It's A Weekend of Crowning Moments, and It All Starts with the Trucks! [Truck Series Championship Preview]
For starters, let's look at the biggest historical mark set this year. Ron Hornaday Jr. has won 4 races this year. these victories, he forever etched his name into NASCAR's history books as the first driver to win 50 races in the Camping World Truck Series. Unfortunately, due to Kyle Busch's short fuse and a wreck that knocked him out of the race at Texas, Ron goes into the final race mathematically eliminated from the championship. So he's out for nothing but a win. It will also mark Ron's 300th Truck Series start. Speaking of the devil himself, Shrub will let his Cup teammate Denny Hamlin celebrate his 31st birthday by driving Kyle's #18 truck in this race. Hornaday may be out of it, but there are, however, three drivers with a chance to fulfill a dream. Let's take a moment and look at each of them individually...
The young man leading the standings heading into the final 200 miles of the season has, for lack of a better word, continued the family business. 21-year-old Austin Dillon has a chance to bring back the glory of yesteryear if you will. For those who don't know, Austin is the grandson of Richard Childress. He won the first 2 races of his career this year, and will move up to the Nationwide Series full-time next year. He has 2 wins, 5 poles, 10 top 5s, and 15 top 10s to go with only 2 DNFs in 24 races. Not only would winning a championship be the greatest moment in his life, it would bring back fond memories if this truck wins the championship. Why? Well, just look for yourself, does that big black #3 mean anything to you?
The man sitting 2nd in the standings has, at some points in his career, been in desperate need of the primary sponsor on his truck.
Johnny Sauter is 20 points behind Austin Dillon with 1 win, 2 poles, 10 top 5s, 15 top 10s, and only 1 DNF in 24 races. Little Johnny has never won a championship in any of NASCAR's top 3 divisions. It's still possible for him to win his first today, but he'll need a little bit of Lady Luck and no "I'm gonna push my truck further than it can go" on restarts. Still, with all the days gone by of Sauter being in the midst of quite a few unnecessary wrecks, he's been incredibly consistent this year, bouncing back from early problems numerous times to salvage a good finish.
Our third and final driver in this hunt is a man who, before this year, I willingly admit I had never heard of.
This young man's name is James Buescher. Like Austin Dillon, he's also just 21 years old. Unlike Austin, James has yet to make his first trip to victory lane, but he's come ohhh so agonizingly close several times this year. Nevertheless, he's racked up 3 poles, 10 top 5s, a staggering 19 top 10s, and only 1 DNF in 24 races. But when he finishes let's say 7th, Dillon ends up 5th or 6th, and the gap grew a little more. So James finds himself 28 points back, but he still has a shot at this title. What better time to go out and win your first race than when you have a mathematical shot to also win the championship in the same night?
So now that you've met these 3 gentlemen, the age old question arises since it's the final race...what are the title scenarios? Well, ask and you shall receive! Austin Dillon clinches the championship by finishing 16th or better. If he does that, it doesn't matter what anyone else does. He also wins by finishing 17th or better and leading a lap, or finishing 18th or better and leading the most laps. Sauter needs to go out and win the race and have Dillon finish 17th or worse without leading a lap. Buescher needs to find a way to get to victory lane and have some help. He not only needs to win, but needs Sauter to finish outside the top 5, and hop Austin Dillon has early problems and finishes outside the top 25.
What do I think? For my race pick, I'm picking James Buescher to finally get that elusive first win. I think he wins the battle, but he'll come up short in the war. Because while a '92 Davey Allison situation is always possible, I don't think Austin Dillon will succumb to it. He has a little bit of breathing room, and he'll back away from any brewing trouble. As a result, we will see the black #3 once again in victory lane to claim the championship trophy for Richard Childress. What are your picks? Let's hear them!
Until next time, the Blitzburgh Pit Stop would like to remind you that this party has only just begun! This has been your official Q Truck Series preview. Stay tuned for much more NASCAR coverage all weekend long right here...now LET'S GO RACING!
BK over and out