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Post-Race Reactions: F.W . Webb 175
The top finishers talk about their races and comment on the difficult it was to pass trucks during the race.
2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Owner Standings
MORE: XFINITY owner standings " Camping World owner standings Pos. Owner Car No. Points Ldr Nxt Race Wins Stage Wins Playoff Pts Attempts 1 Chip Ganassi Racing 42 360 0 0 1 2 7 8 2 Hendrick Motorsports 24 333 -27 -27 0 2 2 8 3 Furniture Row Racing 78 323 -37 -10 1 5 10 8 4 Team Penske 22 291 -69 -32 0 1 1 8 5 Team Penske 2 277 -83 -14 2 0 10 8 6 Hendrick Motorsports 48 244 -116 -33 2 0 10 8 7 Chip Ganassi Racing 1 244 -116 0 0 0 0 8 8 Stewart-Haas Racing 14 239 -121 -5 0 0 0 8 9 Stewart-Haas Racing 4 239 -121 0 0 3 3 8 10 Wood Brothers Racing 21 228 -132 -11 0 2 2 8 11 Joe Gibbs Racing 18 214 -146 -14 0 1 1 8 12 Furniture Row Racing 77 192 -168 -22 0 0 0 8 13 Roush Fenway Racing 6 192 -168 0 0 0 0 8 14 Richard Childress Racing 31 186 -174 -6 1 0 5 8 15 Joe Gibbs Racing 11 184 -176 -2 0 0 0 8 16 Roush Fenway Racing 17 168 -192 -16 0 0 0 8 17 Hendrick Motorsports 5 164 -196 -4 0 0 0 8 18 Stewart-Haas Racing 41 163 -197 -1 1 0 5 8 19 Richard Petty Motorsports 43 161 -199 -2 0 0 0 8 20 Joe Gibbs Racing 20 159 -201 -2 0 0 0 8 21 Richard Childress Racing 3 154 -206 -5 0 0 0 8 22 Joe Gibbs Racing 19 144 -216 -10 0 0 0 8 23 Germain Racing 13 144 -216 0 0 0 0 8 24 Hendrick Motorsports 88 134 -226 -10 0 0 0 8 25 Richard Childress Racing 27 127 -233 -7 0 0 0 8 26 JTG Daugherty Racing 47 116 -244 -11 0 0 0 8 27 Leavine Family Racing 95 102 -258 -14 0 0 0 8 28 JTG Daugherty Racing 37 94 -266 -8 0 0 0 8 29 TriStar Motorsports 72 94 -266 0 0 0 0 8 30 Stewart-Haas Racing 10 91 -269 -3 0 0 0 8 31 GO FAS Racing 32 90 -270 -1 0 0 0 8 32 Front Row Motorsports 34 88 -272 -2 0 0 0 8 33 Front Row Motorsports 38 79 -281 -9 0 0 0 8 34 Premium Motorsports 15 68 -292 -11 0 0 0 8 35 BK Racing 83 52 -308 -16 0 0 0 8 36 BK Racing 23 39 -321 -13 0 0 0 8 37 Circle Sport / TMG 33 34 -326 -5 0 0 0 8 38 Tommy Baldwin Racing 7 27 -333 -7 0 0 0 2 39 Beard Motorsports 175 26 -334 -1 0 0 0 1 40 Premium Motorsports 55 15 -345 -11 0 0 0 7 41 Rick Ware Racing 51 15 -345 0 0 0 0 8 42 Gaunt Brothers Racing 96 1 -359 -14 0 0 0 1
Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg takes spin with Dale Earnhardt Jr.
