Matt Crafton

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Christopher Bell enters Truck playoffs with 15-point lead

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JOLIET, Illinois – Christopher Bell, who won a season-high four races, enters the Camping World Truck Series playoffs with a 15-point lead on Johnny Sauter, who won Friday night’s race at Chicagoland Speedway.

Bell has 2,040 points after the reset for the playoffs. Sauter is next at 2,025 points. John Hunter Nemechek and Matt Crafton each have 2,014 points. Also making the playoffs are Chase Briscoe, Austin Cindric, Ben Rhodes and Kaz Grala.

“It’s huge, thankfully this year we were able to accumulate some points to have a little bit of a cushion going into the playoffs and just really thankful to be here at Kyle Busch Motorsports driving this No. 4 SiriusXM Tundra and not just SiriusXM, but all of our partners at JBL, TRD, Toyota and everyone at Kyle Busch Motorsports, there is a whole group there that builds these Tundras and they do an excellent job and it really shows week in and week out.”

The Truck playoffs begin next weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Click here for points report

Johnny Sauter wins Truck Series race at Chicago

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Johnny Sauter led the final 28 laps to win the Camping World Truck Series race at Chicagoland Speedway.

The win, in the regular-season finale, is the second of the year for the GMS Racing driver.

Sauter beat Chase Briscoe, Christopher Bell, Ryan Truex and Grant Enfinger. Sauter took the lead from Bell before racing to the win.

“This is what we needed, this is the momentum, this is the shot in the arm,” Sauter told Fox Sports 1.

Ben Rhodes, who finished sixth, earned the last spot in the playoffs via a tiebreaker over Truex.

Rhodes bounced back from a pit penalty and a second pit stop under yellow to race into the playoffs.

“Man, I still can’t believe it,” Rhodes told FS1. “They gave me the (playoff) hat and I’m like, ‘Are you sure this is ours?’ They said we were tied and we got the tiebreaker. I can’t believe it. The truck, all night we struggled. Ever since we unloaded here this has been by far our worst performance overall. It couldn’t come in a worse week to do it. I’m glad we’re in. Overall, everything worked out for us.”

Competing for the Truck Series title will be Bell, Sauter, John Hunter Nemechek, Matt Crafton, Briscoe, Austin Cindric, Rhodes and Kaz Grala.

Truex lost out on a playoff spot after sitting on his first pole and leading 30 laps.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Ryan Truex

STAGE 2 WINNER: Christopher Bell

MORE: Points standings

MORE: Race results

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: John Hunter Nemechek finished seventh for his eighth top 10 … Myatt Snider finished 10th after bouncing back from a spin with six laps to go in Stage 1. It’s his second top 10 in five Truck Series starts … Regan Smith finished 12th. He’s finished in the top 15 in eight of his nine starts. He’s finished 12th four times. … Tyler Young finished 13th for his best result in six starts this season.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: After making contact with Rhodes during the Stage 3 restart, Matt Crafton dropped through the field before spinning on Lap 106. He finished 16th … Gray Gaulding only made it one lap before his No. 15 truck stalled, bringing out the caution. He continued but fell out on Lap 25 with a fuel pump issue.

NOTABLE: Christopher Bell enters the postseason as the regular-season champion thanks to his four wins. That gives him 15 extra playoff points … Chase Briscoe remains winless despite five finishes in the top three this season.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “It’s tough, but it’s racing. We did everything we could aside from win.” – Ryan Truex after missing out on the playoffs due to a tiebreaker with Ben Rhodes.

NEXT: UNOH 175 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway at 1 p.m. ET on Sept. 23 on Fox Sports 1.

Ryan Truex win first Truck Series pole for Chicagoland race

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Ryan Truex scored his first Camping World Truck Series pole Friday, claiming the top position for tonight’s TheHouse.com 225 at Chicagoland Speedway.

The younger brother of Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Truex earned the pole with a speed of 175.982 mph around the 1.5-mile track.

The pole comes in his 35th start in the series. Truex, who drives for Shigeaki Hattori, is the first driver outside the eight-driver grid that will make the playoffs that begin next week. He is seven points behind Ben Rhodes, who starts 13th.

Joining Truex in the top five will be Chase Briscoe, Christopher Bell, Johnny Sauter and Matt Crafton.

The race will air at 8:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.

Click here for the starting lineup.

Examining playoff picture for Cup, Xfinity, Truck Series

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Here is a breakdown of the playoff situation for each of NASCAR’s three national series.

Monster Energy Cup Series

 

Xfinity Series

  • Two races remain in the regular season (Friday at Richmond and Sept. 16 at Chicagoland).
  • Four drivers are locked into the playoffs with a win (William Byron, Justin Allgaier, Ryan Reed and Jeremy Clements).
  • Elliott Sadler, Brennan Poole and Daniel Hemric clinched a playoffs spot on points.
  • Cole Custer is in the playoffs if there is not a new winner who is outside the current playoff cutoff
  • At least three drivers will make the playoffs on points.
  • Elliott Sadler will clinch the 2017 regular season championship if he has a 61-point lead over second place in points following Richmond (he enters with a 91-point lead).

 

Camping World Truck Series

Austin Cindric wins first career Truck Series race after last-lap spin of Kaz Grala

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Austin Cindric spun leader Kaz Grala on the last lap and went on to win the Camping World Truck Series race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

The first Truck Series win for Cindric came the day after he turned 19. Cindric started the final stage in 16th after being penalized for leaving his pit box with a gas can during Stage 2.

Cindric won from the pole position to give Brad Keselowksi Racing its first win of the season.

“I got to acknowledge what I did to Kaz in Turn 5, everyone’s seen this race many years past, and everybody knows it’s going to come down to contact (if) the second guy is close to the first,” Cindric told Fox Sports 1, going on to detail their own past together. “I raced with Kaz growing up, he drove my (Bandolero). It was the first car he ever drove. I know his family. I know they’re not going to be overly excited about it. But he already had a win (at Daytona), so I didn’t feel too bad about doing something to make it happen.”

Cindric was complimentary of how Grala drove the final nine laps of the race.

“He did an awesome job on the tires he was on,” Cindric said. “He put me into that box. He was doing a hell of a job on old tires trying to stay out in front of me. That’s kind of the last resort I had.

The win comes for Cindric in his 21st start and a few weeks after Brad Keselowski Racing announced it would not compete in the Truck Series after this year.

Grala, who drives for GMS Racing, called Cindric’s action a “dump and run.”

“He just got to us and ran us over,” Grala told FS1. “I don’t think he even braked for Turn 5. Honestly, I know he’s a great road course race and I had a lot of respect for that. I lost some right there. I wouldn’t race someone like that. Especially with as much as he had on the line. That was too dirty to me. I can’t get behind that at all.”

Cindric finished ahead of Noah Gragson, Grala, Justin Haley and Ryan Truex.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Austin Cindric

STAGE 2 WINNER: Ryan Truex

MORE: Race results

MORE: Points standings

WHO HAD A GOOD DAY: Truex led 10 laps and earned his fifth top five of the season … Parker Kligerman led two laps under caution and finished eighth for his fourth top 10 in six starts this season … Austin Wayne Self finished ninth for his second top 10 of the season.

WHO HAD A BAD DAY: Christopher Bell lost an engine during the restart with 20 to go. He finished 26th. … Matt Crafton stalled on the track during the caution for Bell. He finished 25th … John Hunter Nemechek spun on his own in Turn 1 with five laps left and backed into the outside wall. He finished 20th.

NEXT: Chicagoland 225 at Chicagoland Speedway at 8:30 p.m. ET on Sept. 15 on Fox Sports 1.