Lucas Oil 150 gets new start time at Phoenix
RELATED: Buy tickets for Phoenix " Truck Series Chase Grid Phoenix Raceway announced today that the Lucas Oil 150 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series semi-final race on Friday, Nov. 11 will begin at 8 p.m. MT(10 p.m. ET) , with gates now set to open at 9:30 a.m. MT (11:30 a.m. ET). NASCAR veteran Matt Crafton and 2015 Lucas Oil 150 winner Timothy Peters will take on series wins- leader William Byron and the rest of the Chase contenders to compete for the final four spots in the championship race. Kicking off the weekend at PIR, the race will take place under the lights and will be the first semi-final race for the series championship, as NASCAR recently expanded the Chase format to the Camping World Truck Series for the 2016 season. Friday will be full of racing action as all three NASCAR premier series will be on track, including NASCAR XFINITY Series practice followed by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying. Also, fans in attendance for the Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix Raceway will have the opportunity to meet the stars of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series during a free autograph session. The event will be held on the Fan Midway following NASCAR Camping World Truck Series final practice and will be open to anyone with a grandstand ticket. The first 125 fans in line at the designated location between Gate 4 and Corporate Village will receive a wristband to participate. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 150 will air on FS1 at 8 p.m. MT (10 p.m. ET). Tickets for the upcoming NASCAR race weekend start at just $35. Individual tickets and season tickets are available online at PhoenixRaceway.com, by phone at 1-866-408-RACE (7223) or in person at the PIR ticket office.
Darlington Raceway now hosts 'Official Throwback Weekend of NASCAR'
RELATED: See all of last year's paint schemes DARLINGTON, SOUTH CAROLINA (Jan. 10, 2017) -- It's now official! Darlington Raceway and its Labor Day race weekend are now being recognized as “The Official Throwback Weekend of NASCAR." The designation ensures that the official historical celebration of the sport will continue to take place at the famed 1.366-mile superspeedway in Darlington, South Carolina. "We have worked closely with NASCAR to ensure that Darlington Raceway now has the exclusive rights to the Official Throwback Weekend of NASCAR for promotions and advertising of our event," said Kerry Tharp, Darlington Raceway president. "Our return to Labor Day weekend, coupled with the Throwback theme has elevated our event across the entire sport and this move only solidifies that among our fans, race teams, sponsors, broadcast partners and media, among others." The track's award-winning throwback campaign has earned rave reviews throughout the industry since its inception in 2015. The campaign has aligned all key stakeholders in the sport and provided a historical celebration that has earned much praise from fans and corporate partners. It was because of this collaboration over the past two seasons that NASCAR recognized the importance of the track's throwback weekend and in turn will now celebrate The Official Throwback Weekend of NASCAR at the sport's original paved superspeedway, which opened and began hosting NASCAR events in 1950. The track's 2016 throwback campaign last season featured a celebration of 1975-84 including the following highlights: • Over 35 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race teams competed with throwback paint schemes for the Bojangles' Southern 500 , the most in any single NASCAR event in the sport's history. • Over 18 NASCAR XFINITY Series teams competed with throwback paint schemes. • Use of NASCAR's famed "NASCAR International" logo for the second consecutive year. • For the second straight year, Goodyear put the original white lettering on its race tires specifically for the Bojangles' Southern 500 . • NBC did another throwback broadcast of the race featuring old station logos and graphics. NASCAR legends Ken Squier, Ned Jarrett and Dale Jarrett did a special throwback broadcast during the race for the second straight year. • Honored 14 NASCAR Hall of Fame members at the Bojangles' Legends Breakfast. • 2017 NHOF inductees Rick Hendrick, Richard Childress and Mark Martin served as the Bojangles' Southern 500 grand marshals. • Unique food offerings from the 1975-84 time period, including the pimento cheese sandwich. • Pre-race concert by rock legends KANSAS and national anthem performance by Barry Williams (of Brady Bunch fame). The Tradition Continues on Labor Day weekend as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bojangles' Southern 500 ® is set for Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017. The NASCAR XFINITY Series VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 will race on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. You can keep up with all of the latest news from Darlington Raceway at DarlingtonRaceway.com , on Facebook at Facebook.com/DarlingtonRaceway and on Twitter at Twitter.com/TooToughToTame . &amp;lt;/p&amp;gt;
Post-Race Reactions: Lucas Oil Raceway
Carl Edwards promises not to speed on pitroad, plus other drivers comment on the G-W-C finish.
