

Two enormously talented open-wheel stars who have made successful transitions to stock car racing, Bell and Briscoe are close friends, but their careers have been following markedly different trajectories as of late.

Briscoe collected the last trophy for Brad Keselowski Racing, which is closing its doors at the end of the season, and he hasn’t announced plans for next year. Bell, on the other hand, will run for the NASCAR XFINITY Series championship next season in top-of-the-line equipment at Joe Gibbs Racing.

Bell gave Kyle Busch Motorsports its second title in three years under a format where the highest finisher among four eligible drivers—in this case Bell, Johnny Sauter, Matt Crafton and Austin Cindric–is crowned champion.

“To be able to do this for all of the guys at Kyle Busch Motorsports and to win the championship for a team that deserves the championship, words just can’t describe my feelings right now,” said Bell, who scored a series-high five victories this season.

“To run as good as we have, week in and week out, and not just this year … This whole organization, this whole team has been good for so many years. You just don’t want to be the guy that lets them down, and I’m glad I didn’t let them down tonight.”

Briscoe, who also won the 2017 Sunoco Rookie of the Year, certainly improved his standing with the win, achieved in his 23rd start in the series.

“This is a long time coming,” said Briscoe who finished one position and nearly 16 seconds ahead of third-place Sauter, the defending series champion. “So proud of all these guys. To know that they’re not going to have a job next year, and we continued to bring really good trucks even though we were outside the playoffs, such a testament to how good these Brad Keselowski guys are.

“I know two years ago I was sleeping on couches, and now to be a winner in NASCAR. I wish we were in the final four. I felt like we could have been, but that’s part of the circumstances.”

By virtue of his third-place finish, Sauter was runner-up for the championship. Cindric, Briscoe’s teammate at BKR, ran fifth, one position ahead of Crafton, a two-time series champion.

Bell started 2017 with a victory in the Chili Bowl Nationals for midget cars, a title the Oklahoma native has coveted since childhood. He ends the year as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion, a perfect bookend to a banner year for the 22-year-old prodigy.

Check out the unofficial results of the Ford EcoBoost 200.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Johnny Sauter Outlasts Them All At Phoenix

Johnny Sauter
Three red flags told the story of Friday night’s Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix Raceway.

The third of the three gave defending NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Johnny Sauter the chance he needed to win the race that set the field for next Friday’s championship event at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

When Kyle Busch Motorsports teammates Christopher Bell and Noah Gragson wrecked during an intense side-by-side duel with seven laps left, Sauter inherited the lead for a restart on Lap 149 of 150, and held off John Hunter Nemechek by .668 seconds for his second straight victory, his first at Phoenix, his fourth of the season and the 17th of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career.

“We didn’t have the best truck,” Sauter said. “We had a great truck on long runs. He (Nemechek) had fresher tires, but I knew if I could have a good Turn 1 (on the restart) and get a good launch off that corner, we’d be OK.”

By the time Sauter pulled away over the final two laps, Bell, the series leader, had clinched a spot in the Championship 4 race. So had two-time series champion Matt Crafton, who finished third in each of the first two stages to wrap up his place in the finale on points.

The second red flag followed a wild crash on the backstretch that started with trucks racing five-wide through the dogleg and wrecking when they ran out of room near the entry to Turn 3.

The first red flag was for agony and ecstasy—agony for Ben Rhodes, who was knocked out of the final four, and ecstasy for Austin Cindric, who advanced in the Playoffs to the Championship 4 and will race for the title in Miami.

After Bell and Crafton already had joined Johnny Sauter in the championship race at Homestead-Miami, the battle for the final spot took a dramatic turn when the No. 50 Chevrolet of Josh Reaume stalled on the track on Lap 122 of 150 to cause the third caution of the night.

Both Cindric and Rhodes came to pit road under the yellow, with Rhodes giving up the third position to make the stop. When the drivers lined up for a restart on Lap 130, Cindric was 11th, right behind Rhodes in ninth.

Cindric got a strong run across the start/finish line and dived to the bottom of the track. Rhodes moved down to block, and contact between the trucks sent Rhodes’ No. 27 Toyota spinning hard into the inside wall, then bouncing up the track into the No. 88 Toyota of Crafton, his ThorSport Racing teammate.

Cindric avoided damage and rolled home in ninth, earning a chance to run for the series title at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 17 in the Ford EcoBoost 200 (on FS1 at 8 p.m. ET).

“Why would he block it?” an incredulous Cindric asked on his radio after the wreck. “Why would he block that?”

Rhodes felt the Cindric’s move was unwarranted.

“He put me in a bad place and trying to do everything I could to keep the spot, but once you file into Turn 1 we were all going to wreck, so I’m not sure that was the right move on his part,” Rhodes said. “I did everything I could to just make sure we were having a good day.

“We were in front of him all day long, and we were going to be into the final four… and I don’t know. It looked like a desperation move to me, because there’s so much racing left to do.”

The exit of the Toyotas of Rhodes, Bell and Gragson gave Nemechek one final chance to stay in the Playoff with a victory. Nemechek restarted second in the outside lane but couldn’t keep up with Sauter through the first two corners.

“Our truck wasn’t that great on the outside all night,” Nemechek said. “Once Johnny got to clean air, there was really nothing I could do.

