The next-to-the-last race in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) is this Friday, Nov. 8 at 8 p.m. ET at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) and the championship battle is just heating up.
Matt Crafton leads the points by 46 over James Buescher. Buescher is closely followed by Ty Dillon and Johnny Sauter is in the fourth place spot 74 points out of first.
Crafton has been driving in the NCWTS for 13 years and it could be this race at Phoenix that clinches the title for the racer. All Crafton has to do with finish at least 18th at Phoenix and at Homestead. He will drive the No. 88 Splash/Menards Toyota Tundra this Friday.
“Phoenix is definitely a tough place to get ahold of and when you look at the current configuration — I’ve only raced (a complete race) on it once,” Crafton said with a chuckle. “The old track was always a big favorite of mine because I knew it like the back of my hand, and that’s kind of funny because the new racetrack isn’t a ton different. But like I said, it’s a very difficult place to get a handle on, because both corners are so dramatically different.”
Buescher will be taking the No. 31 Rheem truck to PIR and he stated that he’s looking forward to proving himself there.
“My whole Rheem team is heading into Phoenix with nothing to lose. We are continuing with our never-give-up attitude and looking to get that checkered flag. We are bringing our Iowa truck with us and I think we’ll have great shot at accomplishing our goal.”
He remains winless in three attempts at PIR.
New Castle, Indiana native, Dakoda Armstrong, will be making his first run at Phoenix in his rookie season.
“When I raced at Phoenix in the USAC Midgets, all I remember was how fast the track felt for how small it is. It’s important to stay on your toes during this race because things happen so fast, especially since they repaved it. My crew chief, Richie Wauters, has had a lot of great runs and a win at Phoenix on his resume, so I know he’ll bring me a fast WinField Silverado and has the experience to help get us a good finish.”
Can Crafton handle the heat at Phoenix or will Buescher put out the flame? The answer will be decided when the checkered flag flies Friday night.