Four Takeaways from the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Race at Las Vegas II

Friday night’s race was race No. 19 of the 2019 season and marked the final race in the Round of 8. While Friday night’s race fell on Friday the 13th, you would think after all the incidents that we saw, it was due to the date. The World of Westgate 200 saw 23.9% of the race run under caution and only 14.6 laps on average for green flag laps. Many playoffs drivers suffered engine failures that left them scratching their heads when the race concluded. Friday night’s race was quite possibly the most exciting and most entertaining race of the season. 

  1. ThorSport Racing Struggle – It was a difficult and strange night for the ThorSport drivers who were in the playoffs. The issues started with the regular-season champion, Grant Enfinger. On Lap 7, Enfinger brought out the first caution after having smoke come out the back of his truck. The team pushed the truck behind the wall in hopes of fixing it and continuing to race in the playoffs. However, after looking at the situation, the problem was too catastrophic to fix and it left Enfinger with a 31st place finish and out of the Round of 6. Later on, more issues arose for the two other teammates on Lap 41. Johnny Sauter happened to run over something on the track, which caused a fire under his hood, While that happened, Matt Crafton, who was following directly behind him, ran over it as well. The incident left both drivers out of the race as they finished 29th and 30th. While the incident left Sauter frustrated and out of the playoffs, Crafton and the No. 88 team will still get to fight for a championship and move on to the Round of 6.
  2. Hill Victorious – Austin Hill and the No. 16 found themselves in victory lane once again on Friday night. It was his third win of the season and the second win for the Truck chassis that was previously raced at Michigan, where the team won there as well. The team was more than likely locked into the next round due to troubles by other playoff drivers, but they will have some additional playoff points to fall back on in case Hill gets into a tight points situation.
  3. Ankrum Gets In – Quite possibly the underdog coming into the playoffs is Tyler Ankrum and the No. 17 DGR-Crosley team. The team was in a must-win situation after coming into Vegas, -14 behind the cut line. While no one gave him a chance of moving on to the next round, Ankrum succeeded by finishing 11th and with help from other playoff drivers falling out of the race early on. Now by advancing to the Round of 6, Ankrum and the No. 17 team have a shot to go to the Championship 4 should they win at Talladega, Martinsville or ISM Raceway.
  4. Wild Night For NEMCO Motorsports – While the craziness of the Truck Series race was seen on Friday night, it all started before the race even started. John Hunter Nemechek was back in the field in the No. 8 truck that he found success in when his career was just beginning not too long ago. Unfortunately,  Nemechek’s truck was unable to get started when the command was given to Start Engines. The North Carolina native never got to record a lap and the result was a last-place finish due to a fuel pressure problem. On the other hand, Tony Mrakovich was piloting the No. 87 truck which is normally a start and park unless sponsorship is found to run the whole race. Mrakovich was making his third start of the season, his first since Pocono in July. The Pennsylvania native started 12th and finished 13th. Not bad for Mrakovich in just his third race of the year and for NEMCO Motorsports, who had a wild night that began before the race even started.
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