“That will probably be the most disappointing second-place finish of my career. So close, yet so far.”

Bell and Gragson swapped the lead for the first 145 laps (Bell 90, Gragson 55) before Bell pitted with damage under the final caution and handed the lead to Sauter.

“Honestly, I could see it coming,” said Sauter, who was running third when Gragson lost control, slid into Bell’s Toyota and got T-boned by Justin Haley’s Chevrolet. “I got a good run into Turn 3, and then I saw them spinning.”

And with that spin of the wheel of fortune, Sauter was in Victory Lane, heading to Homestead-Miami with the same sort of momentum that carried him to the championship last year.

Check out the unofficial results of the Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Christopher Bell Still Has His Eye On The Big Prize

Christopher Bell

 Christopher Bell put up solid numbers last year in his first full-time season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Despite finishing third in the 2016 championship standings, Bell felt that his season was lackluster and aimed to run up front and win more races in 2017.

The Oklahoma native has done just that and if you ask him about the strides he has taken, he’ll tell you that a lot of the credit goes to his crew chief, Ryan “Rudy” Fugle. Fugle is in his fourth season as a crew chief at Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) and sixth overall with the organization. The New York native has guided his team to an Owner’s championship in all three of his seasons (2013, 2015 and 2016) atop the pit box at KBM, including a combined Owner’s/Driver’s Championship with Erik Jones in 2015.

Entering Friday night’s Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway, Fugle’s drivers have combined for 21 wins, 13 poles, 2,920 laps led, 47 top-five and 70 top-10 finishes across his 89 races calling the shots at KBM. He led Jones to three wins en route to the Driver’s championship in 2015 and last season guided William Byron to a NCWTS rookie-record seven wins. Last year at Phoenix, Byron was an engine failure away from delivering back-to-back Driver’s championships for Fugle, but was still able to earn KBM its fourth consecutive and fifth overall Owner’s championship when he rebounded from the heartbreak to win the series finale at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway.

With Byron graduating to a full-time XFINITY Series ride this season, Fugle was paired with Bell and the duo has the No. 4 Toyota team in contention for another combined championship. In addition to pacing the standings for the last 10 races, the 22-year-old driver leads the Truck Series in nearly every major statistical category this season, including wins (five), poles (four), top-five finishes (14), top-10 finishes (19), driver rating (117.9), average finish (5.8), average running position (6.1), laps led (775) and fastest laps run (368).

Bell stands 55 points above the cutoff line for earning one of the three remaining spots for the championship race and if he can earn just six points in Friday night’s 150-lap event, will advance to Homestead-Miami. He finished seventh in his debut at the one-mile track last season. Fugle’s statistics as a crew chief at Phoenix are rather impressive. In his three races calling the shots in the “Valley of the Sun,” his drivers have led 67.1 percent (302) of the 576 total laps. In 2013, Jones became the youngest winner in Truck Series history at the time, when he led a race-high 84 laps en route to victory as a 17-year-old. Last season the 19-year-old Byron led a race-high 112 laps and was out front with 12 laps remaining when his engine expired.

Both Jones and Byron earned promotions to the NASCAR Xfinity Series after learning from Fugle and it already has been announced that Bell will follow in their footsteps. Before he moves on to a full-time gig with Joe Gibbs Racing next season, the talented wheelman hopes to be the next of Rudy’s tutees to hang a championship banner from the rafters at KBM.

Christopher Bell, driver of the No. 4 NCWTS Toyota Tundra:

What is your outlook heading into Phoenix Friday night?

“I’m really excited for Phoenix — it’s a place that Rudy (Fugle, crew chief) has had a ton of success at and that gives me a lot of confidence. I’ve noticed that everywhere William (Byron) won, or had strong runs at last year, that I’ve had a ton of confidence going into those places. The success has seemed to carry over — I think the majority of the tracks I’ve won at this year are the same ones that William won at last year. William was well on his way to another win last year at Phoenix before he had issues, so I know that Rudy and all the guys on this No. 4 team are going to bring me a fast Toyota Tundra for Friday night.”

Ryan “Rudy” Fugle, crew chief of the No. 4 NCWTS Toyota Tundra:

How are you able to have so much success with different drivers in your Tundra every year?

“It’s not easy, but the answer is just the people. Best race team, best owner, best manufacturer and great sponsors. Every one of the drivers have been special, including Christopher. They’re all a little bit different, but they’re all special. And then this race team is just really good at making whatever driver we have feel like they’re the driver of our team, and they do a great job of learning what their different niches are and making them comfortable. I’m proud to be the leader of this team.” 

Christopher Bell’s No. 4 Toyota Tundra:

KBM-28: The No. 4 Toyota Tundra team will unload KBM-28 for Friday night’s Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway. It is the same Tundra that Bell led 54 laps with en route to victory at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta earlier this year.

