Drivers Council’s input on Xfinity/Truck limits was ‘we didn’t like it, and it happened anyway’ (video)

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CHARLOTTE – The drivers who win Xfinity Series races might change with NASCAR’s new limits on Cup stars entering into the junior series, but the teams won’t.

That’s why Brad Keselowski believes the modified policy announced for 2018 might fall short of reaching its objective.

“The goal is to create a more balanced playing field or at least the feel of it that can engage our fans,” he said Tuesday night. “With respect to that, at the moment where you can still have a Cup team and a Cup pit crew with a Cup engine and car.

“I don’t think you’ll see a difference other than the nameplate on the roof because there’s still enough driver availability.”

Keselowski joins Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch among Cup veterans who have spoken out against the limits, which were unveiled Tuesday.

“I’m not supportive, but I was never asked to be supportive,” Keselowski said. “I was told to get in line.”

Busch, Keselowski and Harvick are all on the Cup Drivers Council, which didn’t have much say this time unlike other recent competition issues. “The input we had was we didn’t like it, and it happened anyway,” Keselowski said.

Harvick and Busch both have been vocal with their opposition on SiriusXM Satellite Radio’s NASCAR channel. On his “Happy Hours” show Tuesday night, Harvick advocated there be no limits.

Busch suggested Tuesday afternoon that further limits could threaten the existence of his Kyle Busch Motorsports entries in the Camping World Truck Series.

The owner of Brad Keselowski Racing has no such plans to downsize because of the new limits (“not at the moment, but those things can change very quickly”) but empathizes with his fellow truck owner.

“I think that’s perhaps just a small dose of the emotions that are felt when you have so much on your mind, and it’s taken away like that, and I can completely understand the frustrations,” Keselowski said.

He also can respect the aggravations of many fans, whose dissatisfaction with the dominance of Cup drivers was cited by NASCAR as the impetus for the limits.

“It’s an emotional topic where people see it through one lens and that’s understandable,” Keselowski said. “If you’re a fan of the sport, it’s difficult to see things through more than just that lens. I think it’s a very complicated topic with a lot of layers that are hard to see through.

“We’ve had a situation over the last decade where, without a doubt, it’s got out of balance, and that can definitely be directly attributed to one person. So I understand the sentiment that a lot of fans may have toward that. Sometimes I share it, sometimes I don’t. Hopefully we can find a good balance. I don’t see (the new limits) being the difference-maker in a positive direction, but I could be wrong.”

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.