NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Drivin’ for Linemen 200 at Gateway Preview

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As the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series heads to Gateway Motorsports Park for the Drivin’ For Linemen 200 Saturday, June 17 at 8:30 pm ET, Christopher Bell is looking to repeat. He won last season’s Camping World Truck Series race there for his lone victory of 2016. Coverage begins at 8 pm ET on FOX Sports 1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Drivers will race 160 laps for 200 miles with Stage 1 ending on lap 35, Stage 2 on lap 70 and the last stage ending on the last lap 160.

What to Watch For: Chase Briscoe enters the race coming off a career-best runner-up finish at Texas.

Last year’s NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion Justin Haley attempts to best his career-best sixth-place finish at Texas last Friday.

Grant Enfinger leads second-place Chase Briscoe in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings by four points. Kaz Grala (-5), Noah Gragson (-16) and Austin Cindric (-37) round out the top-five.

NASCAR Next member and defending K&N Pro Series West champion Todd Gilliland makes his second career Camping World Truck Series start.

Christopher Rings Victory Bell at Texas

Kyle Busch Motorsports driver Christopher Bell edged Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Chase Briscoe by inches to win the winstaronlinegaming.com 400 at Texas Motor Speedway Friday night.

Bell, a native of Norman, Oklahoma, considers Texas Motor Speedway his home track and this was his first career Camping World Truck Series win at the 1.5 mile track.

With the win, Bell becomes the first multi-win Camping World Truck Series driver this season. He has two wins, five top-fives, six top-tens and 332 laps led through seven races this season. Bell is second in the Camping World Truck Series points standings behind leader and defending series champion Johnny Sauter.

Briscoe Scores Career-Best Finish

Brad Keselowski Racing driver and Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Chase Briscoe continued his outstanding start to the 2017 season by scoring a runner-up finish at Texas Motor Speedway.

Briscoe lost a close battle to eventual race winner Christopher Bell on lap 166, but scored his second top-three of 2017. He has yet to finish outside the top-25 this season.

Team owner Brad Keselowski had nothing but positive things to say about Briscoe and his future racing career in NASCAR;

“He’s one of those guys, where I look at and say wow. I wish I was as talented and composed as he is at this age. Chase to me is one of those guys who has loads of natural talent but has the intangibles to take to that next level. I think he is a future Cup (Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) driver.”

Briscoe (-81) is now fourth in the Camping World Truck Series points standings and second (-4) in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year points standings.

Camping World Truck Series Sunoco Rookie Battle Heating Up

Following his top-three finish at Texas Motor Speedway, ThorSport Racing driver Grant Enfinger took the lead in the Camping World Truck Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year points standings for the first time this season.

Enfinger jumped GMS Racing Sunoco Rookie Kaz Grala for the top-spot and looks to extend his lead this week at Gateway Motorsports Park. He has had a strong Sunoco Rookie season so far – netting two top-three finishes and four top-tens in seven races.

Following Enfinger in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings: Chase Briscoe (-4), Grala (-5), Noah Gragson (-16) and Austin Cindric (-37). 

Haley Hails Career-Best Finish at Texas

GMS Racing driver and Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Justin Haley scored a career-best Camping World Truck Series finish at Texas Motor Speedway when he finished sixth in the winstaronlinegaming.com 400.

Haley’s previous career-best finish was seventh in the Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix Raceway in 2015.

Haley has turned on the gas as of late, as he has back-to-back top-tens, and has three top-tens in his last four races.

He has one career Camping World Truck Series start at Gateway Motorsports Park and finished 21st there last season. 

Gateway Motorsports Park Quick Facts

As the Camping World Truck Series heads to Gateway Motorsports Park for the first and only time this season, below are some series quick facts:

Races: 16

Pole Winners: ten

Youngest Pole Winner: Cole Custer (06/14/2014 – 16 years, 4 months, 22 days)

Oldest Pole Winner: Mike Skinner (09/01/2007 – 50 years, 2 months, 4 days)

Race Winners: 15

Youngest Winner: Cole Custer (06/13/2015 – 17 years, 4 months, 22 days)

Oldest Winner: Mike Skinner (09/12/2009 – 52 years, 2 months, 15 days)

Races Won From Pole (or 1st Starting Position): three

Last Race Won from Pole (or 1st Starting Position): Kevin Harvick (07/17/2010)

Race Record: Jack Sprague 113.726mph (05/07/2000)

Qualifying Record: Cole Custer 136.426 mph (06/14/2014)

The Rhode to Victory at Gateway?

