After taking a trip to the Midwest, the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series team headed home to Charlotte Motor Speedway for their eighth race of the season.
While some drivers consider Charlotte home, Kyle Busch and the No. 51 team found themselves home in victory lane Friday night for his 56th career Truck Series win. It was a remarkable feat winning five races in all five starts this season. The Truck Series regulars remain trying to chase down the all-time winningest driver but fell short once again. However, there is some good news for those series regulars. This was Busch’s last Truck Series race of the season due to NASCAR’s restriction on how many races in which he can compete in the series.
So, how did the other Truck Series regulars stack up? Here’s a look at this week’s power rankings.
- Ben Rhodes – After coming up short a couple of weeks ago at Kansas, Rhodes and the No. 99 Carolina Nut Company Ford F-150 was looking to carry that momentum over to Charlotte this past Friday night in hopes of a win. He started fifth and pretty much stayed in the top-10 throughout the night, finishing fourth and eighth in both stages respectively. Rhodes would even be up front to contend for the lead but only led a couple of times. However, despite a late race restart, Rhodes and the No. 99 Thorsport team finished fourth for his fourth top five of the season and equaling the fifth-place finish that he earned at Atlanta in February. Rhodes now sits fourth in the standings, 34 points behind teammate Grant Enfinger.
Previous Week Ranking – 2nd
- Matt Crafton – Crafton and the No. 88 Menards Ford F-150 team came to Charlotte with momentum after securing the pole at Kansas and finishing sixth there. He was also hungry and hoping to snap his long winless streak dating back to Eldora in July of 2017. When the team unloaded on Friday they were fast right out of the gate, sitting on the pole for the second consecutive week, the 15th of his illustrious career. However, Crafton was not able to keep the lead as Rhodes, Todd Gilliland and Kyle Busch would go right by him. It wouldn’t be until Lap 30, where we would see the famous No. 88 Menards Ford F-150 back out front, although, he had to pass Todd Gilliland in a thriller off Turn 4 for the stage win. Crafton and the No. 88 ThorSport team stayed consistent throughout the night finishing fourth in the second stage. Ultimately, he still found himself winless as Crafton finished in the fifth position to round out the top five finishers. You’d have to imagine that he is even more hungry for a win as we approach the two year anniversary since of his last win at Eldora.
Previous Week Ranking – 5th
- Todd Gilliland – Gilliland and the No 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports team had a slight setback this week after finishing third at Kansas, but it was still enough to keep them in the power rankings. He started third but lost the first stage win in a thrilling battle with Crafton, then he finished 10th in Stage 2. Still, as much criticism as Gilliland has faced this year, it looks as though things are beginning to turn around little by little for the No. 4 team. However, they will have to get going if they want to be a serious championship contender in the Playoffs, as there are only nine races until the run to the championship starts. Gilliland sits eighth in the points standings, while his teammate Harrison Burton sits one point behind in ninth.
Previous Week Ranking- 4th
- Ross Chastain – Chastain was still coming off a win high at Kansas when he and the No. 45 Niece Motorsports team rolled into Charlotte Thursday afternoon. It is quite understandable considering that it was the first win for Al Niece and his team who has come a long way since their first truck entry in 2016. It was also a new truck for the team and it showed, as he qualified 13th Friday afternoon. Chastain didn’t take long to get inside the top-10, finishing fifth in Stage 1 and he even placed second in Stage 2 to Kyle Busch. He was hoping for a caution later on in the race, as he was the only one to have one set of fresh tires left. His break finally came with eight to go but it might have been a little too late. The caution came out with eight to go and it, of course, saw Chastain and the No. 45 team pit for those tires with a last chance effort. He would line up in the back on the restart with three to go, but one truck stalled on the start and Chastain was behind him. This slowed and eventually cost him the win or late race rally to finish a disappointing 10th. Chastain extended his streak, however, finishing in the top-10 in all Truck Series starts this year.
Previous Week Ranking – 1st
- Brennan Poole – When fans look at the results for this past weekend’s race, they will notice an unfamiliar driver and team who just broke ground this year in the Truck Series. After missing Kansas due to sponsorship woes, Former Xfinity Series standout Poole and the No. 30 On Point Motorsports team was looking for redemption this past weekend at Charlotte and they almost did just that. They didn’t finish in the top-10 at all for either stage but found themselves restarting second to Kyle Busch with three laps to go. What a story it would have been if Poole and the small underfunded No. 30 team had pulled it off and were able to beat Kyle Busch. However, Poole fell 1.115 seconds short to Busch for his shot at the win. And to make it more impressive, Poole raced with a broken sway bar. That’s a pretty remarkable feat to accomplish especially with a small team. If they can keep this up and get more strong equipment like this, Poole and the No. 30 On Point Motorsports team will quickly become another fan favorite in the Truck Series.
Previous Week Ranking – Not Ranked
1. Grant Enfinger- Enfinger had a solid night finishing ninth after starting ninth. He finished third in both stages but it wasn’t enough to stay in the top five. Nonetheless, Enfinger and the No. 98 Champion Power Equipment Ford F-150 team can still hold their head high as they continue to be the points leader over Stewart Friesen by 15 points.