NCWTS Preview - Trucks Head North For Season's Final Road Race
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series makes a trip north of the border to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park for race No. 15 of the season, the 4th Annual Chevrolet Silverado 250. This is the only road course on the schedule for the trucks as well as the final weekend that NASCAR will set wheel on a track with more than four corners.
Owned and operated by Canadian Motorsports Adventures Ltd., Canadian Tire Motorsport Park is made up of many different racing facilities that include driver development courses, a kart complex and a speedway oval. NASCAR will descend on the 2.459-mile clockwise course, an asphalt surface boasting 10 turns.
Erik Jones took the checkered flag a year ago at the Ontario speedway. It was a win that helped propel him to his first Camping World Truck Series championship as well as the 2015 rookie title. Driving the No. 4 Toyota, Jones led 19 laps throughout last year’s race. Currently in contention for a NASCAR XFINITY championship, Jones will not be returning to defend his road-course victory.
Christopher Bell has taken the reins of the No. 4 ride this season and currently sits seventh in the point standings and fifth in the Chase standings in the truck series. He earned his first win back in June at the Drivin For Lineman 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park where he led 38 of the final 42 laps. Along with the win, Bell has recorded five top-five and nine top-10 finishes during the 2016 season.
Having attended ‘road course school’ at Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving in Arizona, Bell has been making extra preparations and is looking forward to this weekend. He also got exposed to more turns when he competed in an ARCA event in New Jersey back in May.
"I'm really excited to get to Canada this weekend, “Bell said in a Kyle Busch Motorsports advance. “I went out to Bondurant (School of Racing) twice with Chris Cook and I also raced the ARCA race at New Jersey (Motorsports Park) to get ready for this race. I've really enjoyed everything that I've done so far and from what I've seen of the track this weekend through watching videos online and the simulations I've done I think that I'll really enjoy it.”
Bell’s teammate, William Byron, leads the Chase and the point standings as well as the rookie standings. The No. 9 Liberty University Toyota driver has been on a tear this season, winning races in Kansas, Texas, Iowa, Kentucky and Pocono. Had he not been edged by Brent Moffitt a week ago at Michigan, he would’ve added that one to his growing list.
Byron gained some road course experience a year ago when he ran NASCAR K & N Pro Series races at Sonoma, Watkins Glen and Virginia, finishing in the top 10 in all three starts. "Road course racing has been fun for me,” Bell said, also in a KBM advance. “I raced Sonoma last year in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West and qualified on the outside pole. I'm looking forward to it.”
Byron has a shot to get his sixth win in Canada but knows it will not be a cakewalk. “Every week our goal is to win, so if we can do that it would be great, but I think also just getting a solid finish would be nice for my first road course race in the Truck Series,” he said. “I want to be consistent, but we go to win, so that's ultimately the goal. I just think the competition level will be heightened. I raced with a few road course ringers last year but in the trucks there will be even more experienced drivers. There will be more guys capable of winning on Sunday, especially the ones who have been on this track the last couple years."
Cameron Hayley is a Canadian native who sits in a tie with John Hunter Nemechek at eighth and ninth in the driver standings with 288 points. In the past eight NCWTS races, the No. 13 Ride TV/CBH Toyota driver has accumulated six top-seven finishes, including a second place at Pocono and a third-place run at Iowa.
In just two starts on the Canadian road course, the Calgary, Alberta racer has finishes of 11th and seventh. He is ready to improve on that. “My first start there in a truck was a little bit of a learning curve, but last year we took to the track really well,” Hayley explained in a ThorSport Racing advance. “We had some good practice runs, qualified well, raced well, led a bunch of laps, and had a fellow Canadian actually take me out, and we messed up a part on the truck. That kind of ruined our day, but we still had a pretty decent finish. So, we have the ability to run up front, and lead laps, and I think that's all we need going into this race. I think we have the capabilities, and the truck we are bringing has the capabilities to give us a good shot at it."
Matt Crafton finished second in this race a year ago and is looking forward to the weekend at the track located north of Bowmanville, Ont. The former truck series champion and driver of the No. 88 Rip It Energy Drink/Menards Chevrolet enjoys road course racing and would love to do it more often. "Oh, I love to road race. It's a blast, and I have a lot of fun doing it,” Crafton said. “I think we need one more on the schedule, to be totally honest. There are a lot of us (teams) that actually have a specialty road course truck, and we just run it one time a year. It just goes and sits in the basement after that. There's a ton of really cool road courses that we could go run, and we don't, it's a shame."
Two rounds of group qualifying take place tomorrow afternoon to set the grid for the 4th Annual Chevrolet Silverado 250. There are currently 32 drivers on the roster so no eliminations will be made. The session can be seen at 5:45 PM ET on FS2.
The 64-lap race starts Sunday afternoon at 2:30 PM ET. Watch and listen on FS1, MRN and Sirius XM Channel 90.
Coming off the ranch, I didn’t have a motorsports background but my passion was and still is very strong. My first taste of NASCAR came at the age of seven while waiting for music videos to come on the old TNN network. As I grew up, I pursued other interest but eventually rediscovered cars going left when I found the SPEED channel during the 2011-2012 offseason.
I didn’t decide I wanted to pursue a career in NASCAR until the summer of 2012. I’m not a wrench head or strong enough for a pit crew so media was the next best thing. At the beginning of 2013, I started going to races and making connections within the sport. I also studied Motorsports Management at Sports Management Worldwide. Although I love what happens on the track, I’ve always been interested in what goes on behind the scenes and I’ve gotten to know many people throughout the radio, TV and digital media world.
While I’m a long time writer, 2015 was my first year actually covering the sport with www.nascarfemale.com . I also became a media correspondent for Raceline. I’ve been able to help the TV show gain recognition on social media. My current goal is to acquire more experience in covering NASCAR and move up the media ladder. Outside of motorsports, I have been an equine-sports statistician for 16 years.
I currently reside in Gillette, WY where I’m still involved with horses. I enjoy riding them, rodeo, swimming, traveling and meeting people.