RELATED: See Zuckerberg's day at the shop and with Dale Jr. at the track CHARLOTTE, NC -- Mark Zuckerberg sits in Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s No. 88 Chevrolet with a huge grin on his face Tuesday afternoon at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The Facebook co-founder and CEO just finished a 175 -plus-mph ride around the 1.5-mile track with Earnhardt Jr. as his driver. And he's impressed. "OK, if this is all we get to do in Charlotte, that will be enough," Zuckerberg says via Facebook Live. "What an amazing experience. … I think there were probably millions of people who would die to do what I just did." He certainly looks the part, dressed in a white helmet and blue NASCAR Racing Experience fire suit, the coloring similar to Earnhardt Jr.'s own ensemble. Zuckerberg has a relaxed, easy demeanor about him as he chats with cameramen, crew members and speedway employees. MORE: Learn about the NASCAR Racing experience But those initial laps with Junior behind the wheel were anything but a Sunday morning jaunt. "Holy s---t!" he says, as Junior veers the No. 88 machine around Turn 2 and up the banking. "All right we're a little close to the wall." "I wanted him to get a sense of the speed and the grip and the G-Forces," Earnhardt says on the ride-along. " … I'm sure it was exhilarating. I couldn't imagine getting into a car with a race car driver having never driven before myself." Zuckerberg's foray into NASCAR began with his desire to learn more about the racing community. He has been traveling around the country throughout the year, visiting different states in hopes of learning about the diverse groups of people that make up America. The NASCAR community is one that intrigued him. "NASCAR and driving and sports in general form the basis of a lot of communities," Zuckerberg says. "You think about not only the community of drivers and the families around them, but NASCAR's probably, I think, the biggest sport in the country that people go to and attend live. "… I have this big belief with Facebook and what we're doing to help people try to build community that we all need to be a part of something bigger than ourselves and certainly all the fans -- I think you have three million fans on Facebook who follow Dale Jr. For them, NASCAR's a huge part of their identity and a lot of people pin their hopes on you going out and winning." "They're very supportive," Earnhardt Jr. says of his fans later. But Zuckerberg is privy to Junior Nation: "Well, you have good fans, though," he says with a chuckle. • • • Zuckerberg's quest to learn more about the NASCAR community began earlier that day in a sub-community of racing: The Hendrick Motorsports race shop in Charlotte, North Carolina. He arrived at the Nos. 48/88 shop -- that builds and prepares race cars for Earnahrdt Jr. and reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson -- dressed in a gray hoodie, jeans and Nikes, with an appetite for racing knowledge apparent. Who better to give it to him than No. 48 crew chief Chad Knaus? "The crew captain!" Zuckerberg exclaims as he walks into the shop and shakes Knaus' hand. Knaus is giving Zuckerberg a private tour today. The two walk into the shop, and almost immediately Zuckerberg begins asking questions. His brow furrows and there's a "Wow!" often dancing around his mouth. Knaus leads the group from the shop and into a side room where the 7-post machine is testing one of the unpainted cars. Zuckerberg's face lights up when the car starts to rattle and shake. "Super nice guy, shockingly normal," Knaus tells NASCAR.com after the tour. "Very inquisitive. He was definitely curious about what it is that we do and he had a ton of questions. They were actually very good questions. I was happy to hear that. "... He was asking about what we do, how the cars are built, where we take them, the differences between a short track car and a high speed track car," Knaus continues. "He was asking about the tire stagger, how we choreograph our pit stops." Hendrick Motorsports presents Zuckerberg with a personalized team