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NASCAR National Series News & Notes - Dover

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Next Race: Gander Outdoors 400
The Place: Dover International Speedway
The Date: Sunday, October 7
The Time: 2 p.m. ET
TV: NBCSN, 1 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 400 miles (400 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 120),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 240), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 400)

NASCAR Xfinity Series
Next Race: Bar Harbor 200 presented by Sea Watch International
The Place: Dover International Speedway
The Date: Saturday, October 6
The Time: 3 p.m. ET
TV: NBCSN, 2:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 200 miles (200 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 45),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 200)

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Next Race: Talladega 250
The Place: Talladega Superspeedway
The Date: Saturday, October 13
The Time: 1 p.m. ET
TV: FOX, 12:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 250.04 miles (94 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 20),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 40), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 94)

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Team Penske Moving On

Brad Keselowski (Las Vegas), Kyle Busch (Richmond) and Ryan Blaney (Charlotte Road Course) earned first round victories and automatic bids to the Round of 12 of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs which begins Sunday in the Gander Outdoors 400 at Dover International Raceway (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

It was a huge statement for Team Penske, which boasts two first round winners in Keselowski and Blaney and has all three of its drivers - also including Joey Logano -advancing to this next round of the Playoffs.

Of the three Penske drivers, Keselowski is the only one with a victory (2012) at the one-mile Dover track and he still holds the track qualifying record with a lap of 164.444 mph set back in May, 2014. Keselowski, who enters this race ranked fourth as the standings re-set, has four top-10s in the last five Dover races and led 108 laps in the spring race this season, but finished sixth.

The fourth race of the 10-week Playoff has been especially successful for Logano, who has won the fourth race twice - at Kansas in 2014 and at Charlotte in 2015. But the switch in venue to Dover this season may prove to be especially challenging.

The driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford has 10 top-10 finishes in 19 starts at the "Monster Mile," but only three top-five showings. He was 13th in the series' first stop here of 2018. His best showing at the track is third place (in 2010 and 2013) and he's only led four laps at the track in his career.

Last week's winner Blaney has a record at Dover that is a bit up and down. He's still looking for his first top-five there but has two top-10s in five starts with an average finish of 21.8. He was eighth in the spring, tying his career best mark set in his first start there in 2016.

Leader At The Track

It was a rough day for the championship leader Kyle Busch at Charlotte's Road Course on Sunday, crashing out with only six laps remaining and ending up with a 32nd-place finish. So, he's hoping to get back to that title mojo that has placed him firmly atop the points standings heading to Dover.

Busch is the defending Playoff race winner at the Monster Mile and his closest championship challenger, Kevin Harvick, won at the track in earlier this season.

In recent seasons, however, Busch has proven himself especially adept in the fall race here, scoring runner-up finishes in 2015 and 2016 before his win last October. Ten of his 16 top-10s at the track have come in the Playoffs. He's led 1,188 laps in his career at the track - second only to 11-time winner Johnson's record 3,105 laps out front. Five times he's led at least 100 laps. Perhaps more amazingly, he led 302 of the 400 laps in the 2012 fall race here and finished seventh.

Harvick's Not Afraid Of Miles The Monster

With seven victories this season and two wins overall at Dover - including earlier this year - Kevin Harvick no doubt arrives at the challenging one-miler feeling optimistic. He has 16 top 10s in 35 starts at the track and has earned his victories in the last six races. He led 355 of 400 laps in winning this race in 2015 - the most dominant showing at Dover in more than a decade.

Three times the driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford has led at least 200 laps, including this spring when he led 201 laps en route to what was his fourth win of the year at that point.

Harvick starts the second round of the Playoffs trailing Kyle Busch by five points and leading third-place Martin Truex Jr. by 12-points. His ninth-place finish at Charlotte last weekend earned him a series-best 24th top-10 finish on the year - and with seven races remaining puts him well within reach of his career-high 28 top 10s set in his 2015 championship runner-up season.

