The Round of 8 and the third annual NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs began this past weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Some drivers upped their A game, while others had a frustrating day in another thrilling finish.
Here’s a look at this week’s power ranking following Canada and the first race in the Playoffs.
- Noah Gragson – Gragson dominated most of the race by starting second and winning both stages. He led three times for 35 laps and earned two playoff points. His day looked to be done after a restart in the final stage as he slipped back and was passed by Johnny Sauter for the lead. However, a late race caution with four to go, set up a NASCAR Overtime restart. Race leader, Todd Gilliland, got out in front and was able to pull away for the most part, until Gragson began to follow in his tire tracks. As noted in recent history, this place has been known for last lap passes and controversial finishes. Sunday proved that once more as Gragson went to make a move on the bottom on his teammate in the final turn. Unfortunately, his move didn’t work, ending up taking out his teammate for the win and he was relegated to a ninth-place finish. With his ninth-place finish and his two stage wins on Sunday, the No. 18 Safelite driver is now fourth in the standings, 24 points above the cut line. Previous Week Ranking: Not Ranked
- Todd Gilliland – Gilliland proves week in and week out that he has tons of talent and incredible driving ability. Especially since for most tracks, he is making his first starts at racetracks in a truck. Gilliland played strategy at the end of both stages by pitting with two to go in order to have track position for the next stage. His time to shine came on Lap 54 where he took the lead from Sauter. Unfortunately, a caution came out late with four to go, and his four-second lead was evaporated over Gragson who was trying to catch him. He continued to lead until the final lap where Gragson made the move and accidentally took him out in trying to win. With the incident, Gilliland finished in 11th place finish after leading 11 laps. Gilliland will look to rebound and race for the win in the final seven races. Previous Week Ranking: 3rd
- Johnny Sauter – Sauter had a quiet, but solid day at the road course in Canada. The regular season champion started sixth after qualifying in the rain Saturday evening. The No. 21 GMS Racing driver finished seventh in both stages. After a restart late in the race, Sauter took the lead and led once for nine laps and wound up finishing sixth for his 14th top-10 of the year. He leads the playoff points standings over Brett Moffitt by six points. Previous Week Ranking: 1st
- Justin Haley – What becomes a misfortune for one becomes good fortune for another. This was the case for the No. 24 GMS Racing team with the driver that broke through the last lap melee and earned his second win of the season. Haley started in the eighth position and finished third in both stages. Haley was able to lead once on Lap 34 and of course, came out on top of the wreckage for the first playoff win of his career. With his win, he is now locked into the Round of 6. Previous Week Ranking: 5th
- Matt Crafton – Crafton showed speed this weekend in qualifying and throughout the race. His day was almost similar to Sauter’s as he didn’t make much noise but got the job done and accomplished what he needed to do and that was to finish the race. Crafton had a decent qualifying effort by starting in the fourth position. He finished fifth in both stages and after the thrilling finish, Crafton finished fifth for his sixth top five of the year. Previous Week Ranking: Not RankedFell Out
1. Stewart Friesen – Friesen had an up and down day at CTMP. He spun around early on in the race but was able to rebound and finish seventh after starting 16th. He was able to finish sixth in the second stage but did not collect any stage points in the first stage. He sits sixth, one point above the cut line.
2. Ben Rhodes – Rhodes had a good day at CTMP. He won the pole and finished second in Stage 1, but did not finish in the top-10 at all in Stage 2. Rhodes led six laps, but that was the most noise he made as he finished 14th after he had contact from Sauter on the last lap. He sits seventh, one point behind the cut line. He’ll need to win a couple of stages or win at Las Vegas or Talladega to advance to the next round.