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NASCAR National Series News & Notes - Talladega Superspeedway

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Next Race: 1000Bulbs.com 500
The Place: Talladega Superspeedway
The Date: Sunday, October 14
The Time: 2 p.m. ET
TV: NBC, 1 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 500 miles (188 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 55),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 110), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 188)

NASCAR Xfinity Series
Next Race: Kansas Lottery 300
The Place: Kansas Speedway
The Date: Saturday, October 20
The Time: 3 p.m. ET
TV: NBCSN, 2:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 200 miles (200 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 45),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 200)

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Next Race: Fr8Auction 250
The Place: Talladega Superspeedway
The Date: Saturday, October 13
The Time: 1 p.m. ET
TV: FOX, 12:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 250.04 miles (94 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 20),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 40), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 94)

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Chase is Cruising

Last week's Dover winner, Chase Elliott, is a legitimate favorite as the series heads to Talladega Superspeedway this weekend for the 1000Bulbs.com 500. He won the Busch Pole position in his first-ever Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race there in 2016 and has two top-five finishes in five starts - including a third-place showing there in April.

And when it comes to the NASCAR Playoffs, the 22-year-old Elliott boasts the second-best average finish (9.0) in Playoff races. He has one win, eight top-five finishes (four of those runner-up efforts) and 10 top-10s in 14 career Playoff races.

In the last 11 races, he is averaging a finish of 8.4 and he's tied with points leader Kevin Harvick with six top-five finishes in the last 11 races.

"I think it's nice to be able to know you're going to move on, but you can't get complacent in the fact that you are moving on, and you can't let those points just sit out there and not try to go get them because those bonus points you get for winning or winning a stage, that's huge, and you need as many as you can get,'' said Elliott, who drives the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. "One or two points could be the difference in you making the Round of 4 or not.

"Just knowing that we don't have to worry about Talladega, so excited to be able to win the first one of three and get to enjoy it all a little bit more. We are going to keep the hammer down and see what we can do."

Harvick Back on Top in Points

Kevin Harvick reclaimed the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points lead last weekend at Dover International Raceway with a valiant sixth-place finish and dominant 286 laps out front to take a five-point advantage over Kyle Busch heading into Sunday's 1000Bulbs.com 500 at Talladega Superspeedway (2 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

As good a season as Harvick has had in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Ford - seven wins and a series-best 25 top 10s - this is only the third time he's topped the championship standings (also after ISM Raceway-1 and Indianapolis). And he's never held the lead more than a week.

Harvick hopes he can sustain this week. He and regular season champion Kyle Busch each have one previous win at Talladega - both of those coming a while ago. Harvick won in the spring of 2010 while driving for Richard Childress Racing. Busch won in 2008, also in the spring.

Harvick's best finish in the fall Talladega race is runner-up back in 2004. He crashed out in the 2017 'Dega Playoff race, collected in a 16-car accident with 15 laps remaining.

He has five top-10 finishes in the last nine races at the track and led laps in seven of those. This three-race second round Playoff stage (at Dover, Del., Talladega and Kansas), however, looks favorable for the 2014 champion. He won at Dover and Kansas earlier this year and won the pole position at both Talladega and Kansas. After leading a race-best 286 laps at Dover last Sunday, he had a pit road issue late in the race and still rallied to finish sixth - best among the "Big 3" (also including Busch, who finished eighth and Martin Truex Jr., who finished 15th)

Talladega's Tough Legacy

For all their excellence in 2018 - all four Stewart-Haas Racing drivers are still racing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs - the organization hopes to raise the bar this weekend and score the championship team's first-ever Talladega Superspeedway trophy.

Since the team's 2009 inception, it has won 49 races, 42 pole positions and a pair of Cup championships. But it has never won on the notorious 2.66-mile Talladega high banks.

Kevin Harvick has a win on the track - something he scored back in 2010 while racing for Richard Childress Racing. Clint Bowyer has two Talladega trophies - earning them in back-to-back fall races (2010-2011), also driving for RCR.

SHR teammates Kurt Busch and Aric Almirola have been close. Busch started second and finished runner-up to Joey Logano at Talladega this spring - his best-ever showing. Almirola's best work was a fifth place, also this spring.

