By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
One more race, one more opportunity, that is all that Ryan Truex has if he wants to make the 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs. Truex enters TheHouse.com 225 at Chicagoland Speedway just seven points behind the cutoff held by Ben Rhodes.
Truex has one previous start in the Truck Series at Chicagoland where he finished 15th. He also has two starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at the 1.5-mile tri-oval with a best finish of 10th in 2012. Truex’s most recent Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start to date also came at Chicagoland.
Truex is confident that Chicagoland’s old and worn surface will play into his teams’ favor,
“Chicagoland is worn out and bumpy, so it’ll be important to get our Tundra handling through the bumps. Every time I’ve been there, you’ve had to move around at some point in the race and try to find grip, and I’m sure it’ll be the same way Friday night. We’ve had great speed at the last few intermediate races, so I’m looking forward to try and finally get our ADVICS / AISIN Group Toyota in victory lane. We’ve been fast virtually everywhere this season, and these guys have put so much effort in all year. We’re bringing back the truck we had at Pocono and Michigan that was really fast, so I have all the confidence in the world we can have a good night on Friday.”
For Chicagoland, Truex’s crew chief, Scott Zipadelli, is bringing a tried, and tested chassis. The No. 16 ADVICS / AISIN Toyota Tundra team will be utilizing chassis No. 007. In the two previous races this chassis has run, it has finished third and fourth at Pocono and Michigan respectively.
Truex believes that by staying the course that his Hattori Racing Enterprises team will be in position to enter victory lane,
“At the beginning of the season, you just want a shot to compete for a championship, and we have that in front of us. This ADVICS / AISIN Group team has proved we belong in the playoffs all year long. Every race we’ve shown up trying to win, and this week is no different. We’ve had great speed almost every week this year, so we’re going to keep doing what we’ve been doing all season — get stage points, stage wins, and put ourselves in position to win the race.”
Entering Chicagoland, Truex has five top-fives, nine top-10s, and two stage wins. He sits sixth in the Championship Standings before the re-seeding for the Championship. After the re-seeding, Truex is the first driver on the outside looking in.
In the only two practice sessions for Chicagoland, Truex was fifth and 12th fastest. Rhodes who currently has a seven-point advantage over Truex was 10th fastest in both sessions.
Although it is possible for Truex to point his way into the Playoffs if there is a repeat winner, only with a victory can he truly earn a Playoff berth. Now Truex, Zipadelli, and the entire Hattori Racing Enterprises team will race tonight with one goal in mind, win.