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NASCAR National Series News & Notes — Michigan & Texas

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 
Next Race: FireKeepers Casino 400
The Place: Michigan International Speedway
The Date: Sunday, June 10
The Time: 2 p.m. ET
TV: FOX, 1:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 400 miles (200 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 60),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 120), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 200)

NASCAR Xfinity Series 
Next Race: LTi Printing 200
The Place: Michigan International Speedway
The Date: Saturday, June 9
The Time: 1:30 p.m. ET
TV: FOX, 1 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 250 miles (125 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 30),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 60), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 125)

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series? 
Next Race: Rattlesnake 400
The Place: Texas Motor Speedway
The Date: Friday, June 8
The Time: 9 p.m. ET
TV: FS1, 8 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 250.5 miles (167 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 40),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 80), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 167)

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

No. 42 Going For #4

Kyle Larson is the only driver in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series who can claim to be a current three-time defending race winner at any track and the 25-year-old will go for win number four this weekend at Michigan International Speedway in Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 (2 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

It’s a rare accomplishment in this time of such fierce competition, but Larson has proven himself to be especially good – and fortunate – at the two-mile track in the heart of America’s automotive industry.

Only NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott has eclipsed Larson’s consecutive streak of success at Michigan – sweeping both the 1985 and 1986 seasons to win four straight. Another Hall of Famer, David Pearson won an incredible seven times at Michigan in a nine-race stretch from 1972-76, but never more than three consecutively.

Kevin Harvick is the last Monster Energy Series driver to score four straight wins at a track – doing it at ISM Raceway outside of Phoenix from fall 2013 to spring 2015.

Larson seemed to immediately take to the high-banked sweeping Michigan track – finishing runner-up in his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut in 2013 and third in 2015, perhaps foreshadowing his current impressive Monster Energy Series run.

“What our team has been able to do at Michigan the last few races is pretty special, and I hope we can keep it up this weekend with another win,” Larson said. “We have had good cars there just about every year I’ve raced, and I think we’ve hit on some things recently that will have us taking another fast Chevy to Michigan this time around too.

“Getting the setup right is important everywhere, but I feel like it’s even more important at a track like Michigan. We’re coming off a good week of executing throughout the race, so hopefully more of that can lead to another win.”

Michigan is Their Playground

In recent years, Michigan International Speedway has proved to be child’s play for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series’ young rising stars.

As we’ve covered, 25-year-old Kyle Larson has claimed ownership over Victory Lane the past three races. But he’s been joined on the virtual podium by a pair of now-22-year-olds.

Chase Elliott has tallied four starts at Michigan in the Monster Energy Series, finishing second in his first three starts and eighth in his most recent. Meanwhile, Michigan-native Erik Jones has just two starts at his home track, finishing 13th and third.

Also of note – the June 2016 race produced the youngest top three in Monster Energy Series history as Joey Logano (then 26), Elliott (then 20) and Larson (then 23) finished 1-2-3.

Finding His Groove

Since its repave in 2012, Michigan has proven to be a bit of a challenge for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship points leader Kyle Busch. His one win in 26 starts there came in the last race before the 2012 repave (August, 2011). In the 12 races since then, he’s had six finishes of 30th or worse and only three top 10s. However, two of those top 10s came just last year when he was seventh and 10th. He’s only led 64 laps in the last 12 races, but he led 54 laps total in the two races last year.

“Regardless of new pavement or not, it’s wide-open racing, and you can run from top to bottom more and more every race there as the groove widens out,” said the driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

“The biggest thing used to be to find grip there. But, with the new surface, there is a ton of grip, now. Before, you had grip for maybe five laps and then you’d just be out to lunch. But now, the tire wear is all out the window and the racetrack is very fast. And the wide racetrack is good. That’s what makes Michigan so exciting and so fun. That’s the biggest deal about it.”

With a third-place finish at Pocono last week, Busch holds an 87-point edge over second-place Kevin Harvick in the standings. He has led the points standings for the past nine weeks.

Ready to Roll Back to Victory Lane

This is a rare venue where the season’s most prolific winner Harvick has struggled, comparatively speaking, for him, to the rest of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule. The five-time 2018 winner has one victory (August, 2010) at Michigan and as with his closest championship challenger Kyle Busch, that win came prior to the track’s repave in 2012.