And Busch has some other stats on his side. Despite being 0-for-25 at the superspeedway, he leads all active drivers in top-five (eight, tied with Jamie McMurray) and top-10 (19) finishes.

"More than any other place we go, you have to be focused at Talladega because its 500 miles of mind games," Bowyer said. "It's all about making good, quick, decisions by all of the team - the guys in the pits, my spotter and me in the racecar. If we can do that, we will be in a great position to get another Talladega win and hopefully advance in the NASCAR Playoffs."

"We got ourselves in a hole right now, points-wise, but we've been there before and know what we have to do. We'll go to Talladega and do our best to get some stage points and win the race."

Penske Powerful At Talladega

Take a glance at recent results from NASCAR's largest track, Talladega Superspeedway, it's obvious that Team Penske has developed a special relationship with the facility - winning five of the last six races and six of the last eight. Its Ford power plant has won the last six-straight.

Penske driver Brad Keselowski is the defending winner of the Talladega Playoff race and teammate Joey Logano won at the track earlier this year. Six of the last eight Talladega races, including the last four Playoff races - have been won by the two Team Penske teammates.

Keselowski, who scored his first career Monster Energy Series win at the track in 2009, won the 2014 and 2017 Playoff races there and the spring 2016 race. Logano won the 2015 and 2016 Playoff races as well as this year's spring 500-miler.

As with Stewart-Haas Racing, the Penske team still has perfect attendance in the Playoffs. All three of the team's drivers continue to be championship-eligible and currently ranked among the top-eight in the standings. Logano is ranked fifth, Keselowski and the team's newest Cup addition, Ryan Blaney, are ranked seventh and eighth, respectively.

Keselowski won the Playoff opener at Las Vegas and Blaney won at the Charlotte Road Course two weeks ago.

Kyle Busch Looking for 'Dega Redemption

Kyle Busch, who has three top-eights in the four Playoff races to date, would like to return to winning form at Talladega - but he has had mixed results in recent races.

Busch was 13th at Talladega this April and has two top-five finishes in the last five races there, including a runner-up showing in the 2016 spring race. But it's his results in the Playoff races at the track that he'd really like to improve. He crashed out in 2017 and finished 30th in 2016.

His 233 career laps led at Talladega is his lowest total at a track on the schedule, except for the Sonoma, Calif. road course where he's led 110 laps.

"I think you approach it the same way no matter where you are in the points,'' said Busch, who trails points leader Kevin Harvick by five points entering the Talladega race.

"I've been in front and been a part of a wreck and I've been riding in the back and been taken out, too. There's really no place that's safe.

"With this race being the second race of the round, you have to try and run up front and hope that you don't have some bad luck and just bring home a solid finish. We'll do the best we can this weekend with our M&M'S Camry and see where the points fall for us afterward, then focus on what we need to do at Kansas."

Truex Jr. Looking for Talladega Turnaround

It's a reasonable expectation that the one venue in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoff schedule that raises Martin Truex Jr.'s heart rate is Talladega Superspeedway. It has been a challenging track for Truex since his earliest days in the Cup series. Only two years ago, it was the site of great heartbreak when his title hopes ended with an engine failure and 40th-place finish in the second round of the 2016 Playoffs- a championship he was considered a favorite to earn.

Truex has 13 DNFs in 27 Talladega starts - including his first three starts and eight of his first 10 races at the track. He's had DNFs in his last four races there as well, including that gut-wrenching, championship-eliminating circumstance in 2016. His best finish in 27 starts is fifth in the 2010 spring race.

This season, Truex has finished 18th (Daytona 500), 26th (Talladega, spring) and runner-up (Daytona, July) at the restrictor plate tracks. And the defending Monster Energy Series champion comes to Alabama with a pair of third-place finishes in the Playoffs (at Las Vegas and Richmond) and was leading at the Charlotte Road Course when he tangled with Jimmie Johnson within sight of the finish line. Last week, he was running in the top five when he was caught up in an accident with less than 10 laps remaining at Dover.

The effort has given him a 36-point cushion among the Playoff field and he is ranked third behind Harvick and Kyle Busch amongst the drivers without a win in the Round of 12.

"Last two weeks were indeed frustrating but you can't look back - you need to move on," Truex stated. "Just too many variables to deal with. You keep plugging away and give it your best shot and hopefully something good will happen. So many times it's out of your control."

