NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Preview- Las Vegas

The NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series gets back on track Friday night at the 1.5-mile track known as Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It will be the third and final race in the Round of 8 and one final chance for Truck Series drivers to get a win before the Round of 6 begins at Talladega Superspeedway in October.

Flashing back to when the Truck Series last raced, it was Brett Moffitt winning once again and scoring his third victory of the season and his second win in the Round of 8. Moffitt and his No. 24 GMS Racing will be looking for a sweep this weekend in the final race of the Round of 8.

There are currently 36 drivers entered on the preliminary entry list for 32 spots in Friday night’s World of Westgate 200.

Here are five drivers to keep an eye on.

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  1. Grant Enfinger – It would be hard to count out last year’s winner Grant Enfinger. The Alabama native has six starts with a win in the 2018 fall race, 47 laps led, two top fives and four top-10 finishes. Enfinger and his No. 98 team also have an average finish of 7.8. In the March race, the ThorSport driver started fourth and finished 11th after two laps led. The Alabama native hopes to recapture last years magic and hopes to move on to the Round of 6.

  2. Brett Moffitt – Speaking of Moffitt’s strong dominance in the past two races, it may continue this weekend at Las Vegas. The GMS driver finished runner up in the March race and finished second and 10th in both stages. In the other two races, Moffitt has one finish outside the top-10 which came in the 2018 fall race. Moffitt’s other finish was third. He has 45 laps led and an average finish of 5.3. While Moffitt already has two wins in this round, he’ll be looking for the third one Friday night and keeping everyone else on edge.

  3. Ross Chastain – It’s hard to imagine that Chastain could be a sleeper with how strong he has run this year, but he might be one this Friday night. In the March race, the Florida native started 16th and finished 10th while driving for Niece Motorsports, but that was not his best finish at Vegas. His best finish came in last year’s race when Chastain drove to a seventh place finish driving for Jay Robinson. The Niece Motorsports driver has been on a small winless streak having last won at Pocono in July, but still has been solid week in and week out.

  4. Harrison Burton – After a disappointing outing at Canada, Burton and his No. 18 Kyle Busch Motorsports team is looking for a rebound. Burton has just one start that came in the March race. In the March race, the KBM driver started third and finished fifth, and finished fourth and sixth in both stages.

  5. John Hunter Nemechek – Nemechek may be a surprise this week when he returns to the No. 8 NEMCO Motorsports Chevrolet. However, his Vegas outings haven’t been that kind to Nemechek. The North Carolina native has a best finish of fourth which came in 2015 in his first start at Vegas. Since then, Nemechek’s outings have been rocky with finishes of 16th, eighth, 21st and 22nd. The NEMCO Motorsports team will hope for a better outing this time around.

Playoff drivers

  1. Stewart Friesen – Friesen sits third in the playoff points standings, just 44 points behind Moffitt. The Halmar Racing driver does not have a win yet but has a little bit of a buffer above the cut line. At Vegas, Friesen’s stats have been so-so with five starts. His best finish was fourth in the March race of this year after 20 laps out front. Other finishes include 19th, 25th, fifth and 17th. Friesen has led 68 laps and has an average finish of 11.6 with one DNF that occurred in 2017.

  2. Matt Crafton – Crafton sits fourth in the standings and will likely need a good run in order to continue on. The ThorSport driver has no wins dating back to his first outing since 2001, but has eight top-fives and 12 top-10 finishes with 140 laps led. His best finish was second three times, but Crafton’s last second-place finish was in 2012. In last year’s race, however, the ThorSport driver finished fifth after starting 29th.

  3. Austin Hill – Hill is placed fifth in the standings just a few points above the cut line. If he wants to race in the Round of 6, he’ll have to pick it up. Hill has two DNFs out of his three Vegas starts. The only time he has finished a race was the March 2018 race, where Hill finished 10th. He’ll have to do more than that if he wants to continue on.

  4. Johnny Sauter – Hard to imagine that Sauter is below the cut line by two points in what has been an inconsistent year for his No. 13 ThorSport team. As he has stated in Canada, “it’s win or go home” and he most certainly could do that. Sauter has 12 starts dating back to 2009 where he won in his first outing. In the past couple of races, he has finishes of eighth and second twice. Overall, the Wisconsin native has six top fives and nine top-10 finishes with 121 laps led and an average finish of 7.1. It would be hard to imagine a Championship 4 without Sauter after he has made it the past few years.

  5. Tyler Ankrum – Hoping to be a wildcard, Ankrum and his No. 17 DGR-Crosley team will have to win in order to advance to the Round of 6. It will be a challenge for him as Ankrum has no starts at Vegas.

Other drivers on the entry list include the No. 0 of Daniel Sasnett, Tyler Dippel returns to the No. 02 after his short suspension, Cory Roper is back with his No. 04, Dylan Lupton in the No. 5, Justin Johnson in the No. 08, Codie Rohrbaugh in the No. 9, Spencer Davis in the No. 11, Derek Kraus in the No. 19, Mason Massey in the No. 33, Jesse Iwuji in the No. 34, Colin Garrett in the No. 38, Angela Ruch in the No. 44, Natalie Decker in the No. 54, Tyler Hill in the No. 56 and Tony Mrakovich in the No. 87.

Since 1996, Las Vegas Motor Speedway has hosted 24 Truck Series races and since 2018 the series has raced twice a year.

The list of winners is a who’s who with drivers like Jack Sprague who won the first outing in ’96, and others that include Joe Ruttman, Greg Biffle, Ted Musgrave, David Starr, Brendan Gaughan, Shane Hmiel, Todd Bodine, Mike Skinner, Travis Kvapil, Sauter, Austin Dillon, Ron Hornaday, Nelson Piquet Jr., Timothy Peters, Erik Jones, John Wes Townley, Tyler Reddick, Ben Rhodes, Kyle Busch and Enfinger.

Eight times a winner has come from the pole with the most recent set by Busch back in March. The lowest a winner has ever started from was in 21st set by Hmiel in 2004.

The Truck Series drivers will only have one practice session that takes place early Friday morning at 8:05 a.m. PT with no live TV coverage. Qualifying is scheduled later in the day at 2:35 p.m. PT live on Fox Sports 1.

The World of Westgate 200 is slated to get underway shortly after 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET, live on Fox Sports 1 and MRN Radio.

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