Saturday, November 18, 2017

Trackin’ Trucks: Briscoe wins race, Bell wins championship at Homestead

Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs

by Courtney Horn

Two drivers celebrated in victory lane at Homestead-Miami Speedway Friday night. Christopher Bell hit his marks and rejoiced as the 2017 Camping World Truck Series champion, while Chase Briscoe was able to put a full race together to earn his first career victory.

Bell, who graduates to the Xfinity Series in 2018, lead 10 laps and won Stage 1 of the Ford EcoBoost 200. Bell clinched the championship by finishing second, 13 seconds ahead of fellow Playoff contender Johnny Sauter.

“You never know when your last win is, when your last championship is, so to be able to be standing here as a NASCAR champion is something I would say I dreamed of, but I didn’t ever think it was a possibility, so I didn’t ever really dream of it,” Bell said. “But it – I’m just really speechless.”

Along with the earning the driver’s championship, Kyle Busch Motorsports also clinched the owner’s championship for the fifth straight year.

Credit: Sarah Crabill

The majority of the Friday night race belonged to Chase Briscoe and Ben Rhodes. The drivers exchanged positions for the lead multiple times, but it was Briscoe who took home the checkers.

Briscoe also grabbed Rookie of the Year honors in his last race for Brad Keselowski Racing. The team is set to cease operations after nine years in the series.

“We brought a really good truck, first off,” Briscoe said, “For us to not be in the Playoffs and to be shutting down to still bring trucks that can win races and sit on the poles is a huge statement from the organization in general.”

“I got kinda shuffled on the restart. I didn’t do a good job on my end, fell back to fourth. I felt like we were pretty right there at the end because I started to catch everybody again, but really our pit crew was awesome tonight.”

Ryan Truex earned his eighth top-five of the year, finishing fourth to cap off a tremendous season.

Briscoe’s teammate, Austin Cindric, rounded out the top five.

Matt Crafton finished sixth, while Stewart Friesen, Grant Enfinger, Justin Haley, and Timothy Peters all finished inside the top-10.

The final 2017 NCWTS Standings:

Champion: Christopher Bell
Second: Johnny Sauter
Third: Austin Cindric
Fourth: Matt Crafton

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