NASCAR

Nationwide, Truck titles on the line

 Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., center, flanked by drivers Elliott Sadler, left, and Austin Dillon, right,
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (center) Elliott Sadler and Austin Dillon are in a title battle.
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Jeff Hammond

Jeff Hammond is a former NASCAR crew chief who led Darrell Waltrip to two of his three Sprint Cup championships. The duo also teamed up to win the 1989 Daytona 500. Prior to that, Hammond was the jackman for Cale Yarborough for all three of his Cup championships. He has 43 Sprint Cup wins as a crew chief. Follow him on Twitter.

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Certainly a lot of attention is on the championship race in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series, but there are two other battles being played out this weekend.

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The Camping World Truck race is going to be phenomenal because everything is so close, so tight there, and so unpredictable I think this is really going to be one for the books. James Buescher has an 11-point lead over Timothy Peters and a 12-point lead over Ty Dillon. We’ve got just enough pressure coming from a couple of different trucks, really I think they all have a legitimate shot and they’re going to put a lot of pressure on Buescher because of it.

He’s going to have to either run his tail off or he’s going to have to basically stalk these guys throughout the entire race and hope that, even if one of them wins, he runs in the top five to negate what they’re doing. He’s not going to have a whole lot of freedom to be playing defense. He’s going to have to be pretty much on the offense, which should make it easier.

I would much rather have to be on the attack than be on defense any day.

In the Nationwide Series title race, it’s like the Cup race. You are going to have to have a lot of help to turn this thing around as far as Elliott Sadler is concerned since he is 20 points behind defending champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Sadler made some mistakes at Phoenix and he paid the ultimate price the way that turned out as far as his chances for this year’s championship. Ricky has got to beat himself.

Right now, I’m sure that crew chief Mike Kelly and everybody on that race team, they’ve been there before. I think they’ll be smart enough — again, all three champions have got to have as much luck as they do skill this weekend.

Anybody can say, "Well, that isn’t the case, you create your own luck." I don’t care. I’ve been there. You want everything working for you; you don’t want anything working against you.

You want all the talent, you want all the luck, you want all the prayers.

You want all the four-leaf clovers and lucky pennies and rabbit’s feet — whatever you can get, you want it all going in your direction.

You want all the fans pulling for you; you want that momentum, you want that mojo working for you and not pulling against you.

You don’t want anything going against you.

You don’t want reporters writing anything negative about you. That’s just how you are.

You just want to make it through the weekend.
 

Tagged: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

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