Christopher Bell has been the man to beat throughout the 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season and with a place in the Round of Six already locked down, the Kyle Busch Motorsports driver will roll off first in Saturday’s Fred’s 250 at Talladega, which will be a playoff elimination race for his fellow drivers not yet locked in.
After Saturday’s race, the current eight driver playoff field will be cut down to six. Bell and Ben Rhodes are already locked in, but the final four spots are still up for grabs.
Bell laid down the fastest time in the first round and backed it up in the final round with a lap of 53.165 seconds, 180.118 mph, to score his fourth pole of the season. He will be joined on the front row by defending series champion Johnny Sauter.
Stewart Friesen, Justin Haley, Chase Briscoe, Austin Cindric, Ryan Truex, Noah Gragson, Myatt Snider, Rhodes, Matt Crafton, and Kaz Grala round out the top-12, with seven of those spots going to playoff drivers.
While Grala qualified 12th, the team had engine trouble in the final round of qualifying, forcing them to have to change engines and relegating Grala to the back of the pack for the start of the race. Entering the race, Grala sits seventh in points, eight points under the cut-off line.
Other notables in the starting line-up include defending race winner Grant Enfinger in 13th, Parker Kligerman in 14th, and John Hunter Nemechek in 15th, the lowest of the playoff drivers.