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Bump & Run: Does NASCAR need more dirt races?

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The Camping World Truck Series races Wednesday night at Eldora Speedway. Does NASCAR need more dirt races? If so, what series and where?

Kyle Petty: No. NASCAR doesn’t “need’’ any more dirt races! Unless you believe that NASCAR “needs” gimmicks to draw fans and attention. I love dirt racing so don’t get me wrong. I just don’t believe the sport/business that NASCAR has grown into at the Cup/Xfinity levels “needs’’ dirt. Having said that, I would like to see another dirt track added to the Truck Series to eliminate the gimmick feel of Eldora.

Nate Ryan: Yes and a Cup race at Eldora would be a good start. The (incorrect) narrative goes that having another NASCAR national series on the short track somehow would dilute the concept of racing on dirt. But its appeal isn’t rooted in uniqueness … it simply stems from the racing being high quality. I think an annual NASCAR on dirt weekend at Eldora would be a fine idea.

Dustin Long: I like that the Truck race is special. Sometimes, it’s better to want more of something than to have more of it. NASCAR does not need to run a Cup or Xfinity race on dirt. Let the Trucks have the spotlight on dirt and don’t get caught up in the fantasy that more of something is better.

Denny Hamlin scored his 30th career Cup win Sunday. Every eligible driver for the Hall of Fame with 30 or more wins has been inducted. Should 30 Cup wins be viewed as automatic for Hall of Fame enshrinement?

Kyle Petty: Thirty wins are huge in the sport right now! So at this time I would probably answer yes! But my view is skewed. I grew up watching my dad, Pearson, Yarborough and Allison! So when I was in my 20s, I would have said the number should be 70 or 80! Thirty wins, as BIG as they are, is a LONG way from those guys’ numbers. I realize it’s apples and oranges and that’s the problem with having a “standard’’ with which to measure achievement in this sport. The “standard’’ for those already in the Hall is what? The Hall has stated “there are many ways in.’’ That’s why we have the eclectic group we have already in the Hall. The word or use of “standard” cannot and does not apply .

Nate Ryan: Thirty victories should be enough to qualify for a Hall of Fame induction (even without a championship), but the Hall of Fame criteria and selection process are in need of some tweaking that also could affect how long a 30-win driver would wait to be elected. The nominee list needs to be sliced and voting percentage requirements will be necessary in the future.

Dustin Long: In this era, 30 wins is an apropos standard for Hall of Fame enshrinement. Typically, it has taken active drivers who have reached that threshold more than a decade to do so. That’s a good standard for today’s drivers. 

What’s the next penalty NASCAR should give teams if they continue to fail inspection?

Kyle Petty: After failing initial inspection or qualifying inspection “X’’ number of times, the offender, at the following race, will be allowed one practice session only and will attempt one qualifying session. They must qualify 30th or better but will start the race from the last position. They will also have the last pit pick. If the competitor fails post-race inspection “X’’ number of times they will forfeit one race. They will be allowed to practice, qualify, and race. But no points will be awarded, finishing position will be listed as “last’’ (even if they win) and no money is awarded. Plan money will be divided and one race deducted. That’s my plan … Boys Have at It!

Nate Ryan: NASCAR has hinted at reduced race tire allotments, and that seems a suitable option. Practice holds don’t seem to be an effective deterrent in the slightest.

Dustin Long: I like the idea of the pass-through penalty or something stronger, especially if it is not a first-time offense. One key issue is there have been questions in the garage about the reliability of NASCAR’s equipment. If these penalties are going to continue to ramp up, NASCAR must prove beyond a shadow of a doubt not only to the garage but to fans that its equipment is reliable and consistent.

Watch Kyle Petty on NASCAR America from 5-6 p.m. ET today on NBCSN. He joins host Carolyn Manno and Parker Kligerman to discuss the latest issues in the sport.

Results, statistics from Ford EcoBoost 200 Truck season finale

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Chase Briscoe earned his first Camping World Truck Series victory in Friday’s season-ending Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

And while finishing second is supposed to be the first loser, it wasn’t for Christopher Bell, whose runner-up showing clinched the 2017 Truck Series championship for him.

Click here for the full results from Friday’s race.

