The 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series concludes Friday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway. There will be four drivers competing for the championship including Matt Crafton, Johnny Sauter, Christopher Bell and Austin Cindric. Three of the four will be returning to the Championship 4 for a second consecutive year. Here’s a look on this special championship preview edition on how these championship drivers will fare at the final race of the year.
- Johnny Sauter – Sauter will be strong all night at Homestead. In the past five races, he has finished inside the top 10, with the exception of 2013 where he finished 16th. Sauter only has six laps led with an average start of 11.6 and an average finish of 8.4. In last year’s race, he started 19th but worked his way up all night toward the top 10. By Lap 40, he was placed ninth and then advanced to third on Lap 120, which was good enough for him to claim his first ever career Truck Series championship.
- Matt Crafton – If there is a veteran driver that will win the championship, it’s Crafton. He is already a two-time champion and is looking for his third. One year, Crafton even finished the race with his truck all torn up and still became champion. He has one win (2015), one top five and three top 10 finishes, with an average start of 5.6 and 10.0 for an average finish, with 115 laps led. Crafton let the championship slip away last year after Sauter passed him late in the going and never could get him back. He eventually finished seventh last year to finish second in the championship. Should Crafton win his third championship, he will be high on the list with Ron Hornaday and Jack Sprague. That would be quite an accomplishment for the Tulare, California driver.
- Christopher Bell – Bell only has two previous starts at Homestead. In his debut, he finished 25th after running out of fuel in the late going. Last year, Bell finished eighth after starting eighth to wind up third in the championship point standings. He will have to pick up his average finish as it’s 16.5 and only five laps led. He ran as low as 14th and as high as fourth. Practice time tomorrow will help get the No. 4 JBL Tundra dialed in for the final race of the season.
- Austin Cindric – Cindric is one of the few that does not have experience at Homestead-Miami as he will be making his first career start tomorrow night. Practice time will be critical for the Draw Tite F-150 Ford. However, he could surprise everyone as the unexpected driver to win the 2017 championship.
Qualifying will be critical at the 1.5-mile track. In the past five races, the winners have come from the top 10, with the exception of Kyle Busch who won the race after starting 12th. In the last two races, however, the winners have started and won from the pole. The lowest a champion has ever started was 19th, which was set by last year’s champion Johnny Sauter.
This will be an all-day event as there will be two practices in the morning at 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. ET, both on FS1. Qualifying is slated for 3:30 p.m. ET on FS1.
The Ford Ecoboost 200 coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET with the green flag scheduled for 8:49 p.m. ET all on FS1 and MRN Radio.