NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Preview-Iowa

by Briar Starr On Thu, Jun. 14, 2018

John H. Nemechek, driver of the #8 FireAlarmServiceInc/RomcoEquipmentCo Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Camping World Trucks Series M&M's 200 presented by Casey's General Stores at Iowa Speedway on June 23, 2017 in Newton, Iowa. (Credit: 349729 Getty Images).

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series heads to the midwest again this weekend, as the series regulars head to Iowa Speedway. This is the second standalone event of the season for the series.

Currently, there are 35 trucks on the preliminary entry list this weekend for the annual M&Ms 200.

Fifteen drivers will be making their first track debut. These include Camden Murphy, Austin Hill, Cory Roper, Todd Gilliland, Reid Wilson, Myatt Snider, Bobby Reuse, Brett Moffitt, Tanner Thorson, Dalton Sargeant, Justin Fontaine, Christian Eckes, Stewart Friesen, Bo LeMastus and Bayley Currey.

Note: Christian Eckes will be making his Truck Series debut driving the No. 46 Mobil 1 Toyota Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports.

Here’s a look at who might be challenging for the win this weekend at the small .875-mile track.

  1. Johnny Sauter – It should be no surprise that Sauter, once again, tops the chart this week but it’s hard to overlook someone who has done so much in a sport that’s called, ‘What Have You Done for Me Lately?’ Lately, he has earned season win number four last week at Texas Motor Speedway. It’s also hard to stop someone who has been on a roll and carrying so much momentum this season. However, Iowa will be a little challenge and a curve-ball this week for the No. 21 GMS Racing. Sauter has no wins in 11 races, but he does have seven top fives and eight top-10 finishes, along with an average start of 9.8 and an average finish of 7.4. His last five finishes have been second, 10th, 17th, 18th, and fourth, respectively. But if he does pull out the win this Saturday night, it shouldn’t be surprising due to the fact that he’s been the Kevin Harvick of the Truck Series.
  2. John Hunter Nemechek – John Hunter Nemechek returns to pilot the No. 8 Nemco Motorsports Chevy. He is high on the list this week because Nemechek is the recent race winner of the event. In last year’s race, he started fifth and led just six laps. He also finished seventh and third, respectively in both stages. Nemechek has also led 59 laps in total at the track, including obtaining a 5.5 average start and an average finish of 11.5. Other finishes include 12th, 23rd (DNF), and 10th in his four starts at the track. He also has one top-five finish and two top-10 finishes. Nemechek will certainly be a challenger for the win this week at Iowa.
  3. Stewart Friesen – After last week’s performance, it’s hard to not count Friesen out to contend for the win. He and his No. 52 Halmar Racing is slowly but surely, becoming more and more of a contender each week in challenging for race wins. Friesen came up .092 seconds short of his first win to Johnny Sauter. This will be his first-ever start at Iowa Speedway this weekend.
  4. Todd Gilliland – Gilliland will be making his first ever Truck Series start at Iowa, but he does have previous starts and experience at the racetrack. His starts came in the NASCAR K&N Series as well as the ARCA Racing Series. In last year’s race, Gilliland started fourth and won after dominating the whole race by leading 147 laps. He has also made one start in the ARCA Racing Series driving for Venturini Motorsports starting 11th and finishing ninth. Gilliland has already proven himself as a contender for the win and if the opportunity strikes, he could end up in victory lane this weekend. What a win that would be for the recent high school graduate.
  5. Matt Crafton – Crafton will be making his 12th career start at Iowa this weekend and is still searching for the first win of the 2018 season. At Iowa, he has made 11 career starts and posted one win which came in 2011, seven years ago. He also has five top-five finishes and along with 10 top-1os. Crafton has also led 89 laps throughout his career at this place and has an average start of 9.7 and an average finish of 6.3. However, in the recent outing, he did not finish after getting involved in a late-race crash and salvaged a 19th place finish. While it seems as though the No. 88 Menards Ford F-150 is still searching for speed this season if they play their cards right and right calls happen, Crafton will earn his first win of the season and lock himself into the Playoffs.

Iowa Speedway has seen 11 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series ever since the series went there in 2009. Erik Jones and Timothy Peters have been the only repeat winners. Other winners include Mike Skinner, Austin Dillon, Matt Crafton, James Buescher, William Byron and defending race winner, John Hunter Nemechek. Qualifying will be important if you want to collect a race win as previous race winners have started, fifth twice, first, second, and third.

Stages will be broken up into 60/120/200.

The Truck Series will have a one day show with first practice beginning at 9:35 a.m. ET on Fox Sports 1 and final practice at 11:00 a.m. ET on Fox Sports 2. Qualifying is slated for Saturday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. ET on FS2.

Race coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1 and MRN Radio, with the green flag scheduled to drop at 7:19 p.m. ET, approximately.

** The opinions expressed on this site are not necessarily those of the publisher. All comments other than website related problems need to be directed to the author. (c)SpeedwayMedia.com. **

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