jersey and signed helmet upon the conclusion of the tour. "Now don't wear that when you're driving your car, that's for display purposes only," Knaus jokes. No matter: In a few minutes, he'll get his own racing-ready helmet anyway. • • • After a few laps with Junior, it's time for Zuckerberg to wheel a race car on his own. He had a few practice laps earlier that day, with Dale Jr. coaching him via in-car radio. "You're going to come down the apron, down pit road," Earnhardt said earlier. "Where's that?" Zuckerberg asked. "Where you came from," Junior said with a smile. "Oh, that's a wall, there's nothing good over there," Zuckerberg said cheerfully, piloting the race car around Turn 4 and down pit road. Now, he's relatively prepared, as he climbs into the car for another run. "I kind of showed you the line," Junior coaches. "Down the front straightaway, nice and broad, good smooth arc down the front straightaway. And then on the back straightaway, you get out against that fence, as close as you're comfortable with." "I think probably a little further away than you were," Zuckerberg says. "You got pretty close there." "I know, I was doing that on purpose, we probably wouldn't race that close," Junior says with a grin. Zuckerberg gets going, hitting 5,000 RPMs soon into his run. He hugs the white line, moving toward the high line later. He seems to grow more comfortable as his run continues. "We're just down here hanging out," he says with a smile. "After driving with you, I don't feel that we're pushing it that hard here." "Get a little more aggressive!" Junior urges, as Zuckerberg hits the rev limiter on the car. "I don't think it wants me going faster than 5,000 RPMs," Zuckerberg says. He takes a couple more laps and then comes down pit road, the grin still plastered on his face. And he's worked up an appetite. He asks about a promised dinner of fried chicken, then invites Junior to join him for a post-race meal. • • • Zuckerberg and Earnhardt engage in a conversation after their ride, a plate of fried chicken and a biscuit sitting by Zuckerburg. They talk for a while quietly, away from the cameras and lights from today. It has been a day of immersion for Zuckerberg, whose knowledge about racing has significantly increased since he arrived in North Carolina. But it was just as beneficial for NASCAR, too, as the worlds of racing and ever-growing social media industry merged on a different front. "When you have someone that has that many touch points, that many people that he influences, having him come and experience what NASCAR was all about is a tremendous opportunity for our sport," Steve Phelps, NASCAR executive vice president and chief global sales and marketing officer, told NASCAR.com. "Watching him ride along with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the expression on his face and truly to get to experience what it's like to be in car and how fast it is, how loud it is, how much the vibration of the car is. "I think he has a newfound respect and we're trying to get new fans, one fan at a time. Having someone like Mark out here is certainly an opportunity for us to get more than one fan at a time."
Top consecutive 10-lap averages at Atlanta
BUY TICKETS: See the races in Atlanta PRACTICE 1: Full results Pos Car Driver From Lap To Lap Avg Speed 1 4 Kevin Harvick 20 29 179.977 2 3 Austin Dillon 1 10 179.407 3 18 Kyle Busch 1 10 179.140 4 1 Jamie McMurray 1 10 179.067 5 42 Kyle Larson 1 10 178.658 6 19 Daniel Suarez # 1 10 178.497 7 24 Chase Elliott 13 22 174.336 8 51 * Cody Ware 1 10 165.218 * Car must run 10 consecutive laps on the track to be included in the above chart. FINAL PRACTICE: Results Pos Car Driver From Lap To Lap Avg Speed 1 31 Ryan Newman 1 10 181.429 2 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1 10 181.398 3 1 Jamie McMurray 1 10 181.360 4 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 1 10 180.661 5 11 Denny Hamlin 1 10 180.623 6 21 Ryan Blaney 1 10 180.583 7 2 Brad Keselowski 26 35 180.287 8 3 Austin Dillon 1 10 179.973 9 24 Chase Elliott 1 10 179.803 10 13 Ty Dillon # 1 10 179.797 