Christopher Bell discusses what it means to be the first Regular Season Champion in the Camping World Truck Series and the cushion it gives him heading into the postseason.
NASCAR.com gives you an all-access tour as the XFINITY Series regular season winds down.
Kim Coon looks back on the Tales of the Turtles 400 and previews the XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series Playoffs.
Related: Martinsville practice results " Views from opening day MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- Heading into this weekend, Harrison Burton's experience level at Martinsville Speedway was next to zero, counting only a smattering of laps shaking down his cousin Jeb's Late Model car not long ago. His lap count went up significantly Friday in practice for his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut in Saturday's Texas Roadhouse 200 Presented by Alpha Energy Solutions (1:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Should things go according to plan, he'll add another 200 more circuits to his developing background at the .526-mile track in his first NASCAR national series event. But the 16-year-old NASCAR Next driver has some tangible factors to help offset his lack of laps around the historic short track -- a top-quality Kyle Busch Motorsports truck and some sage advice from his father, Jeff Burton , who logged 39 career starts here, including a win in 1997, before transitioning to the NBC Sports broadcast team. The elder Burton was by his son's side after Friday's final practice, providing a sounding board with helpful pointers. "He's had tons of experience at places like this and obviously at this very race track, he's won in the (Sprint) Cup Series which is one of the hardest things to do," Harrison Burton said. "Obviously he's a great resource and I've utilized him pretty much every day coming up to this event. I've talked to him about it and tried to pick his brain as much as I could. He's really smart about this kind of stuff, that's for sure." Burton posted the seventh-fastest lap in Friday's early practice and followed that with the 18th spot on the leaderboard in final practice in the KBM No. 18 Toyota. But Friday was also about gaining experience and making first impressions at one of NASCAR's most rhythm-dependent venues. "It's probably one of the hardest race tracks I've been to," Burton said. "I feel like the braking and how to get off the brakes, how to get on them and how far to drive in -- it's so easy to overdrive these corners because they're so little. Compared to how long the straightaways are, it's just disproportional. It really throws me for a loop, but I'm learning as fast as I can and I'm trying my hardest." Burton's path to NASCAR's national ranks has been a fairly conventional one, but with extraordinary progress. He finished seventh this year in his first full season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, but has also made his mark with an excellent run of Late Model success. Burton turned 16 on Oct. 9, making him eligible for national series races on tracks 1.25 miles or shorter. Making the move three weeks after blowing out the candles might seem like an accelerated jump, but Burton says he hasn't locked himself into a firm timetable for his stock-car racing career. "It's hard to tell," Burton said. "Just to make it in one of NASCAR's three series is so, so tough. You have to do so many things right and have so many things align for you to have an opportunity like I have now, so I didn't really have a timeline. I was just going to go out every race and race as hard as I could every time I did and hopefully impress some people to get a shot at it." The timetable isn't quite set for 2017 and beyond, Burton said, with plenty of pathways still to be decided in the offseason. "The schedule's still in the works, for sure," Burton said. "We have a lot of options and a lot of things to think about, which is great. You always want to have options and hopefully you make the right choices leading up. It's tough to foresee the future. We might choose right, we might choose wrong, but no matter what, we've got to stay 100 percent committed to our choice. I'm really excited for the future and what it has to come. I hope we make the right choices." Burton indicated he has modest goals for his maiden voyage in the truck series , hoping to complete every lap but also keeping the door open to grab more if the opportunity exists. It's helped having Kyle Busch Motorsports personnel as support, bringing a certain level of swagger in their approach to the race weekend. "All these guys out here want to come out here and win every single week and that's what you have to have," Burton said. "You have to have that drive to come out and beat everyone and walk down pit road and say, 'I'm going to beat you and you and you and you,' and that's what these guys have. They come out here 100 percent committed. There's a lot of intensity involved, which is awesome. It's a great environment and I've loved it so far." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Get caught up on the format for the inaugural Chase in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with this informative video.