"I think as you look at Dover, if you look at our history, when I was at RCR (Richard Childress Racing), it was probably one of our worst racetracks,'' Harvick said. "It's been one of our best since I came to SHR in 2014. For me, the thing I love about Dover is just the fact it's hammer down and you're up on top of the wheel for 400 laps there. ... It's fast.

"You can just be aggressive with the car and you have to get in there and wrestle that thing all day because it's bumpy, slings you up out of the corners, dumps you down in the corners, and there's just a lot going on. The car is bouncing around a lot and, with as rough as the cars have been just as the ride goes, we are in for a rough ride when we get to Dover this weekend. It's one of my favorite racetracks to go and race on."

Home Sweet Home For Martin Truex Jr.

New Jersey native Martin Truex Jr. has long considered Dover International Raceway a home track and certainly his performances there indicate a good relationship.

The reigning Cup champion was fourth in the June race and fourth there in this race last year after winning the Busch Pole position. He has eight top-10 finishes in his last nine starts (with the outlier being an 11th-place finish), including top-five finishes in his last four races here - highlighted by a win in the 2016 Playoff race. He's led 518 laps in the last seven Dover races.

"No question Dover has been a good track for us," said Truex, who drives the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota. "I really feel comfortable driving there. It's been one of my favorite tracks."

"Though we enter Dover with a modest cushion of Playoff bonus points, we are very well aware that those points can evaporate in a hurry. We need to remain consistent with solid finishes and try to get as many stage points as possible.

"We also like Kansas Speedway, which is the third and final race in the Round of 12. Had plenty of success there too. Talladega (next race after Dover) is a wild card and we haven't had much luck there, so we need to make sure we shine at Dover and Kansas to make the next round on our own and not worry about what other drivers are doing."

Larson Looking To Reset

After impressively driving his hobbled No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet to a 25th-place finish that earned him a berth in the next round of the Playoffs in Sunday's road course race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Kyle Larson is ready to reset at one of his best tracks, Dover.

He won the pole position there in May and finished 10th. He was runner-up in both the 2016 and 2017 spring races at the "Monster Mile" - leading a race best 241 laps in 2017 but finishing second to Kyle Busch. He's led 463 laps in the last five Dover races.

A win can't come soon enough for Larson, who has a Monster Energy Series-best six runner-up finishes in 2018 but is still looking for Victory Lane.

The Chase Is On

Chase Elliott is never one to buy into "driver rating," largely because it doesn't take into account experience. But the 22-year-old Hendrick Motorsports driver can take solace in a statistical analysis that shows he is one of the best at Dover.

Elliott has four top-five finishes in five races and averages a fifth-place finish at the mile-long track in Delaware. He was third-third-fifth and runner-up in his first four starts at the track and then finished 12th this spring. He led three times for 138 laps and was passed by Kyle Busch for the win with two laps remaining in this race last year.

The driver of the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet will start the second round of the Playoffs ranked ninth. He finished sixth at the Charlotte Road Course last weekend and has top-10s in eight of the last 10 races, including his first career Monster Energy Series victory at Watkins Glen in August.

Bowman Making His Mark On The Playoffs

If anyone thought that Hendrick Motorsports newbie Alex Bowman might take a season to work his way up the ranks in the team's No. 88 Chevrolet, he has already quickly served notice he's ready to contend for a title.

Dover may be a good test for the 25-year-old, who is ranked 12th among the 12-driver Playoff standings after a fourth-place finish on the Charlotte ROVAL last weekend. In five previous starts at the "Monster Mile," Bowman's best finish was a 20th in the spring of 2015 while he was driving for Tommy Baldwin Racing.

His average finish (29.8) at the track and driver rating (49.8) there are lowest among the Playoff drivers. But he led 26 laps at Dover in May - the most laps he's led in a race this year (he also led 26 laps at Talladega, Ala.).

Jimmie Johnson Looking For Redemption

Although Jimmie Johnson wasn't able to pull off a last lap pass for the win - and a spot in the next round of the Playoffs - last week on the new Charlotte Road Course, he shows up at Dover International Speedway highly motivated and understandably confident.