KBM-28 Performance Profile:

 

Date
Site
Driver
Start
Finish
Laps
Laps Led
Status
8/16/2017
Bristol
Bell
2
7
203/203
0
Running
7/6/2017
Kentucky
Bell
2
1
150/150
54
Running
6/23/2017
Iowa
Bell
2
5
200/200
99
Running
10/1/2016
Las Vegas
Byron
10
5
146/146
0
Running
11/13/2015
Phoenix
Jones
1
9
150/150
106
Running
8/19/2015
Bristol
Jones
4
6
202/202
0
Running
7/9/2015
Kentucky
Jones
3
2
145/145
55
Running
6/19/2015
Iowa
Jones
1
1
200/200
112
Running
5/29/2015
Dover
Jones
2
3
200/200
50
Running
Totals
9 starts, 2 Wins
3.0
4.3
476

 

Notes of Interest:

 

Christopher Bell NCWTS Career Stats:

 

Year

Age

Races

Win

T5

T10

Pole

Laps

Led

AvSt

AvFn

RAF

LLF

2015

20

7 of 23

1

2

3

0

1018

111

9.3

11.9

6

4

2016

21

23 of 23

1

9

17

0

3237

197

9.2

9.5

20

19

2017

22

21 of 21

5

14

19

4

2963

775

4.7

5.8

19

19

3 years

51

7

25

39

4

7218

1083

7.4

8.3

45

42

 

 

Christopher Bell’s NCWTS Phoenix Performance Profile:

 

Date
Start
Finish
Laps
Laps Led
Status
10/11/2016
5
7
150/150
0
Running

 

 

Christopher Bell 2017 Highlights:

  • Has posted five wins (Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga., Texas Motor Speedway in Ft. Worth, Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa. and New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon), four poles, 775 laps led, 14 top-five and 19 top-10 finishes resulting and an average finish of 5.8 across 21 races

  • Currently leads the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) championship standings by four points over Johnny Sauter and is 55 points above the cutoff line for earning one of the three remaining spots available in the championship race

  • Won the NCWTS first-ever regular season title and earned the No. 1 seed in the playoffs

  • Has posted one win, four top-five and five top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 3.2 across the first five races of the NCWTS playoffs

  • Leads the NCWTS in wins (five), poles (four), top-five finishes (14), top-10 finishes (19), driver rating (117.9), average finish (5.8), average running position (6.1), laps led (775) and fastest laps run (368)

  • Became the first driver under NASCAR’s new format to sweep all three stages of a race when he led 99 of 130 laps en route to victory from the pole at Atlanta Motor Speedway (3/14/17)

  • Collected his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series victory at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City (10/21/17) and overall in six starts this season for Joe Gibbs Racing has one pole, 156 laps led, two top-five and four top-10 finishes

  • After restarting eighth with three laps to go, won the ARCA Racing Series event at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., (9/14/17) in his lone series start this season

  • In Midgets has eight victories; opened the 2017 season by winning his preliminary night and the feature at the prestigious Chili Bowl Midget Nationals at Tulsa (Okla.) Expo Raceway (1/15/17), swept both features at the Fourth Annual POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Turnpike Challenge at I-44 Riverside Speedway in Oklahoma City, Okla. (3/26/17), won consecutive USAC National Midget events at Macon (Ill.) Speedway (7/1/17) and Lincoln (Ill.) Speedway (7/2/17), the USAC National Midget event at Solomon Valley in Beloit, Kansas (8/3/17) and the Mike Phillips Memorial POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget event at Southern Illinois Raceway in Marion, Ill. (9/16/17)

  • In Sprint Cars has four victories; won the NRA Sprint Invaders feature at Limaland Motorsports Park in Lima, Ohio (4/21/17), the Ninth Annual Lou Blaney Memorial All-Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car race at Sharon (Ohio) Speedway (7/8/17), the Knight Before the Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio (7/14/17) and the All-Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car race at Wayne County Speedway in Orrville, Ohio (10/7/17)

Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 4 Tundra: 
  • The No. 4 Tundra has collected nine wins, nine poles, 34 top-five and 56 top-10 finishes across 67 starts since originating in 2015

  • Ten members of this year’s No. 4 Tundra team were a part of last year’s No. 9 Tundra team which collected seven wins, three poles, 727 laps led, 11 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes across 23 starts last season and captured the 2016 NCWTS Owner’s Championship

  • Erik Jones delivered KBM its first-ever NASCAR Camping World (NCWTS) Driver’s Championship behind the wheel of the No. 4 Tundra in 2015 

KBM NCWTS Program: 
  • Holds the NCWTS records for most career wins (65), most wins in a single season (14 in 2014) and most Owner’s championships (five)

  • Erik Jones earned the organization its first-ever NCWTS Driver’s championship in 2015

  • Has collected 65 wins, 36 poles, 158 top-five and 253 top-10 finishes across 415 starts since originating in 2010

  • Ten different drivers have won a race for KBM, led by owner-driver Kyle Busch with 33. Christopher Bell, Erik Jones and William Byron have each collected seven victories, Darrell Wallace Jr., has five wins, Denny Hamlin has produced two victories while Noah Gragson, Daniel Suarez, Kasey Kahne and Brian Scott each collected one trophy

  • With Bell’s victory at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway KBM has at least one win at all 21 tracks on the 2017 NCWTS schedule

KBM NCWTS @ Phoenix International Raceway: 
  • KBM drivers have collected five wins, three poles, 642 laps led, seven top-five and 11 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 10.9 across 17 starts in the desert

