The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series gambled their way out of Las Vegas to head to Talladega Superspeedway for the Fred’s 250. This is the first elimination race of the inaugural Chase.
35 drivers will strive to compete for 32 spots. There will not be a presence made by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers.
Talladega Superspeedway is the largest and steepest track on the NASCAR circuit at 2.66-miles in length and is banked at 33 degrees. After Daytona was built in 1959, Bill France Sr. wanted to build something bigger and better for the stars of NASCAR to race on. The speedway hosted its first event in 1969. The first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race held at Talladega was in 2006 won by Mark Martin.
There have been 10 races run at Talladega. For each race, a new driver has set on the pole. The youngest pole winner at Talladega is Tyler Reddick; Ron Hornaday Jr. is the oldest pole winner. Despite having different pole winners each year, there have been only seven different winners. In 2012, Parker Kligerman became the youngest race winner at 22 years; In 2011, Mike Wallace became the oldest winner at 52 years. Three races have been won from the pole with the last race being last year when Timothy Peters snagged the checkered flag. In 2008, the race record was set by Todd Bodine at 145. 513 mph. In 2014, Tyler Reddick set the qualifying record at 186.827 mph.
Two will be eliminated and dreams dashed will be for their hopes at a championship. With his win at New Hampshire, William Byron is a lock into the next round. Daniel Hemric and John Hunter Nemechek are the sole drivers who must win or have strong finishes in an effort to keep the hope alive for a championship. Ben Kennedy, Timothy Peters, and Johnny Sauter are the three drivers near the cutoff line, but still have hope for a chance at a championship.
The Chase drivers talk about their approach to Talladega.
"Talladega has not been my friend the last two years. I was doing well last year but got caught in The Big One toward the end. I'm pretty confident this team will run well though. I saw what GMS was able to do at Daytona, winning the pole and the race, and how they ran at Talladega last year so I know their superspeedway trucks can compete,” said Kennedy.
“I'm looking forward to going to Talladega Superspeedway, and I know there's a lot on the line for this No. 19 team. I think we learned a lot for our superspeedway package from the third truck we ran in Daytona with Austin Theriault, and hopefully that transfers over to myself, Tyler Reddick and Austin Cindric. Having an extra teammate to work with, especially given our current Chase points situation, definitely won't hurt. We've got to utilize each other to maximize our day and show what we can do together. We have to unload with decent speed and follow the process of everything it takes to get to the front in a superspeedway race from the very first practice, both on the racetrack and on pit road. That's the key to having a solid day,” said Hemric.
“I’m just going to try to go as hard as I can. I want to learn more restrictor-plate racing styles and techniques that I wasn’t really able to learn in the beginning of the year since it was my first race. I think we’ll just go with that mindset and hopefully try and get a win and do a good job,” said Byron.
All practice sessions for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will be held on Friday at 1:00 p.m. EST and 3:00 p.m. EST on Fox Sports 1. Qualifying will be held at 10:30 a.m. EST on Fox Sports 1. The Fred’s 250 will be on FOX beginning at 1:00 p.m. EST. Motor Racing Network will have the call of the Fred’s 250 at 12:30 p.m. EST.