MORE: Christopher Bell wins Truck Series championship, Chase Briscoe earns first career Truck win

MORE: Here’s the final 2017 Camping World Truck Series driver standings

 

Here’s the final 2017 Camping World Truck Series driver standings

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Christopher Bell won the 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship in Friday’s Ford EcoBoost 200, with all four Championship 4 drivers finishing within four points of each other.

Bell finished with 4,035 points, 2016 Truck champ Johnny Sauter finished second in the standings with 4,034 points, rookie Austin Cindric finished third (4,032) and two-time series champ Matt Crafton finished fourth (4,031).

Click here for the final 2017 season driver standings.

MORE: Christopher Bell wins Truck Series championship, Chase Briscoe earns first career Truck win

MORE: Results, statistics from Ford EcoBoost 200 Truck season finale

Christopher Bell wins Truck title, Chase Briscoe earns first career series win

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The first champion of the NASCAR Championship Weekend was crowned Friday night as Christopher Bell earned his first Camping World Truck Series title.

Chase Briscoe won the race, the Ford EcoBoost 200, leading a race-high 77 laps in the 134-lap event, while Bell captured the championship by finishing second.

“It’s a dream come true,” Bell told FS1. “These trucks are so good and they pay so much attention to all the detail that goes into these things, and that’s what makes these Tundras so fast. I’m just speechless.”

MORE: Results, statistics from Ford EcoBoost 200 Truck season finale

MORE: Here’s the final 2017 Camping World Truck Series driver standings

Bell, an Oklahoma native who turns 23 on Dec. 16, has already been announced to drive next season in the Xfinity Series for Joe Gibbs Racing. He ends the 2017 Truck campaign with five wins and 21 top-10s in 23 Truck races.

“To be see Christopher be able to mature and grow … it just goes to show these guys develop and we do a good job of developing these guys,” team owner Kyle Busch told FS1. “Erik Jones won our first driver’s championship and now with Christopher Bell bringing home our second, it just continues to solidify our legacy.”

Briscoe, who also turns 23 one day before his good friend Bell, helped send Brad Keselowski Racing out on a high note. BKR is closing after this season.

“This is a long time coming,” Briscoe told FS1. “I’m so proud of these guys to know they’re not going to have job next year, yet they continue to bring real good trucks even though we were outside of the playoffs. … For those guys to continue to believe in me, I’m so blessed and thankful.”

Briscoe was also named Truck Series Rookie of the Year.

Team owner Brad Keselowski, who will be vying for the NASCAR Cup championship on Sunday, told FS1 about Briscoe: “He has a big, bright future ahead of him and along with (BKR teammate) Austin Cindric and I’m just happy to play a role and help him out.”

The other Championship 4 contestants that came up short were 2016 Truck champ Johnny Sauter (finished third), Austin Cindric (fifth) and Matt Crafton (sixth).

STAGE WINNERS: Stage 1 (Christopher Bell), Stage 2 (Ben Rhodes)

WHO ELSE HAD A GOOD RACE: Cindric showed a lot of mettle while running near the front much of the race. Not bad for a 19-year-old rookie. … Bell did exactly what he needed to do to win the title: finish ahead of his other three challengers.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Noah Gragson had a rough night, finishing 18th, three laps behind the leaders.

NOTABLE: Toyota earned its fifth consecutive Truck Manufacturers Championship, and 10th overall in the last 14 seasons. … With the exception of the two cautions between stages, there were no other cautions caused from on-track action.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “This whole organization, this whole team has been so good for so many years, you just don’t want to be that guy to let them down – and I’m really glad I didn’t let them down tonight.” – 2017 Truck Series champ Christopher Bell (via FS1).

WHAT’S NEXT: The 2017 season has concluded. The next race is the 2018 NextEra Energy Resources 250, Friday February 16, Daytona International Speedway.

Starting lineup for Ford EcoBoost 400 NASCAR Cup title race

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After making contact with both the outside wall and Chase Elliott last Sunday at Phoenix, Denny Hamlin failed to advance to Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 Championship 4 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

But that didn’t stop Hamlin — who has two career wins at the South Florida 1.5-mile track — from earning his second career pole for Sunday’s race.

Martin Truex Jr. — who has six wins on 1.5-mile tracks in his seven overall victories this season — was the highest qualifying Championship 4, starting on the front row alongside Hamlin.

The other Championship 4 drivers qualified third (Kyle Busch), fifth (Brad Keselowski) and ninth (Kevin Harvick).

Click here for the starting lineup for Sunday’s race.