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NASCAR National Series News & Notes - Martinsville Speedway

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Next Race: First Data 500
The Place: Martinsville Speedway
The Date: Sunday, October 28
The Time: 2:30 p.m. ET
TV: NBCSN, 1:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 263 miles (500 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 130),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 260), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 500)

NASCAR Xfinity Series
Next Race: O'Reilly Auto Parts 300
The Place: Texas Motor Speedway
The Date: Saturday, November 3
The Time: 4:30 p.m. ET
TV: NBCSN, 4 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 300 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: Texas Roadhouse 200
The Place: Martinsville Speedway
The Date: Saturday, October 27
The Time: 1 p.m. ET
TV: FS1, 12:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 105.2 miles (200 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 50),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 100), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 200)

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick Tangled Atop The Standings

The thrill and competitive tension for this year's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship doesn't get much tighter than this.

The two season-long top trophy contenders - Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick - are separated by a single point as the series heads into Sunday's First Data 500 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) to start the final three-race Round of 8 that sets up the championship finale. Busch retook the points lead from Harvick with his runner-up finish Sunday at Kansas and holds a 37-point edge on eighth place Aric Almirola - the final member of the championship-eligible field.

A win this round automatically earns a driver a position in the Championship 4 for the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. And despite each driver's seven-victory total and sizable points advantage, Busch and Harvick would still like to head to the grand finale with another win in the season's final weeks.

Busch has a pair of victories at this week's Martinsville venue, including this race last year when he led 184 of the 505 laps. It's been five races since his last victory (at Richmond) of 2018. He's led multiple laps in only two of the six Playoff races.

It's been 10 races since Harvick's last win (at Michigan) - the longest time between wins for him this year. He has led laps in five of the opening six Playoff events and started from the front row three times. He's still looking for his first Playoff victory of 2018, however. His best post-season showing was a runner-up - to Busch - at Richmond.

Tale Of The Tape

The notoriously tough Martinsville half-miler has been the scene of two different recent resumes for the two championship leaders, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick.

Busch is not only the defending winner of this fall race, but finished runner-up in both the 2017 and 2018 spring races at the track. He has finished in the top five in the last six races at Martinsville - winning two and finishing second in two.

He's led more than 100 laps in three of those races - 352 laps in his 2016 spring victory, 274 laps in in last spring's runner-up showing and 184 laps in winning this Playoff race last year. In all, he's led 1,324 career laps at Martinsville compared to Harvick's 628 laps led.

Harvick's only win in 34 Martinsville starts was in the spring of 2011 while he was still driving for Richard Childress Racing (RCR). His best showing with his current Stewart-Haas Racing team was fifth, where he's finished the last two races. He hasn't led a lap at the track since April, 2016. However, it's worth noting, Harvick finished 33rd in the Martinsville Playoff race in 2014 and still won the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship.

Truex Still On Path To Repeat

Although Martin Truex Jr. is still very much in the thick of the championship conversation, the defending champ would like to tally a victory in this round to ensure his place among the Championship 4. But he has a little work to do - he did not lead a single lap during the second round of the Playoffs - his last time out front was the final corner of the last lap of the Charlotte Road Course before he tangled with Jimmie Johnson.

Last year, for perspective, Truex had already led 2,068 of his 2,253 laps completed by this point in the season. This year he's led 970 laps.

Truex is looking for his first career win at Martinsville but has three top-10s in his last five races at the venerable half-miler. He's led 193 of his career 244 laps led in the last five races there. He finished runner-up last year on the road to his championship and won the pole position this spring before finishing fourth.

"We just know we have to be better," Truex said "[Crew Chief] Cole (Pearn) knows it and Jazzy (engineer Jeff Curtis) knows it. The Playoffs haven't been good to us this year and we've really battled a lot of adversity, especially in the second round.

"I thought we could have won the first three Playoff races and then the last three haven't been as good as it needed to be. Hopefully the next three we'll step it back up. We had a lot of things work against us in the second round. With that said, to be able to move on with all those troubles I feel like we're fortunate. We need to fix those problems, make our own luck and figure out how to run better."

Chase-ing A Title

With his win Sunday at Kansas Speedway, Chase Elliott is now the only multi-Playoff race winner this season. He's moved into the fourth position in the standings, just behind the season's "Big 3" and appears to be poised for a real run at the championship.