Johnson leads all drivers with 11 wins at the tough one-mile oval. The next-highest victory total at Dover in the field is three - by Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman. Johnson has 17 top-five finishes and 24 top 10s in 33 starts. His driver rating of 117.2 is head and shoulders above the field. Busch is second at 105.5.

The seven-time Monster Energy Series champion is the only driver with multiple Playoff wins at the track (2005, '09, '10 and '13) - two of those (2010 and 2013) resulting in a title. The driver of the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet was eliminated from the 2018 Playoffs on Sunday at Charlotte - the odd man out in a three-way tiebreaker.

NASCAR Xfinity Series

It Takes A Monster Mile To Decide Who Advances In Playoffs

After a wild shake-up in the standings following Charlotte's Road Course last weekend, the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs Round of 12 comes down to this elimination race at Dover International Speedway. This Saturday's Bar Harbor 200 (at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) will decide the eight drivers that will advance to the next round, but only seven spots are still up for grabs as Joe Gibbs Racing driver Christopher Bell won the postseason opener at Richmond, securing his passage to the Round of 8. Now the series heads to the state of Delaware to take on the high-speed, one-mile, concrete oval so aptly nicknamed the "Monster Mile."

Dover International Speedway is no stranger to the Playoffs' big stage. Since the inception of the Playoffs in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2016, Dover has participated in each of the seven-race postseasons. In 2016, Dover hosted the second race of the Xfinity Playoffs, and the event was won by Playoff contender Daniel Suarez, who later went on to win the series title that season. Then last year Dover again hosted the second race of the Xfinity Playoffs, but non-Playoff contender and Monster Energy Series driver Ryan Blaney won the event.

Over the last seven races at Dover there have been seven different winners. This weekend, only three former winners are entered in the race - Playoff challenger Justin Allgaier (2018 spring race), Jeff Green (2001) and Morgan Shepherd (1986) - making the possibilities for an eighth different winner pretty good. The last driver to win back-to-back Xfinity races at Dover was Kyle Busch back in 2014, he swept both races that season.

The Eliminator: Playoff Contender Rundown Heading To Dover

With Christopher Bell locked into the next round let's take a glance at the remaining 11 Playoff contenders vying for those coveted seven remaining spots in the next round this weekend. And of note, all of these contenders below can also clinch a spot in the Round of 8 with a win this weekend:

In Position To Advance:

Daniel Hemric's (No. 21 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet) start to the 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs has been focused. The North Carolina native is second in the championship standings, a solid 30 points ahead of ninth-place Austin Cindric - the first spot outside the Playoff cutoff. In Hemric's first two Playoff starts of this round he has posted an average finish of 6.5 - third-best among title contenders. This weekend he could clinch on points with 31 points and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner (or a win by Tyler Reddick, Cole Custer, Matt Tifft, Elliott Sadler, Justin Allgaier or Ross Chastain), then he would clinch on points with 26 points. Hemric has made three starts at Dover, accumulating two top fives and an average finish of 6.7; including a third-place finish earlier this season.

Tyler Reddick (No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet) made some big moves at the Charlotte Road Course last weekend to jump four spots in the Playoff standings to third, 21 points ahead of ninth-place Austin Cindric. Reddick has been consistent in his postseason bid, grabbing an average finish of 8.0 - tied with Austin Cindric for fifth-best among title contenders. The California native could clinch on points this weekend at Dover with 40 points and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner (or a win by Daniel Hemric, Cole Custer, Matt Tifft, Elliott Sadler, Justin Allgaier or Ross Chastain), then he could clinch on points with 35 points. Reddick has made two series starts at Dover, posting a career-best finish of fifth earlier this season.