John Wes Townley sitting out Eldora race with possible concussion
Concord, N.C. (July 18, 2016) – John Wes Townley remains under treatment for a possible concussion and will not compete in Wednesday night's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Eldora Speedway. ARCA competitor Brady Boswell will drive the No. 05 Zaxby's/Jive Communications Chevrolet at Eldora for Townley. The 19-year-old Boswell, like Townley, is a resident of Watkinsville, Georgia. Both drivers are graduates of North Oconee High School in Bogart, Georgia. Veteran driver and NASCAR on NBC analyst Parker Kligerman will substitute for Townley in Friday night's ARCA Sioux Chief PowerPEX 200 presented by Jive at Lucas Oil Raceway . Townley is scheduled to be re-evaluated by his physician July 25, when he anticipates gaining medical clearance to return to competition in ARCA and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for events next week at Pocono Raceway .
Hemric finds perfect home at Brad Keselowski Racing
RELATED: Standings post-Atlanta STATESVILLE, N.C. -- "It's kind of a funny story how it all works out, I guess." At which point Daniel Hemric starts the tale of how he came to be in this place, the palatial new shop for Brad Keselowski Racing. Not only is he here standing on the gleaming epoxy floors, he's the team namesake's newest driver, handpicked from a promising crop of young hotshoes. As far as chance meetings go, his anecdote from the summer of 2012 makes for a tough story to top. Hemric, then a 21-year-old up-and-comer on the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour, had just converted a pass with five laps to go at Auto City Speedway in Clio, Michigan to secure his seventh win in 11 races that season, paving the way toward the series championship. The race he won was called the BRAD 100, and home-state grand marshal Keselowski -- who was making his own march to a title in NASCAR's premier series that year -- was there to greet him in Victory Lane. "He's like, 'Man, that was really cool to watch,' " Hemric recalls his current boss saying, "and that was really our first time shaking hands and meeting. Fast forward to ( Lucas Oil Raceway in Indiana) a couple months later in that year, same thing: We went on to win the race in more of a dominant fashion, but it was cool to start seeing the face and building somewhat of a relationship. "From that point on, I think we both had the understanding -- at least from my end -- that if there was ever an opportunity to put stuff together to make it work, we wanted to figure out some way, some how to race together." Those conversations kept going during their occasional encounters at the track through the years, and the timing never quite clicked for a partnership to develop until late last season. The plans for a full run this year in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series finally aligned for all parties concerned -- driver, owner, team (the No. 19 Ford) and sponsors (a full fleet including California Clean Power, Draw-Tite and Reese Brands). Hemric's early laurels are encouraging, with two top-10 efforts in the first two races of 2016 and the ever-closer reality of achieving a breakthrough win. For Hemric, a NASCAR national series victory would be the next rotation in a series of full-circle moments. The building blocks Hemric's hometown listing is a familiar one in the NASCAR community -- Kannapolis, North Carolina, a place synonymous with Earnhardt. The 25-year-old driver grew up just down the road from Dale Earnhardt Inc., his childhood overlapping with that organization's heyday. "You didn't have to go very far to see what the pinnacle was," Hemric said of his boyhood proximity to multiple racing facilities. "With the DEI shop being really close to my hometown and where I grew up and knowing that if you do all the right things and put yourself with the right people, this could be a possibility. That was at 5 or 6 years old, so now to be 25 and to be in a situation where that dream is definitely within grasp and you can really see it being a possible situation, something that you've been able to build and put yourself in, that's really cool." His own glory years started early, with go-kart victories in nearby Concord around the time he graduated from kindergarten. Though he grew up in the cradle of NASCAR's industry hub, the formative stages of Hemric's career took him everywhere -- racing Super Late Models in the Midwest, Whelen Modifieds in the Northeast, and