The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, like NASCAR’s two other national divisions (Xfinith and Sprint Cup), will close out its 2015 race season at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The Ford EcoBoost 200 Truck Series season-finale is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET Friday night and will be shown live on FOX Sports 1.
Erik Jones is in charge of the Camping World Truck Series championship battle, so to speak, heading into the final race of the season with a 19-point lead in the championship points standings. NASCAR Statistical Services, though, also consider second-place driver Tyler Reddick a championship contender. No matter which driver wins the championship for 2015, a new record will be set, as either driver as champ would be the youngest champion in Truck Series history. Jones will be 19 years, five months and 21 days old, while Reddick will be 19 years, 10 months and nine days old. The still-current record is held by Austin Dillon, who was crowned Camping World Truck Series champion at the age of 21 years, six months and 22 days in 2011.
“It’s nice to have a cushion, for sure,” Jones said. “It’s way better than going into the race and leading by three points or five points, so it’s fortunate we are in a situation where we don’t have to win the race, we don’t have to run top-five, and we don’t even, really, have to run top-10. I think it’s going to be somewhat conservative of an approach, but I don’t think we need to change our approach by a whole lot. Obviously, Homestead, the big risk for anybody is getting up into the fence, the way you get around that place. But I think most of the day, we’ll just concentrate on not ever really getting up by the wall. I think as long as we don’t do that, we can probably run seventh or eighth and be pretty comfortable most of the day and close this deal out.”
With his 19-point lead, the 2015 Camping World Truck Series title is Jones’ to lose. He’ll claim his first NASCAR national-level championship on Friday night if he finishes 15th or better Friday night, regardless of Reddick’s result at Homestead-Miami. That necessary finish drops to 16th or better if Jones leads at least one lap, or 17th or better if he leads the most laps.
“We’re going to Homestead to win the race and lead every single lap in the Stoney Creek Records Ford F-150,” Reddick said. “That’s all we can do. Homestead is just a fun race track. I love that it’s a traditional oval with two really straight straightaways and two symmetrical corners. You can drive it off down into turn one and you’re going downhill and you drive up the back straightaway, and you can just drive it in as hard as you want into turn three and it sticks real good when the tires are new. There’s so much room around that race track, and that makes for exciting racing.”
One related stat worth mentioning — Jones has only finished lower than 15th one this season. He finished 23rd at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Ill., near St. Louis. Friday night’s race will be his first-career start at Homestead. Reddick, though, did race in last year’s season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He finished sixth.