  • Owner-driver Kyle Busch collected the team’s first win at the one-mile track in 2011, Brian Scott claimed the win in 2012, Erik Jones scored back-to-back victories in 2013 and 2014 and Daniel Suarez was victorious in last year’s event

The Fugle File:

 

Ryan “Rudy” Fugle begins his fourth season as a crew chief at KBM and sixth overall with the organization.  The New York native has guided his team to an Owner’s championship in all three of his seasons (2013, 2015 & 2016) atop the pit box at KBM, including a combined Owner’s/Driver’s Championship with Erik Jones in 2015. His drivers have combined for 21 wins, 13 poles and 47 top-five finishes across his 89 races calling the shots for the organization. Under his tutelage last season, William Byron collected a Truck Series’ rookie record seven wins while leading the No. 9 Tundra team to KBM’s fourth consecutive and fifth overall Owner’s championship.

Fugle’s NCWTS drivers have posted one win, two poles, 302 laps led, one top-five and two top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 16.8 across four starts at Phoenix. Fugle won the 2013 event with Erik Jones. Last year he led 112 of the 115 laps with William Byron, but was relegated to a 27th-place finish due to an engine failure that occurred while Byron was leading with 12 laps remaining.

Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 4 Tundra 2017 NCWTS Box Score:

 

Date
Site
Driver
Start
Finish
Laps
Laps Led
Status
Driver Pts./Pos.
2/24/17
Daytona
Bell
4
8
100/100
6
Running
33/9th
3/4/17
Atlanta
Bell
1
1
130/130
99
Running
93/1st
4/1/17
Martinsville
Bell
6
3
250/250
96
Running
136/2nd
5/12/17
Kansas
Bell
1
4
167/167
37
Running
187/2nd
5/19/17
Charlotte
Bell
1
3
134/134
2
Running
227/2nd
6/2/17
Dover
Bell
3
25
35/200
0
Accident
239/2nd
6/9/17
Texas
Bell
21
1
167/167
92
Running
298/2nd
6/17/17
Gateway
Bell
3
6
160/160
7
Running
342/2nd
6/23/17
Iowa
Bell
2
5
200/200
99
Running
391/2nd
7/6/17
Kentucky
Bell
2
1
150/150
54
Running
436/2nd
7/19/17
Eldora
Bell
4
9
150/150
22
Running
471/2nd
7/29/17
Pocono
Bell
3
1
60/60
7
Running
528/1st
8/12/17
Michigan
Bell
13
2
100/100
0
Running
572/1st
8/16/17
Bristol
Bell
2
7
203/203
0
Running
615/1st
9/3/17
Canadian Tire
Bell
5
26
44/64
0
Engine
634/1st
9/15/17
Chicagoland
Bell
3
3
150/150
72
Running
2040/1st
9/23/17
New Hampshire
Bell
2
1
175/175
73
Running
2100/1st
9/30/17
Las Vegas
Bell
4
2
146/146
64
Running
2152/1st
10/14/17
Talladega
Bell
1
2
95/95
9
Running
2195/1st
10/28/17
Martinsville
Bell
15
8
200/200
16
Running
3083/1st
11/3/17
Texas
Bell
3
3
147/147
20
Running
3135/1st

 TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Noah Gragson Captures His First CWTS Victory At Martinsville

Noah Gragson

Blowing around two-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton after a restart with 10 laps left, 19-year-old Noah Gragson scored his first victory in Saturday’s Texas Roadhouse 200 at Martinsville Speedway.

The Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender frustrated Playoff competitors Crafton and Johnny Sauter, who finished second and third behind him. After talking the checkered flag, Gragson parked his No. 18 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota near the flag stand and climbed to the top of the frontstretch catchfence in celebration.

After Bayley Currey spun in his No. 50 Chevrolet to bring out the final caution on Lap 182, Crafton, then the race leader, chose the inside lane for the restart on Lap 191. But Gragson got a perfect drive through Turns 1 and 2, pulled ahead of Crafton on the backstretch and cleared him off Turn 4.

The Las Vegas native pulled away to win by 1.486 seconds.

“We got that caution there at the end, and you can’t pass on the outside in Martinsville – and I did it,” Gragson said. “To be racing here in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, it’s a privilege, and all those hours of hard work…

“I knew to myself this morning, I knew I could get it done. I’ve known it this whole year, and I told myself I’m going to get that trophy today, and that’s what we did.”

In a race that saw Playoff driver John Hunter Nemechek crash out after 37 laps because of a brake failure, Gragson held off Sauter during a 38-lap green-flag run that preceded the final caution. Though Sauter tattooed the rear bumper of the rookie throughout the run, Gragson held the position.

“Those last like 40 laps with Johnny Sauter being off my back bumper, he did that earlier to us in the spring, and I wasn’t going to let him pass me again like that,” Gragson said.

That proved decisive, as it put Gragson on the front row for the final restart. Though the bottom at Martinsville historically has been the preferred lane for a restart, Crafton had his doubts as he came to the green flag on Lap 191.

“I told (crew chief) Junior (Joiner) I might be crazy, but I thought the top was going to be the place to go on the restart,” Crafton said. “There was no rubber up there where the right-side tires were. I knew we were going to have our hands full…

“He had a perfect restart there – and I sucked.”

