The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers get back to action this weekend following a thrilling race last weekend in Martinsville. Friday night’s JAG Metals 350 (8 p.m. ET/FS1/MRN) will certainly go a long way in determining who will be racing for the championship at Homestead in two weeks.
Here are the top storylines for this weekend’s race.
A Non Playoff Winner?
Last week, Noah Gragson stole the win away at Martinsville from Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter. Now, that means at least two spots at Homestead will go to wildcard drivers. Will a third be on the line?
That will be huge if so.
4th Playoff Spot
Christopher Bell, Johnny Sauter and Matt Crafton did enough last weekend at Martinsville to really ensure they will be racing for the championship again at Homestead. All three of them made it last year. Bell, is 45 points above the cutline, while Sauter and Crafton are 42 and 30 points up respectively. I don’t think any of the other three can cut that gap much.
So, that means the fourth and final spot for Homestead will be an intense battle between Ben Rhodes (+11), Austin Cindric (-11) and John Hunter Nemechek (-28).
Another Christopher Bell Win?
Bell doesn’t need to win a race, he’s likely far enough up to make it to Homestead and have a chance at a championship. But, he still is going to be a tough out on Friday night. Bell, won at Texas in June and three of his series leading five wins in 2017 have come on 1.5-mile tracks. I’d look at him as the favorite.
With the top three in the points likely being in a good spot to make it to Homestead, the other three vying for the final spot is going to be tight. That means gaining as many stage points as possible over the next two weeks can really make or break their chances at racing for a championship at Homestead.
The Texas track went over a makeover last offseason and with June’s race being much more different than in the past, will another night race make the track a one-groove track again. With most repaves, Texas included, the new surface gives way more grip. That makes it hard to pass. Night races add even more grip to the already grippy surface. That means track position is going to be key on Friday.