The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series visited the 2.5-mile racetrack located in Long Pond, Pennsylvania, Pocono Raceway. It was the 14th race of the season and there are now only two races left until the Playoffs begin at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Here are four takeaways from the Gander Outdoors 150.
- Kyle Ties Hornaday On All-Time Wins List – Kyle Busch was finally able to tie Ron Hornaday on the all-time wins list this past weekend. Both now have 51 wins in the series, but Busch reached 51 wins in just 145 starts, quicker than Hornaday. Busch dominated most of the race by winning the pole and leading 43 of the scheduled 60 laps. By not being able to gain any stage points due to him being a Cup Series driver, Busch was able to play strategy by pitting late in the stage in order to gain track position for the restarts. He almost got passed for the lead late in the race but held on to win in his final Truck Series start of the year. When Busch returns next year and the years beyond, the sky will be the limit on how many more wins he’ll get before wrapping up his career.
- Stages are too short, at least for Pocono – In Saturday’s race, the stages were broken up into 15/30/60. For a track that doesn’t produce much passing, there wasn’t a whole lot of activity during the stages as they were very short. The first stage went its maximum distance, but the second stage was 10 laps with the final stage going green with 25 to go. The drivers agreed in Friday’s media availability that the race was too short in order to produce more passing or make it a more exciting race. The race featured only nine lead changes, but that all came when the stage was winding down as drivers pitted early for track position. Other than that, the field was spread out. Busch and Erik Jones finished with a margin of victory of 1.4 seconds back. However, anyone after that was five, six, seven seconds back and so on. Perhaps Pocono is a track the Truck Series shouldn’t race on or possibly it’s the number of laps in the race, but something should be done in order to see a more competitive race.
- Noah Gragson Misses Race – Friday night on Gragson’s Twitter page, he reported that he was feeling sick but was going to race regardless of how he was feeling. However, on Saturday morning prior to qualifying, Noah was too sick to qualify the truck and eventually, too sick to compete in the race. With him missing a race, NASCAR granted him a medical waiver so that he will be able to compete in the Playoffs. Erik Jones, the 2015 Truck Series Champion, filled in for the ill Gragson. Jones placed second.
- Playoff Points Race Gets Tighter – With just two races left before the Playoffs began, the fight for the final three positions gets even tighter following Pocono. Enfinger, Friesen, and Crafton continue to be winless this year and will more than likely have to point there way in, if there aren’t any new winners. Enfinger has two playoff points while Friesen has four. Crafton has none. Myatt Snider is also on the outside looking in. With a much deserved off week this week, these four drivers, among others, are working hard to contend for the 2018 Truck Series championship. When the Truck Series returns to Michigan after an off week, drivers will be on their game and make more daring moves to get into the Playoffs. Nonetheless, the run for the championship continues to be exciting and no one really knows yet who the final four drivers will be at Homestead-Miami in November.