Harrison Burton ran fourth, scoring his first top five in the series 19 days after his 17th birthday. KBM teammate Todd Gilliland was fifth, followed by Stewart Friesen and Kaz Grala. Playoff drivers Christopher Bell, Ben Rhodes and Austin Cindric were eighth, ninth and 10th, respectively.

Crafton won the first 50-lap stage of the race and Sauter the second stage as both drivers chipped away at Bell’s series lead, which stands at three points over Sauter and 15 over Crafton with two races left in the Playoffs Round of 6.

A good points day was little consolation to the driver of the No. 88 Toyota.

“It just sucks to finish second,” Crafton said. “Just salt in the wound.”

Rhodes currently holds the fourth and final Playoff transfer position, with Cindric in fifth 11 points back of Rhodes, and Nemechek in sixth trailing Rhodes by 32 points after his 30th-place finish on Saturday.

Check out the unofficial results of the Texas Roadhouse 200.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Myatt Snider Brings It Home In Third Place At Talladega

Myatt Snider

Date:                            Oct. 14, 2017

Event:                           Fred’s 250 (Race 19 of 23)

Series:                          NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Location:                     Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway (2.66-mile, tri-oval)

Format:                       Three Stages; 20 laps/20 laps/54 laps

Start/Finish:                Ninth/Third (Running, completed 95 of 95 laps)

Winner:                       Parker Klingerman of Henderson Motorsports (Toyota)

Following an exciting 95-lap race, Myatt Snider brought his No. 51 Louisiana Hot Sauce Toyota Tundra home third in Saturday’s Fred’s 250 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. Snider, who was making the seventh start of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) career and fifth of 2017, earned his career-best finish and helped the No. 51 Tundra team advance to the Round of 6 of the Truck Series Owner’s Playoffs.

Stage One Recap:

  • As the green flag waved, Snider started the race ninth in the inside lane of the track. By lap two the rookie was up to seventh, running single file while hugging the bottom of the track.

  • While being patient and attentive, Snider protected his line and was up to fifth on lap seven after the truck in front of him pulled off after being black flagged. As the pack of trucks he was racing in started to break up because of lapped traffic, Snider maintained his position in the top five while being nice and smooth around the bottom of the track.

  • As the 20-lap stage wound down, the caution flag flew because of a wreck on track. At the end of Stage 1, Snider was scored in the fifth position.

Stage Two Recap:

  • Snider started Stage Two by making a trip to pit road for two right-side tires and fuel, while having no complaints about the handling of his No. 51 Louisiana Hot Sauce Toyota Tundra.

  • The 22-year-old driver took the restart on lap 26 from sixth on the outside lane. After an aggressive restart, he made a move to the bottom of the track to steal away the third position with 10 laps to go in the stage.

  • Snider continued to run single file on the bottom of the track, holding on to his third-place position as the caution flag waved to end Stage Two.

Stage Three Recap:

  • Stage Three began as Snider brought his No. 51 Tundra down pit road for two left-side tires and fuel. When the race restarted on lap 46, he was lined up second next to KBM teammate Christopher Bell, who led the field to the green flag.

  • As Snider accelerated on the outside lane, he got a push from behind and was battling side-by-side for the lead with Bell. On lap 47 he made the move to the bottom to pass for the lead, but the outside line got a run and started passing him from the top.

  • When the caution flag flew after a wreck in Turn 4 on lap 53, the No. 51 team decided to make a pit stop to top Snider off with fuel. After the race returned to green, a few trucks in front of Snider decided to pit, allowing him to gain positions on the race track.

  • On lap 62 the three-truck KBM fleet was drafting together in a line, with Snider running fifth. On lap 70 as the racing began to intensify, Snider followed his teammates as they moved from the bottom of the track to the middle lane in an effort to move towards the front of the field, but the opening closed up and he came into contact with another truck as part of a five-truck accident. The Louisiana Hot Sauce Tundra sustained moderate damage to the right front and would need attention from the over-the-wall crew.

  • When the red flag was lifted, Snider made a total of three stops for the team to assess and fix the damage on his truck – as well as give him four fresh tires. Snider restarted in the 14th position on lap 76 and tried to find a comfortable position on the track in the midst of three-wide racing.

  • With 10 to go he was 16th, but made a strong run on the outside lane and passed several trucks before moving back down to the inside lane. Two laps later he had catapulted all the way up to seventh.

  • With only five laps left the caution flag flew once again, setting up a green-white-checkered finish. Snider restarted on the bottom in the seventh position and held his spot in the bottom lane as others drivers got aggressive trying to make a move for the win. The strategy paid off as he advanced four spots in the final two laps and ended the day with a career-best third-place finish.

Myatt Snider, driver of the No. 51 Louisiana Hot Sauce Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports:

 What was the racing like today?

“Well if you’ve ever gone to an amusement park and been on a rollercoaster that’s pretty much what Talladega is like. We had a crazy day. My KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports) Louisiana Hot Sauce Toyota Tundra was really fast all day. We had good speed and were able to draft really well. It was just a wild race. We had a little bit of an incident there with the 13 (Cody Coughlin) – I don’t know exactly what happened, but it looks like he got up into me or I got down on him. It happened so fast. I’m just proud of these guys for giving me great pit stops and a great truck and a great sponsor. Just a great result and happy for this whole team.”

