- Did you mean:
NCWTS GarageCam rolls out for one final time in 2016
GarageCam host Matthew Dillner takes you through the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series garage as teams prepare for the Texas Roadhouse 200 at Martinsville Speedway.
Martinsville a difficult Chase task for Truck veterans, rookies alike
RELATED: See the updated Truck Chase Grid MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- When William Byron was last at Martinsville Speedway , he was spending a sunny, spring Saturday enjoying a career-best third-place finish in just his fourth NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start. Plenty has changed in the nearly seven months since. Byron, 18, has gone from eyebrow-raising rookie upstart to a race-winning, championship-contending rookie upstart in the span of less than a season. His return trip to the .526-mile track now represents a chance to take another big leap in the Truck Series' inaugural Chase playoffs. Bryon earned free passage to this three-race stage with a victory in the Chase opener last month at New Hampshire Motor Speedway . Another round-opening win in Saturday's Texas Roadhouse 200 (1:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM) would provide the Kyle Busch Motorsports driver with another postseason springboard -- into the Championship 4 finale Nov. 18 at Homestead-Miami Speedway . "We've been waiting for this since New Hampshire and we're looking forward to it," Byron said Friday morning ahead of the series' first practice. "The guys have been working really hard at KBM and both trucks are in good position with the 4 truck (of teammate Christopher Bell ), too. I'm hoping to start this round off strong, hopefully with a win and if we can't do that, then just try to get top-threes to get to Homestead. That's the ultimate goal." Wins have come in fairly steady spurts in Byron's first full season at the NASCAR national series level. One month after locking up his first top-five effort at Martinsville, he cashed in with his first truck victory in the series' next race at Kansas Speedway . Four more victories followed before his winning New Hampshire performance that opened the Chase with a statement triumph. RELATED: Byron opens Chase with strong Loudon win The stakes are different this time around. After last weekend's event at Talladega Superspeedway , the playoff field was whittled from eight drivers to six for the next three-race round. Byron was flanked by a pair of veterans during his Friday appearance in the Martinsville media center -- Matt Crafton to his right and Timothy Peters to his left, both holders of grandfather clock trophies signifying their status as former winners at the cozy Virginia track. Their returns to Martinsville come under different circumstances as well. Previous late-season races here haven't fallen within the structure of an elimination-style playoff format. Both veterans agreed that the postseason system places a premium on staying mistake-free -- a thorny task given Martinsville's tendency toward full-contact racing. "I don't think you're going to be able to have a mulligan this weekend and get onto the final round," said Crafton, a two-time series champion. "Without a doubt, you have to have a good run leaving this place -- if it's a top-10 worst case to go into the next two (races) to go into the final four. I love coming here and if it's meant to be, it will be. I say that each and every week and that's what I live and die by."
Burton readies for Camping World Truck Series debut with father at his side
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;
Post-Race Reactions: Bully Hill Vineyards 200
An excited Nelson Piquet Jr. and a disappointed Ron Hornaday comment on the race in Nashville, as well as the rest of the top finishers.
Final Laps: Bully Hill Vineyards 200
Kyle Busch blows by Ron Hornaday off the restart to capture his second straight CWTS victory at Nashville.
Behind the scenes in TV booth with Dale Jr.
TALLADEGA, Ala. -- An NBC assistant in the broadcast booth had an urgent message to deliver, one of huge importance. As 40 drivers barreled around Talladega Superspeedway at 200 mph a few hundred feet below him, he grabbed a marker and started writing on a dry erase board. "17-13," he wrote. "Final 5th straight win." He showed this to Dale Earnhardt Jr ., a guest analyst for NBC's coverage of the race. Upon reading it, Earnhardt Jr. turned around, away from the track, and smiled broadly at Tyler Overstreet, his road manager, and pumped his fist. The handwritten note purported to report the score of the Washington Redskins, of whom Earnhardt Jr. is a big fan. Alas, that news was premature. A few minutes later, the same assistant showed him another dry erase board, this one apologizing for the first and reporting that the Lions had come back to win the game. Junior half smiled, half grimaced and turned his attention back to the race track, where he wished he could be on this sun-kissed fall day. Earnhardt Jr. has missed the last 14 races, and he will miss the rest of the season, with concussion-related symptoms. But talking about the race was the next best thing, and the hour-plus he spent in the booth was vintage Earnhardt -- funny, insightful and candid. Wearing dark-framed glasses, sneakers, jeans and a blue and gray plaid shirt, he sat atop a stool between NBC analysts Steve Letarte, his former crew chief, and Jeff Burton , against whom he raced hundreds of times. They lapsed into a conversation like old friends. His eyes darted from the track to the TV screen in front of him to Letarte to Burton. His body language was almost exuberant. He smiled often and at one point raised his hand excitedly when he wanted to interject a point. He seemed relaxed and at ease with Letarte, Burton, play-by-play announcer Rick Allen and the race's producers. "Has he got in the top 10 yet?" Earnhardt Jr. joked off camera about his replacement, Alex Bowman . "Damn, I told him everything I know." As his appearance wound down, NBC announced Junior would return to the booth at next week's race at Martinsville Speedway . Producer Matt Marvin, who was just outside the track in the production truck, keyed the microphone that allows him to talk with the