His average Playoff finish of 13.1 is third-best among the top four drivers - Kyle Busch (12.6), Harvick (16.0) and Truex (10.5). Eliminate the Talladega Superspeedway "wild card" - where all four drivers finished 23rd or worse - and Elliott's 9.6 average in the other five Playoff races is second only to Truex. The defending Monster Energy Series champion has an impressive 8.0 average finish - minus Talladega.

Of the "Big 3," only Busch (Richmond) has won a Playoff race.

The next three tracks - Martinsville, Texas Motor Speedway and ISM Raceway in Phoenix - look promising for Elliott. He claims to be a big Martinsville Speedway fan and has two top-10 finishes in five starts there. He led 123 laps in last fall's Playoff race but finished 27th. Elliott scored his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series win at Texas Motor Speedway and has four top-10s in five Monster Energy Series starts there, with a best showing of fourth in the fall of his 2016 rookie year.

The Phoenix oval - newly named ISM Raceway - has been one of Elliott's best venues. Although he hasn't won there, he has four top-10s in five starts and finished 12th in the other. He's finished second (fall, 2017) and third (spring, 2018) in the last two races there. The track will debut a complete remodel in November.

Bowyer Looking To Go Back-to-Back

Not only did Stewart-Haas Racing driver Clint Bowyer advance to the Round of 8, he genuinely likes his chances at the tracks which will set the championship's Championship 4. Bowyer won the most recent race at this week's Martinsville venue, leading a race-best 215 laps en route to the first of two victories for the No. 14 Ford this season.

Bowyer has three top-10s in the last three Martinsville races, including a third place in last year's Playoff race.

He trails Elliott by only three points - and is technically tied with Joey Logano and SHR teammate Kurt Busch in the standings.

"I am way more comfortable on the short tracks," Bowyer said. "If I can put together Martinsville and Phoenix like I am capable of and run Texas like we are capable of, I think we can be in Homestead [for the winner-take-all championship finale]."

Looking To Make The Cut

Even with only three races remaining to set the final championship field, the four drivers currently on the outside of the cutoff are still keeping the competition close.

Fourth place Chase Elliott holds only a three-point advantage over this spring's Martinsville winner Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano and Kurt Busch. Aric Almirola - the only driver among the four to win a Playoff race - is eighth, 12 points behind Elliott in the final cutoff position.

Busch is the winningest driver at Martinsville among them, with a pair of victories. His last trophy, however, came in the spring of 2014 - which is also his last top-10 at the track. He's only led laps in five of the past 23 races - and not since the fall of 2015.

Logano - who like Bowyer and Busch is three points behind Elliott - is winless at the track in 19 starts. He has won four Busch pole positions, including last year when he also led 59 laps of the race but ultimately finished 24th. He has three top-10 finishes in the last four races, including a sixth place this March.

In the Playoffs, Logano has been a model of consistency with five top-10s in six races. And now he is the lone Penske Racing Ford still championship-eligible with his two teammates Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney eliminated from contention after Kansas.

The final championship-eligible driver, Almirola, sits 12 points behind fourth-place Elliott. The Talladega Playoff race winner has only three top-10 finishes in 19 starts at Martinsville. His best finish was fourth in the fall of 2012. His last top-10 was eighth in 2014 - nine races ago. He was 14th in the spring.

Looking To Play Spoiler

Even with all the playoff excitement and anticipation headed into Martinsville Speedway, it's a pair of drivers who fell out of championship contention who boast the best records at the track.

Seven-time Monster Energy Series champion Jimmie Johnson, who was eliminated after the opening round of the Playoffs, is currently on a career-long winless streak of 55 races. He's never gone a full season without winning since his fulltime debut in 2002. So perhaps no one is looking forward to Sunday's race at Martinsville Speedway more than Johnson, who leads all current drivers with nine wins there.

Johnson has an amazing 24 top-10 finishes in 33 starts and his average finish is a series-best 7.9 His driver rating of 114.6 is tops in the field as well - nearly 10 points better than the next best - 106.3 belonging to Denny Hamlin.

Hamlin, who also was eliminated from Playoff competition in the opening round, owns the next-highest Martinsville win total (five) among active drivers. He has 18 top-10 finishes in 25 Martinsville starts. He also is looking to snap a losing streak. His last Monster Energy Series victory was Sept. 3, 2017, at Darlington.

Keeping Good Company

In scoring his third victory of the season last week at Kansas, Chase Elliott joins a long list of highly-esteemed group of drivers that won their first three races in the same season.

