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WINSTAR WORLD CASINO AND RESORT 350 NOTEBOOK

FORT WORTH, Texas (Nov. 2, 2015) - WinStar World Casino and Resort 350 Notebook:

OKIE MAKING HIS MARK

Christopher Bell, a native of Norman, Okla. who won the truck race at iconic Eldora Speedway earlier this season, will run fulltime in 2016 for Kyle Busch Motorsports as the team looks to feature several successful up-and-comers in NASCAR competition. Bell, the 2013 USAC National Midget champion, has accumulated 15 wins in midget and Late Model races this season in addition to his victory at Eldora. The team is looking for him to follow in the footsteps of Erik Jones, who won the XFINITY Series race in April at Texas Motor Speedway and then sat on the pole for the NCWTS race in June here. Bell has started only five times this year, but has two top-five finishes to go along with his victory.

TMS A SPECIAL PLACE FOR ERIK JONES

Erik Jones returns to Texas Motor Speedway for the WinStar World Casino and Resort 350 at the top of the series standings. Jones has been successful at TMS winning the XFINITY Series race in April and then earning the pole for the truck race in June. Jones enters this weekend's race with a streak of 12 consecutive top-10 finishes in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

Jones has had an interesting run at Texas Motor Speedway. In 2014, he missed his high school graduation for his first truck series race, but TMS President Eddie Gossage staged a special graduation ceremony for him before the race. He then won the XFINITY Series race in April and then the pole for the trucks in June.

“It has been a great learning experience from my first mile-and-a-half race, the high school graduation and picking up my first XFINITY Series win there,” Jones said. “It’s a place that is pretty special to me. I’ll definitely have a big smile on my face when we get back there.”

CRAFTON LOOKS TO ACCOMPLISH RARE FEAT

Two-time defending NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton will look to become just the third driver in TMS history to sweep its truck races in the same season when he returns for Friday night’s WinStar World Casino & Resort 350. Crafton, who won June’s WinStar World Casino & Resort 400, is looking to join Johnny Sauter (2012) and Brendan Gaughan (2002 and again in ‘03) as the only drivers to accomplish the sweep. Crafton, who last year became the first NCWTS driver to win consecutive championships, is looking to extend that historical footnote with his third in a row. Crafton, who has a series-high five wins this season, is second in the championship hunt, just 10 points behind Erik Jones with three races remaining including this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.

Crafton, who has the second-highest number of NCWTS starts in TMS history with 29 (David Starr owns the record with 31), has been a fan of the speedway for a long time.

"You don't have to reacquaint yourself with the race track, but this track has changed quite a bit over the years," Crafton said. "Last year in this June race, it was really, really different than what I'd seen in the past. Usually when you're here, you can run quite a few laps wide open and I bet there wasn't a total of five laps the whole weekend wide open. It's a lot slipperier and the race track is getting a lot more age on it. It's definitely changing and I think it's changing for the better."

FORMER TMS WINNER BURTON BACK BEHIND THE WHEEL

Former Texas Motor Speedway winner Jeb Burton returns to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for this week’s WinStar World Casino and Resort 350. Burton, who currently is running his rookie season in the Sprint Cup Series with BK Racing, will make the truck start at Texas with JR Motorsports.

“We are looking forward to it,” team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. said. “Hopefully, he can get a good run. He’s looking for an opportunity to show what he can do. Opportunities like this are slim, so we’re looking forward to it.”

Burton’s fifth start at Texas becomes possible thanks to a collaborative effort between JR Motorsports and Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas, who sponsors the truck, and SHR General Manager Joe Custer, whose son Cole will run for a championship with JRM next season.

“I’m excited about the opportunity,” Burton said. “(We’re) trying to build a notebook for Cole (Custer) for next year, so he can go try and win the championship. We’re going there to win the race for sure. It’s a great opportunity for me to get back into the truck series in something fast and something I can win in the truck series. I’ve got a pole, a win and a second place there in trucks, so I have a good track record there.”

Burton, the son of 2002 Daytona 500 winner Ward Burton, will drive the #00 Haas Automation Chevrolet Silverado, the same truck Kyle Larson raced in the Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland Speedway in September.

Burton returns to the truck series for his 50th career start at the site of his lone victory in 2013, when he drove for Turner Scott Motorsports. In 49 NCWTS starts overall, the 22-year-old has tallied one victory, seven top fives and 19 top 10s. In 2013, Burton earned seven poles, tying Austin Dillon for the most poles in a rookie season.

About the author

The Texas Motor Speedway Media Relations Department is located on the 6th floor of The Speedway Club outside of Turn 1 of the speedway. 

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