Christopher Bell crowned Truck champion as Briscoe wins finale
In the swan song for Brad Keselowski Racing, Chase Briscoe earned the pole for the Ford EcoBoost 200 and led 81 laps en route to his first career win at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
As Briscoe closed the deal in his 23rd Camping World Truck Series start, his friend Christopher Bell celebrated his first championship on Friday.
“Oh, thank you guys, thank you, thank you, thank you,” Briscoe said.
Briscoe, 22, held off Bell by 2.887-seconds at the line for the victory. He also earned the Sunoco Rookie of the Year.
“This is a long time coming,” Briscoe said. “So proud of all these guys. To know that they’re not going to have a job next year and we continued to bring really good trucks even though we were outside the playoffs, such a testament to how good these Brad Keselowski guys are. Thank you so much to Ford for believing in me. I know that this year, at least by my standards and what I felt like I could have done, for those guys to continue to believe in me makes me feel so blessed and thankful to be here. I know two years ago I was sleeping on couches and now to be a winner in NASCAR. I wish we were in the final four. I felt like we could have been but that’s part of the circumstances. I have to thank Brad and Ford and the Cunninghams. It’s been a long time coming. I can’t thank them enough.”
Defending champion Johnny Sauter finished third followed by Ryan Truex, Austin Cindric, Matt Crafton, Stewart Friesen, Grant Enfinger, Justin Haley and Timothy Peters.
For Kyle Busch Motorsports, it was their second Driver's title in the last three years and fifth-consecutive owner's title in trucks.
“To be able to do this for all of the guys at Kyle Busch Motorsports and to win the championship for a team that deserves the championship, words just can’t describe my feelings right now,” said Bell, 22, who scored a series-high five wins this season. “To run as good as we have--week in and week out--and not just this year. This whole organization, this whole team has been good for so many years, you just don’t want to be the guy that lets them down and I’m glad I didn’t let them down tonight.”
Sauter finished second in the truck standings, one point behind Bell. Cindric and Crafton finished third and fourth, respectively.
Ben Rhodes led the lead-lap trucks down pit road for service on Lap 84. Briscoe took the lead off of pit road followed by Rhodes, Bell, Cindric, Truex, Sauter, Gragson, Crafton, Enfinger, Haley, Peters, Snider.
The race returned to green on Lap 87 with 47 circuits remaining. Rhodes returned to the lead with Briscoe, Bell, Cindric, Sauter, Gragson, Crafton, Haley, Enfinger and Peters in tow. On Lap 92, Bell pulled around the outside of Cindric for third.
Rhodes held a .238-second lead over Briscoe when Noah Gragson blew a tire while running 13th. With 40 to go, Briscoe pulled to the inside of Rhodes for the lead off of Turn 2. Sauter passed Cindric for fourth on Lap 95. Crafton ran sixth.
Briscoe extended his lead to 1.482-seconds over Rhodes by Lap 100. Bell, Sauter, Cindric, Crafton, Haley, Enfinger, Truex and Peters rounded out the top 10.
Rhodes trailed Briscoe by 1.889-seconds with 25 laps remaining. As Bell moved in on Rhodes, his spotter Tony Hirschman warned his driver of following the No. 27 truck up to the wall.
“He’ll get greedy,” Hirshmann said. “Do your thing here. Don’t get yourself boxed in here. Take care of your stuff.”
Crafton passed Cindric for fifth with 19 laps to go. Truex followed for fifth-place on the next lap.
With 16 laps remaining, Rhodes cut Briscoe’s lead down to one-second. Bell moved to the low line with 13 to go, but could not gain on Rhodes.
As the Toyotas battled behind Briscoe, he pulled out to a 1.213-second lead with 10 to go.
“Brad Keselowski is the best owner we’ve ever worked for,” said crew chief Buddy Sisco, who replaced Mike Hillman Jr., in the role after Talladega. “We didn’t get the championship, but we can take home a little bit of chrome.”
Ben Rhodes spanked the field in the second segment of Friday’s Ford EcoBoost 200.
The No. 27 beat Christopher Bell to the line by 4.446-seconds. Briscoe finished third followed by Truex, Sauter, Cindric, Peters, Crafton, Gragson and Haley. Eighteen trucks remained on the lead lap when the second caution was called on Lap 80.
Briscoe regained the lead out of the pits on Lap 43. He told the crew he was “way tight” towards the end of the stage. Bell exited second followed by Cindric, Truex, Rhodes, Crafton, Sauter, Enfinger, Peters and Haley.
The No. 29 team told Briscoe he controlled the restart. Briscoe replied, “I’ve raced with him enough, I know what to do.”