The list includes 26 drivers, headed by NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Glen Wood, who both scored their first three wins in the 1960 season. Fellow Hall of Famers David Pearson followed them with three trophies in 1961 and Bobby Allison in 1966.

Cup champions Bobby Labonte (1995), Jimmie Johnson (2002) and Tony Stewart (1999) are on the list, as are former Cup champ Kurt Busch (2002) and Carl Edwards (2005), who actually won their first four races in that season.

Jeff Burton (1997) and Geoff Bodine (1984) also won their first three races in one season and for Bodine, his first win at Martinsville in 1984 was also the first ever for the legendary Hendrick Motorsports organization.

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Xfinity Playoffs Standings Scrambled Following Kansas

Just when it looked like a few clear-cut favorites were starting to emerge in this season's NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs, last weekend's race at Kansas Speedway to open the Round of 8 took the championship standings and turned them on their head. Now the series pumps the brakes and rolls into its final off-week, a perfect time for Playoff contenders to gather themselves before the final three races of the season starting with the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway (Nov. 3 at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBC, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Going into the Xfinity Playoff's Round of 8 prior to Kansas, the top two drivers in the championship standings were series points leader Christopher Bell, who had just won two races in the opening round of the Playoffs (Richmond and Dover), and Justin Allgaier, the regular season champion, standing second in the points. Both were full of confidence and bolstered hefty point gaps on the rest of the Playoff challengers, but all that changed when a multi-car incident on Lap 1 at Kansas collected four Playoff drivers - Christopher Bell, Justin Allgaier, Cole Custer and Austin Cindric. The result? Playoff standings chaos with just two races left to decide the Championship 4.

Christopher Bell and Justin Allgaier's points advantage everyone thought could waltz them into the Championship 4 have vanished, and now Bell finds himself fourth in the Playoff standings, just one point ahead of fifth place Matt Tifft - in the first spot outside the Championship 4. Allgaier's plummet in the points was even worse, dropping from second to sixth, outside the top four positions to move on to the Championship 4. Allgaier is now five points back from fourth-place Christopher Bell and 15 points behind his JR Motorsports teammate Tyler Reddick in third.

Following the race at Kansas, all eight NASCAR Xfinity Playoff drivers are now within 56 points of each other with two races left - Texas and ISM Raceway - to decide who makes it to the Championship 4 and race for the title in Homestead-Miami.

JR Motorsports Teammates Sadler & Reddick Capitalized In Kansas

Two drivers who capitalized on the misfortunes of the four Playoff drivers caught in the early incident at Kansas were JR Motorsports teammates Elliott Sadler and Tyler Reddick, soaring from outside the Championship 4 cutoff prior to Kansas to now first and third in the Playoff standings, respectively, following a 10-point post-race penalty assessed to Daniel Hemric.

Veteran Elliott Sadler hasn't missed making the Championship 4 since the elimination-style Playoff format was introduced in 2016, and currently he is in position to make it for the third consecutive season. Sadler has made the announcement he will be hanging up his gloves at year's end and has made it clear he wants one last shot at the title. Sadler has been his usual successful self on track this season, amounting 14 top fives, 23 top 10s and an average finish of 8.6.

Sadler's Playoff performance hasn't been up to his normal consistency though, putting up just one top five and two top 10s in the first four races of the postseason; including his third-place finish this past weekend at Kansas.

Reddick, on the other hand, is in the midst of his Sunoco rookie campaign and is putting together impressive numbers. The California kid has gathered one win (Daytona), five top fives and 17 top 10s. And it has been his steadiness in the Playoffs that has put him in this position - having posted three top 10s in the first four races.

Hemric Rising To Title Contention

Richard Childress Racing's Daniel Hemric will regroup heading into this final off-weekend of the season as the North Carolina native had catapulted himself into the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff standings lead following Kansas, but this week was assessed a 10-point post-race penalty dropping him back to second. Now he is just 13 points ahead of fifth place Matt Tifft in the Playoff standings - the first position outside the Championship 4.

Hemric is looking to make the Championship 4 for the second consecutive season before he makes his transition to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series next season. Hemric's 2018 Xfinity campaign has been impressive, collecting 14 top fives and 20 top 10s - both are career-highs. The 27-year old has also produced a solid average finish of 9.3.

But Hemric has managed to step up his game for the postseason, posting four-straight top-10 finishes and two poles; including a runner-up finish last weekend at Kansas Speedway - his third on the season.

