NASCAR Cup

Recapping 2017 with 12 playoff drivers that fell short of final round (videos)

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Thursday night’s NASCAR Cup Awards show put the finishing touch on the 2017 Cup season.

The four Championship 4 drivers – 2017 NASCAR Cup champ Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski – all took to the stage for comments during the show.

But before their comments, NBCSN also interviewed the other 12 drivers that made this year’s playoffs to get their take on how this season played out for them, and also how they see 2018 shaping up.

In the video above, Marty Snider and Kelli Stavast spoke with Austin Dillon, Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman and Kasey Kahne.

In the video below, Kyle Larson, Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., talked about their seasons – and for Kenseth, more on his future plans heading into 2018.

Lastly, in the video below, young guns Ryan Blaney and Chase Elliott talked about the progress they made in 2017, while series veterans Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin talked about both having strong seasons that – unfortunately for them both – came up short.

 

 

What drivers said after season-ending NASCAR Cup race

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Here’s what drivers said after Sunday’s season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway:

Martin Truex Jr. – Winner: “I was a mess (after winning).  I couldn’t even talk. I was a wreck thinking about all the tough days, the bad days, the times where I thought my career was over with. Times when I didn’t think anyone believed in me. But the guys, the people who mattered did, my fans, my family and then when I got with this team – they’re unbelievable. They resurrected my career and made me a champion. I don’t even know what to say. … It’s just overwhelming. To think about all the rough days and bad days, the days that couldn’t run 20th, to be here, I never thought this day would come and to be here is so unbelievable.”

Kyle Busch – Finished second: “I mean that’s what happens when you lose in this format, but we gave it everything we had. We gave it our all, so congratulations to the 78 (Martin Truex Jr.). They deserved it probably on every other race but today. I thought we were better. Doesn’t matter though. They were out front when it mattered the most. Just unfortunate for us that that caution came out. It kind of ruined our race strategy and we weren’t able to get back to where we needed to be and then I had to fight way too hard with some other guys trying to get back up through there, but that’s racing.”

Kyle Larson – Finished third: “I wanted to win the race bad, but a good way to end the year. It showed we had a lot of speed all year long and congrats to the No. 78 (Martin Truex, Jr.) team they were the class of the field all year. It is pretty neat to see the top three there they were the three best cars all season. I wish I could have been a part of the final four, but had a little bit of bad luck here lately. It’s nice to see a checkered flag, it’s been about a month since I’ve seen one.”

Kevin Harvick – Finished fourth: “I think when you look at it from the inside out and all the work that everybody went through, the preparation that we went through to get to these playoffs was second to none. It was a championship effort. Just came up a little bit short. Congratulations to Martin (Truex Jr.). Those guys have been the dominant car all year. To go win the race and make it happen at the end they were able to get their car better and win the championship.”

Chase Elliott – Finished fifth: “Yeah, it was solid. To finish fifth in the standings and to run fifth tonight, it definitely was not a win, but from where we were yesterday to how we ran at the beginning of the race and so on, I was pretty pleased with that. … Have some work to do, I’m excited about next year, we have some great things to build on. We will see what next year brings and go from there.”

Joey Logano – Finished sixth: “That was a good night for us. We never quit through the whole year and we end it on a strong note. It is always important to have a good run at Homestead because you have the whole offseason to think about it. … Altogether, I am proud of getting a sixth-place run out of a car that we thought we would struggle to finish 20th with. We made good changes and had something to race with and get to head off on a good note.”

Brad Keselowski – Finished seventh: “We ran as hard as we could and put it all out there and just basically didn’t have enough speed. On the mile-and-a-halves we weren’t as good as the 78 (Truex) and 18 (Kyle Busch) and those guys. This last race coming down to a mile-and-a-half didn’t particularly bode well for us, but my team ran as hard as they could run.  They made some great calls – Paul Wolfe and everybody and put ourselves in position every chance we could to make the most out of the opportunities that existed without just being lightning fast, but it wasn’t there.”