Making Up Ground

Ironically for two of the bottom-four-ranked drivers following the second-round race at Dover last week, they were in contention for top-five finishes when a late-race accident derailed their place in the standings.

Aric Almirola led 63 laps (second only to Kevin Harvick's 286 laps out front) and was challenging for the win when he was involved in a five-car accident toward the front of the field that also eliminated Alex Bowman, Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr., and Ryan Blaney from a shot at the trophy despite great afternoons.

The accident with two laps remaining dropped Almirola to ninth place in the standings, 10 points behind eighth-place Blaney with eight drivers moving on after this three-race round. Almirola's SHR teammate Clint Bowyer, who had late-race tire troubles, is also now 10-points behind Blaney with a 25th-place finish at Dover.

Kyle Larson, who finished 12th on Sunday, is ranked 11th - 12 points out of the top eight - and Bowman is 12th in the standings, now 34-points behind the cutoff mark as Talladega this week and Kansas Speedway next week determine the eight drivers that advance in the Playoffs.

Larson finished 40th at Talladega this spring, crashing on lap 71. Bowman had his best career restrictor plate finish (eighth) in that Talladega race, starting second and leading 26 laps.

Rookies and Restrictor Plates

While the thought of the unpredictable racing, the "big one" pileups and dramatic last-lap passes are a formidable concept for even many of NASCAR's best, Sunoco Rookie Bubba Wallace has quickly likened to this restrictor plate form of racing - even scoring his best finishes of the year at the previous three restrictor plate races of 2018.

His runner-up finish in the season-opening Daytona 500 was emotional and remains the best effort of his rookie Monster Energy Series season. He followed it up with a 16th at Talladega in the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet and a 14th-place finish in the Daytona summer night race.

In fact, Wallace is one of the only Cup drivers looking forward to this weekend's Talladega 500-miler, intent to change the recent course of his season showings. His last top-20 finish was at the Daytona summer race (14th). And he's had four finishes of 36th or worse in the last seven races before Talladega.

His rookie counterpart, Hendrick Motorsports driver William Byron, has had the opposite results at restrictor plate tracks, with finishes of 23rd (Daytona 500), 29th (Talladega, spring) and 32nd (Daytona night race). He's 22nd in the points standings and eager to turn around a stretch that's included three DNFs in the last six races. His last top-10 finishes were back-to-back showings at Pocono (sixth) and Watkins Glen (eighth) this summer.

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Christopher Bell Becomes Playoff Favorite Following Big Win At Dover

Count 'em. Two big wins in the first three races of the 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs is a great way for 24-year old Christopher Bell to become the budding favorite in this season's championship run.

The Joe Gibbs Racing standout from Oklahoma has not only hustled his way into the series standings lead but has etched his name in the history books. Bell's six wins this season is now the all-time Xfinity Series record for wins by a Sunoco rookie, passing previous rookie record holders Greg Biffle, Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards (with five wins each).

"Since our win at Richmond, the only thing we have been going for is race wins and stage wins. That's all that matters," said Christopher Bell following his second Playoff win of the postseason.

Bell's unrelenting grip on this season's Playoffs has been apparent. He kicked the door down on the postseason with a win at Richmond Raceway, finished fifth in the debut of the Charlotte Road Course and followed all of that up with another victory last weekend at Dover International Speedway. Now heading into the Round of 8 with the standings reset, Bell has 3,044 points, five up on second place Justin Allgaier and 33-points up on fifth place Elliott Sadler - the first spot outside the Championship 4.

Despite the early Playoff success, Bell's not buying the hype. His focus to see this title chase to the end is clear.

"It all boils down to one run at Homestead-Miami to decide who the champion is," said Bell. "So, I don't think anyone is the clear-cut favorite, and we won't know that till about Lap 100 in Homestead-Miami."

Bell's rookie campaign has been guided by the expertise of veteran crew chief Jason Ratcliff and the duo have managed six wins (Richmond-1, Kentucky, New Hampshire, Iowa-1, Richmond-2, Dover-2), 17 top-fives, 19 top 10s and four poles this season. But Bell has turned it up even more through the three races in this first round of the Playoffs with two wins, three top fives and an average finish of 2.333. In total he has accumulated 44 Playoff points this season, and 12 of them he scored in the first round of Playoffs.

