The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series runs for the last time this year as they head to Homestead-Miami Speedway in Southern Florida for the final race of the season and the site where the champion will be decided Friday night.
While the focus will certainly be on the Championship 4 drivers, there has to be someone who wins the race whether it’s one of the four championship drivers or one of the other 29 drivers who also have a shot at winning. Either way, it’s going to be another exciting race this season and 33 drivers will be looking to end their season on a high note with a victory. But, there can only be one winner.
For the final time this season, here’s a look at who might just end up in victory lane Friday night following the Ford 200.
Currently, there are 33 trucks entered on the preliminary entry list.
Some notables to point out, Jeb Burton in the 30, Robby Lyons in the 33, Brennan Poole back in the 35, Ross Chastain in the 38, Mike Harmon in the 50, Chris Windom in the 54, and Joe Nemechek in the 87.
1. Matt Crafton – It’s been a long and difficult season for the No. 88 Thorsport team of Matt Crafton, who had many issues that have prevented him from winning and strong finishes. One can only think that despite the difficult season, Crafton wants to end the season with a win and carry the momentum going into 2019, and he could do just that. He’s the most experienced active driver at Homestead with the most starts, 17, plus one win that came in 2015 along with three top fives, nine top 10 finishes, 141 laps led, an average start of 11.2 and an average finish of 11.1. In last year’s race, Crafton finished seventh and eighth in both stages. Homestead is also the site where he has won two back-to-back championships.
2. Ben Rhodes – While his stats may not be all that great, Rhodes is looking for redemption at the 1.5-mile racetrack. In just two starts, he has an average start of 6.5 and an average finish of 19.5. Rhodes also has 43 laps led and finishes of 20th and 19th. He was strong last year where he finished fourth and won Stage 2 before an issue prevented him from winning the race.
3. John Hunter Nemechek – Nemechek has the best finish of second in 2015, which was his first race at Homestead Miami. He has 24 laps led with an average start of 7.3 and an average finish of 9.3. Nemechek is job searching for 2019 and winning the race just might help him in many ways, as he has been consistent and strong all season long, even scoring his first Xfinity Series win at Kansas.
4. Johnny Sauter – If there is one driver who could win the race and the championship, it’s Sauter. He has 11 starts with one back in 2011, four top fives and eight top 10 finishes with 64 laps led and one DNF. Sauter also has an average start of 13.2 and an average finish of 10.1. In the last five races, he has finished third twice, seventh, 10th, and 16th. Sauter won the championship in 2016 and finished eighth and fifth in both stages and has completed 93 percent of laps.
5. Grant Enfinger – Enfinger fell just short of advancing to the Championship 4 last week at ISM Raceway, but he still has a shot to win the race Friday night at Homestead. What a statement it would be if Enfinger wins Friday night and he might just do that. He finished third in Stage 1 last year to ultimately finish eighth after starting fourth.
There have been 22 races at Homestead since 1996 with 20 different winners. Only two have been able to repeat, Kyle Busch and Todd Bodine.
Dave Rezendes was the first Truck Series race winner at Homestead in 1996. Since then it’s been a list of who’s who ranging from Kenny Irwin Jr, Rick Crawford, Mike Wallace, Andy Houston, Ted Musgrave, Ron Hornaday, Bobby Hamilton, Kasey Kahne, Todd Bodine, Mark Martin, Johnny Benson, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Johnny Sauter, Cale Gale, Darrell Wallace Jr, Matt Crafton, William Byron, and Chase Briscoe.
So far a driver has not won the race and the championship in the same year. The closet a champion has ever come from to win the race was Christopher Bell who finished second last year.
The lowest a race winner has come from to win was 18th set by Todd Bodine in 2008 and the highest was from first place, which has happened four times with Briscoe, Byron, Crafton, and Byron.
Toyota has the most wins with eight followed by Ford with six, Chevy with five and Dodge with three. The closest margin of victory came in 2012, where Kyle Busch and Cale Gale battled to the finish of .014 seconds. Two races finished under caution back in 2011 and 2005.
The truckers get on track first thing Friday morning at 8:35 a.m. ET for the first practice and final practice at 10:05 a.m. ET with no live TV coverage. Qualifying is slated for 3:45 p.m. ET live on FOX Sports 1.
Race coverage begins Friday night at 8 p.m. ET with the green flag scheduled to drop at 8:15 p.m. ET live on FOX Sports 1 and MRN Radio.