Fans headed to southern Virginia for this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck Series races at Martinsville Speedway will see a post-season twin bill as the 2016 schedule enters its final month. Six title contenders remain in the inaugural Truck Series Chase heading into Saturday’s Texas Roadhouse 200 led by top-seeded rookie William Byron. Also still on The Chase Grid are Christopher Bell, Timothy Peters, Ben Kennedy, Johnny Sauter and Matt Crafton … In the Sprint Cup Series, the title field is down to eight for the final short-track race of the 2016 season, Sunday’s Goody’s Fast Relief 500. Kyle Busch, the Number-1 seed in this year’s Chase, is looking for a season sweep on the Virginia half-mile after winning the year’s first stop there in early April. Denny Hamlin’s the last driver to win both races in a single season, doing so in 2010.
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The 2016 season marks the first time the “Chase” format that’s been used by the Sprint Cup Series the past two seasons will also be implemented in the Camping World Truck Series and there are just three races remaining before the eight-driver field is set, including Saturday’s Careers for Veterans 200 at Michigan International Speedway. If the post-season began today, The Chase Grid would include rookies Christopher Bell and William Byron, who are teammates at Kyle Busch Motorsports … two-time champion Matt Crafton, John Hunter Nemechek, Johnny Sauter, Ben Kennedy, Daniel Hemric and Timothy Peters, who leads rookie Cole Custer by twenty-nine points for what would be the final “playoff” spot. After Saturday’s stop at M-I-S, remaining races in the regular season will be run at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Chicagoland Speedway. The Chase will open September 24th in Loudon, New Hampshire.
The 2016 season marks the first time the “Chase” format that’s been used by the Sprint Cup Series the past two seasons will also be implemented in the Camping World Truck Series, with the final month of the regular season set to open next week in Bristol, Tennessee. Eight drivers will qualify and if the post-season began today, the field would include rookies Christopher Bell and William Byron, who are teammates at Kyle Busch Motorsports … two-time champion Matt Crafton, John Hunter Nemechek, Johnny Sauter, Timothy Peters and Daniel Hemric. The battle for the eighth and final “playoff” spot is fierce with four drivers within five points of each other: Cameron Hayley, Ben Kennedy, Tyler Reddick and rookie Cole Custer. After Bristol on August 17th, remaining races in the regular season will be run at Michigan International Speedway, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Chicagoland Speedway. The Chase will open September 24th in Loudon, New Hampshire.
Kyle Larson came from a lap down to win Wednesday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Aspen Dental Eldora Dirt Derby at Eldora Speedway. Larson drove the No. 24 DC Solar GMS Motorsports Silverado to his first victory in three tries in the annual summer visit to the historic dirt track. However, it was not smooth sailing to the checkered flag for Larson who was penalized for intentionally causing a caution on lap fifty-two when he spun after a tire went down. He went a lap down but was able to make it up and charged into the lead with thirty-two laps to go. Last year’s winner Christopher Bell made a late charge but made contact with the wall in the closing laps and would take the checkered flag in second. Rico Abreu, who also experienced problems earlier in the race, charged back to finish third. Jake Griffin and Tyler Reddick rounded out the top-five. Dirt late model driver Bobby Pierce looked as if he might pull off the upset, leading one hundred and two of the one hundred and fifty lap race, but experienced clutch and transmission problems on the final restart, eventually spinning out trying to pass Larson with only a few laps to go. Pierce would end the night a disappointing twenty-fifth. Pierce, Reddick, Ken Schrader, JR Heffner and Ben Rhodes won preliminary qualifying races while Cody Coughlin and Abreu made their way into the feature by finishing first and second in the last chance race in a night that was filled with action from start to finish.
Christopher Bell mastered the final restart of the night Wednesday at Eldora Speedway, fending off a brief challenge from Austin Dillon and beating pole sitter Bobby Pierce to the checkered flag to notch his first career win. This marks the second year in a row the Number-54 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota was parked in Victory Lane at the half-mile Ohio dirt oval.
Last year, Darrell Wallace Junior was behind the wheel. This time, it was Bell engineering the victory in just his third career start. He qualified ninth then won his heat race to lock down the Number-4 starting spot in the night’s main event. Bell led a race-high 106 laps, including the final forty-nine. His margin of victory over runner-up Pierce was three-quarters of a second.
Tyler Reddick grabbed third place with rookies Erik Jones and Daniel Hemric completing the top five. Dillon wound up sixth … In addition to Bell, other winners of the night’s heat races were Pierce, Reddick, John Hunter Nemechek and Ken Schrader – with Cody Erickson winning the “last-chance” race to secure his spot in the thirty-two-truck field … Two-time defending series champion and current points leader Matt Crafton finished ninth and saw Reddick whittle six points from his advantage that now stands at fourteen heading into the next race next week in Long Pond, Pennsylvania … Wednesday’s race was slowed by thirteen cautions, most in the three-year history of the event, for sixty-one of the 154 laps.
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