Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. This is Ford Champion Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The first of the Ford races was the Ford 200 race to determine the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion. Three drivers are still in the running for the championship as the race begins. Rain canceled the qualifying for the race and much of the practice sessions. The Trucks line up for the race based on their practice speeds earlier on Friday, with 31 James Buescher and 21 Ty Dillon being the fastest. James has a chance to win the championship in this race. The other two contenders, 3 Austin Dillon and 13 Johnny Sauter, both start in the top five, with 3 starting fourth and 13 starting fifth. 8 Nelson Piquet, Jr. starts third.
Seven Trucks entered had to go home without qualifying. The 20 Truck of Ross Chastain is out, but he will be competing in the 93 Truck. NASCAR did get the track dried before the start of the Ford 200. And the weather looked pretty good for the race.
31 James Buescher leads from the pole. 2 Kevin Harvick gets by 8 Piquet for second. 3 Dillon and 13 Sauter nearly get together, but 3 lets off. 60 Cole Whitt narrowly misses the incident. The first caution comes out on lap 4 when 10 Jennifer Jo Cobb’s engine expires.
2 takes the lead at the restart. There is smoke coming from 29 Parker Kligerman, maybe only a tire rub. 88 Matt Crafton bets by 8 for fifth. 24 Elliott Sadler (in his Autism Truck) gets by 31 for second. The second caution is the competition caution because of the rain all day. 57 Norm Benning gets back onto the lead lap. 2 and 18 Denny Hamlin race for the lead and 18 takes the lead. 31 is not to be denied the lead and it is three wide for the lead. 31 takes the lead and 2 gets by 18 for second.
The third caution comes out for 51 Germain Quiroga spinning across the track, onto the grass. 66 Max Gresham may have a hand in the spinning. At the restart 2 and 31 end up on the apron with 31 blocking 2. 13 jumps by 18 to take the lead. 13 and 24 race for the lead and 13 prevails. 13 and 24 race for the lead again and this time 24 takes the lead. 22 Joey Coulter gets by 18 for fifth. 60 gets by 13 for second and then starts Green Flag Pitting. 31 spins 2 at the entrance to pit road. 2 was coming in a little too fast to beat 31 in. 2 comes out of the pits before 31. 62 Brendan Gaughan and 98 Dakoda Armstrong lead but still have to pit. After the pitting, 13 is back in the lead.
18 and 24 race for third and 18 gets the spot. 60 has a vibration. 60 gets by leader 13 to unlap himself. 93 finds himself three wide and spins off into the grass, bringing out the third caution. Before they can restart, a tow truck has to remove 66 who is stopped on the track. He is pushed behind the wall. 13 leads with 22 and 18 racing side by side for second. 33 Ron Hornaday, Jr. drives around 3. (Is something wrong with 3?)
18 kisses the wall trying to take the lead from 13. Sauter is screaming “it’s raining” and stays in the lead as the fourth comes out for rain. There is a Red Flag for rain and the pace car leads them to pit road with fifteen laps to go. The race is declared over and 13 Johnny Sauter wins the Ford 200 after leading the most laps, his second win of the season. Hamlin finishes second, followed by Harvick, Piquet, Jr., Coulter, Ty Dillon, Sadler, Timothy Peters, Jason White and Austin Dillon.
Austin Dillon becomes the youngest Champion in Truck history by finishing the race in tenth. He also has two wins to his credit. RCR racer, 22 Joey Coulter wins Rookie of the year, while RCR driver Dillon wins the championship. This has not happened since Roushe drivers Greg Biffle won the championship and Kurt Busch won Rookie of the year. Joey is the youngest Rookie. Kevin Harvick Inc. #2 Truck wins the Owner championship.
The top five in points will be on stage for their banquet. These are Austin Dillon, Johnny Sauter (who finished 6 points behind), James Buescher, Ron Hornaday, Jr. and Timothy Peters. The rest of the top ten are Todd Bodine, Joey Coulter (up a spot with this race), Matt Crafton (down a spot), Cole Whitt and Nelson Piquet, Jr.
Saturday will have the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers on the track for practice early. They will also qualify for the Ford 400 race on Sunday. The NASCAR Nationwide Series will qualify for and race the Ford 300 race on Saturday.
Brought to you by Sheila Hawley. I love NASCAR racing.