NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series Las Vegas – spring preview

The NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series makes the trip west this week to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for it’s first outing of two races this season.

It’ll be somewhat of a learning weekend, as the second Las Vegas race will be in the Playoffs and racing at night as well.

Last fall saw a thrilling finish take place late in the closing laps on a restart as Grant Enfinger took the checkers, and advanced on to the next round.

So who will take the checkers this time around?

Here’s a look at who could end up in victory lane this weekend in Sin City.

Currently, there was 34 trucks on the preliminary entry list, but due to an incident last week at Atlanta after the race, Chad Finley’s hauler driver went to the wrong tunnel and accidentally damaged the Las Vegas truck. As a result, the team withdrew from the Vegas race. Ray Ciccarelli has also withdrawn from the event.

  1. Johnny Sauter – It’s hard to imagine counting Sauter out at any given race, especially when he has the second most starts among active drivers, with 11. However, his only win at Vegas came in 2009, his first start at he track, driving for ThorSport Racing. Since then, Sauter has not visited victory lane, but has finished second the past two times. Overall, he has four second place finishes, along with six top fives and eight top-10 finishes. Sauter has led 121 laps with an average finish of 7.0. He also finished second last weekend at Atlanta and looks to go back to victory lane.
  2. Grant Enfinger – Enfinger won the last time the Truck Series visited Las Vegas. In the fall race, he led 40 laps and finished seventh in Stage 1 and won Stage 2. Enfinger has only one finish outside the top-10 that came in his first start there in 2012. In total, he has two top fives and four top-10 finishes, along with 45 laps led, and an average finish of 7.2. His driver rating was 91.5 percent in the 2018 fall race. Enfinger has 73 green flag passes and 66 quality passes equaling 90.4 percent. Look for Enfinger to contend for the win Friday night at Vegas.
  3. Kyle Busch – Kyle is back in the No. 51 this week for his second of five Truck Series starts. He is coming off a historic win at Atlanta and he’ll be looking to continue his winning ways Friday night. He only has two starts, but his first start was all the way back in 2001 driving for Jack Roush, where he finished ninth. It wasn’t until the spring race of last year, where Busch was finally back in a truck at Vegas. To no one’s surprise, he went to victory lane after leading 55 laps and starting on the pole. He finished third in both stages. It’ll be hard to count out the winningest driver in the Truck Series.
  4. Ben Rhodes – Rhodes has four starts at Vegas and won in 2017. In the 2017 race, he led 20 laps and finished sixth in Stage 1 and won Stage 2. Overall, Rhodes has two top fives and three top-10 finishes with an average finish of 6.0, and 24 laps led. His driver rating is 90.2 percent and he has made 65 quality passes. When Rhodes won in 2017, he had 27 quality passes and a driver rating of 124.4.
  5. Ross Chastain – Chastain only has three starts at Vegas in the Truck Series. To many, he may not look like a threat to win, but he is certainly someone to keep an eye on as he is a sleeper. Last fall, he won the Xfinity race and finished seventh in the Truck Series race. Chastain has been on a strong roll as of late. He finished third at Daytona and sixth last week at Atlanta. At Vegas, Chastain has just 11 laps led. He may not win, but look for him to be inside the top-10 when the night is over.

Other Notables

Angela Ruch is back in the No. 8 truck for Nemco Motorsports. Her previous start came in Daytona a few weeks ago, where she finished eighth.

Stefan Parsons returns to the series this weekend for Tracy Lowe in the No. 1 machine. This will be Parson’s first truck race since Phoenix last fall where he finished 20th.

Ryan Reed is back driving the No. 17 DGR-CROSLEY truck. It’ll be his first start since 2012, where he also competed at Las Vegas for Wauters Motorsports. Reed finished 17th that day.

Jesse Iwuji will drive Josh Reaume’s No. 34 entry and Scott Stenzel is set to pilot D.J. Copp’s No. 63 machine.

Two practices are scheduled for Thursday afternoon. The first will begin at 5:05 p.m. ET wth the final practice at 7:05 p.m. ET but there will be no live TV coverage. Friday afternoon, it’s qualifying at 5:10 p.m. ET, live on FOX Sports 1. The NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Strat 200 is slated for 9 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1 and MRN Radio.

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