With the Sprint Cup and The Nationwide Series‘ all but wrapped up, The only big question this weekend is the trucks. Points leader, James Buescher rolls into South Beach with an eleven point lead, over his nearest competitor, but when the green flag drops on the Ford EcoBoost200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway Friday evening, there will be five trucks with a chance to win it all.
Just twice since the season finale shifted to South Florida in 2002 has the points lead changed hands in the final event. Travis Kvapil is the only third-ranked driver to advance to the title, leap-frogging Ted Musgrave and leader Brendan Gaughan in 2003. Ron Hornaday Jr.made up a 29-point deficit to catch Mike Skinner in 2007. Jack Sprague is the only other second-place driver to prevail in the finale, edging Greg Biffle in 1999.
With five competitors mathematically in contention for the championship, however, anything’s possible – including a replay of 2003 when all four contenders held the theoretical points lead at various stages of the event, which turned on Musgrave being penalized for jumping a crucial, late-race restart.
The 22 year old driver from Plano Texas couldn’t put any distance on his persuers after taking the points lead in Martinsville, with 11th and 17th place finishes at Texas and Phoenix respectfully. Now with the 11 point lead, clearly has veteran driver Timothy Peters and Sunoco rookie Ty Dillon in his rear view mirror only 12 back and looking to give his Granddad Richard Childress a NCTS trophy for Christmas.
Joey Coulter and Parker Kligerman are not yet mathematically eliminated, but 29, and 37 points back, their chances are not realistic at this point. Unless there is giant accident taking the big three out, I don’t see them with much of hope left. Buescher, can clinch the title by finishing seventh with no laps led, eighth with one or more laps led and ninth with the most laps led.
James Buescher has had a nice season with four wins in his Turner Motorsports Chevy, with his latest coming in Kentucky. He has also finished in the top 5 ten times, and top 10, 14 times. He has only had two races in the 2012 season where he actually finished out of the top 20. He had some problems in Iowa, where he finished 30th in the American Ethanol 200, and he came in 22nd at Charlotte.
He won the Drive4COPD 300 in the Nationwide series at Daytona in February.
Timothy Peters has also had a nice season where he led the Camping World Truck Series points for most of the spring. His first finish out of the top ten came in week seven at the WinStar World Casino 400 in June, he didn’t have another one until week 11. During that 11 week stretch, he picked up the first of two wins on the season at Iowa where he started from the pole. His other win came at Kentucky in August.
After a little lull in late August and early September, he finished strong with a fourth place finish last week in Phoenix that put back in the championship picture, and Buescher’s mirror.
Ty Dillon is only one point back of Peters, and 13 behind the leader. The NCTS Rookie has had a very nice year,with seven top 5 finishes , and a whooping 17 top tens. He had one win this year in the #3 Chevy truck which came at Atlanta in the Jeff Foxworthy Grit Chips 200. He nutted up and kept Kyle Busch from taking the Checkered flag and denied him his first win of the season.
The Ford EcoBoost 200 should get the green flag around 8PM Eastern on Friday evening, with the broadcast on the Speed Channel starting at 7:30. This should be a great race and a fitting end to a great season.
Follow Me on Twitter @Spin_47