The final regular season race took place last Friday night at Chicagoland Speedway for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and set the final playoff point standings. Here’s a look at who thrived in Chicago.
- Johnny Sauter – Sauter seemed to have found his rhythm back after having several weeks of disappointment and losing his championship lead in the summer months. This past Friday night, he changed that as he won for the first time since Dover International Speedway. Sauter finished second and fourth, respectively, in both stages and didn’t take the lead until 27 laps to go. He might be heating up at the right time as he cut the Christopher Bell’s point lead down to 15.
- Christopher Bell – In the past three races, Bell has been up and down, and it has shown that in the points differential. At Bristol, Candian Tire Motorsports Park and Chicagoland, Bell finished seventh, 26th and third, respectively. This past Friday night, he finished eighth in Stage 1 and won the second stage. But at Bristol, Bell had a 42 point lead over Sauter, however, due to the engine failure at Canada and Sauter’s win on Friday night, the points lead was cut down to 15. Bell did lead 18 laps but needs to have his momentum back that he had during the summer months. Still no doubt, he will be a strong championship challenger throughout the playoffs, but he needs no mistakes.
- Chase Briscoe – Briscoe had a strong night at Chicago. Throughout the race, he led twice for 18 laps and finished in the top 10 in both stages. He’ll need to keep up the momentum and perhaps win a race if he wants to be in the final four at Homestead. Nonetheless, another solid run for the No. 29 Brad Keselowski Racing Cooper Standard Ford.
- Ryan Truex – The other Truex is maybe showing shades of his older brother Martin, here lately, in the Camping World Truck Series. In the past two races, he has won at least one stage. In Canada, it was the second stage and he wound up finishing fifth, while this past weekend in Chicago, Truex won the first stage and finished fourth. Unfortunately, Truex missed the 2017 playoffs by a tie-breaker.
- Grant Enfinger – Enfinger had a quiet but decent night at Chicago. The 32-year-old scored his seventh top five of the year but missed the playoffs by not having enough points/wins. Not finishing in the top 10 in any stages hurt Enfinger’s chances of making the playoffs. The only task Enfinger can do now is finish the year out strong by winning a couple of races and look forward to the 2018 NASCAR season.Next up: The “Round of 8” begins at New Hampshire Motor Speedway this Saturday. Christopher Bell, Johnny Sauter, John Hunter Nemechek, Matt Crafton, Chase Briscoe, Austin Cindric, Ben Rhodes and Kaz Grala will be competing for the championship. It will be interesting to see how these eight drivers will compete throughout the playoffs. These drivers cannot afford any mistakes if they want to have any chance making it to the final four.