Legends Cars in the South. Uncannily, Hemric learned from each region and each type of car, taking bits from every experience to place in his memory banks. The puzzle pieces have helped him become not only a better driver but also a better communicator, something that Chad Kendrick -- his crew chief -- detected early on. From their earliest conversations, Hemric's feedback from his first laps with the No. 19 team made its own impact. "It would overlay with the data, which was really impressive because a lot of drivers can't do that -- they can just say it was a little tight or it was a little free," said Kendrick, who has worked with current Sprint Cup Series regulars Keselowski, Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney . "He's very descriptive on exactly where it gets tight, why it got tight, what he's feeling in the left-rear, right-rear, wherever it's at. So very impressed with that. "It's only two races in -- and really it's only one race in because Daytona is its own deal -- but after Atlanta, I was very impressed. And he's got mounds of talent, which is what you have to have." Setting for success Hemric has found a new home, but the team has also -- moving from its cozy former headquarters in nearby Mooresville into a lavish, 72,000-square-foot building on a country road that parallels Statesville's small regional airport. Keselowski, who documented his organization's transition in his most recent essay on his personal blog, has invested plenty of time and effort into making BKR's facility a showpiece. The move has provide the team exponentially more space, allowing them to handle hanging bodies on their fleet of Ford F-150 trucks. There's a paint shop in the back of the building, numerous toolbox bays and workstations, plus the assortment of trophies in the lobby -- including a Crosley jukebox from one of Keselowski's multiple victories at Kentucky Speedway . "A lot of thought went into it, and I think it was just off the many shops that Brad has experienced throughout his career," Hemric said, noting Roger Penske -- Keselowski's Sprint Cup team owner -- and his strong influence. "Being a huge part in the Penske building over there and seeing how Roger operated, I think that was a big role in how this place was assembled. If you're going to structure yourself off anybody, Roger's probably not a bad guy. To see all that's gone into this point, it's really, really interesting to see how many resources these guys have." Those resources are a luxury for Kendrick's charges, who now have room to work on multiple trucks at once. The veteran crew chief also has an asset in Keselowski's leadership, which he says is hands-on without veering into micromanagement. The mood Monday morning at the shop was a vibrant one, with a slight spring in the step potentially provided by the boss man's Sprint Cup victory the previous day at Las Vegas Motor Speedway . Kendrick, however, said that the buoyance comes naturally -- and daily -- working in such a pristine environment. "Just having a nice facility like this at this level has encouraged the guys to be just better," Kendrick said. "I mean, when you walk into this place and work here day in and day out, it just boosts morale. Guys want to be better, look better, want to perform better. It just raises it to the next level. ... It'll be many years to come before somebody tops this." Great expectations The proverbial next level is something Hemric is striving for on-track as well. He made strides with NTS Motorsports in his rookie season last year, logging top-10 finishes in the majority of the 23 races and claiming seventh place in the final driver standings. The results, however, were uneven, with each modest string of pleasantness disrupted by a setback -- either mechanical or racing-related. "Everybody said it was character-building and we had a lot of that," Hemric says now. "We definitely experienced some pretty good highs and some pretty low lows. I felt like at the end of the day, the biggest thing that I was taught last year was how to excel in those opportunities where you don't have the best truck that day and how to make the most out of a rough situation. "I found myself a couple of times thinking, 'Man, is this ever going to turn around?' You keep your head on your shoulders, position yourself on the restarts and next thing you know, you wind up with a good finish. I think all that stuff is really going to play a role as we get further into the season, we get closer