The NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series continued their Midwest swing this past weekend at Iowa Speedway located in Newton, Iowa and it was one of the most newsworthy weekends in quite a while for the Truck Series.
First, Chandler Smith who is a future NASCAR Cup Series star was already making headlines and turning more heads after completely dominating the ARCA Race at Madison leading well over half the race, taking home his second win of the season. Smith was making his Truck Series debut for Kyle Busch Motorsports driving the famed No. 51 Toyota.
The weekend only got better for Smith and his No. 51 crew, as qualifying was rained out, which saw the lineup being set by owner points. Smith was on the pole due to the 51 leading the owner standings over Grant Enfinger’s No. 98 Thorsport team.
Secondly, the M&M’s 200 was originally scheduled for Saturday night, however, a late afternoon thunderstorm came over the track and washed everything out, forcing NASCAR officials to postpone the race to Sunday afternoon at Noon ET.
Thirdly, Smith and his team faced radio issues in the first stage and surprisingly did not receive a black flag for the issue. He was able to stay out until a late caution occurred in Stage 1 which allowed his crew to fix the radio problems. Smith went on to finish eighth in the race, where he more than likely should have had a top five or top three finish overall.
Fourthly, one of the most talked about items from the M&M’s 200 was the incident between Johnny Sauter and Austin Hill, who had a little scuffle under caution. Sauter was sent wrecking off Turn 4 to bring out the caution, however, replays showed it was Austin Hill who gave payback to Sauter after having a little dust-up a few laps prior to the incident. After Sauter was wrecked, he went back to chase Hill down and wrecked him on purpose. Once that happened, Sauter was parked for the rest of the day and it was one of the most talked about topics for the rest of the weekend. It left many wondering if he should be suspended for the upcoming race at Gateway on Saturday.
Finally, in what would have been a big win and a continued march toward the top-20 in points, Ross Chastain had his win taken away by NASCAR after Chastain failed post-race inspection due the ride heights being too low. As a result, Brett Moffitt who previously finished second was declared the new winner and is given the playoff spot.
Niece Motorsports is appealing the penalty following the race but NASCAR had not yet made a ruling. However, if they do not win the appeal, Chastain will still finish 32nd and only receive five points. It is also not yet determined what the outcome will be for Sauter’s action.
So with all that said, here’s a look at this weeks power rankings.
- Ben Rhodes – After falling out of the power rankings last week due to a transmission failure, Rhodes rebounded to what originally was a third-place finish to a second place finish after the alternate results. It was a quiet race for the most part for the Carolina Nut Company team, as they finished fourth in Stage 1 and won Stage 2. He stayed in the top-10 throughout the race and earned his fifth top-five finish of the year. Rhodes and the No. 99 team currently sit fifth in the driver points, 54 points behind his teammate Grant Enfinger.
Previous Week Ranking – Not Ranked
- Harrison Burton – A much needed top-five finish for Burton and the No. 18 Kyle Busch Motorsports team, who has continued to face criticism from his team owner. From the week before, he finished fifth at Texas and followed that up with a third place finish at Iowa. Burton had stage finishes of eighth and fifth, respectively. He currently sits sixth in the standings, 93 points behind first, but Burton will have to start winning soon if he wants to have another year at Kyle Busch Motorsports. He also competed in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race later in the day for Joe Gibbs Racing and finished fourth there as well.
Previous Week Ranking – Not Ranked
- Grant Enfinger – Another week, another top-five finish for Enfinger and the No. 98 Protect The Harvest Ford F-150 team. After qualifying was rained out, Enfinger started second and was a factor throughout the race. He finished second in Stage 1 and third in Stage 2. Enfinger more than likely should have won the first stage after being three wide out but will have to wait for another race to earn himself a stage win. Still, he earned a fourth place finish and continues to lead the points standings over his teammate Matt Crafton by 47 points.
Previous Week Ranking – 2nd
- Sheldon Creed – Creed continued his top-10 finishes this past weekend again by placing in the sixth position. It was a quiet race for the 2018 ARCA Series champion. Creed finished fifth in Stage 1 and ninth in Stage 2. By the end of the day and after inspection, Creed and the No. 2 GMS Racing team found themselves in the sixth position. It was his third top-10 finish of the season. Creed currently sits 10th in the points standings, just two spots outside the top eight.
Previous Week Ranking – 5th
- Brett Moffitt – After Ross Chastain and his No. 44 Niece Motorsports team failed post-race inspection, Brett Moffitt and the No. 24 GMS Racing team found themselves as the new surprise winner. However, Moffitt was in contention late following Stage 2 as he followed Chastain closely behind in second for the rest of the race. Moffitt finished sixth in Stage 1 and second in Stage 2. When the original race concluded, he wound up second with a top-five finish. However, about an hour after the race, Moffitt was declared the new winner. It was a low key celebration, but he will get the playoff point should he continue to stay in the top 20.
Previous Week Ranking – Not Ranked
1. Ross Chastain – It seems as though Chastain cannot catch a break here in the past year. His NASCAR career has been up and down for the Florida native. After scoring a big win last September in the Xfinity Series race driving for Chip Ganassi, he had earned himself a shot to drive Ganassi’s powerhouse No. 42 machine in the 2019 season. Many thought this would give Chastain a great shot to win his first championship. However, during the offseason, the sponsors had some legal trouble with the FBI and had to pull out of NASCAR due to the circumstances, which left Chastain out of a competitive ride. Thankfully, he still had his JD Motorsports guys who have stuck with him since day 1 when he drove for them. This year, Chastain found new success in the Truck Series driving for the Niece Motorsports team. Since Daytona, Chastain and company finished inside the top-10 in every race, even though not earning points due to Chastain selecting Xfinity points. However, a couple of weeks ago, it was announced he was allowed to chase after the Truck Series title due to his recent success in the series. In what looked liked it would have been a huge win on Sunday afternoon for Chastain and his team, leading 141 of 200 laps, sweeping both stages and continuing his fight toward the top 20 in points for a shot at the playoffs, NASCAR disqualified him due to the truck being too low. This resulted in a 32nd place finish, last place, and only receiving five points. It was a heartbreaker for sure, as Chastain wasn’t going to use the 50k for personal gain, rather it was to be used for new trucks and funding for the rest of the year. They are appealing the penalty, but usually, NASCAR’s word normally stays final. Chastain continues to remain upbeat about his team’s performance this past weekend at Iowa and wants badly to win at Gateway this weekend. It will be an interesting story to follow throughout the 2019 season.
Previous Week Ranking – 4th
2. Matt Crafton – Started fourth and finished seventh for his ninth top-10 finish of the year. Crafton won Stage 1 and finished seventh in Stage 2. However, he really wasn’t seen following both stages and kind of just rode around in the back half of the top-10. With his seventh-place finish, Crafton and the No. 88 team continue to remain winless dating back to his Eldora win from July 2017.
Previous Week Ranking – 1st