The NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series visited Texas Motor Speedway this past weekend for race number nine of the 2019 season. It also marked the beginning of The Triple Truck Challenge, where racers can win $50,000 over the next three races should they win. Win all three and they have a shot to win half a million dollars.
Regarding The Triple Truck Challenge, it started off with a bang last Friday night when former series champion Greg Biffle returned to the field and won the race. It was Biffle’s first win in the Truck Series since Phoenix of 2001 and his first Truck Series win at Texas since 2000. It was a popular win across the NASCAR world Friday night and created a social media buzz. Marcos Lemonis (CEO of Camping World and Gander Outdoors) even weighed in on social media as well.
The win was so popular that fans and people inside the NASCAR industry wanted to see Biffle back in the truck again for the upcoming race at Iowa Speedway. Unfortunately, the Washington State native will be ineligible to compete as he did not submit an entry blank in time before the deadline hit last week.
Kyle Busch Motorsports already has four trucks entered in the race at Iowa, so it would have been hard for them to include a fifth entry for Biffle. However, Biffle is eligible to compete at the conclusion of The Triple Truck Challenge at Gateway, should KBM decide to offer Biffle a ride.
While Biffle’s win was popular throughout the NASCAR garage, there were some familiar faces found inside the top five at the end of the night, including driver Tyler Ankrum who had his best career finish in his young career thus far.
Without further ado, here is a look at this week’s power rankings.
- Matt Crafton – The two-time Truck Series champion came out of nowhere at the end of the race, lining up at the front on a late race restart with 10 to go. Crafton had a solid qualifying effort of 10th earlier that day. However, it was probably not what he was looking for after starting on the pole for two consecutive weeks in a row. He finished fifth and eighth, in the first two stages. The No. 88 Menards ThorSport driver also managed to miss all the chaos that happened around him during the race, which allowed him to have a shot at snapping his long winless streak that dates back two years. Crafton tried all he could to catch Greg Biffle for the late race charge but had to settle for another second-place finish. It was his sixth top five this season and he now sits third in the points standings, 41 points behind his teammate Grant Enfinger.
Previous Week Ranking: 2nd
- Grant Enfinger – Enfinger is back in the power rankings this week. He had a solid outing at Texas, finishing in the fourth position and earning his fifth top-five finish of the 2019 season. He started third and stayed there for most of the night, finishing third in Stage 1 and fourth in Stage 2. What hurt the No. 98 team the most was when there was an incident late in the going when a truck spun off Turn 4. Enfinger noted in his post-race interview that he saw the yellow flag start to come out, but then it was put back away after he had slowed. This allowed a few more drivers go on by him, which kept him from having a more solid finish. Regardless, it was still a good points night as Enfinger still leads the Truck Series points standings over Stewart Friesen by 37 points.
Previous Week Ranking- Not Ranked
- Harrison Burton – While his teammate Todd Gilliland had a rough night, crashing out and finishing 27th, Burton placed fifth, rounding out the top five finishers. Burton started 11th, finished 10th in Stage 1 and third in Stage 2. It was his third top five of the season and tied his fifth-place finish earlier this season at Las Vegas.
Previous Week Ranking- Not Ranked
- Ross Chastain – Chastain was in the news again this week, but in a big way, as the Niece Motorsports driver elected to receive points in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series. It was big midweek news after having early season success with the team, finishing inside the top-10 in all the races and earning a big win at Kansas. However, per NASCAR rules, the win at Kansas does not count toward Chastain’s run for the championship and he had to start all over at Texas this past weekend. Niece already had three trucks in the field with Angela Ruch piloting the No. 44, Kyle Benjamin in a return to the Truck Series in the No. 45, and T.J. Bell in the No. 38. Niece was able to work a deal out with Chastain to place him in the No. 38 to compete at Texas. Chastain qualified 15th, certainly not the best qualifying effort, but he finished 10th, earning another top-10 in the 2019 Truck Series season. The Niece Motorsports driver finished fourth in Stage 1 and seventh in Stage 2. Chastain currently is nowhere to be seen in the top 20 points standings, so he will have a lot of ground to make up with just eight races remaining.
Previous Week Ranking- 4th
- Sheldon Creed – Creed matched his best finish of sixth Friday night at Texas Motor Speedway after starting in the seventh position driving the No. 2 GMS Racing Chevy. He finished eighth in Stage 1 and 10th in Stage 2. It was Creed’s best finish since Las Vegas earlier this season in March, where he finished sixth. This earned him his second top-10 finish of the season.
1. Ben Rhodes – When people looked at the final results from Friday night’s SpeedyCash.com 400, they were probably left scratching their heads when they didn’t see the ThorSport driver in the top-10 running order. But his finish was a result of a transmission failure late in the going, which took Rhodes out of contention to win the race. The No. 99 Carolina Nut Company team tried to get back to the front but the damage was too severe and Rhodes had to suffer a disappointing 21st place finish after winning Stage 2.
Previous Week Ranking- 1st
2. Todd Gilliland – The hits keep on coming for the Kyle Busch Motorsports driver. Gilliland and Burton received more critical comments from their team owner in a media press conference Friday, where Busch stated, “If you can’t get it done in a KBM truck, might as well go home.” Despite those comments, Gilliland was having a decent race going for him after he started on the pole. He finished seventh in Stage 1 and led 31 laps before a crash on Lap 70 took him out of the race which put him 27th in the final running order. It will be interesting to see how much longer this can happen this season before Busch finally drops the hammer down.
Previous Week Ranking- 1st