Cole Custer (No. 00 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford) fell to ninth in the standings following the Playoff opener at Richmond but wasted no time in rebounding back into title contention after leap-frogging five spots in the postseason standings to fourth following Charlotte - 14-points ahead of ninth place Austin Cindric. Custer's opening round in the Playoffs so far has yielded an average finish of 11.0 - ninth-best out of the 12 Playoff drivers. Custer could clinch this weekend on points with 47-points and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner (or a win by Daniel Hemric, Tyler Reddick, Matt Tifft, Elliott Sadler, Justin Allgaier or Ross Chastain), then he would clinch on points with 42-points. Custer has an average finish of 8.3 in three series starts at Dover, posting a best finish of fourth in his series debut at the track in the spring of 2017.

Matt Tifft (No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet) has popped out of the Playoff box on the right foot, currently fifth in the championship standings, up one spot from last week, 13 points ahead of ninth-place - the first spot outside the Playoff cutoff. Through the first two races of the Playoffs Tifft has the second-best average finish (5.5) among title contenders, behind Christopher Bell (3.0). Tifft could clinch on points this weekend at Dover with 48 points and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner (or a win by Daniel Hemric, Tyler Reddick, Cole Custer, Elliott Sadler, Justin Allgaier or Ross Chastain), then he could clinch on points with 43 points. Tifft has made four series starts at Dover, posting four tops 10s and an average finish of 7.8.

Elliott Sadler (No. 1 JR Motorsports Chevrolet) drops one position in the Playoff standings to sixth following Charlotte, now just 11 points ahead of ninth-place Austin Cindric. Sadler's strong start to the season hasn't transferred to the Playoffs as the veteran from Virginia has posted an average finish of 10.0 in his first two Playoff races - seventh best among the 12 contenders. Heading into this weekend at Dover, Sadler could clinch on points with 50 points and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner (or a win by Daniel Hemric, Tyler Reddick, Cole Custer, Matt Tifft, Justin Allgaier or Ross Chastain), then he could clinch on points with 45 points. Sadler has made 21 series starts at Dover, recording four top fives, 14 top 10s and an average finish of 11.3. He finished runner-up to his JR Motorsports teammate Justin Allgaier at Dover in the spring race earlier this season.

Justin Allgaier (No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet) plummeted four spots to seventh in the Playoff standings following Charlotte and is now only 11 points ahead of ninth-place Austin Cindric. Coming into the Playoffs Allgaier was picked as one of the favorites but over the last two races the JR Motorsports driver has faced adversity posting an average finish of 23.5 - the worst among the 12 Playoff competitors. Now with the chips stacked against him, Allgaier will need to rebound at the track his fantastic season started at back in the spring when he scored his first win of five wins on the season. Allgaier could clinch on points with 50 points and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner (or a win by Daniel Hemric, Tyler Reddick, Cole Custer, Matt Tifft, Elliott Sadler or Ross Chastain), then he could clinch on points with 45 points. Allgaier has made 15 series starts at the "Monster Mile," accumulating one win, five top fives, eight top 10s an average finish of 11.9.

Ross Chastain (No. 4 JD Motorsports Chevrolet) fell four spots in the Playoff standings to eighth following Charlotte - the final transfer spot to the next round. Chastain has been impressive this postseason putting up an average finish of 7.0 - fourth best among championship contenders. The Florida native could clinch on points with 51 points and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner (or a win by Daniel Hemric, Tyler Reddick, Cole Custer, Matt Tifft, Elliott Sadler or Justin Allgaier), he could clinch on points with 47 points. Chastain has made seven series start at Dover, tallying an average finish of 19.1.

In Position To Be Eliminated:

The next four NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff contenders are currently outside the points cutoff to the Round of 8, and though it is still mathematically possible for them to get in to the next round on points with some help, currently a win would be their best option for them to be the sole determiner of their postseason fates.

Austin Cindric (No. 22 Team Penske Ford) impressive run last weekend starting on the pole and finishing third at the Charlotte Road Course moved him up two positions in the Playoff standings to ninth the first spot outside the Round of 8 cutoff. Cindric is only nine points back from eighth-place Ross Chastain, in prime position to race his way into the next round. Cindric's first two Playoff races have yielded him an average finish of 7.0 - fifth-best among Playoff contenders. The Sunoco rookie made his series track debut at Dover earlier this season; starting seventh and finishing ninth.