11 42 Kyle Larson 29 38 179.717 12 27 Paul Menard 1 10 179.669 13 78 Martin Truex Jr. 28 37 179.549 14 6 Trevor Bayne 1 10 179.546 15 18 Kyle Busch 16 25 179.405 16 22 Joey Logano 1 10 179.126 17 20 Matt Kenseth 30 39 179.092 18 77 Erik Jones # 22 31 178.786 19 4 Kevin Harvick 46 55 178.486 20 41 Kurt Busch 26 35 178.445 21 14 Clint Bowyer 32 41 178.412 22 37 Chris Buescher 1 10 178.331 23 48 Jimmie Johnson 31 40 178.158 24 38 David Ragan 27 36 177.712 25 19 Daniel Suarez # 43 52 177.660 26 5 Kasey Kahne 27 36 177.592 27 95 Michael McDowell 19 28 177.407 28 32 Matt DiBenedetto 12 21 176.230 29 10 Danica Patrick 9 18 176.166 30 47 AJ Allmendinger 21 30 176.067 31 43 Aric Almirola 23 32 175 .827 32 72 Cole Whitt 18 27 174.604 33 34 Landon Cassill 18 27 174.570 34 23 Gray Gaulding # 1 10 174.055 * Car must run 10 consecutive laps on the track to be included in the above chart. (i) Ineligible for driver points in this series
UNOH 175 entry list
The Truck Series heads to New Hampshire Motor Speedway Entry # Driver Owner Crew chief Manufacturer Sponsor 1 00 Cole Custer Gene Haas Joe Shear 14 Chevrolet Haas Automation 2 0 Caleb Roark Kenneth Grimes Michael Stewart 12 RAM Driven2Honor.org 3 02 Tyler Young Randy Young Bryan Berry 14 Chevrolet Randco/Young's Building Systems 4 05 John Wes Townley Tony Townley Mike Beam 14 Toyota Zaxby's 5 6 Norm Benning Norm Benning Kevin Dargie 14 Chevrolet TBA 6 07 B J McLeod Ken Smith Rusty Ebersole 14 Chevrolet TBA 7 08 Ray Black Jr Bobby Dotter Jason Miller 14 Chevrolet ScubaLife 8 8 John Hunter Nemechek Sidney Mauldin Jerry Babb 14 Toyota Smoke-N-Sear/SWM 9 9 Brennan Newberry Joe Denette Ryan McKinney 14 Chevrolet Qore-24 10 10 Jennifer Jo Cobb Jennifer Jo Cobb Steve Kuykendall 13 Chevrolet Oohrah! Hydration Drink 11 13 Jeb Burton Duke Thorson Jeriod Prince 14 Toyota Estes-Carolina Nut Company 12 17 Timothy Peters Tom Deloach Marcus Richmond II 14 Toyota Red Horse Racing 13 19 Tyler Reddick Brad Keselowski Doug Randolph 14 Ford DrawTite 14 20 Gray Gaulding Bob Newberry Christopher Rice 14 Chevrolet Silverado 15 21 Joey Coulter Maurice Gallagher Jr Jeff Stankiewicz 14 Chevrolet Allegiant Travel 16 29 Ryan Blaney Brad Keselowski Chad Kendrick 14 Ford Cooper Standard 17 31 Ben Kennedy Steve Turner Doug George 14 Chevrolet Heater.com 18 32 Cameron Hayley Harry Scott Jr Mike Hillman Jr 14 Chevrolet Cabinets by Hayley 19 35 Mason Mingus Kevin Cywinski Dennis Connor 14 Toyota Call 811 20 136 Justin Jennings Beverly Mittler Michael Mittler 14 Chevrolet Mitler Bros Machine & Tool/Ski Soda 21 50 T J Bell Mark Beaver Ken Evans 13 Chevrolet Dedicated to Electrical Linemen 22 51 Erik Jones Kyle Busch Eric Phillips 14 Toyota ToyotaCare/Project Pink 23 54 Darrell Wallace Jr Kyle Busch Jerry Baxter 14 Toyota ToyotaCare 24 63 Jr Heffner Michael Mittler Michael Mittler 14 Chevrolet TBA 25 74 TBA Mike Harmon Gary Ritter 14 Chevrolet TBA 26 77 German Quiroga Tom Deloach Butch Hylton 14 Toyota NET10 Wireless 27 186 Brandon Brown Jerry Brown Adam Brenner 13 Chevrolet Dominion Recycling 28 88 Matt Crafton Rhonda Thorson Carl Joiner 14 Toyota Slim Jim/Menards 29 98 Johnny Sauter Mike Curb Jeff Hensley 14 Toyota Nextant/Curb Records 30 99 Bryan Silas Chris Baluch Cal Boprey 14 Chevrolet TBA MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
Wide range of problems hit XFINITY Chase hopefuls at Texas
RELATED: XFINITY Chase Grid " Race results FORT WORTH, Texas -- Body damage. Pit road penalties. Electrical issues. Take your pick. NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers contending for spots in the Championship Round of the Chase had their share of problems Saturday during the running of the O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway . In a race dominated by Sprint Cup Series regulars -- they led 175 of the race's 200 laps -- Chase XFINITY Series competitors battled it out among themselves for positioning with one race remaining to set the four-team field for the championship. Kyle Larson , Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick finished 1-2-3; Keselowski led 145 circuits, Larson 