NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Preview-Michigan

by Briar Starr On Wed, Aug. 08, 2018

Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #99 Maestro's Classic Chevrolet, leads a pack of trucks during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series LTi Printing 200 at Michigan International Speedway on August 12, 2017 in Brooklyn, Michigan. Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series continues their exciting season this week at the 2-mile racetrack, Michigan International Speedway, located in Brooklyn, Michigan and the competition gets even tighter with only two races left until the Playoffs begin. There are three drivers on the bubble; Matt Crafton, Grant Enfinger and Stewart Friesen.

Currently, there are 34 trucks entered on the preliminary entry list.

Here’s a look at who might end up in victory lane this weekend.

  1. Matt Crafton – Crafton has been very hungry this year in trying to end up in victory lane. It’s been a whole year now since he has a won race in the Truck Series. Crafton needs to punch his ticket to make the Playoffs and that could happen this weekend at Michigan. He is the most experienced active driver having competed in the past 16 starts dating back to 2002, in his first track start that year. In those 16 races, Crafton has three top fives and seven top-10 finishes, along with 63 laps led, four DNFs, an average start of 9.9 and an average finish of 14.2. He has three poles at the racetrack, but is still searching for his first elusive victory at Michigan. In the past five races, Crafton has finished sixth, seventh, sixth, second, and ninth. He currently sits right on the cutoff line at eighth. But this weekend could be the place he breaks through and snaps his long winless streak.
  2. Johnny Sauter – Sauter is the second most experienced veteran at the track. He has nine starts with one win, two top fives, three top-10 finishes, 47 laps led, an average start of 7.3 and an average finish of 11.8. His only victory at the track came in 2014 after starting fifth. In the previous race, Sauter started second, but finished 18th, finishing one lap down. It’s been somewhat of a win drought as well for the No. 21 GMS Racing team. It’s been six races since Sauter and the team visited victory lane, which was at Fort Worth.
  3. Grant Enfinger – Enfinger has only two starts at Michigan. But in those two starts, he has finished in the top-10. In his first outing with GMS Racing, Enfinger started ninth and finished eighth. In last year’s race, he started sixth and finished eighth. Enfinger also finished 10th in Stage 2. Enfinger could sneak his way into victory lane this weekend after having solid consecutive finishes in the past few races, especially after almost winning Eldora last month. The team is capable of winning and it’s only a matter of time before Enfinger heads back to victory lane.
  4. Noah Gragson – After sitting out Pocono a couple of weeks ago due to illness, Gragson will be back in the No. 18 Safelite Tundra at Michigan this weekend. He was devastated that he couldn’t compete at Pocono and had to sit out. Since winning at Kansas, Gragson has been close to winning again. In the past five races, he finished sixth at Eldora, eighth at Kentucky, fourth at Chicago, 10th at Gateway, and second at Iowa after almost winning. Gragson’s only start at Michigan came last year, starting fifth and finishing seventh. He also finished seventh and eighth in both stages, respectively.
  5. Ben Rhodes – Rhodes has just two starts at Michigan, all coming for ThorSport Racing since 2016. In those two starts, he finished sixth and 11th respectively. In the 2017 race, Rhodes started 14th and finished 11th, after finishing fourth and fifth, respectively in both stages. He has led four laps with an average finish of 8.5.

The NASCAR Truck Series has competed in the past 18 races dating back to the 1999 season. In those 18 starts, there have only been two repeat winners, which came from Greg Biffle in 1999 and 2000, and Travis Kvapil in 2004 and 2007. Since then, however,  there have been  16 different race winners. Those include Robert Pressley, Brendan Gaughan, Dennis Setzer, Johnny Benson, Erik Darnell, Colin Braun, Aric Almirola, Kevin Harvick, Nelson Piquet Jr, James Buescher, Johnny Sauter, Kyle Busch, Brett Moffitt, and Darrell Wallace Jr. The lowest in the field a race winner has come from to win is 11th back in 1999. The highest a race winner has ever come from is the pole in 2007.

There are two practice sessions scheduled for Friday afternoon. The first practice at 1:05 p.m. ET with the final practice at 3:05 p.m. ET, both on Fox Sports 1.

Qualifying is slated for Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. ET on Fox Sports 1 with race coverage beginning at 1 p.m. ET, live on Fox Sports 1 and MRN Radio. The scheduled green flag is 1:15 p.m. ET.

Stages will be broken up into 30/60/100 laps.

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