Five things to watch in Saturday's Truck cutoff race at Talladega
While the Camping World Truck Series’ annual stop at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway typically offers plenty of excitement, this season’s race holds additional importance.
Saturday’s Fred’s 250 serves as a cut-off race in the Truck series’ inaugural Chase. After the race, the two Chase drivers lowest in points without a win will be eliminated from further title contention.
William Byron sits first in the Chase standings and is the only driver who has clinched a spot in the Round of 6. He is followed by Christopher Bell (25 points above seventh place), Matt Crafton (+24), Ben Kennedy (+18), Timothy Peters (+16), Johnny Sauter (+15), Daniel Hemric (15 points below sixth place) and John Hunter Nemechek (-15).
Here are five things to watch for in Saturday’s race:
There’s plenty of inexperience in the field. Of the eight drivers in the Chase, only three – Crafton, Sauter and Peters – have more than two career starts at the track. Crafton leads the way with 10 starts but only has one top-five finish to show for it (fourth in 2010). Byron is the only driver to be making his first career start at the track and thankfully for him, he advances to the next round regardless of his finish.
Peters has won the last two Talladega Truck races – a good sign for a driver looking to advance to the next round of the Chase and also seeking his first win of the 2016 season. In seven career starts, he has two wins, three top-five and four top-10 finishes and an 11.0 average finish.
Hemric needs a solid finish if he has any chance to continue his hunt for the championship and his Brad Keselowski Racing team will provide him some help this weekend with a third teammate in Austin Cindric. Hemric’s other BKR teammate, Tyler Reddick, won the series’ most recent race, at Las Vegas.
A change of scenery may help improve Kennedy’s fortunes at Talladega. In two previous starts, he hasn’t finished better than 25th. However, Kennedy is now with GMS Racing, which won the pole in the season opener at Daytona with Grant Enfinger and his teammate, Sauter, won the race.
- Sauter sits 15 points above seventh place and his experience at Talladega could be valuable, not to mention he won the series’ only other superspeedway race this season. In seven career starts at Talladega Sauter owns one win (2013), three top-five and four top-10 finishes and a 15.7 average finish.
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