 

Fred’s 250 Recap:

  • Parker Kligerman won the race followed by KBM’s Christopher Bell and Snider. Grant Enfinger and Austin Cindric rounded out the top-five finishers.

  • The race featured six cautions for a total of 27 laps. There were 17 lead changes among 11 drivers. KBM’s Christopher Bell led four times for nine laps.

How Snider’s KBM Teammates Fared:

Noah Gragson, driver of the No. 18 Toyota, finished 14th

Christopher Bell, driver of the No. 4 Toyota, finished second

NCWTS Owner Championship Standings:

The No. 51 Toyota Racing team finished the Round of 8 fifth in the Truck Series Owner Championship Standings with 2,109 points and advances to the Round of 6.

Next Race:

The Truck Series returns to action in two weeks at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday, Oct. 28.  Live coverage of the race begins with the NCWTS Setup Show at 12:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Parker Kligerman Steals One At Talladega

Parker Kligerman
The massive wreck in Turn 1 that gobbled up a pack of trucks in overtime at Talladega Superspeedway spared a part-time driver with one win on his career resume and a lower-budget team fighting for the final spot in the Round of 6 of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ Playoff.

The part-timer, Parker Kligerman, charged to the front past pole winner, series leader and race runner-up Christopher Bell after the final restart and had the lead in Saturday’s Fred’s 250 when trucks started bouncing off each other in Turn 1 on the final lap. That wreck caused a caution that froze the running order and gave Kligerman his first victory since he won at Talladega in 2012.

The real suspense, however, involved John Hunter Nemechek, who steered his already-wrecked truck through two major crashes in the final 25 laps to finish sixth. Nemechek grabbed the final spot in the Round of 6 over Chase Briscoe, who finished 22nd, nine laps down after his team dealt with a valve cover issue early in the race.

“We had a long team meeting last night in the lobby of our hotel, and we sat down and said a prayer that we would make it to the next round,” Nemechek said.

Shortly after the restart of the final stage, it appeared the prayer would not be answered. Nemechek’s No. 8 Chevrolet was damaged heavily in a crash that started when Ben Rhodes turned Clay Greenfield’s Chevrolet in Turn 4 on Lap 54.

Nemechek’s team worked feverishly to repair the damage to the extent possible and kept the No. 8 on the lead lap. With Briscoe locked into a 22nd-place finish, Nemechek had to finish 13th or better after Austin Wayne Self’s spin in Turn 4 caused the sixth caution on Lap 90 and sent the event to overtime. When trucks in the lead pack started wrecking in front of Nemechek after the field took the white flag, spotter Jason Jarrett guided his driver through the melee and gained enough spots to advance comfortably.

For Kligerman, it was a case of right choices at the right time.

“It’s all a blur,” he said. “Each corner you’re making six decisions, and they happened to work. It was just crazy. Every move worked. It’s just sometimes they click. Those last 10 laps, if I went high and separated the back, or if I tried to get the bump and the run, every move just worked. Sometimes they go your way.”

For the first 40 laps, Talladega looked like Johnny Sauter’s personal playground. The defending series champion powered into the lead after the start, pulling GMS Racing teammate Justin Haley with him. Sauter and Haley dropped to the inside lane in front of Bell and ran in lock-step for 20 laps, with Sauter winning the first stage wire-to-wire.

Sauter may have sailed through Stage 1, but calamity struck two other championship contenders. On Lap 8, Briscoe took his No. 29 Brad Keselowski Racing Ford to the garage to repair a fluid leak and lost 10 laps in the process. Briscoe’s issues, however, couldn’t compare with those of Kaz Grala, who started the race from the rear because of a last-minute engine change. After working his way Grala was the victim of a chain-reaction wreck of Turn 4 on Lap 19, also involving the trucks of Cody Coughlin, Chris Fontaine, Rhodes and Ryan Truex.

Grala’s No. 33 Chevy nosed into the outside wall and spun into the infield grass, where the heavily damaged Silverado sat until a wrecker towed it to the garage. Grala retired in 29th place, his Playoff over.

“I’m not quite sure what happened,” Grala said after a mandatory visit to the infield care center. “Everything checked up in front of me. I slowed down. I think I was going to miss it, but the truck behind me (Truex’s Toyota) didn’t get slowed down fast enough and turned us up into the wall and ended our day.

“I think that’s the end of our championship hopes, unfortunately. It’s tough to take, because I think we really came alive this latter part of the season. I think we could have been a contender.”

Playoff Notes: Myatt Snider sustained damage in a Lap 70 wreck but rallied to finish a career-best third… Austin Cindric ran fifth behind Grant Enfinger and secured a spot in the Round of 6, joining Bell, Sauter, Nemechek, Rhodes and Matt Crafton.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Noah Gragson Wins The Winchester 400

Noah Gragson

 

Date:                            Oct. 8, 2017

Event:                          Winchester 400

Series:                          ARCA/CRA Super Series

Location:                     Winchester (Ind.) Speedway (0.5-mile oval)

Start/Finish:                3rd / 1st (Running, completed 146 of 146 laps)

Winner:                       Noah Gragson of Kyle Busch Motorsports (Toyota)

In just his second start behind the wheel of a Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) Super Late Model, Noah Gragson won the Winchester 400 ARCA/CRA Super Series event at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway Sunday giving the organization its fourth victory in the prestigious event.