30. Among the eight contending for the XFINITY Chase title, Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez finished fourth and fifth, while Elliott Sadler (JR Motorsports) was sixth. A bit further back was Justin Allgaier (JRM) in 10th with Darrell Wallace ( Roush Fenway Racing ) 11th and teammate Ryan Reed 12th . Blake Koch (Kaulig Racing) finished 14th and Brendan Gaughan ( Richard Childress Racing ) 15th . Koch holds the fourth and final transfer spot in spite of his finish, leading Allgaier by a single point. "That just showed the strength and depth of the new race team and how we're growing together and getting stronger," said Koch, whose single-car group had to go to a backup entry following an incident in practice a day earlier. "To be able to rebound from that … and come out of here with a 14th -place finish, still be in the Chase with one race to go, I'm pretty proud of that." MORE: Koch: 'I'm so proud of my team' A speeding penalty Saturday on Lap 137 kept his No. 11 Chevrolet stuck on the back end of the lead-lap cars but cost him only a handful of spots at the time. It was, he said, "the second (speeding penalty) of my life." "You have to push it hard right now to get everything you can, including on pit road," Koch said. "You can't just be cautious all race long. I went a little bit too far. "I had no idea; we're in a backup car so maybe our lights weren't set perfectly. We just took it, had a positive attitude and worked our way back up through there." Electrical gremlins struck the No. 19 team of Suarez, the points leader, while running in the top three and just past the halfway point of the race. "I knew I had a second battery, but you never know how long you are going to be able to go," said Suarez, twice a winner this season. "We have a lot of blowers and switches in the race car that we need to use, some of them really help me a lot and some of them we don't use any more. That's part of racing. Luckily we made it through and we finished fifth." Suarez will head to Phoenix International Raceway with the points lead, one point ahead of Sadler. Reed had damage to his No. 16 Ford practically right off the bat as the field bottled up on the initial restart. But the driver said he was uncertain how or if the damage affected his car -- perhaps a bit less downforce on the front end, "but we were free all day so I don't know how much that would have helped or hurt us not having the damage. "It was just a tough day." He trails Koch by five points as the series regroups and prepares to head to PIR for next weekend's next-to-last event. "You just go out there and lay it all out on the line," Reed said. "At that point it is your whole season. There is nothing left to lose there. You aren't points racing at that point per se. You have to go beat those guys by five positions."
Newman tops practice; Logano quickest among title hopefuls
MORE: Buy tickets for Homestead-Miami Championship Weekend MIAMI: Practice 1 results " Fastest 10-lap averages Ryan Newman topped the leaderboard in Friday's first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice at Homestead-Miami Speedway at 175 .387 mph in the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, and Joey Logano was fastest among the Championship 4 contenders. Logano was fourth overall in his No. 22 Team Penske Ford and Jimmie Johnson in his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet was fifth on the speed charts. Reigning champion Kyle Busch , one of the four Championship 4 drivers vying for the title in Sunday's Ford EcoBoost 400 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) was eighth on the charts at 174.514 mph, followed in ninth by his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate and title contender Carl Edwards (174.458 mph) in the No. 19 Toyota. Martin Truex Jr . was second in the session, with his the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota at 175 .353 mph. Kyle Larson was third in the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. Coors Light Pole Qualifying is at 6:15 p.m. ET (NBCSN/NBC Sports App).