broadcasters off air and told Junior what a great job he had done. He paused for just a second and said, "Next time, if you're not as good, we'll kick you out early." Junior laughed at that. This was the Earnhardt Jr. that fans have loved for more than a decade -- living and dying with the Redskins, offering transparent insight into his life and breaking down racing like few others. Consider this exchange with Burton at Lap 68, when Earnhardt Jr. discussed his drafting philosophy: "I look at the air coming off of the front of the car as a boat wake. And it's very dense coming off of around the headlights of that car that you're trying to side draft. So you don't want to continue to be beside that guy as you get toward the front, or pretty much dead even, because you run into that dense air coming off of the lead car. So you have to 'jump' that wake, much like if you were water skiing. You also have to get away from him so that he cannot side-draft you, because then you're both sort of bouncing back and forth. That's why it's so much easier to side-draft on the outside, because you can pin the guy on the bottom, side-draft him, drive up the race track and take the lead." Burton: "Now, you know all the drivers are going to play this race back and listen to all of this, right?" Earnhardt Jr.: "From what I've seen, these guys have got it all figured out." After months of his public appearances being focused almost exclusively on his health, it was refreshing to see him confident and comfortable. At least for this hour, the pensiveness that saturated so much of what he has said lately was gone. And on the topic of his health, he sounded upbeat. The simple fact he was able to make the appearance was a sign of improvement. In previous comments he has said large crowds sometimes trigger his symptoms, and it's hard to imagine a larger crowd than Talladega. His doctors have encouraged him to challenge himself, and certainly being on live TV would accomplish that. "I'm feeling great and all of the progress that we've made over the last several months has been really good," he said. "Obviously, I'm able to get out and do things. I'm having so much fun at the race track, and to be able to come up to the booth has been a lot of fun for me." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
NASCAR TV schedule: October 24-30
Heads up: Martinsville weekend
RELATED: Complete schedule for Martinsville Here are the hot topics, trending news and key story lines to get you ready for this weekend's races at Martinsville Speedway . WEATHER Another beautiful race weekend is forecasted for Martinsville. The National Weather Service says Friday will be sunny with a high near 70, and Saturday will be even warmer with a high of 77 and sunshine. Sunday is downgraded to only "mostly sunny," with a high of 74. Overall, it should be a perfect fall weekend. KEY TIMES Sprint Cup Series: The first practice will be Friday at 11 a.m. ET (NBCSN/NBC Sports App), with another pair of practices coming Saturday at 9 a.m. ET (CNBC) and noon ET (NBCSN). Coors Light Pole Qualifying is at 4:40 p.m. ET Friday (NBCSN). Aside from the Saturday morning practice, all race coverage will be broadcast on NBCSN and NBC SportsApp this weekend. Camping World Truck Series: The Camping World Truck Series has a pair of Friday practices, at 12:30 p.m. ET and 2:30 p.m. ET, both on FS1. The race is Saturday at 1:30 p.m. ET on FS1 with Keystone Light Pole Qualifying just before at 10:15 a.m. ET (FS1). CATCH DRIVERS LIVE We'll stream every driver press conference in the Martinsville media center at NASCAR.com/presspass . Notably, Jimmie Johnson speaks at 10:15 a.m. ET Friday, followed by Denny Hamlin is at 1 p.m. ET and Jeff Gordon at 1:30 p.m. ET. Click here for a full schedule. LAST TIME Jeff Gordon punched his ticket to Homestead-Miami Speedway in style, outracing Jamie McMurray in the final two laps as darkness fell at Martinsville Speedway . "We're going to Homestead!" Gordon bellowed after the win gave him a chance at the Sprint Cup title in his final season of full-time driving. It was Gordon's only victory of 2015. The storyline that grabbed all the headlines, however, was Matt Kenseth nudging then-race leader Joey Logano into the wall on Lap 454 of 500. At the time, Kenseth was 10 laps down. The move was widely viewed as retaliation for Logano bumping Kenseth out of the lead at Kansas two weeks earlier, which effectively eliminated Kenseth from advancing in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . Kenseth was suspended for two races, and Logano did not advance to the championship round. YOU SHOULD KNOW • Jeff Gordon returns to his best track on the circuit as he gets behind the wheel of the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet as a substitute driver for Dale Earnhardt Jr ., who continues to recover from a concussion. Gordon won here a year ago, and has some of the best statistics among any driver at Martinsville: nine wins, highest average finish (6.8) and most laps led (3,779). Can the 45-year-old recreate that magic at his eighth subsitute race of this season? This is Gordon's final scheduled race of the season in place of Earnhardt Jr. • This is the first of three races in the Round of 8, before the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field is cut to the Championship 4 for the Homestead-Miami Speedway finale. • Somehow, this is the first time since the current format of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup began in 2014 that Jimmie Johnson has advanced to the Round of 8. He started the Round of 12 with a victory at Charlotte; can Six-Time repeat that feat with an opening-round win to punch his ticket to Homestead-Miami? He's an eight-time winner at Martinsville, so it's no stretch to imagine. • The addition of extra timing lines in the pits has added another layer to monitoring drivers for speeding penalties. In Martinsville's tight pits, if figures to have a big impact.
Paint Scheme Preview: Martinsville
RELATED: See all the schemes hitting the track at Martinsville
Driver Sober 200 postponed at Dover
The Drive Sober 200 at Dover International Speedway has been postponed and will be run prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, October 2nd.