Chase Elliott takes the checkered flag at Martinsville for second career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win; Sauter, Bell complete top three.
NASCAR's Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell called in to SiriusXM NASCAR radio to address the finish of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway
RELATED: Results SPARTA, KY. -- William Byron didn't have the fastest truck at the end of Thursday night's Buckle Up In Your Truck 225 at Kentucky Speedway. But Byron had the most important ingredient in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at the newly repaved and reconfigured 1.5-mile track. Byron held the top spot for all 42 laps after the final restart of the event on lap 108 of 150. It was no cakewalk. Byron had to stave off assaults from both runner-up John Hunter Nemechek and third-place finisher Daniel Hemric , who dogged the race winner -- and each other -- for the entire closing green-flag run. At the end, after surviving a last-ditch effort from Nemechek, Byron's No. 9 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota crossed the finish line .190 seconds ahead of Nemechek's family-owned No. 8 Chevrolet. Hemric was .291 seconds behind the winner at the finish. The victory was the fourth in 10 starts this season for the 18-year-old Sunoco Rookie of the Year frontrunner, and it was the 51st win for KBM, most all-time for a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team. "It's a dream come true to get a fourth win like this," Byron said. "I can't thank the team enough." With Christopher Bell finishing fourth, KBM grabbed two of the top four spots, but team owner Kyle Busch had to watch the last 93 laps from the sidelines after Spencer Gallagher checked his Chevrolet up in front of him and triggered a wreck that sent Busch's Toyota spinning into the outside wall on Lap 57. Busch expressed frustration in the aftermath of the crash, but was more upbeat after the race when reflecting on the meteoric rise of the team he launched in 2010. "This is a special moment," said Busch, whose drivers have won the last four series races. "It's been really cool. What to me makes it most special, I think, is how we've done it in such a short period of time. "From 2010 through 2016, we've gotten 51 wins, and many of the teams that we excelled ahead of have been around a lot longer than we have. That's pretty awesome." Byron felt a vibration in his truck in the closing laps but stayed on the throttle. "It was tough," he acknowledged. "I honestly felt like I had a right rear tire going down. With the new surface, it's hard to get a tire to last that long. I had quite the vibration the last three or four laps. "I was just hoping and praying that there would be no cautions. Just a great run for us. Our Liberty University Tundra was really good tonight, and we were able to stay out front that last run and that was the key." Though they had faster trucks in the closing laps, Nemechek and Hemric couldn't focus solely on Byron because they were battling each other. Hemric lost momentum into Turn 1 on Lap 146 when he closed quickly on Byron's bumper, and he and Nemechek ran side-by-side for the better part of two laps before Nemechek took the second spot on Lap 147. Though Nemechek was clearly stronger than Byron through high-speed Turns 1 and 2, he wasn't able to get to Byron's rear bumper on the final lap. "The 19 (Hemric) got down on my right rear a couple of times and got me loose, but that's just racing, I guess," Nemechek said. "It sucks to be disappointed with second, but I guess that's a good thing." Hemric gave a tip of the hat to Byron, who had to work extremely hard to stay out front. "The 9 (Byron) was put in a position where he had to run perfectly for the last 40-45 laps, or else he wouldn't have won," Hemric said. "So congratulations to him." Byron, locked into the inaugural NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase, extended his series lead to 13 points over second-place Matt Crafton , who ran eighth, and 17 points over Hemric and Timothy Peters (ninth Thursday), who are tied for third.
