NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series Preview-Daytona

The Truck Series finally gets back on track this Friday night for the first race of the 2019 season. And with the series getting on track, it’ll be the 20th time, every year since 2000, when the first race at Daytona features the Trucks.

It has been quite the off-season for the Gander Outdoor Truck Series which is the new name for the series. With a new sponsor, dawns a new era. There are familiar faces who return but in new places.

Here’s a look at who might just end up in victory lane Friday night at Daytona International Speedway.

Currently, there are 40 Trucks on the entry list for 32 spots.

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  1. Johnny Sauter – Surprise, surprise. Well not really, but he’s a guy who you expect to be up front. Sauter returns to Thorsport this season for the first time since 2009. It has been quite the off-season for Sauter, when in January, he was out of a ride at GMS Racing where he recorded six wins last year and was in the championship race at Homestead. He’ll be driving the No. 13 entry where he has found success and which was previously driven by Myatt Snider. In 10 races at Daytona, Sauter has three wins and is the defending race winner. He also won in 2016 both with GMS. However, Sauter got his first Daytona win in 2013 driving for Thorsport. It is also the site of his first Daytona start in 2009 for Thorsport. He has three DNFs four top fives and five top 10 finishes with 127 laps led. Sauter’s average start is 10.7 with an average finish of 13.4. Sauter has a driver rating of 88.6. Expect Sauter to be contending for the win Friday night at Daytona.
  2. Harrison Burton – Unlike the first one, this one could be somewhat of a surprise, but maybe not. Burton will be competing full-time for Kyle Busch Motorsports taking over Noah Gragson’s ride in the No. 18. He will be making his first superspeedway start in a Truck, however, Burton has already visited victory lane at Daytona. As a matter of fact, it came this past weekend when Burton took the checkered flag in the Arca Racing Series. He dominated by leading 48 of 86 laps.
  3. David Gilliland – At Daytona, Gilliland has two starts with a best finish of sixth for Ricky Benton Racing in 2015. He started on the pole last year but finished 21st after leading 30 laps, finishing five laps down. Gilliland also competed in Talladega last fall where he started on the pole again, but this time with a better finish of third. He’s been a strong contender as of late at the superspeedways, so expect him to be at the front. Gilliland will also have his son, Todd, to work with him.
  4. Brett Moffitt – New year, new team for the defending champion Moffitt who is taking over Sauter’s ride, which now becomes the No. 24. Moffitt only has two starts at Daytona, neither a top five or 10. However, Sauter’s team won last year and in 2016. Given the equipment and the right opportunity, he could be at the front in the end. And it shouldn’t be a surprise, as Moffitt tied with Sauter for wins last year. He looks to start off 2019 with a bang by winning.
  5. Matt Crafton – Crafton is looking to put the dismal 2018 season behind him after going winless and Daytona could just be the place to do it and snap his winless streak. He has one top five and seven top 10 finishes with eight laps led. Crafton’s average start is 16.2 with a average finish of 14.9 along with three DNFs. His best finish is fifth in 2010, nine years ago. If Crafton wins, it’ll be the first superspeedway win of any kind. Crafton has also ended upside down on the last lap.

In 19 races, there have been 16 different winners with Johnny Sauter being the only one to win three times. Todd Bodine is the only back-to-back winner from 2008-2009.

The lowest a winner has come from to win was 36th set by Bobby Hamilton in 2005. The highest a winner has come from was first, four times with Joe Ruttman, Mark Martin, Jack Sprague and Kaz Grala accomplishing the feat.

There have been three different winners in the past five races with Sauter being the only repeat winner.

On-track activity begins Thursday afternoon with two practices, the first at 2:35 p.m. ET and final practice at 4:35 p.m. ET, both on Fox Sports 2.

Qualifying will take place Friday afternoon at 4:40 p.m. ET with single vehicle qualifying and two rounds on Fox Sports 1.

The NextEra Energy Resources 250 is scheduled for Friday night at 7:30 p.m. ET live on Fox Sports 1 and MRN Radio. Stages will be 20/40/100 to equal the 250 mile race distance.

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