Ryan Truex (No. 11 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet) is currently 10th in the Xfinity Playoff standings, 24 points behind Ross Chastain in eighth place - the final transfer spot to the Round of 8. The New Jersey native's first two races of the Playoffs have produced an average finish of 13.5 - 10th-best of the 12 Playoff contenders. Truex has made five starts on his home track, Dover, earning one top five, two top 10s and an average finish of 10.6.

Ryan Reed (No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford) moved up one spot to 11th in the Xfinity Playoff standings, 25 points behind eighth-place Ross Chastain. Reed has been running solid in the first round of the Playoffs with an average finish of 10.5 - eight-best among the Playoff contenders. Reed has nine Dover starts under his belt, with one top five, two top 10s and an average finish of 16.0.

Brandon Jones (No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota) plunged down the standings this past weekend after finishing 22nd at the Charlotte Road Course. Now Jones is 12th in Xfinity Playoff standings, 28 points behind Ross Chastain in eighth and just one race left to try an advance to the next round. Jones' first two Playoff races have produced an average finish of 15.0 - 11th-best among Playoff contenders. The Georgia native has made five series starts at Dover with his best performance at the track happening earlier this season when he started on the pole, led 33 laps and finished 10th.

The Bell Of The Playoff Ball

While the other 11 NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff drivers have their championship seasons on the line this weekend, for the second-straight week the championship standings leader and only Playoff driver with a Playoff win this season, Joe Gibbs Racing's Christopher Bell, can tackle Dover International Speedway without the pressures of the title chase. With his win at Richmond Raceway to kickoff this round in the postseason, he has secured his entry into the Round of 8, making this weekend another perfect opportunity to pad his Playoff point total or get the NASCAR Xfinity Series all-time Sunoco Rookie wins record.

Bell has been outstanding in his rookie Xfinity season accumulating five wins (Richmond-1, Kentucky, New Hampshire, Iowa-1 and Richmond-2), 16 top fives, 18 top 10s and four poles. His five wins tie him with Greg Biffle (2001), Kyle Busch (2004) and Carl Edwards (2005) for most wins by a Sunoco Rookie. If he wins this weekend, he would be in sole possession of the top spot in the record book for rookie wins.

Bell could also set the record for rookie top fives in a single season this weekend, as well. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver currently has 16 top-five finishes this season, which ties Greg Biffle (2001), Kyle Busch (2004), Austin Dillon (2012) and Chase Elliott (2014) for the series record.

The Oklahoma native is correspondingly on pace to become the third Sunoco Rookie in series history to win the series title, joining Chase Elliott (2014) and William Byron (2017). Bell has raised his game for the postseason, in his two Playoff starts in 2018, he has shelled out an average finish of 3.0 - the series-best.

Bell, 23, made his series track debut at Dover International Speedway in impressive fashion earlier this season, starting 34th and finishing fourth.

2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff Picture: Round of 12

With the first round of the 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs coming to a close this weekend at Dover International Speedway here are some quick facts about this year's postseason:

• The 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff field consisted of 12 different drivers from nine different organizations.
o JR Motorsports - Justin Allgaier, Elliott Sadler and Tyler Reddick
o Joe Gibbs Racing - Christopher Bell, Brandon Jones
o Richard Childress Racing - Daniel Hemric, Matt Tifft
o JD Motorsports / Chip Ganassi Racing - Ross Chastain
o Stewart-Haas Racing - Cole Custer
o Kaulig Racing - Ryan Truex
o Team Penske / Roush Fenway Racing - Austin Cindric
o Roush Fenway Racing - Ryan Reed

• Three of the 12 Xfinity Playoff drivers are Sunoco Rookies this season.
o Christopher Bell, Tyler Reddick and Austin Cindric

