Lucas Oil 150 Predictions, Picks, Odds (Camping World Truck Series)
- John Hunter Nemechek squeaks into Championship 4 but is still favored to win.
- Zane Smith tries to grab the brass ring after stealing the final berth in the title race.
- Matt Crafton can earn a record-tying fourth championship—if he’s at his best.
Lucas Oil 150 Odds
|John Hunter Nemechek||+250 |
|Sheldon Creed||+500 |
|Zane Smith||+650 |
|Ben Rhodes||+700 |
|Matt Crafton||+800 |
|Todd Gilliland||+1000 |
|Chandler Smith||+1400 |
|Stewart Friesen||+1500 |
|Christian Eckes||+2200 |
|Johnny Sauter||+2500 |
|Austin Hill||+2500 |
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Short and sweet. That’s the best description of Friday night’s Lucas Oil 150, the race that will crown the 2021 champion in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Sheldon Creed won’t be able to defend the title he won last year. Creed was eliminated in a heartbreaker in last Saturday’s Round of 8 race at Martinsville.
The four drivers who will vie for the championship on Friday are regular-season champion John Hunter Nemechek, three-time series champion Matt Crafton, Ben Rhodes and Zane Smith. The highest finisher among them, regardless of position, will be crowned champion
The race itself is a brief 150 laps (150 miles) at one-mile Phoenix Raceway, with stage breaks scheduled after 45 and 90 laps. Sheldon Creed is the defending winner of the race.
After Narrowly Making the Final Four, John Hunter Nemechek Is Favored
John Hunter Nemechek looked like a lock to advance to the Championship 4 until Lap 130 of last Saturday’s United Rentals 200 at Martinsville Speedway rolled around.
That’s when Austin Wayne Self expressed his vexation at a bump from Nemechek by turning Nemechek’s No. 4 Toyota into the outside wall on the backstretch.
Nemechek fell out of the race in 39th place and had to sweat out the rest of the afternoon. Ultimately, he advanced to the Championship 4 by a mere four points when reigning champion Sheldon Creed scraped the wall in the late going and finished ninth.
Though Nemechek barely survived to fight for the title on Friday, he’s the favorite to win both the race and the championship (+250 at DraftKings Sportsbook). That’s based on his five-win record as regular-season champion, not on his record at Phoenix, which features an average finish of 13.7 in seven starts—worst among the Championship 4 contenders.
It’s important to note that none of Nemechek’s previous starts took place in the top-notch Kyle Busch Motorsports equipment he drives today. But Nemechek hasn’t raced at the track in a truck since 2019, and we don’t think he’ll be pulling into Victory Lane at the end of the race.
Fighting for a Job, Zane Smith Is the Best Sleeper Pick in Friday’s Race
GMS Racing driver Zane Smith had to win at Martinsville last Saturday to advance to the Championship 4, and he did just that with an outside pass of Todd Gilliland on the first lap of overtime.
Smith lost his chance for a NASCAR Cup Series ride next year when Chip Ganassi decided to sell his team to Trackhouse Racing—after signing Smith.
Accordingly, Smith feels he’s in another must-win situation this week, with his best chance at securing another ride for 2022 hinging on a win on Friday and a series championship.
Smith has a short history at Phoenix—one race. But in the event that decided last year’s championship, the driver of the No. 21 Chevrolet led 48 laps and ran second to teammate Sheldon Creed, who secured the title with a win.
GMS Racing apparently has a knack for the track, and we like Smith to pull off the upset and win the title. He’s +650 to take the checkered flag via DraftKings, and we think he’s an excellent pick to do so at those odds.
Matt Crafton Can Win a Fourth Title, But He’ll Have to Be Perfect on Friday
If you’re Matt Crafton, the glaring stat of the 2021 season is the zero in the “Win” column. Crafton finished second at Gateway in the opening Playoff race. That’s his best result of the year.
But Crafton is the heavy sentimental favorite in Friday’s race. He’s a 45-year-old veteran with three series titles. Of the three Championship 4 drivers with more than one start at Phoenix, he boasts the best average finish of 10.0.
It’s difficult, however, to pick a driver to win the final race when he hasn’t won a race all year. Doubtless, Crafton would be fine with claiming the series title—his record-tying fourth—without winning a race.
“At the end of the day, I’ll sleep just fine,” Crafton says.
As we see it, though, he won’t be sleeping on a championship. Even at +800, he’s not an attractive bet, though, sentimentally, we hope he proves us wrong.
But to win on Friday, Crafton and his team will have to execute perfectly to make up for a deficit in speed, and we think the odds are too long for that to happen.
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How to Watch Lucas Oil 150
|Lucas Oil 150 Information|
|Race||Lucas Oil 150 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race|
|Time||Friday, November 5, 8 p.m. ET|
|How to Watch||FS1|
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Award-winning motorsports writer Reid Spencer has served as lead writer for the NASCAR Wire Service for 16 years, having also spent a four-year stint as NASCAR columnist and beat writer for Sporting News. He is currently serving as president of the National Motorsports Press Association. Email: [email protected]