Matt Kenseth – Finished eighth: “Obviously, last week was a magical week or race – to win that race and then this week has been really fun. The pre-race stuff was really fun. I was glad Katie (wife) was able to get down here and all and having the kids here, my dad, my sister and everybody. It was really fun obviously what DeWalt did with this paint job and Habitat for Humanity, but doing my rookie paint job was cool as well. So it was a really cool day. … (On his legacy) Some people are going to like you, some people aren’t. Some people are going to respect you, some people won’t. So I mean, whatever people think, they think. I did the best I could every week. Didn’t always do the right thing, that’s for sure, but raced as hard as I could and at the time I always felt like I was trying to do the right thing and gave it my all every time I went to the race track, so that’s all I could do.”

Ryan Newman — Finished 10th: “What a comeback for us. We battled tight through the corner and loose off. It cost us some valuable track position there in the first stage, but we raced our way back onto the lead lap and that’s when our Caterpillar Chevrolet became pretty sporty. It really responded well during the long green-flag runs so we knew if we kept up with the track, we would stay in the game. To pick up two spots at the end to finish our season and finish 10th, gives us some momentum going into next season. I want to thank all the guys back at the shop at RCR as well as ECR for giving me a car capable of running for a championship.”

Austin Dillon — Finished 11th: “The Dow WeatherTech Chevrolet was pretty good today, so I’m glad we could put a period on the 2017 season with a solid finish. I didn’t have enough grip to run the high line during the race, which is normally the preferred line at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but I felt pretty good running lower on the track. During that last run, we were just too loose to make anything happen. Still, we were able to clinch 11th in the final driver’s point standings, which is pretty cool. I’m proud of everyone on this program and appreciate all of the hard work this year. We’re a bunch of racers and we’ll be back even stronger next season.”

Clint Bowyer — Finished 12th: “Man, the track was a lot slicker than I expected when we started the race. We had a good car, but we were on knife edge all night. First we are too loose, and we made an adjustment and we’d be too tight. It’s hard to believe the year is over. I’m proud of all the people on the No. 14 team. They worked hard this season. We’ll enjoy the off-season and be ready to race again in Daytona.”

AJ Allmendinger – Finished 14th: “We struggled all weekend so I really didn’t know what to expect going into the race. The guys did a good job. They made some changes and the car was at least raceable during the race. … I thought we maximized the race with the best strategy we could have. It’s something to build on. We definitely need to be better, but the stuff we tried this weekend is something to build on and learn from going into next year.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. — Finished 15th: “I’m disappointed because I thought we should’ve had a top-10 but unfortunately we hit something on the track that cut our tire,” Stenhouse said. “Our goal the past couple of weeks was to finish in the top 10, and we were close every weekend. This has been a great season for our No. 17 team and I’m definitely looking forward to carrying this momentum into the off-season and kicking off 2018 strong.”

Paul Menard — Finished 16th: “It was nice to finish the season and my time at Richard Childress Racing with a solid finish here at Homestead. The Richmond / Menards Chevrolet was a handful to start, but (crew chief) Matt Borland made a great adjustment and the car came to life. I have to thank Richard Childress and everyone at RCR and ECR for all of the support over the years. We didn’t have the best season, but this is a great group of guys and we have had some fun.”

Trevor Bayne — Finished 19th: “We battled all day. We rallied back after having to make that unscheduled stop under green and never gave up. I want to thank all of my guys on this team for their hard work throughout this entire season. We fought hard and even though tonight’s result wasn’t what we were looking for I am proud of our effort and will be ready to come back stronger in 2018.”

Chris Buescher – Finished 20th: “Decent day starting from the back trying to get up there from the start. This place is a lot of fun, a lot of different grooves. It’s a really interesting place. Interesting enough we were on the bottom all race that seemed to be where we were better. A little bit different than Homestead’s in the past for me. But a top-20 run to finish the year off is not bad. We will look forward to 2018 and hopefully everyone enjoys well deserved time off.”