With 25 laps remaining Gragson attempted to work his way around Chandler Smith for the lead, but just as he cleared him Smith locked bumpers and pushed the Switch Camry from the middle of turns one and two all the way to the exit of turn 2 allowing Harrison Burton to work his way around both cars.

In the closing laps Gragson tried to chase down Burton, but was never able to get the lead under a second. With seven laps remaining Burton had a wheel stud fail and ended up in the outside wall and subsequently on pit road. The Switch Tundra returned to the front of the field and crossed the stripe 1.067 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Travis Braden.

“It feels good to win the Winchester 400,” Gragson said. “My crew chief Marcus Richmond and all the guys gave me a really fast Switch Camry. I have to thank everyone at Kyle Busch Motorsports, Switch and Toyota — this win feels so good.”

Gragson’s No. 18 Switch Camry rolled off from the third spot and for the first 100 laps of the race was content maintaining his position inside the top three and taking care of his equipment in a race that is known for its attrition. The 19-year-old had moved up to the second position just prior to the 100-lap mark behind teammate Cole Rouse, who started from the pole and led the first 115 laps.

On lap 116, Rouse experienced a mechanical issue and his pace slowed, which allowed Gragson to take the lead. Two laps later a caution slowed the field and crew chief Marcus Richmond summoned the Switch Tundra to pit road where the crew put on fresh left side tires and filled it with fuel. Per race procedures, teams were only allowed to replace two tires per pit stop and with controlled cautions teams did not lose spots on pit road.

With all lead-lap cars making a pit stop, Gragson maintained the lead for the lap-129 restart. He would remain out front until hitting pit road again under caution on lap 142. After getting fresh right side tires and a full tank of fuel, he returned to the track scored in the fifth position, behind four cars that did not pit.

When the field went back green, the No. 18 Switch Camry maintained the fifth spot for the next 39 laps until another caution slowed the field. Richmond elected to keep his young driver on the track and with three cars hitting pit road, Gragson took the lap-198 restart from the second spot.

After another caution and subsequent restart on lap 222, Gragson worked his way past Harrison Burton to retake the lead. The talented youngster remained out front on lap 288 when another caution occurred and set up another round of pit stops. The No. 18 team continued to alternate at each stop and this time put fresh left side tires on.

Gragson held serve on the restart, but a few laps into the run Chandler Smith took the lead. The Switch Camry remained in the second spot when the next yellow flag flew on lap 333. When pit road opened, the crew put fresh right side tires on and returned their driver to the track scored in the third position for the lap-345 restart.

On the restart, Gragson was able to gain one position and settle in behind leader Travis Braden. On lap 352, he made momentarily cleared Braden, but Braden gave him a bump-and-run and as the two drivers gathered their cars, Smith was able to work past both of them for the race lead.

Braden spun while running third with 33 laps remaining bringing out the final caution of the race.  Smith maintained the lead on the restart, but shortly after Gragson dove to the inside of him into turn one and two and slid up in front of him in the middle of the corner. Smith drove his front bumper into the rear bumper of the Switch Tundra and pushed him until the exit of turn two. Gragson nearly spun but was able to make a great save and remained in front of Smith. Unfortunately, as those two were locking bumpers, Harrison Burton went around both of them and took the lead.

Burton maintained over a second lead on the No. 18 Toyota until he experienced a mechanical failure with seven laps remaining allowing Gragson to recapture the lead. From there, Gragson cruised to the victory picking up his first marquee Super Late Model win and KBM’s fourth win in the Winchester 400.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Ben Rhodes Wins The CWTS Las Vegas 350

Ben Rhodes
Ben Rhodes took the lead on the final restart and held off Christopher Bell to capture his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career win in Saturday night’s Las Vegas 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Rhodes, who earlier in the season lost what appeared to be a sure victory at Kansas Speedway when a piece of debris punctured his Toyota’s radiator, blocked Bell’s last-gasp effort by going all the way to the track’s apron to take the checkered flag.

Rhodes, who drives for ThorSport Racing, started sixth in the 28-truck field to become the 1.5-mile speedway’s 10th consecutive different winner. He joins Bell to advance to the Round of 6 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs.

“I used every play in my playbook,” said Rhodes of the final laps battle. “I knew if I could keep him close to me, he couldn’t break the (air) bubble.  This is the biggest high of my life.

“So many things have gone wrong and now here I am in Victory Lane.”

Rhodes’ victory came in his 45th series start. His official victory margin over Bell was 0.066 seconds.

Bell, who led three times for 64 laps and dominated much of the 146-lap race in his Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota, blamed himself for coming up short in his quest for a sixth season victory.

“I just didn’t get it done there on the last restart (at Lap 140),” he said. “He’s (Rhodes) been long overdue for that win and he earned it tonight.”

Chase Briscoe finished third in his Brad Keselowski Racing Ford, followed by BKR teammate Austin Cindric, who overcame an early-race accident. Kaz Grala, who started 14th, also battled back from an early incident, was the top-finishing Chevrolet in fifth.

