2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Schedule

The 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season is upon us. Last year was the inaugural season of the extension of the Chase format to this Series. William Byron dominated the season with seven wins and 16 top ten finishes in 23 races. His very untimely blown engine in the second to last race at Phoenix eliminated him from contention. He won the last race a Homestead to show he should have won the Championship.

It feels awesome. It’s just – it’s incredible.” William Byron added, “I mean this team has worked so hard all year. We just had an unfortunate situation last week that we couldn’t control, but, man, they brought a good truck. Qualified on the pole. These guys just are awesome.

Johnny Sauter won at Daytona then used that win to catapult himself to his first Championship in NASCAR. He had three wins and 19 top ten finishes in the 23 races. This year the competition is expected to be even better now that they have some experience with this format.

This championship means a lot to me, but it means a lot to my family,” the newly crowned champion continued.” Sauter added, “I just can’t thank these guys enough.  They executed like they needed to and I can’t thank the Gallagher family enough for giving me this opportunity. It was a leap of faith to come here over the off season.  Being in a Chevrolet was very important to me and this is just awesome.

2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Schedule

Date Location Network Race Start Radio
2/24 Daytona International Speedway FS1 7:30 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
3/4 Atlanta Motor Speedway FS1 4:30 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
4/1 Martinsville Speedway FS1 2:30 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
5/12 Kansas Speedway FS1 8:30 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
5/19 Charlotte Motor Speedway FS1 8:30 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
6/2 Dover International Speedway FS1 5:30 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
6/9 Texas Motor Speedway FS1 8 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
6/17 Gateway Motorsports Park FS1 8:30 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
6/23 Iowa Speedway FS1 8:30 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
7/6 Kentucky Speedway FS1 7:30 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
7/19 Eldora Speedway FS1 9 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
7/29 Pocono Raceway FS1 1 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
8/12 Michigan International Speedway FS1 1 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
8/16 Bristol Motor Speedway FS1 8:30 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
9/3 Canadian Tire Motorsport Park FS1 2:30 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
9/15 Chicagoland Speedway FS1 8:30 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
9/23 New Hampshire Motor Speedway FS1 1 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
9/30 Las Vegas Motor Speedway FS1 8:30 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
10/14 Talladega Superspeedway FOX 1 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
10/28 Martinsville Speedway FS1 1:30 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
11/3 Texas Motor Speedway FS1 8:30 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
11/10 Phoenix International Raceway FS1 8:30 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
11/17 Homestead-Miami Speedway FS1 8 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM

Next year Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers with five or more years of experience will be limited to seven starts in this Series.

The updated guidelines will elevate the stature of our future stars, while also providing them the opportunity to compete against the best in professional motorsports,” said Jim Cassidy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations. “These updated guidelines are the result of a collaborative effort involving the entire industry, and will ultimately better showcase the emerging stars of NASCAR.

Check out the schedule and make your travel plans to attend a race or two. Hope to see you there.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Follow him on Twitter @brian_jr1 during the race and throughout the week for more NASCAR news and commentary.

Feature Photo Credit: 322755 Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images

 

Win and Advance in the Chase, Win Again and Eliminate a Chaser

Martin Truex Jr. was caught a lap down at Chicagoland Speedway. He was fast, so fast that he all but unlapped himself. Fast forward to this past week at Dover International Speedway and Martin Truex Jr. was real fast. He was so fast that he almost lapped the field. When he won there were only six cars on the lead lap. Truex has now won two of the three races in the Round of 16 of the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Wining one race automatically advances you to the next round of the Chase. Winning another race may keep another competitor who may have needed to win from advancing. In this case it did not since Kyle Busch already had enough points to advance. It does get one to question what could be done with multiple wins in the Chase. Can there be a way to encourage and reward it.

Here is an idea. What if drivers win multiple races in the Chase and an extra driver is eliminated from the Chase in each round of a multiple win. For instance this round Martin Truex Jr. won two races in the first round. The next round of the Chase is the Round of 12. Since he won an additional race then the next round could have only 11 drivers; 16 drivers minus the scheduled 4 plus an extra one.

Kevin Harvick won the second race of the Round of 16. If he should win another race in the Round of 12 then another driver would be eliminated for the Round of 8 such that there would only be 7 drivers in that round.