William Byron wins at Loudon in Chase opener
RELATED: Race results " Series standings " Updated Chase Grid LOUDON, N. H. – William Byron stole a page from his mentor and team owner, Kyle Busch . Leading 161 of 175 laps in Saturday’s UNOH 175 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway – the first race in the inaugural NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase – Byron cruised to victory, the way Busch has done so many times before, and punched his ticket into the Chase's Round of 6. Not that runner-up Christopher Bell , Byron’s stablemate at Kyle Busch Motorsports, didn’t make it interesting in the closing laps. As Byron worked traffic in the late going, Bell closed from 1.325 seconds behind with five laps left to .430 seconds down on the next-to-last lap. But Bell ran out of time and crossed the finish line .446 seconds behind his No. 1-seeded teammate, who won for a series-best sixth time. "I wore myself out passing some lappers," Byron said. "But with the amount of laps we had left, I thought I'd be OK. I was afraid the 4 (Bell) was going to catch us there at the end. We started to get tight, but that's what happens sometimes when you get out front. "It was really good – just a great race for us. I can't thank these guys enough. Everyone at KBM, (sponsor) Liberty University – it's just really cool to get a win here in the Chase. It feels awesome." Two-time series champion Matt Crafton came home third, followed by Tyler Reddick and Timothy Peters . With the Chase field to be trimmed from eight to six drivers two races hence at Talladega Superspeedway , Ben Kennedy and Daniel Hemric fell below the provisional cut line. Kennedy finished 11th and trails Johnny Sauter (10th on Saturday and sixth in the standings) by one point. If Kennedy's result was only mildly disappointing, Hemric's was a catastrophe. With his left rear tire cut down to the rim, Hemric spun in Turn 1 on Lap 25 to bring out the third caution of the race. His truck suffered a cut brake line and consequent fire in the left rear wheel well. Hemric lost 33 laps under repairs, finished 28th and fell to last in the Chase standings, 21 points behind Sauter with two races left in the Round of 8. In all probability, Hemric will have to win one of those two events, at Las Vegas and Talladega, to advance to the Round of 6. After leading the first 54 laps, Byron lost the top spot briefly when Cody Coughlin stayed out under the fourth caution and Bell, Kennedy, Crafton and Spencer Gallagher leap-frogged ahead of Byron with two-tire and fuel-only calls in the pits. But Byron regained the lead from Bell on Lap 69 and held it the rest of the way. As Bell gained ground in the final laps, Byron was trying to save his equipment to prepare for a possible late caution. "I was expecting it, so I didn't push too hard," Byron said. "I was expecting to get a caution, hopefully save something, but we gave it all we had there the whole race, and I just can’t thank these guys enough." Byron leaves New Hampshire with a 16-point lead in the standings and guaranteed admission to the next round of the Chase. Crafton (+11 points above the cutoff line) is second in the Chase standings, followed by Bell (+10), John Hunter Nemechek (ninth on Saturday, +5), Peters (+3), Sauter (+1), Kennedy (-1) and Hemric (-21). Note: Nemechek's No. 8 Chevrolet failed the post-race heights inspection. Any potential pnelaties will be announced next week. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Runner-up Bell: 'Just got to keep digging'
RELATED: Full race results " Series standings " Truck Chase Grid LOUDON, N.H. – Christopher Bell had what he described as a "good … no, great" truck after his second-place finish in Saturday's UNOH 175 Camping World Truck Chase opener at New Hampshire Motor Speedway . If Bell's No. 4 Toyota Tundra was "good … no, great," his Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate William Byron's race-winning No. 9 entry was great … no, incredible. "All day long, we couldn't run with him and we had 175 (laps) to get it done and we didn't," Byron told NASCAR.com on pit road after the race. "I think he was fading there at the end and lapped traffic was not doing him any favors, so open race track (I probably couldn't have caught him), but the way it was, I maybe had a shot at it." The dominant showing in which KBM trucks led every single lap -- 161 for Byron, 11 for Bell and three for Cody Coughlin 's No. 51, which ran out of gas late – may very well clue us into half the battle contestants we'll be looking at in less than two months at Homestead-Miami Speedway when four drivers compete for the inaugural Camping World Truck Series Chase crown. Based on what we saw Saturday, you'd be hard-pressed to find a reason to not include the streaking Byron and Bell tag-team among the quartet. Byron no longer has to sweat the Chase wild card that looms at Talladega next month in the Round of 8 as he's clinched his berth to the next series of races, while Bell's next-best result puts him in good position to move on should a rare – for him – hiccup occur. In the following Round of 6, it could be the No. 4 driver's time to land in Victory Lane for the second time this season. Bell picked up his second career Camping World Truck Series victory earlier this season at Gateway Motorsports Park and showed his strength at the "Magic Mile," two tracks similar in length and build to the penultimate race at Phoenix International Raceway . "(The similarities between here and Gateway) kind of, maybe (helped)," Bell said. "Gateway was not a race track that I had circled on my schedule that I thought I would have a possible win at, so to come here and be as good as we were, I think it's just a testimony to my crew chief, Jerry (Baxter). He does an awesome job, especially at these flat tracks where he has it all figured out." And don't expect the nerves to get in the way, as the 21-year-old was unfazed by any pressure that came along with Saturday marking the landmark first-ever Chase for the series, approaching it like any other race. "I think it was probably pretty similar (to what I was expecting). You just gotta treat these things the same," Bell said. "All these races are important; you never come out here to finish second. "Just gotta keep digging and pay attention and not make mistakes."
