The NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series came to Pocono Raceway on Saturday afternoon for their 14th race of the 2019 season with just three races remaining until the Playoffs begin at Bristol Motor Speedway in a few weeks.
Drivers like Harrison Burton, Ben Rhodes, Todd Gilliland, Sheldon Creed, Tyler Dippel, Spencer Boyd, Jordan Anderson and Stewart Friesen were hoping to have a good points day or perhaps grab a win at “The Tricky Triangle” to solidify their spot in the Playoffs.
It was action-packed from the start, as we saw most of Stage 1 run under yellow with two cautions. There was even an accident between Friesen and Anthony Alfredo on the first lap. Friesen was unfortunately done for the day after the incident and finished last.
After those two incidents, it was clean and green for the remainder of the race barring the two stage cautions that took place. Fan-favorite Ross Chastain was able to take home the win after completely dominating the race.
Drivers who were coming into the Gander RV 150 on the bubble, still find themselves on the outside looking in. Now the series heads to one of its most popular races of the year, Eldora Speedway, Thursday night.
Before we get there, however, it’s time to take a look at this week’s power rankings following Pocono.
- Ross Chastain – No surprise here with Chastain taking home the win for the third time this season. The Florida native put a butt whopping on the field leading twice for 54 of the 60 laps. The only time he was never out front was Stage 2, where Chastain made a pit stop in that stage in order to restart out front for the final stage. He is more than likely locked in at this point but the team is searching for some additional sponsorship for the rest of the year. However, Chastain also stated they are good for the Playoffs and just need some help.
Previous Week Ranking – Second
- Harrison Burton – Burton was able to grab a much-needed points day at Pocono, facing possible elimination for the Playoffs. The Kyle Busch Motorsports driver qualified sixth on Friday afternoon. From there, Burton finished third in Stage 1 and won Stage 2. He was able to lead six laps before finishing third. Burton will face some challenges this week as he heads to Eldora for the first time since 2017, where he finished 15th.
Previous Week Ranking – Third
- Brett Moffitt – While disappointed with his fifth-place finish Saturday afternoon, Moffitt was able to up his finish from his disappointing outing at Kentucky a few weeks back. The Grimes, Iowa native started fourth, finished fifth and second in both stages, respectively. Still, Moffitt was frustrated with not being able to pass. It was his sixth top-five of the season.
Previous Week Ranking – Fourth
- Tyler Ankrum – The Kentucky winner followed up with a second-place finish and was close to winning again. Ankrum finished 10th in Stage 1 while not earning any stage points in Stage 2. While the race was winding down, Ankrum found himself chasing down race leader Chastain with less than 15 to go. Chastain started to save a little bit of fuel, which allowed the DGR-Crosley driver to close in. Ankrum then had to save fuel and back off until he was clear to chase after Chastain. Despite his efforts, Ankrum fell one second short of the win. It was Ankrum’s third top-five of the season.
Previous Week Ranking – Not Ranked
- Matt Crafton – Speaking of much-needed points day, Crafton finished sixth in his No. 88 Menards Ford F-150 after running as high as third late. The California native qualified eighth, finished 11th in Stage 1 and fifth in Stage 2. With help of track position, Crafton was close to taking the lead of the race. However, he’ll have to wait until Eldora on Thursday night for another chance, where it will mark one year since his last win in the series.
Previous Week Ranking – Not Ranked
1. Stewart Friesen – Tough day for Friesen and his No. 52 Halmar Racing team who didn’t even make a lap in the race. It all started on Lap 1 when Friesen got loose and went crashing up the hill, receiving major damage to his truck. The damage was too extensive to repair and he finished last, not even being able to complete one lap. Friesen will have to hope his dirt racing background pays off in Thursday’s night race at Eldora.
Previous Week Ranking- First
2. Austin Wayne Self – There is not much to be said for the Texan coming out of this race. Wayne Self competed in the ARCA race Friday afternoon in preparation for Saturday’s Truck race. He qualified 18th, finished 10th in Stage 2 and then wound up with a disappointing 15th place outing.
Previous Week Ranking – Fifth
1. Christian Eckes – Eckes won the ARCA race Friday afternoon, dominating the event. Shortly after, he jumped straight into a Kyle Busch Motorsports truck to qualify 13th. The nearby New York native finished seventh in Stage 1 and 22nd in Stage 2 after making a pit stop in the stage. In the end, Eckes wound up fourth.
2. Tony Mrakovich – Looking down the running order, Truck Series fans will see the Pennsylvania native finishing 12th for NEMCO Motorsports. It was just the second Truck Series race of the year for the young 20-year-old and his best finish yet. Mrakovich competed in his family-owned team at Martinsville and Dover earlier this season but failed to qualify. His only other finish was 26th at Fort Worth.
3. Tyler Dippel – Dippel came close to earning his second career top-10 finish Saturday afternoon. He finished ninth in Stage 1 and seventh in Stage 2. Ultimately, the Youngs Motorsports driver came home 11th, just one spot short of the top-10. Dippel is one of the drivers that will have to win in the next two races in order to make the Playoffs.