However, Harvick has run well on the two-mile high banks and another win certainly seems merely a matter of time and circumstance. The driver of the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Ford has five runner-up finishes since 2013 including an impressive streak of four consecutive. He was runner-up at both 2013 and both 2014 Michigan races. He finished second again in 2015 and has seven top-five showings in the last 10 races. He was 14th and 13th last year.

Harvick also holds a unique distinction at Michigan – having won a race in all of NASCAR’s national series, from the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (2014) to Xfinity (2003) to Monster Energy Series.

According to the veteran, Cup competition at Michigan has a tendency to go very well or very “South” quickly.

“How you finish at Michigan depends on how your day is going,” Harvick said. “If you’re having a good day, it’s not really hard to tell your guys what you need and everyone is in a good mood. If you’re having a bad day, you can get behind at Michigan really fast.”

He continued, “I think we’ve finished really well there over the last couple of years and scored a lot of second-place finishes and top-fives. I learned a long time ago that sometimes those things happen, so it’s better to be on a top-five streak than a 10th-place streak.”

Martin Truex Jr. Takes It From “Top Two” to “Big Three”

Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch have been joined by defending Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr. as the drivers to beat as the playoff picture starts to come together. The trio have combined to win 11 of the opening 14 races.

After issuing a non-too subtle reminder that he’s the reigning champ with his victory at Pocono Raceway last weekend, Martin Truex Jr. would love to add to his resume at Michigan – a track he is winless at in 24 starts.

He has, however, proven himself very good in the Irish Hills. He has four top-six finishes in the last six races, was sixth in this race in 2017 and runner-up in the second Michigan race, leading laps in both. In all, Truex has three runner-up finishes and three third-place finishes – viable near-misses at a track where he has run well.

His win at Pocono in the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota was his fourth consecutive top-five showing of the season and followed runner-up finishes at Kansas and Charlotte – proving he is still very much in the hunt to become the first driver to win consecutive championships since Jimmie Johnson’s five-year title streak from 2006-2010.

Prime Position

Joey Logano is one six active multi-time winners at Michigan and arrives at the track eyeing a return to his impressive 2018 early-season form.

After a run of seven consecutive top-10 finishes from Auto Club Speedway to Talladega Superspeedway – including a victory at Talladega – the Team Penske driver has had two top-10s in the four races since and dropped to third place in the standings after a seven-week run in second.

He has two victories (2013, 2016) and three pole positions at Michigan, however, and won from the pole position in 2016. He’s finished among the top-10 in nine of the last 10 races at Michigan and led laps in seven of those. In 2013, he scored his first win with Team Penske at Michigan.

Home Track Favorites

Former Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski and second-year driver Erik Jones are Michigan natives looking to score their first victory at their “home track.”

Keselowski, 34, of Rochester Hills, Michigan, won the pole position in the last Monster Energy Series race at Michigan, but eight top-10 finishes in 17 starts is as close as he’s come to scoring his first victory. The Team Penske driver had a string of six consecutive top-10 finishes in the races from 2014 to 2016 – including a career best of third (August, 2016), where he’s finished three times (also August, 2011; June, 2014).

A victory Sunday would be his first of the 2018 season in the famous No. 2 Ford and he’s coming off back-to-back top-five efforts in Charlotte and Pocono.

Likewise, Jones, 22, of Byron, Michigan, has quickly established Michigan International Speedway as a favorable venue for himself – and a good opportunity to perhaps pick up his first career Monster Energy Series victory.

In only two Cup starts there, the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota driver has already ranked among the top-three drivers in loop data statistics (since 2005) such as laps run in the top 15 (78.1 percent) and average running position (11.3). He had finishes of 13th and third in the two races last year.

Although still ranked in the playoff-hopeful Top-16, Jones is looking to regain his early season form. He had four top-10s in the opening seven races, but has only one (at Kansas Speedway) in the last seven races.

Fond Foundation

Former Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Matt Kenseth is making the last of his four early season starts in the No. 6 Ford for Roush Fenway Racing this weekend and this venue in particular is one where Kenseth has had success.

His three wins at Michigan (two with Roush) tie him for most among active drivers. He won from the pole position in the August, 2015 race and has 14 top-five and 20 top-10 finishes in 37 total starts there.

Each week Kenseth has improved the finish of the No. 6 car. A crash hampered his much-anticipated return to the seat at Kansas, but he has finishes of 17th at Charlotte and then 13th at Pocono last week. After this week’s race, Kenseth will return to the wheel of the car at Indianapolis, then Dover, and conclude at the season’s final races in Phoenix and Miami.