In his second full-time season in the Camping World Truck Series, ThorSport Racing driver Ben Rhodes is off to a hot start. Rhodes already has more top-five finishes this season than the last two seasons in the Camping World Truck Series, and we’re only seven races into the year.

The one thing Rhodes has yet to do in the Camping World Truck Series?

Get his first win. He came awfully close earlier this season at Kansas Speedway, but a piece of debris cutting through his engine ended his night while he was leading Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Busch late in the race.

Rhodes is looking for his first Camping World Truck Series win at Gateway Motorsports Park – a place where he has had previous success at.

In one career Camping World Truck Series race at Gateway last season, Rhodes won the 21 Means 21 Pole and finished second.

In seven races this season, Rhodes has three top-fives, four top-tens and has yet to finish outside the top-23.

Nemechek Looking to Kick it into High Gear at Gateway

After an up-and-down start to the 2017 Camping World Truck Series season, John Hunter Nemechek is looking to make big gains at Gateway.

Nemechek is now 11th in the Camping World Truck Series points standings and has two top-five finishes so far this season.

In three career Camping World Truck Series starts at Gateway, Nemechek has two top-six finishes and has never finished outside the top-15. He’s led 53 laps there and owns an average finish of 8.3.

Nemechek will need more consistency to get himself into the top-eight in points to make the Camping World Truck Series playoffs this season. 

First Timers at Gateway

There are nine Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders making their track debut at Gateway Motorsports Park in Saturday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ For Linemen 200. They include: Chase Briscoe, Wendell Chavous, Austin Cindric, Cody Coughlin, Grant Enfinger, Stewart Friesen, Noah Gragson, Kaz Grala and Justin Haley.

Ross Chastain, Kevin Donahue, Kyle Donahue, Austin Hill, Bryce Napier, and Todd Peck are also making their track debut at Gateway Motorsports Park in the Camping World Truck Series.

NASCAR Next driver Todd Gilliland will make his second career Camping World Truck Series start this weekend, running for Kyle Busch Motorsports at Gateway. He finished 20th in his series debut at Dover International Speedway earlier this season.

The Gateway Difference

In the last three Camping World Truck Series races at Gateway Motorsports Park, there have been three different victors:

2016: Christopher Bell

2015: Cole Custer

2014: Darrell Wallace Jr.

Bell will be making his return to Gateway this season in the Camping World Truck Series, while Cole Custer will be running in the XFINITY Series at Michigan and Darrell Wallace Jr. will be competing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Michigan. 

Also Noteworthy…

Driver Standings Update: GMS Racing’s Johnny Sauter remains in the top-spot of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, while Christopher Bell and Matt Crafton round out the top-three. Holding down spots 4-8 are Chase Briscoe, Ben Rhodes, Ryan Truex, Grant Enfinger and Kaz Grala. There are three Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders in the top-eight.

Owner Standings Update: GMS Racing’s No. 21 Chevrolet Silverado leads Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 4 Toyota Tundra by 40 points and ThorSport’s No. 88 Toyota Tundra by 70 points. Brad Keselowski Racing’s No. 29 Ford and Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 51 Toyota take up spots 4-5. 

Manufacturer Standings Update: Toyota (four wins) leads Chevrolet (three wins) and Ford (zero wins) in the Camping World Truck Series manufacturer standings through seven races this season.

Ryan Blaney: A Young Driver who Respects Old-School

Ryan Blaney, driver of the #21 Omnicraft Auto Parts Ford, stands on the grid during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 16, 2017 in Brooklyn, Michigan. Photo – Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

In relation to the magnitude of the moment, Ryan Blaney’s victory celebration last Sunday at Pocono Raceway was positively subdued.

Blaney had just won his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup race, passing 2015 series champion Kyle Busch with nine laps left and held off 2014 champion Kevin Harvick over the final eight circuits. Continue reading

Kyle Larson Edges Martin Truex Jr. for Michigan Pole

Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Cars 3/Target Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the pole award for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 16, 2017 in Brooklyn, Michigan Photo – Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Martin Truex Jr. thought he had the pole for Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400—until Kyle Larson made the last run in the final round of Friday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series knockout qualifying at Michigan International Speedway.

Driving the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, Larson, who won the first Cup race of his career last August at MIS, covered the two-mile distance in 35.616 seconds (202.156 mph), edging Truex (202.117 mph) for the top starting spot by a scant 0.007 seconds. Continue reading