RELATED: Chase Grid " Every 2016 race winner The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase Grid was set with the end of the 16-race regular season on Friday night at Chicagoland Speedway . Six full-time drivers with victories in 2016 made the eight-driver field with two drivers getting in on their strength of consistency thanks to their point positions in the driver standings. This year marks the first time the Camping World Truck Series will use the elimination-style format that the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has used since 2014. The Truck Series Chase will be three rounds and opens next weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway . The Round of 8 will consist of races at New Hampshire, Las Vegas and Talladega, where two drivers will be eliminated from the field. The Round of 6 will consist of races at Martinsville, Texas and Phoenix, where two drivers will be eliminated from the field, setting the stage for the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 18. Here's who comprises the field. NASCAR announced the seeding and the points shortly after the finish of the American Ethanol e15 225 at Chicagoland Speedway . 1. William Byron, No. 9 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota (five wins, 2015 points) 2. Matt Crafton , No. 88 ThorSport Racing Toyota (two wins, 2006 points) 3. John Hunter Nemechek , No. 8 NEMCO Motorsports Chevrolet (two wins, 2006 points) 4. Christopher Bell , No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota (one win, 2003 points) 5. Johnny Sauter , No. 21 GMS Racing Chevrolet (one win, 2003 points) 6. Ben Kennedy , No. 33 GMS Racing Chevrolet (one win, 2003 points) 7. Daniel Hemric , No. 19 Brad Keselowski Racing Ford (on points, 2000 points) 8. Timothy Peters , No. 17 Red Horse Racing Toyota (on points, 2000 points) &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
RELATED: Complete Miami race results " Series standings HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- With the 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series title now in Erik Jones ' rear-view mirror, the immediate question becomes "What's next for the 19-year-old prodigy?" With a relatively nondescript, problem-free sixth-place finish in Friday night's Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway , Jones secured the series driver's championship, as well as the owner's title for Kyle Busch Motorsports. Discovered by Busch when he beat his future car owner as a 16-year-old in the Snowball Derby for Super Late Models, Jones delivered the championship after running two part-time seasons for KBM. "I can't think of a better way to repay these guys," Jones said in Victory Lane, after securing the title by 15 points over runner-up Tyler Reddick . "I can't think of a better way to thank Kyle for all these years (than by) getting the driver’s championship for him. He's wanted one since the company started, and to bring it home for myself and for KBM, you couldn't really ask for a better ending than that." The youngest champion in series history at 19 years, 5 months, 21 days, Jones has been earmarked for a meteoric ascent to the top level of NASCAR racing. "It means so much more to have the opportunity to help these younger drivers and to help these kids that are coming up through the ranks to be successful," Busch said. "And to do that with Kyle Busch Motorsports and Toyota, there's nothing greater than to have that feeling and to build that company from the ground up, from nothing, and take it to where it is today." But first things first. Team owner Joe Gibbs reiterated on Friday the plan to run Jones in a full season of NASCAR XFINITY Series racing next year, with a few selected Sprint Cup events added to the mix. Jones has already gotten his baptism in Sprint Cup . Earlier this season, he subbed for Kyle Busch at Kansas, the last of 11 races Busch missed after breaking his right leg and left foot in the season-opening XFINITY Series event at Daytona. Jones filled a relief role for Denny Hamlin at Bristol in April, after Hamlin's neck locked up during a rain delay. And when Matt Kenseth earned a two-race suspension for wrecking Joey Logano on Nov. 1 at Martinsville, Jones was tabbed to replace him. His first laps in a Sprint Cup car were hardly tentative. Behind the wheel of Busch's No. 18 Toyota, he ran consistently in the top 10 before crashing on lap 196 of 267 at Kansas. Subbing for Kenseth at Texas and Phoenix, Jones qualified sixth and seventh, respectively, and finished 12th and 19th against the top stock car drivers in the world . Despite the speed he has shown in the Sprint Cup series , Jones is content to let his career take its course. "Absolutely, I think the XFINITY Series is completely necessary," Jones said. "I have no problem running a year there … as long as need be there. I don't know what the exact career path is for me down the road. "At some point, yeah, I want to race in the Cup series every weekend. I feel like there's a plan in place for that opportunity to arise. And I'll just keep taking what's given to me every week and go out and try to win races."