to that Chase format and it's all going to matter." Last year's feeling of exasperation is one that Kendrick hopes Hemric can cleanse, helping lift his confidence in the season's early going. Putting winning trucks into his hands is a major step. It's the reason why Hemric wasn't delighted two weekends ago at Atlanta Motor Speedway , where he matched his career-best effort in the truck series with a fourth-place finish. The reaction came in part because he knew that his first trip to Victory Lane in a national-series event was well within reach. The attitude change, Kendrick said, should add fuel to Hemric's competitive drive. Now it's just a matter of scratching the win column. "We talked about that when we knew Daniel was coming here," Kendrick said of his initial conversations with Keselowski and other BKR managers. "I really think he could be the guy that when he gets his first win, I really feel like he's going to be the guy that'll roll off three out of five, or roll off three or four in a row. I really feel like he could be that kind of guy, but you've just got to get that first one. The first one is always the hardest." That first victory might be the hardest, but it also might be the most meaningful, providing Hemric another opportunity to have Keselowski greet him in Victory Lane under much different circumstances. "It's definitely a dream come true how it all comes full circle," Hemric said. "Now it's just a matter of making the most of it."
Darlington announces 2017 throwback theme
RELATED: See the 2016 Darlington retro schemes DARLINGTON, S.C. (Jan. 18, 2017) -- Another historic celebration of the sport is in store for Darlington Raceway in 2017. The track is pleased to announce "Year 3" of its award-winning throwback campaign for the Bojangles' Southern 500 race weekend on Sept. 1-3, 2017. The Official Throwback Weekend of NASCAR will be celebrating the 1985-89 era of the sport in 2017, which like the 1975-84 period it celebrated in 2016, was a time of exceptional growth and exposure for NASCAR. "The track will be celebrating the 1985-89 time period of the sport during our throwback weekend in 2017," Darlington Raceway President Kerry Tharp said. “As we enter the third year of our throwback campaign, we’ll be focusing on drivers, personalities and moments that were compelling in that timeframe, such as the emergence of Dale Earnhardt Sr., Bill Elliott winning the first Winston Million, and the growth of the NASCAR XFINITY Series (formerly the Busch Grand National Series). It will be an exciting era for the track and industry to celebrate." As the sport moved into the late 1980s, NASCAR champions such as Dale Earnhardt, Darrell Waltrip, Bill Elliott and Rusty Wallace, among others, made a tremendous impact on the sport and will be celebrated during the Labor Day weekend festivities. This year is also the 50 th anniversary of Richard Petty's one and only Southern 500 victory (1967). The honoring of champions from 1985-89 is just one part of the track's overall strategy to celebrate its history. Darlington Raceway 's throwback campaign focuses on specific eras plus the historic moments and drivers that made impacts at "The Track Too Tough to Tame." For the third straight year, Darlington Raceway is also excited to announce it will once again highlight its rich history with a commemorative ticket design for the Bojangles' Southern 500 linking the past, present and future. "We’ve enjoyed producing the commemorative tickets for our fans every year of the throwback program,” said Tharp. “It’s important that our fans who attend the Darlington Raceway NASCAR weekend walk away with a special keepsake that recognizes our rich history and honors the stars of our sport." The retro design will link 1987 Southern 500 champion Dale Earnhardt, who ranks second all-time with nine NASCAR Cup Series wins at Darlington Raceway , as well as 2016 Bojangles' Southern 500 winner Martin Truex Jr . These special tickets will be used for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bojangles' Southern 500 . Tickets are expected to be mailed to customers starting in mid-June. There will also be a retro-style ticket for the NASCAR XFINITY Series VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 that will be unveiled at a later date. Ticket renewals have been mailed so current fans can renew their seats and race day experiences for the 2017 Labor Day weekend. Renewing tickets early guarantees seats at the track's best prices prior to the