Bell, Byron, Truex: 2017 NASCAR Champions

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Bell, Byron, Truex: 2017 NASCAR Champions

Postby Bryce Turner » Sat Nov 18, 2017 1:00 am

Martin Truex Jr. won the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series championship Sunday.

The final race was run at the 1.5-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway in south Florida.

Truex held off Kyle Busch in the closing laps to win the race and the championship. Busch finished second, followed by the other title contenders with Kevin Harvick fourth and Brad Keselowski seventh.

This is the first career championship for Truex, Canadian crew chief Cole Pearn and Denver-based team Furniture Row Racing (FRR).

Truex was the dominant driver throughout the season, especially on 1.5-mile tracks. He had eight wins, 19 top-5s and an average finish of 9.4 in 2017.

It wasn't an easy road for the sentimental favourite. Truex moved from Michael Waltrip Racing to FRR in 2014. The team struggled, finishing 24th in the standings, at a time where Truex faced person struggles with his long-time girlfriend Sherry Pollex battling ovarian cancer.

Pollex has since overcome the cancer, and Truex's team also improved, making it to the championship four the next year.

In 2016, FRR formed an alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing, winning four events that year and finishing 11th in points.

Now, the team celebrating a championship at the sport's top level.

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William Byron won the 2017 NASCAR Xfinity Series championship Saturday.

Byron finished third to clinch the title, following a close battle with Elliott Sadler. Byron was able to clear Ryan Preece late in the race while Sadler couldn't. Contact between Sadler and Preece caused Sadler to drop to an eighth place finish. Other contenders: Justin Allgaier finished 12th, Daniel Hemric 34th (after electrical issues sent him several laps down).

Byron had four wins, 12 top-5s and an average finish of 10.4 this season.

He is the second rookie driver to win the Xfinity championship. The first was Chase Elliott in 2014. Elliott's title was the first drivers championship for JR Motorsports, which took home its second with Byron.

The 19-year-old driver will move up to Cup next season, driving the #24 for Hendrick Motorsports as Elliott's car will switch to #9.

The four cars running for the owners title were different than the four drivers running for the top prize. Teams that had multiple drivers split seat time, including Cup Series regulars, were those in contention. A second place for Sam Hornish Jr. gave Roger Penske the owners championship with the #22 car.

Cole Custer concluded his rookie campaign with his first career Xfinity victory. It is also the first Xfinity win for Stewart-Haas Racing.

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Christopher Bell won the 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship Friday night.

Bell finished second to clinch the title, ahead of fellow contenders Johnny Sauter (third), Austin Cindric (5th) and Matt Crafton (6th).

Bell had five wins, 15 top-5s and an average finish of 5.7 this season. This is his first career Truck Series title in his second full-time campaign.

Bell raced in Canada twice this year, though he had bad luck in both outings. He finished 26th after an engine failure in September's Trucks race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (Mosport). He ran the NASCAR Pinty's Series race at the track in May for 22 Racing, finishing 23rd following brake issues.

This is the second championship for Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM). KBM won the 2015 title with Erik Jones, also in the #4 truck. As a driver, Busch won the 2015 Cup Series championship and is one of the final four in contention for the 2017 title on Sunday.

Chase Briscoe won Friday's race for Brad Keselowski Racing in the team's final event (Keselowski previously announced that the team would shut down after this year so he can work towards a future goal of owning a Cup operation).
Bryce Turner is chief NASCAR correspondent for carnuts.ca.
Bryce Turner
 
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