Mark Martin, Trevor Bayne and others talk about a difficult race in Sin City.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s No. 88 Goodys Chevorlet is quite the talk of the town , in more ways than one.
Elliott on teammate Smith: 'When the green flag comes out, he's a competitor' RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today For all those predicting major strides in Chase Elliott 's rookie NASCAR Nationwide Series season, none had to wait too long for validation. Just six races in, the 18-year-old prodigy held off the best of the Sprint Cup double-dippers at Texas Motor Speedway for his first Nationwide win. Now with the season winding down, Elliott returns to the Fort Worth track, the site of his breakthrough victory, with even more validation work behind him. His three wins and a stunning 24 top-10 finishes in 30 races have launched him to the top rung of the standings and within shouting distance of history heading into Saturday's O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN). Elliott has a chance to become the youngest champion in any of NASCAR's three national series and the first rookie title-winner in Nationwide Series history. The youngster -- along with teammate Regan Smith , 42 points back in second place -- also has a shot at the first Nationwide crown for JR Motorsports, owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr . Even with the burden of a championship battle potentially intensifying in its last three races, Elliott has remained on an even keel without looking too far ahead. "I just try to keep it as simple as possible and keep it as stress-free you can and take it a week at a time," Elliott said. "I put a lot of emphasis on that, and that's just the truth. You've got to take it a week at a time and try to just compete for wins. I think that's the best way to go about it. Hopefully we're still in the hunt when it counts and we can battle to the end." While Elliott has lofty goals, so does his veteran teammate. Smith, 31, prevailed in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway and has matched his teammate's tally of 24 top-10s in 2014. While the spirit of teamwork has become part of the collective fabric at JRM, Elliott said that offering help has some natural limits. "It's no different than racing anybody else," Elliott said. "Regan's a great teammate, and he's a good racer, a very smart racer, and he's helped me a lot this year. Each week, we share information, and that's great and all, but when the green flag comes out, he's a competitor. I look at it that way and so does he." Behind the two front-runners in the series standings is a three-way logjam for third through fifth place. Brian Scott sits third, 61 points behind Elliott. The Richard Childress Racing driver is just two points ahead of Joe Gibbs Racing's Elliott Sadler and three ahead of RCR teammate Ty Dillon . For Dillon, who prevailed on the 1.5-mile track last fall in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, he'll have some extra incentive besides trying to jockey for position in the standings. He'll be racing against brother Austin Dillon , the 2013 Nationwide champ who will be making his first start of the season in the series, driving the RCR No. 33 Chevrolet. The 300 -miler also signals the closing stages of the team owner's championship battle. The Team Penske No. 22 Ford operation currently holds a 31-point advantage over Joe Gibbs Racing's No. 54 Toyota team. Joey Logano will drive the Penske No. 22 this weekend, and Kyle Busch , a six-time Texas winner on the Nationwide side, will be behind the wheel of the No. 54. 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
Driver on the verge of becoming first back-to-back Truck champion FORT WORTH, Tex. -- It's been 10 years since the points leader with three races remaining in NASCAR's Camping World Truck Series failed to win the title. Matt Crafton is hoping to stretch the streak to 11. The ThorSport Racing driver holds an 18-point lead on Ryan Blaney ( Brad Keselowski Racing) and leads third-place Darrell Wallace ( Kyle Busch Motorsports) by 22. Friday’s WinStar World Casino & Resort 350 at Texas Motor Speedway kicks off the final three-race leg for the series, followed by stops at Phoenix International Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway . The defending series champion, and winner of the most recent NCWTS race at the 1.5-mile track, Crafton said the experience of last year's title run has him better prepared for, and more comfortable with, what lies ahead. "Absolutely," he said Thursday after wrapping up two practice sessions. "I know from last year to this year I'm a completely different person. At this point last year ... we had a 40- or 50-point lead (51 points), I have no idea what it was but it was huge, and I still had a lot of sleepless nights. "Now, it is what it is. I'm just going out and trying to win races. You're going to look at points -- 'OK, he's this much back' but I'm not going to worry about it. I haven't woken up one time in the last three months and even thought about points. I can promise you that.” A two-time winner this season, Crafton has finished third in three of the last four races. Blaney rolled into town on the heels of back-to-back top-five finishes. And Wallace has a win and two runner-up results in three of his last four outings. The expectation is that Blaney and Wallace will continue to be fast, "but if you look at Darrell's team, they've been on a roll here lately," Crafton said. "I think right now that's going to be one of the tougher teams." Wallace, also in a Toyota, won't argue the assessment of his No. 54 group, but isn't ready to talk points. Partly racer superstition perhaps, partly because of past experiences. But he said he feels good about the three remaining tracks on the schedule, especially Texas. "I feel like this is where our mile-and-a-half program came to life," he said of a 10th-place Texas finish earlier this year. "We were way different (with our set-up) than we'd ever been so the confidence level went up. Kentucky was the next (1.5-mile track), we were really strong, finished second, Las Vegas finished second, and at Chicago ran top five all night, finished sixth. But this is the track where I think it came to life." It's been a complete turnaround for the KBM team, which finished no better than 15th in four of its first five starts this year. The change, Wallace said, was due in part to "knocking all the bad luck out of the way" as well as communication with crew chief Jerry Baxter and his own comfort level inside the truck. "I forget where it was, after Texas maybe, Jerry was like ... 'dude, believe in this truck, please.' Stuff started turning around. All these mile-and-a-halves are so different, you're feeling the air and any inch I'd get loose, and I'd be like 'uh-oh.' Now I don't even care. Kyle (Busch, team owner and teammate) will mention 'I’m feeling this.' Well I'm feeling the same thing. He's winning races so it's got to be a good feeling." Toyota can clinch the manufacturer's championship this weekend with a finish of seventh or better by one of its drivers, eighth with one lap led or ninth with the most laps led. Another victory would be No. 16 for the automaker, breaking the mark of 15 first reached in 2010 and equaled this year. The title is far from a done deal, and as Johnny Sauter , Crafton's teammate said, "anything is possible." "I think his points lead is around 20, so yeah, three races is a long time," Sauter said. "That's really not insurmountable by any means. "Obviously I want to see Crafton win the championship because we're in the same camp ... those guys are solid week in and week out, they're consistent. If they continue to do what they've done all year, they're probably not going to be (caught). "But three races is a long time. A lot of things can go right and a lot can go wrong." For now, Crafton said he and his No. 88 team aren't looking too far down the road. "We know we have fast trucks," he said. "If I don't make any mistakes, and we don't make any mistakes as a team, we should be able to do it." 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
Chase Elliott starts first in Drive for the Cure 300
Chase Elliott, Regan Smith, and Ryan Blaney offer their thoughts following the Drive for the Cure 300 Presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina.
Sam Hornish Jr. comments on his second career NASCAR Nationwide Series victory after the Sam's Town 300 .
Keselowski's flat tire, Mark Martin's record win and Danica Patrick's historic finish make up the last laps of the Sam's Town 300 .
Kyle Busch comments on his second place run after the Sam's Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Justin Allgaier, Carl Edwards, Trevor Bayne and Denny Hamlin on the exciting Sam's Town 300 finish.