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Joe Gibbs Racing Drivers Look To Make It Four Straight At Michigan

Over the past three races at Michigan International Speedway, a Joe Gibbs Racing driver has hoisted the trophy in Victory Lane (Kyle Busch 2015, Daniel Suarez 2016, and Denny Hamlin 2017). This weekend, the JGR contingent of Kyle Busch (No. 18 Toyota), Brandon Jones (No. 19 Toyota) and Christopher Bell (No. 20 Toyota) will look to bring home the organization’s fourth straight win at Michigan. If Busch, Bell or Jones can grab the checkered this weekend in the LTi Printing 250 (on Saturday, June 9 at 1:30 p.m. ET on FOX MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), Joe Gibbs Racing would become the first organization to win four in a row in the Xfinity Series at Michigan International Speedway and they would also break the tie with Roush Fenway Racing (five wins each) for the series-most owner wins at the track.

Coming off his first win of the season last week at Pocono, Kyle Busch returns to the NASCAR Xfinity Series to keep the wave of winning rolling. Busch has made just four starts this season, posting one win (Pocono), two top fives, three top 10s and an average finish of 6.5. Busch will be tough to beat this weekend, he has made 10 series starts at Michigan and is tied with Mark Martin, Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Newman, Todd Bodine and Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the series-most wins with two each. To accompany his two wins, Busch has accrued two poles, nine top fives and an average finish of 4.0 at Michigan. In six of his nine starts at Michigan he has finished third or better.

Joining Busch in a quest for a JGR win this weekend is his teammate and Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Christopher Bell. The Norman, Oklahoma, native has made 12 starts this season, posting one win (Richmond), seven top fives and three poles. He is currently fifth in the driver championship standings, and his average finish this season is 13.0. This will be Bell’s series track debut this weekend at Michigan. But Bell has made laps at Michigan before in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, where he made two starts at the famed 2-mile facility posting a best finish of second last season.

Finally is rising young star Brandon Jones, who is currently seventh in the series standings following Pocono. In 12 starts this season Jones is still looking for his first series win, but has still put up solid numbers this season, posting one top five, six top 10s and an average finish of 13.2. Jones has made two series starts at Michigan, posting two top 10s.

Sadler Still Leads, But Xfinity Standings Shake Up Behind Him

Following Pocono Raceway, JR Motorsports veteran Elliott Sadler continues to hold the NASCAR Xfinity Series driver championship standings lead by a large 62 points over second place. Sadler has become a staple at the top of the standings, leading the points following every race this season but two. This past weekend though, the drivers from second to fifth in the standings have been shaken up and some new faces have risen to top with Cole Custer in second (-62 from the standings lead) and Daniel Hemric in third (-63).

Cole Custer made a huge jump in the NASCAR Xfinity Series driver championship standings, leap frogging from fifth to second following his fifth-place finish at Pocono. It’s the first time in 2018 Custer has been ranked this high in the points. In 12 starts he has posted three top fives and nine top 10s. This weekend will be Custer’s second career start at Michigan, he made his series debut at the historic track last season, starting seventh and finishing 10th.

Just one point behind Custer in the standings sits third-place Daniel Hemric, who over the last three weeks has gained a position in the standings each week, going from sixth to third. In 12 starts this season, Hemric has been impressive, posting five top fives, eight top 10s and an average finish of 10.4. Hemric made his series debut at Michigan last season, starting 16th and finishing 12th.

Close Xfinity Racing The Norm At Michigan

Everyone loves close, side-by-side racing and Michigan International Speedway has become known to put on a spectacular show for the fans. The last six NASCAR Xfinity Series races held at Michigan, dating back to 2012, have finished with a margin of victory of less than a second. Last season’s race came down to a photo finish with Denny Hamlin stealing the win from William Byron with a last lap pass at the line to take victory by 0.012 seconds – which is the closest in series history at Michigan and tied with Montreal (2010) for the seventh closest MOV all-time.

