The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series begins the Round of 6 this weekend at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia. Six drivers will be looking to lock themselves in with a win to the Championship 4 in Southern Florida.
There are at least three playoff drivers that have a good chance to do that this weekend, but there can only be one winner. But of course, stranger things have happened and in NASCAR, anything can happen and a different playoff driver could shine.
Here’s a look at who could wind up in victory lane this weekend at the paperclip, Martinsville Speedway.
There are currently 35 drivers entered on the preliminary entry list.
1. Johnny Sauter – It’s no surprise that Sauter is at the top of this list. He has 21 starts and has won in three of those in 2011, 2013, 2016. In those starts, Sauter has led 431 laps and has eight top fives and 11 top-10 finishes. One DNF occurred in 2016. He has an average start of 9.1 and an average finish of 12.1. Sauter finished 19th after starting sixth in the spring race and collected a third-place finish last fall. If he has a season like any of those, he could secure his spot in the Championship 4 if everything goes to plan.
2. John Hunter Nemechek – Nemechek has 10 starts and one win which came in the spring race of this year. In the 2018 race, he finished sixth and fifth in both stages, respectively. Nemechek has 81 laps led, along with four top fives and four top-10 finishes. He currently has an average start of 14.0 and an average finish of 13.5. The Nemco Motorsports driver collected a pair of top-five finishes in the 2015-2016 races. He could just wind up in victory lane this weekend, completing a season sweep.
3. Ben Rhodes – Rhodes had one got away in the springtime. He started on the pole and won both stages. However, Rhodes was relegated to a 12th place finish after a strong race early and leading 134 laps. In Martinsville, he has six starts, 176 laps led, two top-10 finishes and two poles (2016,2018). With those starts, he accumulated an average start of 8.0 and an average finish of 14.0. Rhodes may be eliminated from the playoffs, but he’ll be looking for redemption this weekend at Martinsville.
4. Noah Gragson – Gragson is another driver that has a chance to secure a Championship 4 spot this weekend. He is the previous fall race winner and has led 10 laps in his three starts. Gragson has an average start of 8.3 and an average finish of 3.3. In the spring race, he finished fifth after placing eighth in Stage 1 and seventh in Stage 2.
5. Matt Crafton – Crafton has been winless all season and just barely made it into the Round of 6. He’ll have to win if he wants to have a shot at the championship. Martinsville could be just the place. Crafton has the most starts of anyone currently with 33. He has two wins (2014, 2015), along with nine top fives and 19 top-10 finishes with 385 laps led. Crafton finished 15th in the spring race and wound up second last fall after race winner Gragson got around him on the final restart.
Since 1995, there have been 39 races with 29 race winners that has a list of who’s who. Of those winners, Mike Skinner and Kevin Harvick won three times. Crafton, Sauter and Dennis Setzer are the only ones to win twice. But if the weather is not permitting this weekend, check out www.houseofjack.com and have some fun.
The race winner has won from the pole nine times and the lowest a race winner has come from to win was 33rd in 2002 set by Dennis Setzer.
There will be some fresh faces at the track this weekend. The list includes Tyler Dippel in the No. 25 GMS truck, Timothy Peters returns for another race with GMS in the No. 23 and Sheldon Creed in the No. 2. It also includes Chad Finley in the 33, Dawson Cram in the 83, and Chase Purdy in the 99. K&N East Champ, Tyler Akrum, will make his debut in the No. 54 DGR-Crosley Brand. Jeb Burton also returns to the 30 of On Point Motorsports.
Two practice sessions are scheduled for Friday afternoon with first practice taken place at 12:05 p.m. ET and final practice slated for 2:05 p.m. ET.
Qualifying is scheduled for Saturday morning at 10:05 a.m. ET on FOX Sports 1.
The Texas Roadhouse 250 takes place Saturday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. ET with the green flag approximately at 1:16 p.m. ET, all weather permitting.