Since its inception in 2014, the revamped Chase format in the Sprint Cup Series has featured electrifying drama in the season-finale championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Starting in 2016, the same thrill and excitement of the Chase will be implemented in the XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series, marking the first time in NASCAR history that the Championship 4 from each division will compete for their respective crown during Ford Championship Weekend.
On Monday and Tuesday of this week, the top two drivers in 2016 from the XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series—XFINITY Series rookie Erik Jones (three wins) and Camping World Truck Series rookie William Byron (five wins)—headed a lineup of four drivers who took part in a testing session at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Cole Custer, a Camping World Truck Series driver for JR Motorsports and Christopher Bell, a Camping World Truck Series driver for Kyle Busch Motorsports were the other drivers who participated.
“It would feel really good to be the first group to do it in the XFINITY Series,” said Jones on potentially being part of the XFINITY Series Championship 4. “It’s been our goal since the start of the season to make it to that final four, so if we can do that it’ll feel good. Just to have that shot, whether we complete it or not and win the championship, will be great for us.”
“It would be awesome. It’s our goal, especially with the wins this year, that we try to make sure we make it to the final round and are compete for the championship,” said Byron. “This is a tough race track, but hopefully we can get here and have a shot at being one of the final four guys. That would mean the most. That’s what we are preparing for.”
Although testing was abbreviated on Monday due to rain, the drivers found the testing to be extremely beneficial.
“It worked out because we got to see a little bit of everything. We got to see it hot, and then it kind of cooled off with the rain,” said Bell, who won at Gateway Motorsports Park in June, and as a result has qualified for the Camping World Truck Series Chase. “We definitely learned a lot and made ourselves a lot better. I’m excited to get back here. It’s a shame NASCAR only races here once a year because it’s a really cool place.”
The team testing was just a taste of what’s to come later this year when the Championship 4 from each series compete for their national series title at Homestead-Miami Speedway, November 18-20. Tickets to 2016 Ford Championship Weekend are now available and can be purchased by calling (866) 409-RACE (7223) or visiting www.HomesteadMiamiSpeedway.com.