Of the 26 NASCAR Xfinity Series races held at Michigan International Speedway, 14 have resulted with a margin of victory of less than a second. Below are the last six NASCAR Xfinity Series race’s MOV at Michigan:

Margin of Victory – Date – Winner – Runner-Up
0.012 – 6/17/2017 – Denny Hamlin – William Byron
0.280 – 6/11/2016 – Daniel Suarez – Kyle Busch
0.477 – 6/13/2015 – Kyle Busch – Chase Elliott
0.468 – 6/14/2014 – Paul Menard – Sam Hornish Jr
0.330 – 6/15/2013 – Regan Smith – Kyle Larson
0.208 – 6/16/2012 – Joey Logano – James Buescher

The Count Is On: How Many Different Winners Will We See In ’18?

Not much compares to the bliss of a driver who just won a NASCAR national series race, and this season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series the fans have had the opportunity to share in that joy with 11 different drivers through the first 12 races of the season. With Brad Keselowski being the only driver this year to have more than one win, the question is starting to be asked, ‘How many different winners will see this season?’

Since the inception of the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 1982, the record for the most different winners in a single season is 18 – which has happened twice, in 1988 and 2017.

This season’s winners include Tyler Reddick (Daytona), Kevin Harvick (Atlanta), Kyle Larson (Las Vegas), Brad Keselowski (Phoenix), Joey Logano (California), Ryan Blaney (Texas), Ryan Preece (Bristol), Christopher Bell (Richmond), Spencer Gallagher (Talladega), Justin Allgaier (Dover), Brad Keselowski (Charlotte) and Kyle Busch (Pocono).

Of the 35 previous seasons dating back to 1982, the NASCAR Xfinity Series has seen 15 or more winners in 17 of its seasons.

Alex Bowman To Pilot the GMS Racing No. 23

Alex Bowman will fill in for Spencer Gallagher at Michigan this weekend driving the No. 23 Chevrolet for GMS Racing. Bowman competed in two NASCAR Xfinity Series races last season and secured the lone win of his Xfinity Series career at Charlotte.

Bowman has made three series starts at Michigan, posting one pole, one top 10 and an average finish of 11.7.

The No. 23 Chevrolet is currently 10th in the owner’s standings representing GMS Racing. The car has registered one victory this season – Gallagher’s win at Talladega.

Happy Days: Harvick To Drive The No. 98 Ford At Michigan

Kevin Harvick will the drive the No. 98 Ford for Biagi-DenBeste Racing at Michigan this weekend. A victory in the Great Lakes State would mark the first time that the team would have a multiple-win campaign.

In two NASCAR Xfinity Series contests for Biagi-DenBeste this year, Harvick has one win at Atlanta. His 47 checkered flags in the “Series Where Names are Made” rank third all-time.

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

Number Nine? – The NASCAR Xfinity Series has seen eight different winners in the last eight races at Michigan International Speedway dating back to 2010 – Brad Keselowski (2010), Carl Edwards (2011), Joey Logano (2012), Regan Smith (2013), Paul Menard (2014), Kyle Busch (2015), Daniel Suarez (2016), Denny Hamlin (2017). There is a good chance we could see a ninth different winner since only two of the previous eight different winners are entered this weekend – Kyle Busch and Paul Menard.

Busch Wins, Records Get Set – Kyle Busch will have the chance this weekend to break a seven-way tie (two wins each) for the most NASCAR Xfinity Series wins at Michigan International Speedway with Mark Martin, Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Newman, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Todd Bodine. Of the 24 different tracks currently active on the NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule, Kyle Busch leads the series in wins at 13 of them – 54% of the tracks the series competes on. The list of tracks he has the most wins at are Auto Club (six wins), Bristol (nine), Charlotte (eight), Chicagoland (four), Dover (five), Indianapolis (three), ISM Raceway (10), Kansas (four), Kentucky (three, tied with two other drivers), Michigan (two, tied with seven other drivers), New Hampshire (six), Pocono (one, tied two other drivers), Texas (eight).

Season’s Best Last Weekend – Two drivers competing for the NASCAR Xfinity Series championship this season posted their season-best finish last weekend at Pocono Raceway – Daniel Hemric finished third for the fourth time this season and Austin Cindric finished fourth for his second series career top-five finish. Both are currently in the top 12 in the series driver points.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

On To The Next One

Only two drivers entered in Friday night’s race at Texas Motor Speedway have walked away from the 1.5-mile track with a victory in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series -Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter.

As the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series gets back to work at Texas Motor Speedway for the PPG 400 on Friday, June 8 (9 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) after a two-week break, Sauter is still leading the points, 59 points ahead of Noah Gragson.

