NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Preview-Gateway

by Briar Starr On Thu, Jun. 21, 2018

Four wide military salute on a pace lap prior to the start of the NASCAR Camping World Trucks Series Drivin' for Linemen 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park on June 17, 2017 in Madison, Illinois. Photo by Jeff Curry/NASCAR via Getty Images.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series continues their midwest swing this weekend by visiting Gateway Motorsports Park located in Madison, Illinois just outside of St. Louis, MO.

Currently, there are 34 trucks on the preliminary entry list.

Of those 34, there are 11 drivers who have never made a start at Gateway. Those drivers include Myatt Snider, Bobby Reuse, Brett Moffitt, Dalton Sargeant, Justin Fontaine, Christian Eckes, Riley Herbst, Chad Finley, Stewart Friesen, Zane Smith and Jesse Little.

Two of those drivers, Riley Herbst and Zane Smith will be making their Truck Series debut.

Here’s a look at who just might be contending for the win in the Villa Lighting Delivers the Eaton 200.

    1. John Hunter Nemechek – Nemechek will once again be piloting the No. 8 Chevy for Nemco Motorsports. He is the previous race winner at Gateway after scoring an emotional win in last year’s race. In four starts, he has one win, two top five and three top-10 finishes, along with 99 laps led. In last year’s race, Nemechek led just 46 laps en route to victory after starting in the second position. He won Stage 1 and finished third in the second stage. If he does get to victory lane, it shouldn’t be surprising as Nemechek has an average start of 7.5 and an average finish of 6.5. Look for the young Mooresville, North Carolina driver to be challenging for the win in Saturday night’s race.
    2. Noah Gragson – Gragson might be a little bit of a wildcard this weekend at Gateway, considering he only has one start here which came in last year’s race. He started seventh and finished ninth, but after almost collecting win number two last week in Iowa after a dive bomb move, Gragson will be hungry to go to victory lane for the second time this year. He’ll have tons of track time with three practice sessions scheduled to take place, but as seen this year, Gragson should be a prime contender for the win.
    3. Brett Moffitt – Moffitt is coming off a momentum win at Iowa last weekend. It was his second win of 2018 and with the team still fighting to secure sponsorship for the rest of the season, the No. 16 Hattori Racing team will be wanting more and be up front challenging for the win. If he wins on Saturday night, it’ll be win number three and it could help him get more sponsorship for the season. In last year’s race, the No. 16 raced with Ryan Truex, who now competes in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. They started 11th, finished fifth and ninth, respectively, in both stages.
    4. Johnny Sauter – It’s hard to ever count out Sauter who is a four-time winner this year. At Gateway, he has competed in six races earning a best finish of second in 2009. Since then, Sauter has had finishes of third, fourth, third, fourth, and third in last year’s race. In addition, he has an average finish of 3.2 and has led 33 laps in total, including six top fives and six top-10 finishes. While he doesn’t have a win here at the 1.250-mile track, it will give him that much more motivation to get this track crossed off the list and continue his dominant season.
    5. Ben Rhodes – While Rhodes has had trouble as of late in terms of performance, Gateway could be the site of his first win and get him into the Playoffs this year. He only has two starts coming in 2017 and 2016, both for Thorsport. Both of those races have been solid races for him. In 2016, he started first and finished second. In last year’s race, Rhodes started 12th and finished eighth, giving him one top five and two top-10 finishes with an average finish of 5.0.

There have been 17 races in total at Gateway Motorsports Park. Former Truck Series driver, Ted Musgrave, has been the only repeat winner, with victories coming in 2001 and 2005. In the past five races, there have been five different winners including John Hunter Nemechek, Christopher Bell, Cole Custer, Bubba Wallace, and Kevin Harvick in 2010.

The lowest a race winner has ever started was 14th which came back in 2004 and David Starr was the winner of that race. Qualifying will be important as the last five winners have started second, ninth, second, second, and first, respectively.

Three practices are on tap Friday afternoon with the first practice scheduled for 3:35 p.m. ET. The second practice is at 5:35 p.m. ET, while final practice will be aired on FS2 at 7:35 p.m. ET.

Qualifying is slated to take place at 5:25 p.m. ET and will be tape delayed on Fox Sports 1 at 7 p.m. ET.

Race coverage begins at 8:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1 and MRN Radio, with the approximate green flag taking place at 8:48 p.m. ET.

** The opinions expressed on this site are not necessarily those of the publisher. All comments other than website related problems need to be directed to the author. (c)SpeedwayMedia.com. **

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