Nemechek, Byron ready for anything in Truck Chase
RELATED: Truck Chase Grid " Learn more about the drivers in the Truck Chase LOUDON, N.H. -- The inaugural Camping World Truck Series Chase is upon us, which means the pressure, nerves and action that come along with it are set to rise to unparalleled levels over the next eight weeks. So is the tension. After John Hunter Nemechek and Cole Custer fought, quite literally, to the finish and beyond at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park last month -- rguably costing the JR Motorsports his spot in the Chase, as the driver of the No. 8 Chevrolet came away victorious in that one -- the consensus is that Custer will find a way to repay the favor to Nemechek at some point during the series' first playoff season. RELATED: Custer, Nemechek get physical at Canada The two-time 2016 winner doesn't see it that way. "I wouldn't say we have a target on our back; we're all racers," Nemechek said Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway , site of Saturday's Chase-opening UNOH 175 (1 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). " … You can't really worry about it. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, it doesn't. You just kind of have to take it race by race, lap by lap. And we're going to go out there and focus on our race and do everything we have to do to get another win." Custer narrowly missed out on the Chase cut, ending up tied with Cameron Hayley as the first drivers on the wrong side of the standings bubble. Taking that into consideration, along with how the future Stewart-Haas Racing XFINITY Series driver charged at Nemechek following the Mosport checkered flag, it may be a stretch to think that Nemechek won't be targeted for payback at some point during the Chase. William Byron didn’t cross too many drivers on his way to notching the top spot for the landmark CWTS Chase, but he did cross plenty of finish lines ahead of them -- five, in fact. RELATED: Byron checks off boxes one milestone at a time Unlike Nemechek, the Kyle Busch Motorsports driver sees the level of competitiveness rising -- potentially along with the tempers. "I think the competition and intensity is going to ramp up here in the last seven races," Byron said Friday at the "Magic Mile." "We've seen that in the (Sprint) Cup Series and so now we're going to be able to experience that here in the Truck Series, so I'm looking forward to it." Regardless of whether the threat of payback looms large or not, there's an incumbent sense of pressure and nerves that comes along with being among the youngest drivers -- not to mention title favorites -- in the first-ever Chase format for the series. The nerves haven't fully crept in yet, but that could change in a hurry. "We're going to take it race by race and we're not going to let the pressure or nerves get to us unless it's a pressure situation where we have a bad race," Nemechek said. "We're going to go out and do what we do best and that's to run our race, try and lead laps and run up front and hopefully get another win. If you can't do that, salvage a bad day into a good day. You just can't make mistakes. You have to make every day the best you possibly can. In reality, nobody really knows what to expect come Saturday. "I think a little bit of nerves just with the unexpected of what this format is going to be like for us, but honestly it's exciting and it's something new and it’s the new era of the playoff-type format, so I'm looking forward to it," said Byron. "It's something that we've been preparing for and I think we’re going to see what happens here in the next seven races."