opening of all remaining seats to the general public on February 22. Renewing customers receive many great benefits for being a loyal customer, including the raceway's best pricing, for Labor Day weekend. Renewal benefits include: -The track’s best prices for the Bojangles' Southern 500 -Convenient five-part payment plan -Special renewal pricing for Darlington Stripe Zone Hospitality ($30 savings) -Special renewal pricing for pre-race pit passes ($10 savings) -Special renewal pricing for all-inclusive driver intros, pre-race concert and pre-race pit road access ($15 savings) -Special renewal pricing for FanVision rentals ($25 savings) -Special renewal pricing for Racing Electronics scanner rental ($15 savings) -Special renewal opportunity to purchase NASCAR XFINITY Series VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 tickets for just $25 each when you renew your Bojangles Southern 500 ticket package ($5-10 savings) Guests may renew their tickets and campsites by calling 866-459-RACE (7223) or visiting www.DarlingtonRaceway.com/renewals. The renewal deadline is Friday, Feb. 10. The Tradition Continues on Labor Day weekend as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bojangles' Southern 500 ® is set for Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017. The NASCAR XFINITY Series VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 will race on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. You can keep up with all of the latest news from Darlington Raceway at DarlingtonRaceway.com, on Facebook at Facebook.com/DarlingtonRaceway and on Twitter at Twitter.com/TooToughToTame.
Gaunt Brothers Racing sets '17 schedule; Kennington to compete at Daytona
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Jan. 18, 2017) - Gaunt Brothers Racing, owned by Triad Racing Technologies president Marty Gaunt, will return to NASCAR competition in 2017. Participating in four restrictor plate races in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series , GBR's select schedule begins with the 59th running of the Daytona 500 , when D.J. Kennington will take the wheel of the team's Toyota Camry. "With the recent unveiling of the 2018 Toyota Camry, we feel that now is the right time to return to the racetrack," said Gaunt, whose Triad engines powered five championship-winning Toyota drivers and contributed to multiple manufacturer championships at the NASCAR national level. "We're going to provide a concentrated effort this season at tracks on which we can immediately adapt and compete." Gaunt Brothers Racing previously competed in what is now the NASCAR Pinty's Series in 2011. Prior to purchasing Triad and forming GBR, Gaunt served in leadership roles with Team Penske , Red Horse Racing and Red Bull Racing. GBR is fielding the Toyota Camry in partnership with longtime Triad client RAB Racing, led by Robby Benton. RAB Racing will partner in supplying cars, shop space and technical support to the GBR effort. "There are a lot of great things happening with the sport right now and we feel fortunate to continue our relationship with Marty, Triad and Toyota, starting with this attempt at the Daytona 500 ," said Benton. "Our aspirations will be no small task, but we know what we need to do to position ourselves to make this a successful effort. We'll transition over to the Daytona 500 after competing in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona with our sports car program later this month." Kennington, hailing from St. Thomas, Ontario, is a two-time NASCAR Pinty's Series champion and 19-time Pinty's Series race winner. He has made 56 career starts in NASCAR's three national divisions, including his Cup Series debut last fall at Phoenix International Raceway . Kennington's longtime partner, Castrol (Wakefield Canada) and British Columbia-based Lordco Auto Parts will co-sponsor the Toyota Camry in the season-opening Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 26. "As the Daytona 500 is called 'The Great American Race,' our team will be considered the 'Great Canadian Invasion,'" joked Kennington. "I'm definitely ready to take this on. I'm excited to be running the first race with Monster Energy as the series sponsor, and I love how the program came together with Castrol, Lordco and the Gaunts." The remaining events for GBR, for which the driver will be announced at a later date, include Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, May 7, Daytona on Saturday, July 1 and Talladega on Sunday, Oct. 15.