Erik Jones – Finished 21st (won Rookie of the Year honors): “It was a good year overall. You know we had a lot of good races and a lot of good things that we can look back on and be really proud of. I think back to the races we were in contention to win and shots we had – and it’s just nice in your rookie season to have that chance to win races. Wasn’t the night we wanted tonight, but definitely cool to at least get the accumulation of the year of being the best rookie.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. – Finished 25th: “I’m not sure what the feeling is (about running his final race). I didn’t cry until I was hugging Rick’s (Hendrick) neck. Man, he’s been like a father to me with the things he’s done for me personally, and in personal stuff. He’s really helped me more than anybody will ever know. And he’s done that for a lot of people and so I will miss trying to make him proud. I know I will still be able to do things that will make him proud because he’s like a daddy. I’ll miss driving his cars and trying to make him proud on the race track. … It’s time for somebody else to get in this car. It’s a great opportunity for Alex (Bowman) and I’m excited to see what he can do.”

Ty Dillon – Finished 26th: “What a rookie year it’s been. I’ve learned so much about myself as a driver. Today wasn’t the ending to the year that we wanted. We had them there at the end and could’ve gotten ourselves a top-15 finish, but I just barley scrubbed the wall and cut the right-rear tire at the very end. … We’ve had a lot of bright spots and some not so bright ones, but that’s our season and it’s one that we will build on for next year. We’re going to grind through the offseason and be ready in Daytona.”

Ryan Blaney – Finished 29th: “It’s been a fun year for sure. It’s a shame it ended not on a high note but it’s been fun to run every week at the racetrack and be competitive. To win a race, that was pretty great. It’s been a fun year overall and its kind of bittersweet to see it come to an end. I’m happy for what’s next to come. I love driving for the Wood Brothers. It’s been a fun three years and I’ll always remember it.”

Danica Patrick – Finished 37th: “I hit the wall in (Turns) 3 and 4 and got some fender rub on the tire and it blew the tire. I went a couple of laps and there was smoke in the car, but they thought it was all right, but it wasn’t (due to fire). What I’m not looking forward to is I have to go sit in my bus and wait for everyone to get done with the race before I can go home. That sucks, but I think that what’s coming ahead is bright for me and for the way it feels, so I’m excited.”

We’ll have more driver quotes shortly. Please check back soon.

Weekend schedule for NASCAR Cup, Xfinity, Trucks in Miami

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One and done.

That tells the story of this weekend’s action at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series will contest their respective final races of the season, each deciding a championship.

The Truck Series races Friday night in the Ford EcoBoost 200, the Xfinity Series on Saturday afternoon in the Ford EcoBoost 300 and the NASCAR season wraps up with Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 Cup championship race.

Here is this weekend’s schedule:

(All times are EASTERN)

FRIDAY, Nov. 17

7 a.m. — Truck garage opens

8:30 – 9:25 a.m. – First Truck practice (Fox Sports 1)

10 – 10:55 a.m. – Final Truck practice (FS1)

10 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. – Cup garage open

10:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. – Xfinity garage open

12:30 – 1:55 p.m. – Cup practice (NBCSN, Motor Racing Network)

2:30 – 3:25 p.m. – Xfinity practice (NBCSN)

3:30 p.m. – Truck qualifying (single vehicle, two rounds) (FS1)

5 – 5:55 p.m. – Final Xfinity practice (NBCSN)

6 p.m. – Truck driver/crew chief meeting

6:15 p.m. – Cup qualifying (multi-vehicle, three rounds) (NBCSN, MRN)

7:30 p.m. – Truck driver introductions

8 p.m. – Ford EcoBoost 200 Truck race (134 laps, 201 miles) (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

SATURDAY, Nov. 18

7:30 a.m. — Xfinity garage open

8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. – Cup garage open

10 – 10:55 a.m. – Cup practice (CNBC, MRN)

11:15 a.m. – Xfinity qualifying (multi-vehicle, three rounds) (CNBC)

12:45 p.m. – Xfinity driver/crew chief meeting

1 – 1:50 p.m. – Final Cup practice (NBCSN, MRN)

3 p.m. – Xfinity driver introductions

3:30 p.m. – Ford EcoBoost 300 Xfinity race (200 laps, 300 miles) (NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