• Five drivers have made their first appearance in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs this season.
o Third Playoff appearance: Justin Allgaier, Elliott Sadler, Ryan Reed (2016, 2017 and 2018)
o Second Playoff appearance: Daniel Hemric, Cole Custer, Matt Tifft (2017 and 2018) and Brandon Jones (2016 and 2018)
o First Playoff appearance: Christopher Bell, Tyler Reddick, Austin Cindric, Ryan Truex, Ross Chastain (2018)

Round of 12 Recap:
• Richmond Raceway - 0.75-mile paved oval - Go Bowling 250
o Pole Winner: Christopher Bell (Joe Gibbs Racing)
o Race Winner: Christopher Bell (Joe Gibbs Racing)
o Lap Leader (Most): Dale Earnhardt Jr. (JR Motorsports) with 96 laps led
o Playoff standings leader following the race: Christopher Bell left Richmond with a 28-point lead over second place Daniel Hemric and a 34-point lead over third place Justin Allgaier.

• Charlotte Motor Speedway Road course - 2.28-mile, 17-turn road course - Drive for the Cure 200
o Pole Winner: Chase Briscoe (Biagi DenBeste Racing)
o Race Winner: Austin Cindric (Team Penske)
o Lap Leader (Most): Chase Briscoe (Biagi DenBeste Racing) with 33 laps led
o Playoff standings leader following the race: Christopher Bell left Charlotte with a 33-point lead over second place Daniel Hemric and a 42-point lead over third place Tyler Reddick.

• Dover International Speedway - 1-mile, concrete oval - Drive for the Cure 200

Chase Briscoe's Career Is Trending In The Right Direction

Much like his childhood hero Tony Stewart, 23-year-old Chase Briscoe can win in just about anything and this season he has made that point very apparent.

The Mitchell, Indiana, native is coming off the biggest win of his NASCAR career after taking the checkered flag last weekend in the inaugural NASCAR Xfinity Series race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course. It was Briscoe's first career win in the series and the fifth for Biagi-DenBeste Racing.

"Now to be a Xfinity winner when I never expected to even run in NASCAR or any of the top three series is such a blessing," said Briscoe. "I have been so blessed in general."

But that isn't his only win this season, Briscoe made his lone NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start in July at his idol Tony Stewart's racetrack, Eldora Speedway, and the youngster took home that checkered flag as well.

Briscoe has split time running for Biagi DenBeste Racing in the No. 98 and Roush Fenway Racing in the No. 60. He will be back with Roush this weekend at Dover International Speedway, a track where he will be making his series debut.

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

14 Different Winners This Season - Through 28 races this season the NASCAR Xfinity Series has seen 14 different winners; led by Christopher Bell and Justin Allgaier with five wins each. The record for the greatest number of different winners in a single Xfinity Series season is 18, set in 1988 and tied in 2017. There are five races left this season.

Part-Timers Worth Noting - Richard Childress Racing will have North Carolina native Shane Lee back in the No. 3 Chevrolet this weekend with crew chief Nick Harrison. Lee has made eight start this season, amassing two top 10s. This will be his series track debut at Dover. ... Joe Gibbs Racing has tapped Ryan Preece to pilot the No. 18 Toyota the rest of the season; which happens to be in the thick of the series' owner championship hunt. The No. 18 team is currently seventh in the owner Playoffs following Charlotte. Over the weekend, it was announced Preece will move up to the Monster Energy Series to driver the No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet in 2019. Preece has made 10 Xfinity starts this season, clocking one win, five top fives, seven top 10 and an average finish of 11.7. ... Chip Ganassi Racing will have John Hunter Nemechek back in the No. 42 Chevrolet this weekend at Dover. Nemechek has made 13 starts this season posting three top fives and six top 10s. He finished 14th at Dover in his series debut earlier this season.

Xfinity Achievable Milestones This Week - JR Motorsports driver Michael Annett will make his 225th NASCAR Xfinity Series start this weekend at Dover. He will become the 48th different driver to make 225 or more series starts. ... Joe Gibbs Racing's Brandon Jones will make his 100th NASCAR Xfinity Series start this weekend at Dover becoming the 135th different driver t post 100 or more starts.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Whose Got It?