Tifft Looking To Make The Cut

No one wants to be the odd man out, but currently Richard Childress Racing's Matt Tifft is fifth in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff standings, just one point behind fourth-place Christopher Bell - who holds the final Championship 4 transfer spot with just two races left to decide who is moving on to the next round.

Heading into Kansas, Tifft was nowhere near the Championship 4 cutoff in the standings back in seventh, a difficult 41 points behind the series standings lead. But Tifft managed to put together a solid run at Kansas, finishing sixth, and as a result leap frogged two spots to fifth, one point out of possibly making the Championship 4. Tifft's 2018 season has been a vast improvement over his rookie season, amassing five top fives, 16 top 10s and an average finish of 13.2.

Tifft has a good chance to make the Championship 4 this season if he continues to put up these numbers in the next two races. In 2016, JR Motorsports driver Justin Allgaier was fifth in the standings, one point behind fourth-place Blake Koch heading into ISM Raceway, and raced his way into the Championship 4.

Then last season, Daniel Hemric was seventh in the standings, 18-points back from the cutoff heading into the final race of the Round of 8 (ISM Raceway), and raced his way into the Championship 4.

Tifft's postseason has been solid thus far, posting three top 10s in the first four races.

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

Sunoco Rookie Of The Year Update: Reddick Takes Standings Lead - For most of the season, Christopher Bell has run away with the NASCAR Xfinity Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings lead, but last weekend's early race incident at Kansas that collected Bell and three other Playoff contenders has vaulted JR Motorsports' Tyler Reddick to the rookie points lead. With just three races left in the season, the two are just 10 points apart as they vie for the season-ending honors.

Tyler Reddick's rookie season has seen one win (Daytona), five top fives and 17 top 10s. He has also produced an average finish of 13.9 and finished in the top-10 in three of his first four Playoff races this season.

Chip Ganassi Racing Grabs Owner Standings Lead - A total of 30 races into the season and the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Chevrolet team currently sits in the NASCAR Xfinity Series owner standings lead, 50 points ahead of the No. 1 JR Motorsports Chevrolet team in second place and 51 points ahead of the No. 21 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet team. Ganassi took the lead following the No. 42 team's sixth win of the season, thanks to the leadership of crew chief Mike Shiplett. Three different drivers have won in the No. 42 this season, two of them for the first-time in the series - Kyle Larson (four wins), Ross Chastain (one win) and John Hunter Nemechek (one win).

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

And Then There Were Six

Two weeks ago, the Round of 8 for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs ended at Talladega Superspeedway. It was one for the books as the only two drivers who were officially locked into the Round of 6 were GMS Racing's Justin Haley and ThorSport Racing's Grant Enfinger. Haley won at the Playoff opener at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Enfinger won at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

But, Timothy Peters, a non-Playoff driver, took home the victory in a wild finish at Talladega.

Haley was the highest-finishing Playoff driver in fourth, Stewart Friesen finished sixth, Noah Gragson finished 13th, Ben Rhodes finished 16th, Brett Moffitt in 17th, Enfinger in 19th, Johnny Sauter in 22nd and Matt Crafton finished in 26th.

Rhodes and Friesen didn't make the cut for the Round of 6, leaving Haley, Enfinger, Sauter, Moffitt, Gragson and Crafton as the remaining Playoff contenders in the hunt for the championship.

This was Rhodes' second appearance in the Playoffs and Friesen's first.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoff contenders will return to action and once again do battle on the historic short track of Martinsville Speedway on Saturday, October 27 for the Texas Roadhouse 200 (at 1 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Winners List at Martinsville

Up next for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs is Martinsville Speedway, a track at which veterans Johnny Sauter and Matt Crafton shine.

Currently, Sauter is the winningest active driver at Martinsville, but if Crafton can pull off a win next weekend, he will tie him on that list.

And Noah Gragson has the opportunity to not only secure his spot in the next round of the Playoffs but to also put his name on the list of multi-race winners at Martinsville.

Sauter has won at Martinsville three times in his career and has eight top fives and 11 top 10s in 21 starts. Crafton has made 33 starts at Martinsville, the most of any driver, posting two wins, nine top fives and 19 top 10s.

Gragson's first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win was at this race in 2017, his second appearance in the series at the track. At the time, Gragson was not in the Playoffs.

John Hunter Nemechek, although not a Playoff driver, also has the opportunity to add his name to the list of multi-race Martinsville winners. Nemechek won at Martinsville Speedway earlier this season. Dennis Setzer is the only driver to have ever won back-to-back races.