"To be able to win two out of the three in this round is really cool, and we have added to our bonus points going into the next round," said Bell. "It would be really nice if we could win Kansas and go on the offensive again the entire next round."

Joe Gibbs Racing's Christopher Bell and the rest of the NASCAR Xfinity Series will return to action next week at Kansas Speedway for the Kansas Lottery 300 on Saturday, October 20 at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Lucky Seven: How The Rest Of The Playoff Field Shakes Out

Only eight drivers moved on in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs following the elimination race at Dover International Speedway last weekend and with Christopher Bell planted in the series lead, the remaining seven Playoff challengers will have their work cut out for them over these three races to decide who will make the Championship 4.

Justin Allgaier (No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet) resides in second, only five points behind series standings leader Christopher Bell with 3,039 points heading into the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff's Round of 8. The Illinois native has tallied five wins, 16 top fives and 22 top 10s and 39 Playoff points. Allgaier's postseason campaign got off to a dismal start, however, when he finished 32nd at Richmond Raceway due to an incident and then 15th at the Charlotte Road Course. But he rebounded nicely at Dover International Speedway to finish third and move on to the next round. With the 12th-best average finish in the first round of the Playoffs (16.67), Allgaier had to rely on his Playoff points to get him to the Round of 8, a luxury that might not be afforded to him for the Championship 4. Last season, Allgaier ran well in the Round of 8, posting an average finish of 8.667 and ultimately making the Championship 4.

Daniel Hemric (No. 21 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet) is third in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff standings with 3,013 points, 31 back from Christopher Bell and only two points ahead of fifth-place Elliott Sadler heading into the Round of 8. Hemric has yet to break through and win, but the North Carolina native continues to prove he is a title contender this season. Through 29 races he has collected 13 top fives, 19 top 10s and three poles. His performance (6.67 average finish) during the first round of the Playoffs was second only to Bell's (2.333). Hemric finished third at Richmond, 10th at Charlotte and closed out the Round of 12 with a seventh at Dover last weekend. Hemric will look to build off his success last season in the Round of 8 where he garnered an average finish of 12.3; which was enough to make the Championship 4.

Cole Custer (No. 00 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford) has raced his way to fourth in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff standings with 3,011 points heading into the Round of 8. Custer is currently tied in points with Elliott Sadler (3,011), but Custer's second-place finish last weekend at Dover was the tiebreaker (best finish in current round). As a result, Custer currently holds the coveted final transfer spot to the Championship 4. Custer's 2018 season has seen 12 top fives, 23 top 10s and five poles. During the Round of 12, Custer posted the third-best average finish (8.0) after rallying to a 15th-place at Richmond, a seventh at Charlotte and a runner-up at Dover last weekend.
Elliott Sadler (No. 1 JR Motorsports Chevrolet) currently sits fifth in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff standings tied in points with Cole Custer with 3,011 points, but by virtue of a tiebreaker (Custer hold the better finish in the current round) Sadler falls to the first spot outside the Championship 4 cutoff. Though Sadler's riffling through a 68-race winless streak, the veteran from Virginia has been resilient. Thus far in 2018, Sadler has stockpiled 13 top fives, 22 top 10s and a pole. Much like JRM teammate Justin Allgaier, the Playoff's Round of 12 wasn't the kindest to Sadler, he finished sixth at Richmond, then 14th at the Charlotte Road Course and 11th last weekend at Dover. Sadler will be looking forward to the Round of 8 as last season he posted an average finish of 9.97 and made the Championship 4.

Tyler Reddick (No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet) left Dover last weekend sixth in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs with 3,010 points, 34 markers back from the standings lead and just one point behind Cole Custer in fourth. The California native is having a strong Sunoco rookie season, having accumulated one win, four top fives and 16 top 10s. In the three races to open the 2018 Playoffs, Reddick has put up two top 10s and an average finish of 10.0 (seventh-best). As a rookie, Reddick has only made one start at each of the tracks in the round of 8. Last season he started on the pole and finished second while running part-time for Chip Ganassi Racing. Then earlier this season, he finished 33rd at Texas and 14th at ISM Raceway.

