With the top-three drivers separated by just 12 points, Friday's season-finale for the Camping World Truck Series at Homestead-Miami Speedway could be a wild battle for the championship.
James Buescher heads to South Florida with an 11-point lead over Timothy Peters and a 12-point advantage over rookie Ty Dillon. Joey Coulter and Parker Kligerman remain mathematically eligible for the championship, with Coulter trailing Buescher by 29 markers and Kligerman 37.
Buescher had a setback last week at Phoenix, where he finished 17th after blowing a tire and making contact with the wall in the closing laps. He came to Phoenix with a 15-point lead over Dillon.
If Buescher finishes seventh or better at Homestead, he will clinch his first Truck Series championship, regardless of any other driver's performance. Buescher can also be guaranteed the title if he finishes eighth or higher and leads at least one lap or places ninth or better after leading the most laps.
"This team knows what it needs to do," Buescher said. "We've been running great all year long, and I don't expect anything less than great for the last race of the year. We're going to go down to Miami to run our own race, and hopefully, we'll be celebrating a championship when the race is done."
Buescher has finished no better than 12th in his four previous truck races at Homestead.
Peters had trailed Buescher by 25 points, but Peters gained significant ground in the standings after his fourth-place finish at Phoenix.
"It feels good to be in this position," he said. "We've got a shot, and that's all we can ask for."
Dillon finished 15th at Phoenix after he was caught up in one of many wrecks that occurred during the 153-lap race there. Dillon competed in last year's rain-shortened truck race at Homestead, finishing sixth.
"We're going to do our best to win this race," he said. "We had a good truck there last year, and we've had some success on the 1.5-mile tracks this year. We have one more race to claim the championship, and I know we're going to fight hard to win it for (Richard Childress Racing)."
Just twice since the season-finale shifted to Homestead in 2002 has the points lead changed hands in the final race. Travis Kvapil is the only third-ranked driver to advance to the title, leapfrogging Ted Musgrave and leader Brendan Gaughan in 2003. Ron Hornaday Jr. made up a 29-point deficit to catch Mike Skinner in 2007. Jack Sprague is the only other second-place driver to prevail in the last race of the season, edging Greg Biffle for the championship in 1999 at Fontana, Calif.
Thirty-eight teams are on the preliminary entry list for the Ford EcoBoost 200.
Series: NASCAR Camping World. Date: Friday, Nov. 16. Race: Ford EcoBoost 200. Site: Homestead-Miami Speedway. Track: 1.5-mile oval. Start time: 8 p.m.(ET). Laps: 134. Miles: 201. 2011 Winner: Johnny Sauter. Television: Speed. Radio: Motor Racing Network (MRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio.