The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rolls into the New Hampshire Motor Speedway this Saturday, September 23rd, for the UNOH 175, the first race of the 2017 playoffs. Eight drivers will compete for their chance to advance to the round of 6, while the rest of the field looks to steal a win and turn the pressure up on the title contenders.
The eight playoff drivers, Christopher Bell, Johnny Sauter, John Hunter Nemechek, Matt Crafton, Chase Briscoe, Austin Cindric, Ben Rhodes and Kaz Grala, will be looking for a win and the free pass to the round of 6 that goes with it. Bell will be making his 2nd playoff appearance in a row along with reigning series champion Sauter, along with Crafton and Nemechek. Rhodes will be making his first showing in the playoffs, as will Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders Briscoe and Cindric. Playoff point standings going into Saturday's race in order: Bell (40), Sauter (25), Nemechek (14), Crafton (14), Briscoe (9), Cindric (7), Rhodes (7), Grala (5).
The New Hampshire Motor Speedway has hosted 19 NCWTS races. There have been 15 past winners. Cole Custer (16 years, 7 months) was the youngest with his win in September of 2014. Ron Hornaday, Jr.'s win in September 2008 made him the oldest (50 years, 2 months). The qualifying record was set by Austin Dillon at 133.296 mph (2015). Kyle Busch owns the race record at 118.707 mph (2011). There are six drivers making their New Hampshire debut this weekend: Chase Briscoe, Justin Haley, Wendell Chavous, Noah Gragson, Austin Cindric and Grant Enfinger.
Christopher Bell was crowned this year's regular season champion after making his 10th top-five finish of the year last week at Chicagoland Speedway. Bell flexed his muscles during the first 16 races, taking his No. 4 KBM Toyota Tundra to victory lane four times, finishing in the top-ten 14 times, and leading 593 laps. Bell's regular season crown, four race wins and five stage wins netted him 40 playoff points and the top seed.
Reigning series champion Johnny Sauter is prepared for another run at the crown. In last year's playoffs, Sauter started strong and stayed strong throughout. Johnny finished in the top-ten or better in every race of the 2016 playoffs, with two of them being wins at Martinsville and Texas. Sauter already had his No. 21 GMS Chevrolet Silverado secured in the playoffs, but decided to make a statement last weekend, grabbing a win at Chicagoland Speedway. With that win, and his win in June at Dover and five stage wins, Sauter enters the playoffs as the 2nd seed with 25 playoff points.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck series runs the UHOH 175 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, NH this Saturday, September 23. (1 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)