(WOMR file photo)
With about three weeks left til the action heats up at the Daytona International Speedway, it is time for me to try something new here at Working On My Redneck.
I am going to do a little pre-season handicapping and give you my picks for the new 2016 Camping World Truck Series Chase. During the off-season there have been a few driver promotions to the XFINITY Series, as well as few drivers that have changed race teams. Now that NASCAR has added a Chase type playoff, there will be an added energy to those final seven races. Additionally, there will not be Sprint Cup double and triple dippers in the playoffs. One more note, the CWTS Chase will start with only 10 drivers, not 16 like the Sprint Cup.
I will start by listing the ten drivers that I believe will make it into the beginning of the Camping World Truck Series playoffs. I will start by listing a few of the wily old Truck veterans, followed by a few young guns, that I think will be a part of the CWTS playoffs.
I will start off with a two-time CWTS champion, Matt Crafton. Crafton is with one of the better and more consistent race teams in this series, ThorSport Racing. Both the team and the driver warrants a tip of the hat, as well as consideration that they will be in the top ten when the playoffs begin.
The Red Horse Racing organization has another veteran, Timothy Peters, that I believe will be among the top ten in points at the end of the regular season.
Last year Brad Keselowski Racing’s Tyler Reddick, now driving the flagship #29 ford F-150, made a really strong run at the championship after starting off the year with his first win at Daytona. Reddick remained strong and consistent throughout 2015, but came up only slightly short of the championship.
Daniel Hemric is one of the drivers who has changed employers this year. Hemrick will now be piloting the Brad Keselowski Racing #19 Ford 150, Reddick’s former team. What Hemric did last year for a team that had less assests that BKR makes me feel that he will qualify for the playoffs this year.
John Wes Townley had moments of brilliance in 2015, one being his victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in October. He seems to be getting better at keeping the sheetmetal in it’s original aerodynamic shape. That will be the key factor for him to make into the top ten.
Second generation driver John Hunter Nemechek also steadily improved his consistency and performance last year. Even though it is a small family run single truck team, Nemecheck will most probably be within the top ten when the playoffs begin.
Now there are four young guns, four rookies, that have had success in other NASCAR series or at the dirt tracks. The first one to come to mind is the 18 year old Cole Custer, who once again will be driving the JR Motorsports #00 Chevy. Custer is the youngest driver to ever win a race in NASCAR. In addition to that fact, Custer already has two victories in the CWTS series while running on a part-time basis because of his age.
William Byron is the 2015 NASCAR K&N East Pro Series champion. Additionally, Byron is one of two rookies that will be driving Kyle Busch Motorsports machines this year. Since Byron has won one championship already, I believe that because of that he will have a spot at the start of the playoffs.
There are two more rookie drivers that I believe will be a force in 2016, KBM’s Christopher Bell and ThorSport Racing’s Rico Abreau, both outstanding midget and sprint car racers before they tried their talent on pavement. I believe that both of these young men will be a part of the CWTS inaugural playoffs.
I will now be so bold as to predict who I think will be the final four running for the championship at Homestead this year. It is my opinion that the four drivers running for the championship will be Matt Crafton, Tyler Reddick, Cole Custer and William Byron.
Drum roll please, I will now give you my prediction for the 2016 CWTS champion. I will go way out on a limb and predict that 18 year old Cole Custer will be hoisting the trophy at Homestead!
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!