The race returned to green on Lap 48 with Briscoe on the outside. Rhodes came up the middle and took Bell and Briscoe three-wide for the lead in Turn 1 on Lap 49. Briscoe dropped to second followed by Cindric, Bell, Truex, Crafton, Sauter, Nemechek, Enfinger and Peters. Cindric passed his teammate for second on Lap 50. Bell moved up to third on the next lap. Truex ran fifth followed by Crafton, Sauter, Nemechek, Enfinger and Dalton Sargeant.
After the first 10 laps, Rhodes advantage was 1.553-seconds over Cindric. On Lap 56, Bell caught Cindric made contact with the No. 19 Ford coming out of Turn 4.
By Lap 60, Rhodes lead over Cindric was nearly two-seconds. Bell passed Cindric for second on the next circuit. Sauter moved into the top five.
With 15 laps to go in the stage, Rhodes lead was 2.772-seconds over Bell. Cindric, Briscoe, Sauter, Truex, Crafton, Nemechek, Peters and Gragson completed the top 10.
Sauter ran low on Cindric out of Turn 4 for fourth with 10 to go in the stage. Truex followed for fifth. On Lap 75, Truex passed Sauter for fourth. Peters took seventh from Crafton with three laps remaining in the stage. Gragson was ninth. Nemechek ran 10th.
Rhodes was forced to pit from second with five laps to go when the No. 27 Toyota ran out of gas. Bell moved up to second followed by Sauter, Truex, Crafton, Cindric, Enfinger, Friesen, Haley and Peters.
With seven laps remaining in the first segment, Christopher Bell passed polesitter Chase Briscoe for the lead and held on for the stage win.
“I guess we brought the right package here,” Bell said. “This thing races really good right now.”
Enfinger, Rhodes, Truex, Cindric, Crafton, Sauter, Haley and Timothy Peters rounded out the top 10.
Briscoe held a 1.1-second lead over Crafton after the first 15 laps. The No. 88 jumped from eighth to third on the first lap, the passed Grant Enfinger on the next circuit for second.
“It was like he just flipped a switch,” the No. 88 ThorSport team told Crafton after Bell moved from 13th into the top five in the first 15 laps. On Lap 16, Bell was fourth. Enfinger moved by Crafton and Bell followed for third over the next two circuits.
After the first 20 laps, Briscoe held the point followed by Enfinger, Bell, Crafton, Rhodes, Cindric, Truex, Sauter and Gragson. Bell moved to second on Lap 21. Rhodes passed Crafton for fourth on Lap 22.
Bell cut Briscoe’s lead down to .354-seconds after 25 laps. Enfinger ran third followed by Rhodes, Crafton, Cindric, Truex, Sauter, Gragson and Justin Haley.
With 10 laps remaining in the stage, Briscoe ran three trucks ahead of Bell, who was working the high line. Cindric caught Crafton but could make the pass.
“I’m history, man, history, junk,” Sauter told the crew on Lap 31.
On Lap 33, Bell passed Briscoe for the lead. Enfinger held third followed by Rhodes, Truex, Cindric, Crafton, Sauter, Haley and Gragson.
Bell extended his lead over Briscoe to 2.415-seconds, but was more than 10-seconds ahead of sixth-place Cindric, the second of the Championship 4 contenders.
The first caution came out on Lap 40 at the end of the stage. The drivers pitted on Lap 43.
|13||33||Kaz Grala||Chevrolet||133||1 lap|
|14||13||Cody Coughlin||Toyota||133||1 lap|
|15||8||John Hunter Nemechek||Chevrolet||133||1 lap|
|16||45||T.J. Bell||Chevrolet||132||2 laps|
|17||44||Austin Wayne Self||Chevrolet||131||3 laps|
|18||18||Noah Gragson||Toyota||131||3 laps|
|19||27||Ben Rhodes||Toyota||130||4 laps|
|20||99||Dalton Sargeant||Chevrolet||129||5 laps|
|21||1||Jordan Anderson||Chevrolet||128||6 laps|
|22||50||Josh Reaume||Chevrolet||126||8 laps|
|23||15||Wendell Chavous||Chevrolet||125||9 laps|
|24||49||Robby Lyons||Chevrolet||125||9 laps|
|25||6||Norm Benning||Chevrolet||119||15 laps|
|26||63||Chris Windom||Chevrolet||71||63 laps|
|27||36||Camden Murphy||Chevrolet||9||125 laps|
|28||83||Bayley Currey||Chevrolet||8||126 laps|
|29||87||Joe Nemechek||Chevrolet||7||127 laps|
|30||57||Mike Senica||Chevrolet||4||130 laps|
|32||10||Jennifer Jo Cobb||Chevrolet||0||--|
Briscoe takes pole for Truck finale; Cindric leads title contenders
Sauter: "I just didn't have anything left" to take the fight to Bell