Runner-up finish leaves Erik Jones unsatisfied
18-year-old driver wanted more from strong Daytona run Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Erik Jones wrapped up his 2014 Camping World Truck Series campaign with his third win of the season, putting a stomping on the field to the tune of 114 of 126 laps led in the Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix Raceway . The 18-year-old Kyle Busch Motorsports driver then finished second in Friday night's 2015 season-opening NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway, making a last-lap move to position himself for -- albeit coming up just short of -- the win. Bookending seasons with an average finish of 1.5 in a pair of races? Surely, any driver would take that. However, the highly-touted NASCAR Next wheelman wasn't satisfied. "I wish we could have won the race; that's first off," Jones said on pit road following the race. "… It's unfortunate for us to finish second any day, but it's a good run for us. We just wanted to come in here and have a good day, solid day to start off the year. "Second is a great start to the season and we did what we wanted to. We came in here and didn't get wrecked and put ourselves in a position not to be making up all year." That second-place finish was looking like a certain fourth for the latter chunk of the 100-mile event, as the Brad Keselowski Racing duo of race-winner Tyler Reddick and Austin Theriault had a lock on the 1-2 spots ahead of the field. Jones said his final lap strategy was to lay back through Turns 3 and 4, hopeful that if Theriault ended up making a move on his teammate -- which is what ended up happening -- he could pull his No. 4 Toyota Tundra off both of them and attempt to make his way to the front. "It worked up to second, but just couldn't quite get to the lead," he said. Give him one more lap and there's a good chance he puts his truck in Victory Lane. Considering it was just Jones' second career restrictor-plate race, there are still lessons to be learned from finishing a position lower than he'd prefer, particularly from his experienced team owner, who has been offering his sage advice to his young padawan. "Just lots of listening. Lots of listening," Jones said. "Really talked to Kyle a lot about it last year before Talladega. Talked to him more about it here. Read a lot of data that Toyota gives us. Try to apply it all in real‑time. "I think everybody kind of knows the basics of drafting. It's not extremely complicated. It's just a matter of being able to process those during the race and being able to remember all the things you've gathered about it. Actually, I don't mind plate racing. I enjoy it. I had fun tonight. Would have had a lot more fun if we came home one position higher." You see? At all times -- Jones is focused on nothing but winning. It's the same mentality that all of NASCAR's greats shared, and one that bodes well for the future of a talented young driver that is quickly rising within the sport's ranks -- he finished 18th in Saturday's Alert Today Florida 300 XFINITY Series event. While the first win of 2015 will have to wait, it was still crucial for Jones to escape Daytona without digging himself into a points hole, something that he and his team knew could be a possibility. Instead, his momentum remains in tact and the team will head to Atlanta Motor Speedway for next weekend's Hyundai Construction Equipment 200 (Saturday, 5:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1). "That was pretty important to us," the Michigan native said. "We talked about it for the last couple weeks. When you start off Daytona and get wrecked or whatever, say you finish 30th, it really gives you a hole to dig out of for really the next four races, even if you run those well. "It's pretty important to finish well here, just get good momentum going for your season. It's my first full‑time season." Atlanta is similarly configured to the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where he picked up his second win of the year in 2014. Needless to say, he's looking forward to it. "Atlanta is going to be fun. I think our mile‑and‑a‑half program is pretty strong. It was really strong last year. I think we can probably go out and hopefully contend for a win." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Brandon Jones joins GMS Racing
