FOX NASCAR Analysts Break Down Storylines Headed Into NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES Season Finale

FS1 NASCAR on-air personalities Adam Alexander, Phil Parsons and Hermie Sadler share their perspectives on this year’s championship battle as two-time and defending NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES champion Matt Crafton, Erik Jones and Tyler Reddick head to Homestead-Miami Speedway Friday night to vie for the  title, live on FS1 (8:00 PM ET):

On the safety of Erik Jones’ points lead headed into Homestead, where he has never competed in any series:

Sadler: “Experience or not, he’ll be fine because he has a great team with a lot of success as an organization at Homestead.  He has shown incredible ability to adapt in Trucks, XFINITY and Cup cars.  There’s no reason he won’t do the same job and give himself a great chance to win the championship and possibly the race.”

Alexander:  “While Jones hasn't competed at Homestead, he did practice the Truck in place of Kyle Busch last year. Given Jones’ history at 1.5-mile tracks and his ability to adapt, he should be fine. Plus, it doesn't hurt that he has built a nice points cushion going in.”

On the favorite to win the race this weekend:

Parsons:  “If it wasn’t the championship race, the way Erik Jones ran at Texas would make him the favorite, but they’ll probably be a bit conservative because he only has to finish 15th to win the title. Matt Crafton is spectacular on mile-and-a-half tracks, and since his back is against the wall and he’s basically out of the championship, he will come loaded for bear.  Advantage – Crafton.”

Sadler: “Matt Crafton wins the race.  That team has been so good on mile-and-a-half tracks and has nothing to lose in the championship.  With Jones needing to protect his lead, he won’t race Crafton as aggressively as he did at Phoenix, which cost them both.”

Alexander: “I have a hard time betting against Jones. He doesn't need to win to secure the title, but he's a true competitor who believes that's the best way to go out.”

On Jones’ ability to step up with a title, whether mid-season or in the season finale, on the line:

Parsons:  “When Crafton made a statement and gained a lot of points at Martinsville, many of us expected him to gain on Jones again at Texas because of Crafton’s strength on mile-and-a-half tracks. But Jones stepped up and dominated, snatching the win.  Nothing Jones does surprises me now because he’s just that good. It’s hard to believe he is only 19.”

Sadler: “Early on this season, Jones had the dominant truck but more times than not, something prevented him from winning.  He showed his youth a bit with those disappointments and his struggle to control his emotions.  But as the season wore on, he learned to take the finish his equipment would give him and deal with unfortunate circumstances. Therefore, he’s now better positioned to handle adversity and the title battle.”

Alexander:  “I'm not sure any driver in the series has more ability to rise to the occasion in a big moment than Jones. When Matt Crafton won at Martinsville, the pressure was squarely back on Jones, but he promptly dominated the next two races.”

On Jones’ accomplishments across-the-board in 2015, from leading the Truck Series points to winning XFINITY races and filling in, in the Cup Series:

Sadler: “When it comes to talent and versatility, Jones reminds me a lot of Kyle Busch.  Kyle showed some flashes of brilliance before he was 18, had to sit out a while but came back, learned quickly and won at a variety of tracks.  Jones is a lot like that.”

On the success of this year’s crop of young drivers and what’s in store for them running fulltime next season:

Parsons:  “The talent of the young drivers this season has been astounding, but they’re competitive because of all the experience they got at a very young age.  Two 19-year-olds have been fighting for the championship since Daytona, and one almost certainly will win it.  In addition, John Hunter Nemechek and Cole Custer are coming into their own and have had some great runs.  They seem to get younger and younger each season because there are so many options for kids nowadays, such as Bandoleros, quarter midgets, Legends cars and so forth. When they hit 16, they already have a ton of experience, and thus, the talent we’re seeing.”

Alexander:  “I love the young group of drivers in the Truck Series. Tyler Reddick is back next year and will be in the hunt, if not the favorite for, the title. Daniel Hemric will be a great addition at Brad Keselowski Racing. Then look at Cameron Hayley, John Hunter Nemechek, Cole Custer and Spencer Gallagher. The young guys could steal the show in 2016.”

FOX Sports PR

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Steven B. Wilson

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