Matt Tifft (No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet) has made the Round of 8 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs for the second time in his career. Now the Ohio native is seventh in the championship standings with 3,003 points, 41 behind the series standings leader Christopher Bell and only eight back from fourth-place Cole Custer in final Championship 4 transfer spot. This season, the 22-year-old Tifft, has produced five top fives, 15 top 10s and a pole. During the opening round of the Playoffs, Tifft accrued a fifth-place finish at Richmond, a sixth at Charlotte and 15th at Dover last weekend. Tifft fell just short of making the Championship 4 last season but ran well in the Round of 8, posting an average finish of 9.0.

Austin Cindric (No. 22 Team Penske Ford) holds on tightly to the eighth and final spot of the Round of 8 with 3,001 points following Dover last weekend. The Sunoco rookie is now 43 points behind the series lead and 10 points back from Cole Custer in. This season Cindric has collected four top fives, 10 top 10s and three poles. The North Carolina native ran well in the Round of 12 posting the fourth-best average finish (8.0) after placing 13th at Richmond, third at Charlotte and eighth at Dover. Looking ahead to next weekend, it will be Cindric's series track debut at Kansas Speedway.

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

Xfinity Drivers At 'Dega - Five NASCAR Xfinity Series regulars will be competing in this weekend's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway - Joey Gase will be in the No. 00 StarCom Racing Chevrolet, Ross Chastain will be in the No. 15 Premium Motorsports Chevrolet, JJ Yeley will be in the No. 23 BK Racing Ford, Brendan Gaughan will be in the No. 62 Beard Motorsports Chevrolet and Landon Cassill will be in the No. 99 StarCom Racing Chevrolet.

Kansas Dignitaries - Kansas Governor Dr. Jeff Colyer has been named the Grand Marshal for the Kansas Lottery 300 on Oct. 20, and Jamie Young, representing the Kansas Lottery's #1 retail outlet, Lonestar in Salina, Kan., has been named the Honorary Starter for the race.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Who Will Lock Themselves In?

GMS Racing's Justin Haley was the first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoff driver to lock himself into the Round of 6 by winning the Playoff opener at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

Then, after a two-week break for the series, Grant Enfinger of ThorSport Racing won at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, making him the second driver to officially secure his spot in the next round.

This week, the Trucks will finally be back in action at Talladega Superspeedway for the Fr8Auctions 250 (1 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Taking on 'Dega

Up next is Talladega Superspeedway and there are only two drivers in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series who have the ability to become a multi-race winner at the famous behemoth of a track - and they are both Playoff drivers.

Grant Enfinger won in 2016 at the superspeedway and Johnny Sauter won in 2013. If one of them wins at Talladega during the third race of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs, they would join Kyle Busch, Todd Bodine, Parker Kligerman and Timothy Peters in the record book for the most wins at Talladega in the series with two each.

If Sauter wins, he will secure his spot in the Round of 6. Enfinger has already secured his with his win at Las Vegas.

Playoff Drivers' Performances At 'Dega

Below is a look at the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoff drivers as the series readies for its next stop at Talladega Superspeedway.

Justin Haley has visited Talladega once in his career. He started fourth last year and finished 16th.

Grant Enfinger is a strong contender at Talladega. He got his first career win at the track in 2016. Last year, Enfinger started 13th and finished fourth. Luckily, Enfinger will head into Talladega race weekend with some confidence as he just won the second race of his career at Las Vegas.

Johnny Sauter has nine starts with one win, three top fives and five top 10s at Talladega Superspeedway.

Noah Gragson will make only his second career start at Talladega Superspeedway in two weeks. His first start was last season, where he started in the top 10 but finished 14th.

Brett Moffitt will be making his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series track debut at Talladega Superspeedway.

Matt Crafton has 12 starts under his belt at Talladega Superspeedway, the most of any driver, with one top five and four top 10s. As a driver who has a lot of experience at these tracks, he can use that to his advantage.

Ben Rhodes has two starts at Talladega but unfortunately didn't finish either race due to incidents.

Stewart Friesen is another driver that will head to Talladega Superspeedway for only the second time of his career. His first start was last year in third place, but he ended up finishing 17th.

Newbies at Talladega

As the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series heads to Talladega Superspeedway for the first cut-off race of the 2018 Playoffs, some drivers are heading to the intense track for the first time ever.

