By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
The dreams of a championship for two more NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers came to an end at Phoenix International Raceway. The Lucas Oil 150 final elimination race before the Championship Round at Homestead Miami Speedway.
William Byron entered the final race in the Round of Six just five-points ahead the Chase cutoff. Byron was fastest in the first practice, and 13th fastest in the final practice. In qualifying, he was able to put his No. 9 Liberty University Toyota Tundra on the pole. Byron also set a new track record in all three rounds of qualifying.
Byron was leading the race when his truck began to develop mechanical issues. As he attempted to nurse his dominant truck to the finish, the engine failed, just nine laps before the checkered flag waved. After leading 112 laps of the 150 lap race, Byron ended up 27th, and 10-points away from moving on to Homestead.
Ben Kennedy entered Phoenix 13-points behind the Chase cutoff. Kennedy was 15th in the first practice, and 12th fastest in the final practice. In qualifying, he put his No. 33 Jacob Companies Chevrolet Silverado 18th on the starting grid.
Kennedy had a relatively uneventful race. After avoiding several incidents, he finished ninth, 16-points behind the Chase cut-off.
Kennedy was frustrated he was not moving on to Homestead, but was happy to be a part of the Chase.
“This round was frustrating. Tonight was frustrating. At the same time, it was really neat to be a part of this Chase, and to make it this far into the Chase. I mean we made it to the last race before Homestead. We just missed it tonight. We missed it on all three races this round. We were strong the first round.”
“There’s no reason to hang our heads low. We’ll go on to Homestead and try to run for a victory there. Thank you to this Jacob Companies team. It’s been a cool experience.”
After Daniel Suarez played the role of spoiler at Phoenix, both Byron and Kennedy will look to make it two non-Chasers winning in a row when the series goes to Homestead-Miami Speedway for the Ford EcoBoost 200.