SUNDAY, Nov. 19

9 a.m. — Cup garage opens

12:30 p.m. — Cup driver/crew chief meeting

1:50 p.m. — Cup driver introductions

2:30 p.m. — Ford EcoBoost 400 Cup race (267 laps, 400.5 miles) (NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Homestead-Miami primer: Everything you need to know about race, track

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Here’s the final Cup primer of the season, covering all that’s on tap for this weekend, season highlights and information about Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Miami Highlights

  • The last seven Miami races were won by seven different drivers
  • The last three Miami races were won by drivers getting their first win at Miami
  • The last six Miami races were won by drivers from three organizations: Hendrick Motorsports, Joe 
Gibbs Racing and Stewart-Haas Racing
  • Jimmie Johnson won at Miami in 2016; he led only the final three laps
  • Ford has seven Miami wins but has not won there since Carl Edwards won for Roush Fenway Racing in 
2010 (Edwards tied for the championship in 2011, but Tony Stewart and Chevrolet won the title by wins)
  • 13 of the last 14 Miami races had at least seven cautions
  • The last three Miami races had a final green flag stretch of seven laps or less
  • Three Miami races had an overtime finish: 2004, 2006 and 2016
  • Miami is one of two active tracks where Team Penske is winless, the other is Indianapolis
  • There were eight DNFs at Miami in 2016 all eight were for accident, it was the most DNFs for accident 
in one race at Miami
  • The driver who led the most laps failed to win the last six races at Miami
  • There were 18 or more lead changes in the last eight Miami races, 20 in 2016
  • 12 of 18 Miami races were won from a top-10 start position
  • Jimmie Johnson won from a 14th place start position in 2016 the worst start by a Miami winner in the 
last four races (Johnson started in the race in the rear after unapproved impound adjustments)
  • Bobby Labonte passed Bill Elliott on the last lap of the 2003 race in Miami, the only last lap pass ever at 
the track (Labonte led only one lap in the entire race)
  • The final lead change was in the last eight laps in the last three Miami races (every race in the 
elimination format)
  • In the three years of the elimination format (since 2014), the driver who won the Championship also 
won the race
  • Four times the driver who won at Miami also won the Championship: 2011, 2014-2016
  • This will be the first time a Chevrolet has not made the Championship four at Miami
  • 10 of 13 Miami Playoff races were won by playoff drivers
  • Two of the four Championship drivers have won at Miami: Kevin Harvick 2014 and Kyle Busch 2015
  • This will be the first appearance in the Championship four for Brad Keselowski, Keselowski won the 
Championship in 2012 prior to the introduction of the elimination format
  • The pass for the win came in the final eight laps in all three races at Homestead under the elimination 
format
  • Jimmie Johnson was the best running of the four playoff drivers for only seven laps last year
  • All four playoff drivers had a significant issue in the race in 2016, three of the four finishes in the top-six