Extrapolating out if Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. should happen to win three races in the Round of 12 then there would only be 5 drivers in the Round of 8.  If this pattern continues then Harvick and Truex would be left to fight it out at Homestead Miami Speedway.

If Truex were to win all three races of the round of 8 then he would win the Championship prior to Homestead Miami Speedway.

Think about it. Right now you win to guarantee to advance in a round but you race to maintain your position in the standings to advance. This format throws some Offense into the game. Win and advance. Win again to eliminate your competition. This just ramps it up to a whole new level.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 321972 Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images

Does Anyone Have Anything for Superman at Martinsville?

Jimmie Johnson has as perfect a driver rating at Martinsville Speedway as a driver can have of 118.4.  This week the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to action from the Easter break. Does anyone have anything for Jimmie Johnson?

To reiterate a perfect driver rating is 150. The only way a driver can have a perfect rating is if they lead all the laps and win the race. It is impossible for a driver after many races, in this case 22 races to have a perfect rating. A dominating driver will have a rating of 120. Johnson is almost there.

If it was up to me we would race at Martinsville more than two times a year, it’s a special place for me, and my Lowe’s team.” Johnson added, “I had a great weekend off with the family, we are still so excited to have won California and heading to one of my favorite tracks. I’m ready to get back behind the wheel.

Martinsville is one of the hardest tracks in NASCAR. That is what makes Johnson’s driver rating so impressive. There is hope though.

Denny Hamlin, the winner of this race last year, also has an impressive driver rating of 110. Of active drivers Hamlin is second only to Johnson in wins with five to his eight.  Jimmie Johnson has not won this race since the spring of 2013.

I think it will be another fight this weekend to get the win at Martinsville. We have had a lot of success over the years at that track and seem to battle the same guys each year for the win.” Hamlin added, “Jimmie (Johnson) is obviously strong there and our teammates will be tough to beat. Friday’s qualifying is big in terms of getting a good pit stall and on Sunday it’s important to have a mistake-free race. Any sort of issue or penalty can get you a couple laps down in a hurry and spoil a good day. I believe our FedEx Camry will be up front competing for another win.

As Denny Hamlin noted it is important to have a mistake-free race. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick will be there to pounce and scoop up the win. Last year Joey Logano and his teammate Brad Keselowski worked well together but just couldn’t get it done in spite of leading many laps between them in both races. They will also be a factor. If any of these drivers can qualify up front and race mistake free they will have something for Johnson or Hamlin.

If you cannot get to Martinsville Speedway for the STP 500 it will be broadcast live on FS1 Sunday April 3rd, 2016 at 1 PM ET.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 318109 Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images

Driver Rating
Martinsville Speedway
STP 500
Provided by NASCAR Statistics Stats Represent Points Races From 2005-Present
Rank Car Driver Team Avg. Finish High Rating Avg. Rating
1 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe’s 6.9 149.1 118.4
2 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Ground 8.1 141.1 110.6
3 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr Nationwide 11.9 133.1 99.4
4 18 Kyle Busch M&M’s 75 15.1 133.4 96.5
5 4 Kevin Harvick Jimmy John’s 14.7 129 94.6
6 15 Clint Bowyer Aaron???s 13.7 127.9 92.5
7 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil 14.9 121.9 89.7
8 2 Brad Keselowski AutoTrader 15.5 114.9 87.8
9 1 Jamie McMurray McDonald???s 16.8 114.4 86.9
10 31 Ryan Newman Caterpillar 14.5 109.6 86.5
11 20 Matt Kenseth Dollar General 13.9 134.6 85.9
12 19 Carl Edwards Arris 15.5 121.1 81.5
13 41 Kurt Busch Monster Energy / Haas 21.2 115.8 80.2
14 14 Brian Vickers Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1 19.2 112.4 79.4
15 5 Kasey Kahne Panasonic 20.5 112.8 77.5

NASCAR Charter Agreement and Qualifying

At the beginning of the season NASCAR implemented a Charter Agreement to provide some financial stability to the teams. It wasn’t really obvious if this would mean anything to or affect racing for a NASCAR fan. Now that we are five weeks into the season we can see how this has impacted racing and qualifying.

36 teams who have been racing full time for three years prior were granted Charters. Those teams are guaranteed to make the race each and every weekend. The field was shortened from 43 cars to 40 cars leaving only four spots in the field that can be filed by teams who do not have Charters.