17-year-old will compete in two more 2014 Camping World Truck Series races Brandon Jones is joining GMS Racing to run two more NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races this season. Jones will pilot the No. 33 Chevrolet Silverado in the Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 25 as well as the Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway on Nov. 7. Shane Huffman will serve as crew chief. "I couldn't be more excited to continue our NCWTS efforts this season with GMS Racing at Martinsville and Phoenix ," Jones said in a release. "The opportunity to start our relationship at a familiar track like Martinsville is a great benefit and I'm incredibly excited to tackle Phoenix for the first time. GMS Racing has had impressive performances this year and I can't wait to get back on track working with Shane Huffman and the entire organization." Jones has made six previous Camping World Truck Series starts in his career, including three this year, all for Turner Scott Motorsports. His best finish was a fourth-place result at Dover this past spring. Jones has made two previous starts at Martinsville and has an average finish of 17.0 at the track. The 17-year-old Atlanta native competed full-time in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East circuit this season and finished fourth in the final standings. He won his first K&N Pro Series East race at Iowa Speedway in August. Huffman served as the crew chief for most of his races on that circuit and has also been the crew chief for all three of Jones' starts this season in the Truck Series. "Everyone at GMS Racing is thrilled to welcome Brandon into the fold of the No. 33 Chevrolet Silverado," Nic Moncher, the general manager of GMS Racing, said in a team release. "He has shown a great deal of talent this season across every series he has competed in, and we're both looking forward to great performances together at both Martinsville and Phoenix . Brandon has all the tools you like to see in a young driver and he will be a great asset to our Truck Series program." This season, GMS Racing has fielded a full-time truck for Joey Coulter (No. 21), while Max Gresham and Spencer Gallagher have split time in the No. 23 entry. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Five drivers strive to join Sauter in Truck Series Championship 4
RELATED: Truck Series Chase Grid " Driver standings With two races left in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season, only Johnny Sauter has a sure-fire berth in the championship finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway . The rest of the title-hopeful roster is a five-driver pour into a three-driver funnel. The Championship 4 field for the series' inaugural Chase finale will get clarity after Friday night's Lucas Oil 150 (10 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM) at Phoenix International Raceway . William Byron, Christopher Bell , Matt Crafton , Timothy Peters and Ben Kennedy will aim to join Sauter in the Championship 4, but two drivers will be eliminated in Friday's Round of 6 finale. Sauter clinched his spot with a victory at Martinsville Speedway two weeks ago, then blocked anyone else from an automatic berth with a back-to-back win at Texas Motor Speedway last weekend. He's the only driver who can afford to be conservative at Phoenix. "We're peaking at the right time but we need to peak in a few weeks when it really counts at Homestead," Sauter said. Byron and Bell, two Kyle Busch Motorsports teammates with limited experience on the Arizona oval, may be in the best position to join him. Byron is the top points-earner among the five remaining drivers hoping to transfer, with Bell just one point behind him. Their KBM organization also has solid footing at Phoenix. The Kyle Busch -owned group won four straight races at the 1-mile track from 2011-14. Plus, the 18-year-old Byron has some level of confidence by competing in a race-winning chassis -- the same one that he drove to a triumph in the Chase opener at New Hampshire and that Erik Jones powered to Victory Lane at Phoenix in 2014. "It's a little bit of pressure for everyone who is not locked in," Byron said. "Hopefully we can capitalize on that and have the finish we need in order to get to Homestead. I think we're going to have a really good shot at a win, so if we can do that, it would be the easiest way to ensure we are in the Championship 4 next weekend." Bell, 21, will also be at the controls of proven equipment, driving the same KBM truck that spurred him to victory at Gateway Motorsports Park . He also finished second to Byron using the same chassis in the Chase opener at New Hampshire. "I expect that we'll be really fast again this week," Bell said. "I feel we are in a good enough position points-wise that if we just go out and have a solid day and not make any mistakes then we should advance." Not much distance separates the three drivers behind the Kyle Busch Motorsports duo in the standings. Two-time series champ Crafton sits three points behind Bell, with Peters -- the defending race winner - another point back. Kennedy, smarting from a pair of mid-pack finishes in the round's other events, is just 13 points behind Crafton's grasp on the provisional final transfer spot. Of the six, only Peters is seeking his first win of the season. A repeat of his late-race surge to victory in Phoenix's 150-miler last year would be well-timed. "I'd say we have momentum on our side, we've been strong through the Chase and at short tracks this season," Peters said. "I think we have a good Toyota Tundra this weekend and this team has the heart to come back and go for the win."