GMS Racing's Justin Haley was the first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoff driver to lock himself into the Round of 6 by winning the Playoff opener at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

Then, after a two-week break for the series, Grant Enfinger of ThorSport Racing won at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, making him the second driver to officially secure his spot in the next round.

Next week, the Trucks will finally be back in action at Talladega Superspeedway for the Talladega 250 at 1 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoff Picture: Round of 8

The first round of the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs will come to a close following next weekend's race at Talladega Superspeedway. Talladega has been a cutoff race for the Truck Series for the last two years. Take a look at some interesting facts from the postseason:

• The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 2018 Playoff field had a total of eight drivers from five different owner organizations
o Kyle Busch Motorsports - Noah Gragson
o GMS Racing - Johnny Sauter, Justin Haley
o Hattori Racing - Brett Moffitt
o ThorSport Racing - Ben Rhodes, Matt Crafton, Grant Enfinger
o Halmar Friesen Racing - Stewart Friesen
• Five drivers have made their appearance in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs for the first time
o First Playoff appearance: Noah Gragson, Justin Haley, Brett Moffitt, Grant Enfinger, Stewart Friesen (2018)
o Second Playoff appearance: Ben Rhodes (2017 and 2018)
• Two drivers have won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship before
o Matt Crafton (2013 and 2014)
o Johnny Sauter (2016)

Round of 8 Recap:
• Canadian Tire Motorsport Park - 2.459 mile, 10-turn road course - Chevrolet Silverado 250
o Pole Winner: Ben Rhodes (ThorSport Racing)
o Race Winner: Justin Haley (GMS Racing)
o Lap Leader (Most): Noah Gragson (KBM) with 35 laps led
o Playoff standings leader following the race: Johnny Sauter left Canadian Tire Motorsport Park with a six-point lead over second place Brett Moffitt and an 11-point lead over third place Noah Gragson.
• Las Vegas Motor Speedway -1.5-mile asphalt tri-oval - World of Westgate 200
o Pole Winner: Noah Gragson (KBM)
o Race Winner: Grant Enfinger (ThorSport Racing)
o Lap Leader (Most): Grant Enfinger (ThorSport Racing) with 40 laps led
o Playoff standings leader following the race: Johnny Sauter left Las Vegas with a 17-point lead over second place Noah Gragson and a 22-point lead over third place Brett Moffitt.
• Talladega Superspeedway - 2.66-mile, asphalt tri-oval - Talladega 250

A Look Back: Dega's Previous Playoff Races

• 2016 Fred's 250 powered by Coca-Cola
• Playoff Drivers: Timothy Peters (started sixth), Ben Kennedy (started fourth), Christopher Bell (started 14th), Johnny Sauter (started fifth), William Byron (started ninth), Daniel Hemric (started 17th), Matt Crafton (started 13th), John Hunter Nemechek (started 11th)
• Pole Winner: Cole Custer (JR Motorsports)
• Race Winner: Grant Enfinger (GMS Racing)
• Highest Finishing Playoff driver: Timothy Peters, third place
• Lap Leader: Grant Enfinger (GMS Racing) with 45 laps led
• Playoff drivers eliminated after Round of 8: Daniel Hemric (finished 11th), John Hunter Nemechek (finished 32nd)

• 2017 Fred's 250 powered by Coca-Cola
• Playoff Drivers: Christopher Bell (started first), Austin Cindric (started sixth), John Hunter Nemechek (started 15th), Matt Crafton (started 11th), Johnny Sauter (started second), Chase Briscoe (started fifth), Ben Rhodes (started 10th), Kaz Grala (started 12th)
• Pole Winner: Christopher Bell (Kyle Busch Motorsports)
• Race Winner: Parker Kligerman (Henderson Motorsports)
• Highest Finishing Playoff driver: Christopher Bell, second place
• Lap Leader: Johnny Sauter (GMS Racing) with 39 laps led
• Playoff drivers eliminated after Round of 8: Chase Briscoe (finished 22nd), Kaz Grala (finished 29th)

Tyler Dippel, Sheldon Creed Join GMS Racing to Finish 2018 Season

GMS Racing announced last week that Tyler Dippel has joined the team for the final four races of the 2018 season beginning in Martinsville. Dippel will drive the No. 25 Chevrolet Silverado with crew chief Jerry Baxter. Baxter has been crew chief for Cody Coughlin and Timothy Peters for 18 races this season.