There is some irony in that this is similar to the Top 35 qualifying rule which guaranteed the top 35 teams would make the filed. This rule was eliminated in 2013 with the hope to make qualifying more exciting.

Qualifying at Daytona was mostly like it always has been the only exception was the shorter field. 44 cars tried to make the race.

The next four weeks though were not. Only 39 cars entered each race so the field ended up one car short than a full field. Every car entered made the race. There are only 39 cars entered for this week at AutoClub Speedway.

The best thing about these shorter fields is that most all the cars in the field were racing most if not all of the laps. No more field fillers.

It would seem counter intuitive to actually put effort into qualifying if you are locked into making the race anyway. In reality qualifying has been every bit as important as it has always been. Those teams who have qualified at the front of the field are the same ones that are leading laps and winning races.

The new NASCAR Charter System appears to be a success for those team owners who have them. It has not affected actual action on the track in anyway.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 317998 by Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images

2016 NASCAR Sprint Unlimited Driver Breakdown, Yes it’s confusing

The NASCAR Offseason is over. OK, not quite over but there will be some NASCAR racing beginning with the Sprint Unlimited exhibition race. Here are the drivers who will be entered into the race trying to get a head start on their week in Daytona and perhaps a jump on a great Daytona 500.

This year’s race will consist of two segments, 25 and 50 laps, with a competition caution coming after Lap 25.

The Sprint Unlimited consists of those drivers who have won a Coors Light Pole Award the previous season plus former Daytona 500 pole winners. Drivers who entered at least one race last year and have also won a previous Sprint Unlimited can also enter this race.

2015 Pole Winners:

AJ Allmendinger, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Jeff Gordon, Joey Logano

Former Sprint Unlimited Winners:

Dale Earnhardt Jr. (’03, ’08)
Tony Stewart (’01, ’02, ‘07)

Former Daytona 500 Pole Winners:

Austin Dillon (‘14)
Danica Patrick (’13)
Martin Truex Jr. (’09)
David Gilliland (‘07)
Greg Biffle (’04)

2014 Chase Contenders (Not Already Qualified for the Race)

Clint Bowyer, Jamie McMurray, Paul Menard, Ryan Newman

In the Race via Their 2015 Points:

The Sprint Unlimited field is limited to 25 drivers. If for some reason the 25 driver field has not been filled with Pole Winners, Previous Limited Winners, Daytona 500 Pole Winners or Chase Contenders the rest of the field is filed by driver points.  This is where the rest of the entry list can get confusing.

There are 23 drivers who are eligible for the 25 driver field. That leaves two spots open for Aric Almirola and Kyle Larson.  Jeff Gordon retired and is not entering the race. That adds Casey Mears to the field on points.

Tony Stewart is injured and will not be entering the race. SHR has appealed to NASCAR that on this late date they had prepared a car and spent much money and effort on it. NASCAR has allowed them to enter the race even though the driver may or may not be otherwise eligible. The candidate for that car is Brian Vickers if he is medically cleared to race and it appears he may have.

If any other driver does not enter the race then the next driver on the bubble would be Ricky Stenhouse Jr. followed by Sam Hornish Jr. and David Ragan who both do not have a ride. Trevor Bayne, who does have a ride, would be next.  At this point in time that driver would be David Gilliland who as of this writing does not have a ride. If he is not in the race then Ricky Stenhouse Jr. would be.

This race has been won by only nine different drivers since 2001. #14-Tony Stewart (07, 02, 01), #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. (08, 03), Dale Jarrett (04), #48-Jimme Johnson (05), #11-Denny Hamlin (14, 06), #4-Kevin Harvick (13, 10, 09), #41-Kurt Busch (11), #18-Kyle Busch (12), and #20-Matt Kenseth (15).

As for the race itself and what to expect it gets much simpler. Those drivers who somehow excel at restrictor plate racing will figure prominently in this race. The odds are very good that one of those nine drivers, who have won this race since 2001, will repeat.

If you cannot get to Daytona International Speedway for the Sprint Unlimited it will be broadcast live on Fox, Saturday February 13th starting at 8 PM ET.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Follow him on Twitter @brian_jr1 during the race and throughout the week for more NASCAR news and commentary.

Feature Photo Credit: 304913 Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images

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