2017 Season highlights

  • Joe Gibbs Racing (8), Furniture Row (5) and Chip Ganassi Racing (2) won 15 of the last 18 races
  • The pole winner has won six times in 2017: Kyle Larson ACS, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Talladega-1, Kyle 
Larson MIS-1, Kyle Busch POC-2, Kyle Busch NH-2, Martin Truex Jr. KS-2
  • The final lead change came in the last 10 laps in 20 of 35 races in 2017, the final three laps in 13 races 
and on the last lap in four races
  • The pass for the win came in the final 10 laps in five of the last seven races of 2017
  • Either Martin Truex Jr. or Kyle Busch won a stage in 23 of 35 races in 2017
  • Martin Truex Jr. has won at least one stage in 14 of 35 races in 2017 but has not won a stage in the last 
seven races which is his longest stretch of races without a stage win in 2017
  • Martin Truex Jr. is the only driver to win both Stage 1 and 2 and go on to win the race (Las Vegas, Kentucky)
  • Five drivers have won a race but have not won a stage in 2017
  • Three drivers have won a stage but have not won a race in 2017
  • Atlanta, Pocono-1, Michigan-2 Chicagoland and Phoenix-2 are the only races without a caution before 
the end of stage 1
  • Atlanta, Michigan-2 and Chicagoland are the only races to not have a caution other than stage 
breaks in the first two stages of the race
  • Three Cautions at Watkins Glen the fewest in a race in 2017
  • 15 cautions at Kansas-1 and Dover-1 are the most in a race in 2017
  • Three times a driver has won after going to the rear: Jimmie Johnson Texas-1 (unapproved tire 
change), Joey Logano Richmond-1 (transmission change), Jimmie Johnson Dover-1 (rear gear change)
  • Denny Hamlin won in New Hampshire-1 after going to a backup car prior to qualifying
  • Three times in 2017 a driver has gone on to win after a speeding penalty: Kurt Busch Daytona-1, Brad 
Keselowski Martinsville-1 and Martin Truex Jr. Chicagoland
  • Martin Truex Jr. won at Kansas after a restart violation on lap 36, it was the fourth time in 2017 a driver 
has recovered from a in race infraction to win and the second time by Martin Truex Jr.
  • Three drivers got their first career win in 2017: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Talladega-1, Austin Dillon Charlotte-1, Ryan Blaney Pocono-1, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is the first first-time winner to get his second win in 2017
  • There have been two track records set in 2017: Kyle Busch (Kentucky), Kurt Busch (Texas-2)
  • Eight times driver has swept all three rounds of qualifying: Kevin Harvick- IMS 2014, MIS 6/14 and TX 4/17, DAR 2017; Joey Logano MART 4/16 10/17; Brad Keselowski TX 11/15; Kyle Busch CHI 2017
  • Qualifying was cancelled twice in 2017: Martinsville-1, Bristol-1
  • 11 races had an overtime finish in 2017: PHX-1, ACS, TAL-1, Dover-1, Daytona-2, KY, Indy, MIS-2, 
RICH-2, CLT-2, MART-2
  • Four races were won with a last lap pass: Daytona-1 Kurt Busch passed Kyle Larson, Talladega-1 Ricky 
Stenhouse Jr. passed Kyle Busch, Talladega-2 Brad Keselowski passed Ryan Newman, Martinsville-2 
Kyle Busch passed Denny Hamlin
  • Three races were affected by rain in 2017: Bristol-1 (postponed until Monday), Charlotte-1 (delayed 90 
minutes lap 145), Indianapolis (Delayed on Lap 12 for 2 hours)
  • Three drivers ended the longest winless streaks of their career in 2017: Ryan Newman 127 races, Kasey 
Kahne 102 races and Kyle Busch 36 races
  • Homestead-Miami Speedway is located 287 miles south of Daytona International Speedway
  • At the end of the Miami race, the Cup Series will have raced 10,581 laps and 14,035 miles; even more with an overtime finish
  • Martin Truex Jr. won six of 10 races on 1.5 mile tracks in 2017, he finished 8th, 8th, 3rd and 2nd in the other four
  • Three of the four Championship four drivers won a race on a 1.5 mile track in 2017, Kyle Busch’s best finish on a 1.5 mile track in 2017 is second in the Coke 600 at Charlotte
  • Martin Truex Jr. is the only driver to finish in the top-10 in all 10 races on 1.5 mile tracks in 2017, Kevin Harvick is a close second with nine
  • Martin Truex Jr. led 1,054 laps on 1.5 mile tracks in 2017 the most of all drivers, the second most laps led is 707 by Kevin Harvick a difference of 347 laps, 90 more laps than the scheduled race distance at Miami
  • The four playoff drivers combined led 77% of the laps raced on 1.5 mile tracks in 2017 (2354 of 3072): Martin Truex Jr. 1,054, Kevin Harvick 707, Kyle Busch 460 and Brad Keselowski 133
  • Jimmie Johnsons 28 career wins on 1.5 mile tracks are the most all time
  • Toyota has six wins on 1.5 mile tracks in 2017, all by Martin Truex Jr.
  • One 1.5 mile track race was won from the pole in 2017: Kansas 2 by Martin Truex Jr.