They are: Ray Ciccarelli, Spencer Gallagher, Todd Gilliland, Tanner Thorson, Jamie Mosley, Brett Moffitt, Max Tullman, Bryan Dauzat, Robby Lyons, Justin Fontaine, David Gilliland, Bo Le Mastus and Joey Gase.

Moffitt is the only Playoff driver who will make his debut at Talladega.

One interesting note is that Moffitt visited Iowa Speedway and Chicagoland Speedway for the first time this season and ended up winning the races.

A Family Affair

We will get the opportunity to see some father-son duos compete at Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

Todd Gilliland and David Gilliland will both race at the track for the first time together in their Truck Series careers. Todd will drive the No. 4 Pedigree Puppy Toyota while David will drive the No. 51 Pedigree Toyota.

John Hunter Nemechek and his father Joe Nemechek will both run for NEMCO Motorsports. John Hunter will pilot the No. 8 Fleetwing Chevrolet while Joe will drive the No. 87 Fleetwing Corporation Chevrolet.

Justin Fontaine will be joined by his older cousin Chris Fontaine at Talladega. Justin will drive the No. 45 ProMATIC Automation/Superior Essex Chevrolet and Chris will drive the No. 47 Glenden Enterprises Chevrolet. This will be Chris' second race of the 2018 season. His first was at Daytona.

2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoff Picture: Round of 8

The first round of the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs will come to a close following this weekend's race at Talladega Superspeedway. Talladega has been a cutoff race for the Truck Series for the last two years. Take a look at some interesting facts from the postseason:

• The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 2018 Playoff field had a total of eight drivers from five different owner organizations
o Kyle Busch Motorsports - Noah Gragson
o GMS Racing - Johnny Sauter, Justin Haley
o Hattori Racing - Brett Moffitt
o ThorSport Racing - Ben Rhodes, Matt Crafton, Grant Enfinger
o Halmar Friesen Racing - Stewart Friesen

• Five drivers have made their appearance in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs for the first time
o First Playoff appearance: Noah Gragson, Justin Haley, Brett Moffitt, Grant Enfinger, Stewart Friesen (2018)
o Second Playoff appearance: Ben Rhodes (2017 and 2018)
• Two drivers have won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship before
o Matt Crafton (2013 and 2014)
o Johnny Sauter (2016)

Round of 8 Recap:
• Canadian Tire Motorsport Park - 2.459 mile, 10-turn road course - Chevrolet Silverado 250
o Pole Winner: Ben Rhodes (ThorSport Racing)
o Race Winner: Justin Haley (GMS Racing)
o Lap Leader (Most): Noah Gragson (KBM) with 35 laps led
o Playoff standings leader following the race: Johnny Sauter left Canadian Tire Motorsport Park with a six-point lead over second place Brett Moffitt and an 11-point lead over third place Noah Gragson.

• Las Vegas Motor Speedway -1.5-mile asphalt tri-oval - World of Westgate 200
o Pole Winner: Noah Gragson (KBM)
o Race Winner: Grant Enfinger (ThorSport Racing)
o Lap Leader (Most): Grant Enfinger (ThorSport Racing) with 40 laps led
o Playoff standings leader following the race: Johnny Sauter left Las Vegas with a 17-point lead over second place Noah Gragson and a 22-point lead over third place Brett Moffitt.

• Talladega Superspeedway - 2.66-mile, asphalt tri-oval - Talladega 250

A Look Back: Dega's Previous Playoff Races

• 2016 Fred's 250 powered by Coca-Cola
o Playoff Drivers: Timothy Peters (started sixth), Ben Kennedy (started fourth), Christopher Bell (started 14th), Johnny Sauter (started fifth), William Byron (started ninth), Daniel Hemric (started 17th), Matt Crafton (started 13th), John Hunter Nemechek (started 11th)
 Pole Winner: Cole Custer (JR Motorsports)
 Race Winner: Grant Enfinger (GMS Racing)
 Highest Finishing Playoff driver: Timothy Peters, third place
 Lap Leader: Grant Enfinger (GMS Racing) with 45 laps led
o Playoff drivers eliminated after Round of 8: Daniel Hemric (finished 11th), John Hunter Nemechek (finished 32nd)

