Parker Kligerman

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Matt Crafton wins third career Truck Series championship

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Matt Crafton may not have won a race this season – in fact, he hasn’t won since Eldora in mid-2017 – but he won the biggest prize of all Friday night, capturing the 2019 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Driving the No. 88 ThorSport Racing Ford, Crafton finished second to race winner Austin Hill (led a race-high 56 laps), but placed higher than the other Championship 4 drivers – Ross Chastain (finished fourth in the race, second in the season standings), 2018 champ Brett Moffitt (fifth in the race and third in the season standings) and Stewart Friesen (11th in the race and fourth in the season standings) – to take home his third career Truck championship.

Wrapping up his 19th full-time season in the Truck Series, Crafton’s previous titles were in 2013 and 2014. He finishes the season with zero wins, seven top-five and 18 top-10 finishes.

Click here for results.

Click here for final 2019 season standings

“It’s amazing, just one step closer to what Hornaday has done,” Crafton told FS1, alluding to NASCAR Hall of Famer Ron Hornaday Jr.’s record four Truck championships. Hornaday joined Crafton to celebrate in victory lane. Crafton is now tied for second on the all-time Truck Series championships list with Jack Sprague (three titles apiece).

“They called us the underdog, that I didn’t have it, but we fought harder than everyone, I guarantee you, every one of these guys worked harder,” Crafton said to FS1.  “This thing ran flawless all night, the motor was very good as well. Everything just went our way.”

Matt Crafton and his team celebrate after winning the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series championship. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Crafton even poked a bit of fun at himself, having endured criticism and questions of his ability for not having won in over two years, and also having issues on restarts that led to some calling him “the old man” (at 43, Crafton was the oldest of the four Championship 4 drivers: Friesen is 36, Moffitt is 27 and Chastain is the youngest at 26).

“I guess I finally got up off the wheelchair and got up on the wheel and got it done,” Crafton told FS1 with a laugh. “I took a lot of criticism over restarts and it was time to get it done now.”

The rest of the top 10 finishers in the season finale were Christian Eckes (third place), Chastain, Moffitt, Johnny Sauter, Grant Enfinger, Todd Gilliland, Sheldon Creed and Parker Kligerman.

Stage 1 winner: Austin Hill led the last 2 laps to win the stage after Ross Chastain led first 28 laps

Stage 2 winner: Austin Hill wins stage again. Only one driver has won the first two stages and then gone on to win the Truck race this season: Kyle Busch.

Who else had a good race: Austin Hill continued his late-season surge. Friday’s win was his third in the last eight races and fourth of the season. He bookends the season, having won the season opener at Daytona and the season finale a few hundred miles south in Homestead. “That’s probably the best truck I’ve had,” Hill told FS1. “We just showed how good we actually were. … Awesome way to end the season.”

Who had a bad race: Anthony Alfredo’s season ended before the race even began. Upon starting the engine, he developed a large fluid leak, leaving his team to push him back to the garage, his night over. … Ray Ciccarelli’s day ended after 46 laps when the motor in his truck blew up.

Notable: Making only his third career Truck Series start, Tanner Gray was running in the top 10 before finishing 16th. The 2018 NHRA Pro Stock champ’s previous best finish was 17th last week at Phoenix. … Christian Eckes drove the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota to clinch the owner’s championship.

What’s next: The 2020 season kicks off three months from now at Daytona International Speedway with the NextEra Energy 250 on February 14, 2020 at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

NASCAR America at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN: Previewing championship races

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Today’s episode of NASCAR America airs from 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN and will preview the championship races this weekend from Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Krista Voda will be joined by Marty Snider, Parker Kligerman and Nate Ryan. Snider and Ryan will be reporting from  NASCAR’s Championship 4 Media Day.

We’ll also have interviews with all four NASCAR Cup Championship 4 drivers: Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin.

If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, watch online at http:/nascarstream.nbcsports.com. If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 5 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.

Updated entry lists for Kansas Speedway’s playoff weekend

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The NASCAR playoffs continue this weekend with the second visit of the year to Kansas Speedway.

The Cup Series holds its second elimination race as the playoff field will be cut to eight drivers.

After a week off, the Xfinity Series will open its second playoff round.

Here are the preliminary entry lists for both races.

Cup – Hollywood Casino 400 (2:30 p.m. ET Sunday on NBC)

There are 40 cars entered.

Parker Kligerman is entered in Gaunt Brothers Racing’s No. 96 Toyota.

Reed Sorenson is listed for Premium Motorsports’ No. 27 Chevrolet.

Austin Theriault  was originally entered in Rick Ware Racing’s No. 52 car. Theriault announced Thursday morning he had not been cleared by NASCAR to compete Saturday following his wreck in Monday’s Cup race at Talladega and that Garrett Smithley would take his place.

Chase Elliott won this race last year over Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson. Brad Keselowski won the May race over Alex Bowman and Erik Jones.

