Posted 11/4/16 | © Photo by Scott Tilley
All three NASCAR racing series roll into Ft. Worth this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. The first race up on the schedule is slated for Friday when the Camping World Truck drivers battle race five of seven races for their season championship. This year marks the first year that the truck series is using the Chase playoff format that has been used in the Sprint Cup series for a few years now.
The Chase playoff format system was first introduced back in 2014 at the Sprint Cup level as a way to create extra excitement and interest before crowning the eventual champion at the last race of the season. The format has shown to be such a hit with the fans (with the highest number of viewers for a season finale in quite a while), that the decision was made to implement it for both the Xfinity and Camping World race series. With four of the seven races in the Chase finished and the eight drivers in the playoffs down to six, the drama is mounting as they come to Texas to see which four drivers will advance to Homestead for a winner-take-all race.
Friday night's race could be an old-fashioned, Friday-night, dirt-track shoot out with Johnny Sauter in the Allegiant Travel Chevy winning last week at Martinsville to secure his spot at Homestead. That leaves only three slots remaining for the other five drivers to qualify for the final race at Homestead.
If you are looking for an odds-on favorite to win Friday night's Striping Technology 350, you might look at William Bryan in the Liberty University Toyota. He was the driver who won the Rattlesnake 400 back in June when the trucks were here.
Matt Crafton also has to be a big favorite because he drove a great race in June but faded late. If you look at the point standings within the Chase, he would be the odd man out with needing to make up 14 points to qualify on points if he doesn't secure a win in the next two races.
If there is one driver who is not in the Chase but could cause some concern for the Chase teams, that could be Rico Abreu of the Safelite Auto Glass/Curb Records Toyota. Like William Bryan, he had a great run back in June; and if not for a sub-par final pitstop that had him chasing back to the front like a dirt track wheel man at Eldora or Knoxville speedways, he might have captured his first win.
With the Chase implemented in all series, Friday night's truck race will be an old-fashioned shoot out where every lap means something and no one will be willing to give an inch ... and it will be happening at around 180+ mph.
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