Pole sitter Ryan Truex was unable to lead the opening lap but had put his Toyota in position for a solid top-10 finish. A brush with the wall in the closing laps while battling Briscoe and Grant Enfinger for third sent his Toyota to pit road, where he lost two laps and finished 12th.

Seven different drivers traded the lead 11 times. There were six cautions consuming 32 laps.

Briscoe won the race’s first stage by 1.25 seconds over Johnny Sauter. Sauter clawed his way back to 10th-place finish, a lap behind, after cutting a tire and twice speeding on pit road.

Rhodes claimed Stage 2 by 0.419 seconds over Bell in a preview of the final stage finish.

While both Rhodes and Bell are guaranteed to move into the Round of 6 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs, the final four spots remain up for grabs at Talladega Superspeedway on Oct. 14. Crafton is best placed, followed by Sauter and Briscoe while Grala and John H. Nemechek are currently below the cutoff point.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Christopher Bell Starts Off The CWTS Playoffs With A Bang

Christopher Bell

In Christopher Bell’s dominating win in Saturday’s UNOH 175 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, the rich got richer!

The top seed in the series Playoffs, Bell won the first two stages of the opening postseason event and took the checkered flag 1.248 seconds ahead of runner-up Ryan Truex to notch his fifth victory of the season.

The win earned Bell automatic advancement into the second round of the Playoffs, gave him an additional seven playoff points to bring his series-leading total to 47 and widened his advantage over the seven drivers chasing him for the title, given that no other Playoff driver finished in the top five at the 1.058-mile track.

With all that said, the victory wasn’t a foregone conclusion for the driver of the No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota. Truex powered into the lead past Ben Rhodes after a restart on Lap 132, following a caution called when Kaz Grala knocked the Ford of Austin Cindric sideways in Turn 4 on Lap 126.

Bell patiently stalked Truex for 28 laps, as Truex positioned his no. 16 Toyota to block the line of the series leader. Finally, on Lap 160 of 175, Bell got a strong run off the second corner and buried his Tundra into Turn 3, shooting past Truex into the lead.

“He was doing a really good job of watching his mirror,” Bell said of Truex’s effort. “I knew it was tough to pass all day, but our truck had been so good, we had been able to do it until we got to him.

“I kept trying to work down, and he kept blocking my air down and down and down. Finally, I got one run where I drove up in (Turns) 1 and 2 and then got a big run into 3.”

In fact, Truex was surprised he was able to keep Bell behind him for 28 laps.

“When you’ve got the best truck in the field behind you, it makes it tougher,” Truex said. “I did everything I could to hold him off. I was trying to take his lane and block and everything – I just didn’t have quite the grip he had.

“I didn’t know how this race would shake out. Every restart, I just gave it my all – a lot of three-wide stuff, probably (ticked) a few people off. But we’re trying to win races, and we’re getting closer.”

Bell, who won for the first time at New Hampshire and the seventh time in his career, leaves the Magic Mile with a whopping 40-point lead over second-place Johnny Sauter, the defending series champion. Sauter finished ninth on Saturday after polesitter Noah Gragson spun in Turn 4 on lap 64 and caved in the right side of Sauter’s No. 21 Chevrolet between the front and rear tires.

With the Playoff field to be trimmed from eight drivers to six at Talladega two races from now, John Hunter Nemechek and Chase Briscoe fell below the cut line. A rear gear failure sidelined Nemechek for 36 laps, and he finished 20th to drop to eighth in the standings.

Briscoe fought handling problems throughout the afternoon and finished 11th, dropping to seventh in points, three behind Grala, who came home 10th.

Non-Playoff drivers Todd Gilliland, Grant Enfinger and Stewart Friesen ran third fourth and fifth, while playoff contenders Matt Crafton, Rhodes and Cindric finished sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Christopher Bell Wraps Up Regular Season Championship At Chicagoland

Christopher Bell
The top-seeded Christopher Bell clinched the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 2017 Regular Season Championship. Bell locked up the top spot in the 16-race regular season, besting 2016 Camping World Truck Series champion Johnny Sauter in the standings.

Bell has four wins on the season and earned 25 playoff points over the course of the regular season. He will add the 15 playoff point bonus for the regular-season title to his total when the postseason starts at New Hampshire Motor Speedway next weekend, giving him 40 playoff points to add to the reset total of 2,000.

Below is the eight-driver field for the seven-race playoff:

Christopher Bell, No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota: 2,040 points
Johnny Sauter, No. 21 GMS Racing Chevrolet: 2,025 points
John Hunter Nemechek, No. 8 NEMCO Motorsports Chevrolet: 2,014 points
Matt Crafton, No. 88 ThorSport Racing Toyota: 2,014 points
Chase Briscoe, No. 29 Brad Keselowski Racing Ford: 2,009 points
Austin Cindric, No. 19 Brad Keselowski Racing Ford: 2,007 points
Ben Rhodes, No. 27 ThorSport Racing Toyota: 2,007 points
Kaz Grala, No. 33 GMS Racing Chevrolet: 2,005 points

Now it is time to “let the big dog eat”!

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!