The most recent race at Charlotte Motor Speedway was one for the books as Sauter visited Victory Lane for the first time at the speedway. The win also marked his 10th victory with GMS Racing since coming together in 2016. Sauter has four wins so far in 2018 and 20 consecutive top-10 finishes at 1.5 mile tracks.

The last time the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series went to Texas, Sauter took home the trophy. Starting in the fourth position, he led 21 laps before finishing in the first position.

This track is very familiar to Sauter, too, as he has visited it 19 times, posting four wins, nine top fives, 15 top 10s and three poles. His four victories there are the most for Sauter at any racetrack.

Sauter has won consecutive races three times in his career – 2013, 2016 and 2017.

Texas Motor Speedway Trends

Looking back at some of the interesting trends coming out of Texas Motor Speedway, from 2014 to 2017 the eventual series champion won at the track each year. Matt Crafton won at Texas in 2014 and went ahead to win the championship. In 2015 Erik Jones did the same, followed by Johnny Sauter in 2016 and Christopher Bell in 2017.

Before 2014, this happened four times. In 2010 and 2006 for Todd Bodine, in 2001 for Jack Sprague and in 2000 for Greg Biffle. Could this track be a helpful hint when foreshadowing the next champion?

First-Timers at Texas Motor Speedway

As the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series returns to Texas Motor Speedway, many drivers are heading there for the first time. Eleven of the 33 drivers entered have never been to the speedway before. They are Todd Gilliland, Camden Murphy, Robby Lyons, Brett Moffitt, Bo LeMastus, Dalton Sargeant, Justin Fontaine, Spencer Davis, Chris Eggleston, Kyle Donahue and Bayley Currey.

Of them, Moffitt is the only driver with a win under his belt this season. He also sits in third place in the points standings behind Noah Gragson in second and Johnny Sauter in first.

Sauter Races To Break Records

Johnny Sauter has become the sixth different driver in series history to post three or more wins (Daytona, Dover and Charlotte) in the first seven races of the season; joining Kyle Busch (four wins: 2014, 2011), Matt Crafton (three wins: 2015), Mike Skinner (three wins: 2007, 1996, 1995), Ron Hornaday Jr. (three wins: 1995) and Ted Musgrave (three wins: 2001).

If Sauter wins at Texas, he will be the third driver in series history to post four or more wins in the first eight races of the season. Kyle Busch and Mike Skinner are the only other drivers to ever do that.

In 1995, Mike Skinner won eight of the 20 series races and captured the championship. Like Sauter, he won three of the first seven races (and went on to win four of the first eight races). None of the other drivers went on to win the championship after posting three or more wins in the first seven races of the season.

So far this season, Sauter hasn’t started outside of the top ten and has finished in the top five in every race except for Martinsville, where he finished 19th.

In 2017, Sauter had his career-best tally with four wins. Only seven races into the 2018 season and he is one win away from tying that record and then he aims to pass it.

Year – Wins
2014 – 1
2015 – 0
2016 – 3
2017 – 4
2018 – 3

The Mark Martin Podcast Sponsors Jordan Anderson

Last week, the No. 3 team announced a partnership with The Mark Martin Podcast, a seven-episodes-old show hosted by Mark Martin, for this Friday’s PPG 400 at Texas Motor Speedway (9 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). In an interview with NASCAR.com, Martin explained his reasoning behind the partnership with Anderson.

“It became incredibly important to me to have Jordan on the show to showcase him. One of the things that I really enjoy about Jordan is he’s going NASCAR racing the old-school way. He’s seeing the countryside from the windshield of a dualie pickup pulling an enclosed trailer with one truck inside with a couple of helpers, working all day and driving all night and really doing this the old-school way.”

Anderson has run in 64 races and posted one top 10, which was this year at Daytona.

The Mark Martin Podcast can be downloaded here.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series etc.

Gilliland Pushes Forward – Todd Gilliland has competed in three races so far in the 2018 season and placed in the top 10 in two of them. Gilliland, who just turned 18 on May 15, only has nine races under his belt in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and already has five top 10s and two top fives. Striving for his first career win, Gilliland will head to Texas Motor Speedway to race in the PPG 400 on Friday, June 8 (9 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Crafton Still Craving a Win – Matt Crafton is still struggling to get his first win of the year. His most recent win was last season at Eldora, which was also his only win of the season. The veteran ruled on 1.5-mile tracks in the past, but has not had any success so far this year.
He has visited Texas 34 times, the most of any driver in the series, but only has two wins at the track.