Baxter has eight years of experience as a crew chief in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with 157 starts under his belt. He has 10 wins, 44 top fives, 85 top 10s and seven poles. His most recent win was with Kaz Grala in the 2017 Daytona race.

Dippel made his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut earlier this year at Eldora Speedway, finishing third in his qualifying race and 13th in the main event.

His racing career began on dirt when he was 7-years old. He earned his first National Championship at the age of 10 and went on to be named the youngest Northeast Dirt Big Block Modified winner at 14. He has won four track championships.

Currently, the 18-year-old competes in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. He has earned one win, six top fives and nine top 10s in 13 starts this season. He has 40 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East starts in over three years with two wins total, nine top-five finishes and 21 top 10s. He also has eight ARCA Racing Series starts under his belt, earning two top fives and three 10s.

Sheldon Creed will also climb behind the wheel of a GMS Racing truck for the remainder of the 2018 season. He will pilot the No. 28 Chevrolet Silverado for the last four races of the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season with GMS. His first race will be at Martinsville at the end of October. He is currently racing full-time in the ARCA Series and fighting for a championship.

Creed's racing career includes two championships in Stadium Super Trucks as well as winning a gold medal in the 2015 X-Games in Austin, Texas.

Creed went from there to stock car racing and continued to race in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West and East, ARCA, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and some Trans Am Series races. Creed has a lot of knowledge on dirt track racing, so it makes sense that his three previous starts in the Truck Series all came at Eldora Speedway. He has been racing full-time in the ARCA Series, gathering three wins, four poles, 14 top fives and 16 top 10s in 18 races.

Creed also raced in the K&N Pro Series West race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway dirt track where he qualified sixed and ended up winning the race.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Etc.

Doubling up at 'Dega Something interesting to note about the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Talladega is that of the 12 races run, there have only been eight different winners at the track. Four drivers have won twice at the Talladega. They are Todd Bodine, Kyle Busch, Parker Kligerman and Timothy Peters. Of those four drivers, Kligerman is the only driver that didn't win back-to-back.

If Johnny Sauter or Grant Enfinger win at Talladega, they will be the fifth driver to win two or more races.

Winner Winner: There have been nine different race winners in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series this season out of a total of 18 races. Johnny Sauter has won five races, Brett Moffitt has won four and Justin Haley has won two. Of the 18 races run this year, Moffitt is the only driver who has come back to win after starting 10th or worse. He started 10th in Atlanta and came back to win the race. He started 16th in Iowa and started 21st in Michigan. Every other driver who has won in 2018 has started from inside the top 10. The most recent race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway has the most cautions of any race with 11. And, in Pocono, there were only two cautions, the least of any race this year. Chevrolet has won eight races, Toyota has won seven and Ford has won three.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Talladega Quick Facts
Track Length: 2.66 miles
Race Length: 94 laps, 250.4 miles
Grandstand Seating Capacity: 80,000 +
Degree of Banking in Corners: 33 degrees
Degree of Banking on Straights: Front - 16.5 degrees; Back - 2 degrees
Length of Frontstretch: 4,300 feet
Length of Backstretch: 4,000 feet
Most Wins: 2
Most Poles: 1
Most Top Fives: 4
Most Top 10s: 5
Most Lead Changes: 29
Fewest Lead Changes: 12
Most Leaders: 13
Fewest Leaders: 8
Most Cautions: 7
Fewest Cautions: 4
Closest Margin of Victory: 0.002 seconds
Greatest Margin of Victory: 0.143 seconds

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