NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Preview-ISM Raceway

by Briar Starr On Thu, Nov. 08, 2018

Christopher Bell, driver of the #4 Toyota Toyota, takes the green flag to start the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 10, 2017 in Avondale, Arizona. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series heads west to the desert this weekend in Phoenix Arizona to ISM Raceway, formally known as Phoenix International Raceway. Two drivers are locked into the Playoffs, while four drivers are fighting for two spots.

Brett Moffitt and Noah Gragson sit comfortably in right now, but two drivers sit below the cut line,  Grant Enfinger and Matt Crafton, and are more than likely in a must-win situation. Anything can happen, but Enfinger and Crafton will need a lot of help from the other two if they both want to make it in. Something catastrophic will have to happen to Gragson and Moffitt in order to make it in. Moving the start-finish line to the backstretch will make it a little more interesting as well. That could see one driver make a desperation move.

Currently, there are 32 trucks on the preliminary entry list. Here’s a look at who might wind up in victory lane at ISM Raceway. Some drivers will be back in their seats, while others will be making a debut.

John Hunter Nemechek is back in the No. 8 Stefan, Parsons returns to the No. 15 and Tyler Akrum will be in the No. 17. Derek Kraus will be making his debut in the No. 19 Bill Macanally entry, Jason White in the No. 33, Landon Huffman in the No. 38, D.J. Kennington in the No. 49, Riley Herbst in the No. 54, Jesse Iwuji in the No. 63, and Chase Purdy in the No. 99.

1. Johnny Sauter – It’s no surprise that the 2016 champion makes the top of the list once again. It’s hard to beat a man who is on a tear this year with six wins. There are tons of young drivers this weekend, but experience beats inexperience and his stats show that. He has nine starts and is the defending winner at this track. Sauter does have one DNF that occurred in 2015, along with five top fives and seven top 10 finishes with 16 laps led. He has an average start of 9.0 and an average finish of 9.1. Sauter sat on the pole in his first at track start in 2009.

2. John Hunter Nemechek – Nemechek is back piloting the No. 8 truck. He has five starts with a best finish of second, twice in 2015 and 2017. Nemechek also has two top fives and four top 10 finishes. He has an average start of 10.0 and an average finish of 7.6. During the 2017 race, Nemechek finished fifth and seventh in both stages.

3. Todd Gilliland – Gilliland will be looking for redemption this weekend after his truck fell short of winning. This week could be the week where he might just get it done. Gilliland only has one start in 2017, where he started fifth and finished seventh. The No. 4 truck previously driven by Christopher Bell won both stages last year. Gilliland won the 2015 K&N Pro Series West race. The Kyle Busch Motorsports team is using a chassis that finished 10th at Dover, crashed at Iowa (29th), and Las Vegas in September (27th). He’ll be a man on a mission this weekend at Phoenix.

4. Matt Crafton – Crafton is still searching for a victory this season and is in a must-win situation. He could just do it on Friday night and lock himself into the Championship 4 at Homestead. In 17 starts, he has zero wins, but 15 laps led, six top fives and 11 top 10 finishes. Crafton has an average start of 8.0 and an average finish of 9.9. He has a best finish of second in 2014. In 2017, Crafton finished third in both stages.

5. Justin Haley – Haley is coming off a win last weekend at Texas and he could just do it again this weekend. In two starts in 2015 and 2017, his best finish was seventh in 2015 and he finished 14th in last year’s race due to a crash. Haley has an average start of 9.5 and an average finish of 10.5.

Playoff drivers –

Brett Moffitt – Making track debut
Noah Gragson – Two starts (16th and 15th), did not finish last year after starting second and led 55 laps.
Grant Enfinger – One start (2017), finished 24th due to a crash.

There have been 27 races since 1995 with a list of who’s who for winners  –

Jack Sprague won three in a row from 1996-1997. Kevin Harvick won four times (2002, 2003, 2008, 2009).
Mike Skinner, Joe Ruttman, Ron Hornaday, Kyle Busch and Erik Jones have all won twice.

The lowest a race winner has ever come from to win was 16th, set by Skinner in 1995. The race winner has come from the pole six times. The track went to fall races only since 2012. There have been four different winners in the past five races.

The on-track action starts with the first practice at 10:30 a.m. ET on FOX Sports 2. Final practice takes place at 12:05 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 2. Qualifying will begin at 5:35 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1.

Race coverage begins at 8:30 p.m. ET with the approximate green flag at 8:40 p.m. ET live on FOX Sports 1 and MRN Radio.

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