The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series thunders into Miami, Florida this Friday night for the Championship 4 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Friday, Nov. 17 at 8 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The Ford Eco-Boost 200 will determine who will be the 2017 series champion when the first of the Championship 4 drivers takes the checkered flag and the series championship trophy.
The Championship 4 drivers, Christopher Bell, Austin Cindric, Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter, represent all three manufacturers (Toyota, Ford, Chevrolet) currently competing in the NCWTS. They also come from four different teams (Kyle Busch Motorsports, Brad Keselowski Racing, ThorSport Racing, GMS Racing). Three of the four (Bell, Crafton, Sauter) participated in the Championship 4 in 2016, with Johnny Sauter taking home the crown. Austin Cindric is a Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate and is racing in his first Championship 4. Cindric hopes to be the first rookie to take the crown since Erik Jones in 2015.
Here is a quick review on how each of the Championship 4 drivers got to the final race and what their prospects may be to win the title:
Johnny Sauter - No. 21 GMS Racing Chevrolet Silverado
Johnny Sauter is the defending series champion and is looking to protect his crown at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Friday night. He is currently on a two race win streak. In last years season finale, Sauter was able to finish third to earn the championship trophy. It was Johnny's first ever series title. If he can retain his title on Friday, Sauter would be only the second repeat champion in series history.
On the year, Johnny reached a career high win total of four, notching victories at Dover, Chicago, Texas and Phoenix. He had achieved a high of three wins twice before, in 2013 and in last year's championship campaign.
In the 2017 playoffs, Sauter only has two finishes outside of the top-10. He has earned two wins. Sauter has an average finish of 6.0 in the six playoffs races held so far. Johnny's playoff finishes have been: New Hampshire - Ninth, Las Vegas - 10th, Talladega - 12th, Martinsville - Third, Texas - Win, Phoenix - Win
In his 10 career races at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Sauter has an average finish of 10.8 including one win (2011) and seven top-10 finishes.
Austin Cindric - No. 19 BKR Ford F-150
Sunoco Rookie of the Year Candidate Austin Cindric earned his spot in the 2017 playoffs when he pulled off a last lap pass in a memorable race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. It was Austin's first career win. Cindric led the way for Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidates in the 2017 playoffs, with Chase Briscoe and Kaz Grala joining him in the championship field. This will be his first career race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
2017 was good for Austin Cindric. He scored his only career win. Austin had seven top five and 15 top-ten finishes on the season.
In the playoffs, Cindric has top-10 finishes in every race. He has an average finishing position of 6.3 in the six playoff races. Austin's playoff finishes have been: New Hampshire - Eighth, Las Vegas - Fourth, Talladega - Fifth, Martinsville - 10th, Texas - Second, Phoenix - Ninth
Matt Crafton - No. 88 ThorSport Chevrolet Silverado
Matt Crafton made the 2017 playoff field by winning the series' lone dirt track race at Eldora. He was able to escape Phoenix with a 21st place finish and just enough points to advance to the Championship 4. Crafton is the only driver to win consecutive NCWTS championships when he took the 2013 and 2014 crowns.
To this point in the 2017 season, Matt has racked up one win, five top fives and 15 top-10s. Crafton carries a 9.5 average finish in 2017. In 16 starts at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Matt has led 141 laps and had an average finish position of 11.4. He has one win (2015), three top-fives and eight top-10s while racing in Miami in the NCWTS.
In the first six races of the 2017 playoffs, Crafton has an average finish of 9.0. He has had a top-10 finish in every playoff race but one, which was at Phoenix when he was caught up in an accident and finished 21st. Matt's playoff finishes have been: New Hampshire - Sixth, Las Vegas - Seventh, Talladega - Ninth, Martinsville - Second, Texas - Ninth, Phoenix - 21st
Christopher Bell - No. 4 KBM Toyota Tundra
Christopher Bell had a breakout season in 2017. He led the series in wins (Atlanta, Texas, Kentucky, Pocono, New Hampshire), poles (Atlanta, Kansas, Charlotte, Talladega), top-fives (14) and top-10s (20). Christopher has compiled a 5.9 average finish over the course of the season and has led in every race but three (Dover, Bristol, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park).
Bell returns to the Championship 4 for the second year in a row, along with Matt Crafton and defending series champion Johnny Sauter. In the 2017 playoffs, Bell has taken one win (New Hampshire), collected two poles (Talladega, Phoenix) and has finished in the top-10 in every race. Christopher has a 4.0 average finishing position in the playoffs this season. Bell's finishes in the playoffs have been: New Hampshire - Win, Las Vegas - Second, Talladega - Second, Martinsville - Eighth, Texas - Third, Phoenix - Eighth
In his NCWTS career, Christopher Bell has competed at Homestead-Miami Speedway twice. He finished in eighth last year, which earned him third place in the final season standings. Bell finished 25th in Miami in 2015.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competes in the season-ending Eco-Boost 200, this Friday, Nov. 17 at 8 p.m. ET (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).