• 2017 Fred's 250 powered by Coca-Cola
o Playoff Drivers: Christopher Bell (started first), Austin Cindric (started sixth), John Hunter Nemechek (started 15th), Matt Crafton (started 11th), Johnny Sauter (started second), Chase Briscoe (started fifth), Ben Rhodes (started 10th), Kaz Grala (started 12th)
 Pole Winner: Christopher Bell (Kyle Busch Motorsports)
 Race Winner: Parker Kligerman (Henderson Motorsports)
 Highest Finishing Playoff driver: Christopher Bell, second place
 Lap Leader: Johnny Sauter (GMS Racing) with 39 laps led
o Playoff drivers eliminated after Round of 8: Chase Briscoe (finished 22nd), Kaz Grala (finished 29th)

Five To Go

There are only five races left in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs before a champion is crowned at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, and each event will pose its own special challenges for the competitors.

Talladega Superspeedway is the longest oval with a length of 2.66-miles and 33-degrees of banking in corners.

Martinsville Speedway is the shortest track on the circuit. It is a 0.52-mile asphalt/concrete oval with 12-degrees of banking in the corners and an 800-foot frontstretch and backstretch.

Texas Motor Speedway is a 1.5-mile asphalt oval with 20-degrees of banking in Turns 1 and 2, and 24-degrees of banking in Turns 3 and 4.

ISM Raceway, the second-to-last track the Truck Series will visit, is a 1-mile dogleg oval in Avondale, Arizona. ISM also marks the last cutoff race and has been recently renovated with the start-finish line moved in between Turns 1 and 2.

And lastly, Homestead-Miami Speedway is a 1.5-mile, four-turn oval with 18-20-degrees of progressive banking in the corners. The series will hold its season finale at the famous Miami facility with the highest finisher of the Championship 4 Playoff drivers to be named the 2018 champion.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Etc.

Dippel and Creed Finishing Season at GMS: Sheldon Creed and Tyler Dippel will finish out the remainder of the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season with GMS Racing. Dippel will pilot the No. 25 Chevrolet Silverado with crew chief Jerry Baxter. Baxter has been crew chief for Cody Coughlin and Timothy Peters for 18 races this season. Dippel made his Truck Series debut earlier this year at Eldora Speedway. He currently competes full-time in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. Creed will climb behind the wheel of the No. 28 Chevrolet Silverado. He is currently racing full-time in the ARCA series.

Winner Winner: There were six different race leaders at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, the first race of the Truck Series Playoffs. Four of them were Playoff drivers (Noah Gragson, Johnny Sauter, Ben Rhodes, Justin Haley). Later, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the second race of the Playoffs, seven of the eight contenders led at least four laps. The only Playoff driver that didn't lead a lap was Justin Haley.

Two is Better than One: Something interesting to note about the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Talladega is that of the 12 races run, there have only been eight different winners at the track. Four drivers have won twice at the Talladega. They are Todd Bodine, Kyle Busch, Parker Kligerman and Timothy Peters. Of those four drivers, Kligerman is the only driver that didn't win back-to-back.

If Johnny Sauter or Grant Enfinger wins at Talladega, he will be the fifth driver to win two or more races.

By The Numbers - NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Talladega
1 - Most poles (12 drivers)
2 - Most wins (Todd Bodine, Kyle Busch, Timothy Peters, Parker Kligerman)
4 - Most top fives (Todd Bodine, Timothy Peters)
5 - Most top 10s (Todd Bodine, Kyle Busch, Timothy Peters, Johnny Sauter)
7 - Most cautions (6 times, most recently 10/22/16)
8 - Fewest leaders (3 times, most recently 10/30/10)
9 - Most wins by a manufacturer (Toyota)
12 - Fewest lead changes (2 times, most recently 10/6/17)
13 - Most leaders (2 times, most recently 10/19/13)
15 - Fewest finishers on lead lap (2 times, most recently 10/14/17)
17 - Fewest caution laps (10/4/08)
19 - Fewest running at finish (10/31/09)
25 - Most finishers on lead lap (10/7/06)
26 - Most running at finish (4 times, most recently 10/24/15)
33 - Most caution laps (10/22/16)
54 - Most laps led by a race winner (10/22/11)

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