Season Breakdown

  • Different Winners: 15
  • Most Wins: 7 – Martin Truex Jr.
  • Most Poles: 8 – Kyle Busch
  • Most Runner Ups: 8 – Kyle Larson
  • Most Top-fives: 18 – Martin Truex Jr.
  • Most Top-10s: 25 – Martin Truex Jr.
  • Most Laps Led: 2175 – Martin Truex Jr.
  • Stage Wins: 19 – Martin Truex Jr.
  • Stage Top-5s: 47 – Martin Truex Jr.
  • Stage Top-10s: 54 – Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr.
  • Playoff Points: 69 – Martin Truex Jr.

Miami Track Facts

  • November 19th will be the 19th race at Homestead-Miami Speedway
  • Homestead-Miami Speedway hosted a race every season since 1999 and was the final race of the 
season since 2002
  • Homestead-Miami Speedway hosted the season finale in ever playoff season (14 times total)
  • This will be the 11th and final race on a 1.5 mile track in 2017 and the last of five in the playoffs
  • This will be the third points race held in the state of Florida for the MENCS in 2017

Homestead-Miami Track History

  • Homestead was devastated by Hurricane Andrew in August, 1992. Ralph Sanchez, a long time promoter of street races in Miami, had long dreamed of a first-class track in South Florida. After the hurricane he approached the city of Homestead with a proposal to build a track. Within two weeks he negotiated an agreement whereby the City would own the track on county land and lease the facility to Sanchez.
  • Ground was broken August 23, 1994. The first points race was a Busch Series race held on November 5, 1995 won by Dale Jarrett before a sellout crowd. The first competition was an exhibition race for NASCAR Trucks won by Geoff Bodine.
  • The first Cup race was November 14th, 1999 won by Tony Stewart driving the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Pontiac led by crew chief Greg Zipadelli. It was Stewart’s third win of his rookie season. Stewart also won the following year.
  • ISC became the sole owner of the Speedway in 2001 pursuant to an agreement that was made in 1997 when ISC acquired 40% ownership
  • In 2003 the track underwent a major reconfiguration from what was nearly a flat 1.5 mile track to computer designed progressive banking of 18-20 degrees in the turns. The project required over 4 million cubic feet of fill that was hauled in with 10,000 truckloads. The pole speed jumped nearly 25 mph in 2003 to 181.111 (the all-time record) from the previous record of 156.440 mph
  • Homestead has been the NSCS season ending race since 2002.
  • Ford Championship Weekend began in 2003.
  • The 2005 events were held under the lights for the first time.
  • Some features of the 600 acre facility: 1,005 Palm trees, five level 12 story high tower building, 750 TV 
monitor, garage area for 120 cars and 30 suites above the garages
  • In 2009 the track hosted all of North America’s premier motorsports championships: IndyCar, Grand- 
Am, Indy Lights and NASCAR’s Sprint Cup, Xfinity (then Nationwide) and Camping World Truck Series.
  • At 25 degree longitude, Homestead is the southern most track that NASCAR visits

Preliminary entry lists for NASCAR Championship Weekend in Miami

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After nine months of racing, the NASCAR season comes to a close this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Each of NASCAR’s three national series will determine its champion in Miami, beginning with Friday’s Camping World Truck race, Saturday’s Xfinity  race and Sunday’s Cup race.

Here are the preliminary entry lists for each race:

Cup – Ford EcoBoost 400

There are 39 cars entered with all driver seats filled.

Reed Sorenson returns to drive Premium Motorsports’ No. 15 Chevrolet.

Jimmie Johnson is the defending Homestead winner, leading just three laps in the 268-lap event, which went to overtime.

Click here for the entry list.

 

Xfinity — Ford EcoBoost 300

There are 45 cars entered. All driver seats are filled except the No. 55 Toyota of JD Motorsports.

Ty Majeski will drive the No. 60 Ford for Roush Fenway Motorsports.

Daniel Suarez is the defending winner, leading 133 of the race’s 200 laps.

Click here for the entry list.

 

Trucks – Ford EcoBoost 200

There are 32 trucks entered. All driver seats are filled.

William Byron is the defending winner, leading 31 of 134 laps in last year’s race.

Click here for the entry list.