There are seven multi-race winners at the track in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series history (Kevin Harvick, Sauter, Setzer, Mike Skinner, Crafton, Denny Hamlin and Bubba Wallace).

Harvick, Sauter, Setzer and Skinner all have three wins and Crafton, Hamlin and Wallace each have two.

Playoff Drivers' Paperclip Performances

Below is a look at the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoff drivers as the series readies for its next Playoff stop at Martinsville Speedway.

Johnny Sauter has 21 starts at Martinsville with eight top-five finishes and 11 top-10 finishes. He has led 431 laps and has only one DNF. His wins were in 2011, where he also started from the pole, 2013 and 2016. He has not started outside of the top 10 in the last five races. Sauter has completed 4,536 of 4,776 laps.

Brett Moffitt will head to Martinsville for only the third time of his career. He has one top five and two top 10s under his belt. In 2017, he started in 15th and advanced to finish in sixth. Earlier this season, he started seventh and finished third.

Noah Gragson has seen success at the track. Gragson has three starts at Martinsville, where he has completed all 700 laps and led 10 of them. He won this fall race in 2017 after starting fifth. Earlier this season, he started 11th and finished fifth at Martinsville. Gragson has never finished outside the top-five on the famous short track.

Grant Enfinger has four starts at Martinsville Speedway. His best start and finish came earlier this season when he started third and finished fourth. He has one top five and one top 10. Enfinger has gotten significantly better over time at Martinsville, finishing 20th in 2011, 17th and 12th in 2017 and fourth in 2018.

Justin Haley has five starts at Martinsville with one top-10 finish. Haley's first two starts ended with crashes, but he had his best finish earlier this season (10th).

Matt Crafton has the most starts of any driver at Martinsville with 33. He has two wins, nine top fives and 19 top 10s. In addition, Crafton has completed 7,365 of 7,536 laps attempted and led 385.

Timothy Peters Back Behind Wheel Again

A familiar face will be on the track this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. Timothy Peters is set to drive the No. 23 Chevrolet for GMS Racing. This will be his fourth race with the team. Peters, 38, won the series' most recent race at Talladega Superspeedway for GMS.

Peters got his first Truck Series win at Martinsville in 2009 and he won a couple of late model races as well. With Peters behind the wheel of a GMS truck, that makes it the sixth entry for the team.

Peters, is from Danville, Virginia, so going back to his home track is something special. He competed full-time in the Truck Series from 2009-2016 and finished top five in points in five of the eight seasons. He also won 10 races.

Ankrum, Benjamin to Drive for DGR-Crosley at Martinsville

DGR-Crosley announced that the newly crowned NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Champion Tyler Ankrum will drive for the team in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Martinsville Speedway for the Texas Roadhouse 200 on Saturday, October 27 (1 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Ankrum will be behind the wheel of the No. 54 May's Hawaii Toyota Tundra for his Truck Series debut.

His debut will come only three weeks after he was crowned the 2018 K&N East Champ. At only 17-years-old, he scored four wins, nine top fives and finished outside of the top-10 in only two races. He led almost 300 laps during the season and had an average finish of 4.8.

Ankrum will have a lot of familiar people around him in Martinsville. His crew chief, Seth Smith, and other members of his K&N East team will work on his truck this weekend. Ankrum has one start at Martinsville in 2014 when he raced Late Model Stock Cars.

DGR-Crosley also announced this week that Kyle Benjamin is also set to drive for them in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Texas Roadhouse 200 at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday. He will pilot the No. 17 Crosley Brands Toyota Tundra in his second start at the track - and in the Truck Series.

His first was earlier this year at Martinsville where he started fourth and finished second. The 23-year-old has 23 starts in the ARCA Racing Series under his belt with three wins and nine top fives. He's competed in 33 NASCAR K&N Pro Series races and accumulated five wins and 15 top-five finishes. His most recent national series stints have been in the NASCAR Xfinity Series where he earned an eighth-place finish at Atlanta, a third-place finish at Iowa Speedway and a 13th-place finish at Mid-Ohio.

Jeb Burton to Pilot No. 30 Toyota Tundra

On Point Motorsports announced that Jeb Burton will drive the No. 30 Toyota Tundra in Saturday's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway. This will be On Point Motorsports' fourth start in the series as a new NASCAR Camping World Truck Series organization.

Burton will make his 52nd career start in the Truck Series and his seventh at Martinsville. He has a pole and a pair of third-place finishes in the 2013 season. Burton also has two starts in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Martinsville.