Click here for the updated entry list.

Xfinity – Kansas Lottery 300 (3 p.m. ET Saturday on NBC)

There are 39 entries.

Ryan Truex is entered in JR Motorsports’ No. 8 Chevrolet.

Ross Chastain is entered in Kaulig Racing’s No. 10 Chevrolet. It’ll be his fifth start with the team this season.

Harrison Burton is entered in Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 Toyota for the seventh time this season.

Bobby Earnhardt, the oldest son of Kerry Earnhardt, is entered in MBM Motorsports’ No. 66 Toyota. It will be his fifth career start and first since the Texas playoff race last year.

Joe Nemechek is now entered in Mike Harmon Racing’s No. 74 Chevrolet

Dillon Bassett is now entered in DGM Racing’s No. 92 Chevrolet

John Hunter Nemechek won this race last year over Daniel Hemric and Elliott Sadler.

Click here for the entry list.

 

Friday’s crash and spin report from Charlotte Roval

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CONCORD, N.C. — Here’s a look at the drivers who wrecked or spun Friday during Cup and Xfinity Series action on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

Cup Practice

Both Parker Kligerman and Denny Hamlin will go to backup cars after wrecking. Kligerman hit the wall in Turn 1 early in the session.

Hamlin spun and backed into the Turn 5 tire barrier with about 29 minutes left in the session. He and Kligerman will have to start from the rear Sunday.

Hamlin said he got loose when he carried extra speed into the turn.

“It’s supposed to kind of be a weekend off (for his team),” Hamlin told NBCSN. “But obviously I put them behind the eight ball here and took away some track time for myself. Really stinks. But definitely feel like our backup car will be fine.”

Bubba Wallace spun in Turn 5 late in the session and lightly impacted the tire barrier. He won’t go to a backup car.

First Xfinity practice

Brandon Brown brought out the caution early in the session when he spun in Turn 1 after his track bar broke.

Noah Gragson will go to a backup car after he spun and hit the tire barrier in Turn 3 .

Cody Ware also wrecked in Turn 3 later in the session.

John Hunter Nemechek missed the frontstretch chicane late in the session.

Final Xfinity Practice

Preston Pardus wrecked about 15 minutes into the session when he spun and hit the Turn 5 tire barrier.

Michael Annett wrecked in Turn 5, causing significant front end damage to his No. 1 Chevrolet. He will go to a backup car.

Cup qualifying

Chase Elliott spun in the frontstretch chicane as he was finishing his first qualifying lap in Round 1. He later qualified 19th.

In the second round, Clint Bowyer and Kyle Larson wheel hopped entering the backstretch chicane in the second round. Bowyer went on to qualify fifth, Larson qualified seventh.

Preliminary entry lists for Bristol Motor Speedway

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NASCAR returns to “Thunder Valley” this week for its series of night races at Bristol Motor Speedway.

All three national series will compete on the half-mile track, including the Gander Outdoors Truck Series in its playoff opener.

Here are the preliminary entry lists for each race.

Cup – Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race (7:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN)

There are 39 cars on the entry list.

Last year this race was won by Kurt Busch over Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott. Kurt and his brother Kyle Busch have combined to win the last four Bristol races.

Click here for the entry list.

Xfinity – Food City 300 (7:30 p.m. ET Friday on NBCSN)

There are 42 cars on the entry list. With a full field set at 38 cars, four cars will not make the event.

Kyle Busch is entered in Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 Toyota for his sixth and of seven Xfinity starts of the season.

Erik Jones is entered in XCI Racing’s No. 81 Toyota. It would be his first Xfinity start since 2017.

Joe Graf Jr is entered in Kaulig Racing’s No. 10 Chevrolet.

Kyle Larson won this race last year over Christopher Bell and Justin Allgaier.

Click here for the entry list.

Trucks – UNOH 200 (8:30 p.m. ET Thursday on FS1)

There are 37 trucks entered for the event. A full field is 32 trucks, meaning five won’t make the event.

John Hunter Nemechek is entered in NEMCO Motorsport’s No. 8 Chevrolet. This would be his first start of the season.

Dylan Lupton is entered in DGR-Crosley’s No. 15 Toyota.

Ryan Sieg is entered in Reaume Brothers Racing’s No. 33 Chevrolet for the second time this year.

Angela Ruch is entered in Niece Motorsports’ No. 44 Chevrolet.

Chandler Smith is entered in Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 51 Toyota.

NASCAR on NBC analyst Parker Kligerman is entered in Henderson Motorsports’ No. 75 Chevrolet. This would be just the second race of the year for the team (Atlanta).

Timothy Peters is entered in Ricky Benton Racing Enterprises’ No. 92 Ford. This will be Peters’ fourth race of the year.

This race was was last year by Johnny Sauter over Stewart Friesen and Nemechek.

Click here for the entry list.