However, he has 13 top fives and 23 top 10s under his belt to go with those two wins (2014 and 2015). Crafton has only finished outside of the top-10 in 11 of his 34 starts at Texas. Since the second race at Texas in 2013, he has placed in the top five eight times. He led the most laps of his career at Texas in 2016 with 133, a race in which he finished second. The last time Crafton finished a season without winning a race was in 2012, although there are still 16 races left in the season for him to fight back. Right now, Crafton sits in sixth place in the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series standings down 92 points from the standings lead.

Moffitt Shows His Worth – Brett Moffitt has been a key contender in the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, hanging onto third place in the points standings and posting one win so far this season. As he heads to Texas Motor Speedway for the first time, Moffitt hopes to keep himself in the top three and take home a trophy. So far this season, Moffitt has raced in seven of the eight races and has placed four top fives and four top 10s.

Driver Standings Update – As the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series takes on the ninth weekend of the season on Friday, Johnny Sauter remains in the points lead with 329 points. Behind him with 270 is Noah Gragson followed by Brett Moffitt in third place. Ben Rhodes isn’t too far behind in fourth place and Grant Enfinger is holding onto fifth place.

Team Owner Standings Update – GMS Racing’s No. 21 Chevrolet took a sizeable lead in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series owner standings after three wins and two stage wins. GMS Racing leads Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 51 and No. 18 by 59 points. Shigeaki Hattori’s No. 16 takes fourth place, only six points behind second and third place. Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 4 clinches the fifth position in owner standings. GMS Racing doesn’t place again until 11th with the No. 24 and 12th with the No. 25.

GMS Racing’s No. 21 Chevrolet won the owner standings last season seven points over Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 4.

OEM Battle – So far, Chevrolet leads with four wins and 263 points and Toyota is behind them with 3 wins and 253 points. Ford has accumulated 228 points, but no wins, putting the manufacturer in third place. Heading into Texas Motor Speedway, a Ford has only three victories at the track and the last one was in 2000. Since then, Chevrolet and Toyota have dominated the track. From 2014 to the first race at Texas in 2016, a Toyota has won five times. The second race at Texas in 2016 was won by a Chevrolet and the same thing happened in 2017.

Texas Motor Speedway Quick Facts
Oval: 1.5 miles
Width: 58 feet (minimum)
Turns: 750-foot radius
Banking: 20 degrees in Turns 1 and 2, 24 degrees in Turns 3 and 4, five degrees in straightaways
Frontstretch: 2,250 feet long
Backstretch: 1,330 feet long
Fastest Race: 158.002 mph/1 hr., 23 mins., 44 sec. – Erik Jones (2015)
Slowest Race: 109.988 mph/2 hr., 20 min., 44 sec. – Ron Hornaday Jr. (2008)
Qualifying Record: 185.134 mph/29.168 sec. – Noah Gragson (2017)
Closest Winning Margin: 0.116 of a second (Tom Bodine over Mike Skinner, 2006)
Largest Winning Margin: 13.302 seconds (Matt Crafton over Justin Lofton, 2014)
Winner’s Best Starting Position: 1st – Jay Sauter (1999), Greg Biffle (2000), Bryan Reffner (2000), Clint Bowyer (2006), Todd Bodine (2007)
Winner’s Furthest Starting Position: 22nd – Todd Bodine (2004)
Most Laps Led by Winner: 140 – Ron Hornaday Jr. (2008)
Most Laps Led by Non-Race Winner: 133 – Matt Crafton (2016)
Fewest Laps Led by Winner: 1 – Todd Bodine (2006)
Youngest Winner: William Byron, 18 years, 6 months, 13 days (2016)
Oldest Winner: Ron Hornaday Jr., 52 years, 11 months, 21 days (2011)
Most Lead Changes: 19 (2011, 2015)
Most Leaders: 11 (2011)
Fewest Lead Changes: 1 (1997)
Fewest Leaders: 2 (1997, 2006)
Most Cautions: 10 (2011, 2017)
Most Caution Laps: 46 (1998, 2011)
Fewest Cautions: 1 (2015)
Fewest Caution Laps: 5 (2015)
Most Cars Finishing on Lead Lap: 24 (2005)
Fewest Cars Finishing on Lead Lap: 6 (2000, 2002, 2007)

— NASCAR —