Burton's most recent race in the series was at Chicagoland. He was involved in a crash that caused him to finish 34th. Prior to that, Burton raced at Richmond and Dover, finishing 12th in both races. Burton has one career win, seven top fives, 19 top 10s and seven poles. All seven of his poles came in the 2013 season, when he also had his first win.

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

GMS Racing announced 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 pilot the No. 28 Chevrolet Silverado for the last four races of the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season with GMS. He raced full-time in the ARCA Series, winning the championship this season.

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.

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.

With Four to Go, No Track is the Same

There are only four races left in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs before a champion is crowned at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, and each event will pose its own special challenges for the competitors.

Martinsville Speedway is the shortest track on the circuit. It is a 0.52-mile asphalt/concrete oval with 12-degrees of banking in the corners and an 800-foot frontstretch and backstretch.

Texas Motor Speedway is a 1.5-mile asphalt oval with 20-degrees of banking in Turns 1 and 2, and 24-degrees of banking in Turns 3 and 4.

ISM Raceway, the second-to-last track the series will visit, is a 1-mile dogleg oval in Avondale, Arizona. ISM also marks the last cutoff race and has been recently renovated with the start-finish line moved in between Turns 1 and 2.

And lastly, Homestead-Miami Speedway is a 1.5-mile, four-turn oval with 18-20-degrees of progressive banking in the corners. The series will hold its season finale at the Miami facility with the highest finisher of the Championship 4 Playoff drivers to be named the 2018 champion.

Newbies at Martinsville

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series heads to Martinsville Speedway this week and some of the drivers entered will be heading there for the first time of their career.

They are: Ray Ciccarelli, Sheldon Creed, Brad Foy, Tanner Thorson, Tyler Dippel, Chad Finley, Landon Huffman, Christian Eckes, Tyler Ankrum and Chase Purdy.

This is Ciccarelli's third race of the season and Sheldon Creed's second. Foy will make his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut this weekend.

This is Thorson's eighth race in the Truck Series this year and Dippel's second. Finley will hit the track for the third time of his career, as will Eckes.

Huffman is making his 2018 debut at Martinsville, he ran twice in 2017. Ankrum and Purdy will both be making the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debuts.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Etc.

Battle of the Owners: GMS Racing is currently leading the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series owner standings following Talladega. GMS' No. 21 has remained in the lead for most of the season and the Playoffs. In second place is Hattori Racing's No. 16, 16 points behind first place. In third place is Kyle Busch Motorsports' No. 18, only 17 points behind the leader. ThorSport Racing is sitting in fourth place with its No. 98 truck, 24 points behind the leader and GMS Racing rounds out the top five with the No. 24. Kyle Busch Motorsports has the most winning trucks at Martinsville Speedway with six.

Who Ya Got? Last year, a Playoff driver won four of the seven Playoff races. The other three races were won by drivers not in the Playoffs. So far this season, three of the four races have been won by Playoff drivers. In the last two years, a non-Playoff driver also won the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Martinsville Manufacturer Success: There have been 39 races at Martinsville Speedway in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Fifteen of those races have been won by a Toyota, 14 by Chevrolet, five by Ford and five by Dodge. In the last five races, Chevrolet won three times and Toyota won two. Earlier this year, John Hunter Nemechek won in a Chevrolet. Toyota has the longest winning streak of all manufacturers with five wins in a row from 2012 to 2014.

Martinsville Speedway - NASCAR Camping World Truck Series By The Numbers

0.257 - Seconds is the closest margin of victory (4/9/05)
0.52 - Mile track length
4.978 - Seconds is the greatest margin of victory (4/17/99)
1 - Fewest lead changes (10/18/08)
2 - Fewest leaders (4 times, most recently 3/31/12)
3 - Most wins by a driver (4)
4 - Most poles by a driver (Jack Sprague)
8 - Most leaders (3 times, most recently 10/29/11)
10 - Most top fives (Ron Hornaday Jr.)
12 - Degree banking in corners
15 - Most wins by a manufacturer (Toyota)
16 - Most cautions (2 times, most recently 3/29/08)
17 - Most lead changes (3/30/14)
19 - Most top 10s (Matt Crafton)
27 - Most finishers on lead lap (10/22/05)
32 - Fewest caution laps (10/18/03)
87 - Most caution laps (4/1/06)
131.5 - Mile long race
248 - Most laps led by a race winner (3/31/12)
250 - Lap race
800 - Foot frontstretch and backstretch

--- NASCAR ---