After a spectacular season opener for the NASCAR Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series, the series now heads west for race 2 of the 2020 season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. While the racing won’t be a crash fest like Daytona was, it will certainly still be an exciting actioned-packed event as the Truck Series normally is.
Here is this week’s preview of the Strat 200 and five highlighted drivers that might end up in victory lane in Friday night’s race. Currently, there are 35 trucks on the preliminary entry list for the Strat 200, which means three trucks will be sent home after qualifying.
- Kyle Busch – It’s really hard to count out the all-time wins leader of the Truck Series, Kyle Busch. Busch is making his first of five starts this year in 2020 and the winning looks like it won’t stop soon. Busch has made two consecutive starts dating back to 2018 and has pretty much swept the two events by qualifying on the pole and winning both races. While he only led 55 laps in 2018, Busch led 110 out of the scheduled 134 laps in 2019 and won both stages as well. He’ll be expected to be up front and challenge for the win Friday night.
- Brett Moffitt – If there is anyone that can challenge Busch for the win, look no further than the No. 23 team of Brett Moffitt. Since entering the GMS Racing camp of last year, Moffitt has one top five finish and one top-10 finish for Maury Gallagher. In the spring race, the Iowa native finished runner up to Busch and so far, it’s Moffitt’s best finish at the track. He also finished second and 10th during both stages, respectively.
- Stewart Friesen – Friesen has had mixed results at Las Vegas during his past six starts dating back to 2016. Only once has he wrecked out which occurred in 2017. Since then, it’s either been top five finish or top-20 finish. For last year’s race, Friesen started seventh and finished fourth after leading 20 laps. The Canadian also also finished seventh and second in both of the stages. We’ll see how this year’s race will go, as he finished fifth in the spring of 2018, 17th in fall of 18, fourth in spring of 19 and 19th in the fall race last year. So maybe Friesen will be in for another strong run this time around.
- Christian Eckes – Hard to base anything off two starts, but Eckes had a strong outing in two races there by finishing third. The New Yorker started first and finished third after leading four laps in the fall 2019 race. Eckes also placed sixth in the second stage of that race. He’ll have crew chief Rudy Fugle and boss man Kyle Busch to lean on should he need any help. Eckes will be piloting chassis KBM-58. This chassis has seen four starts with a win by Busch at Charlotte in May of last year.
- Sheldon Creed – Speaking of two starts, that’s how many the California native Creed has to his name at Vega and both came in last year’s races. Las Vegas has been kind so far to Creed, who finished sixth in last year’s spring race, while finishing fourth in the fall race. He has not led any laps, but managed to finish seventh in Stage 2 in the spring race, finish sixth in Stage 1, and seventh in Stage 2 in the fall race. Keep an eye on Creed Friday night.
Dating back to 1996, Las Vegas Motor Speedway has seen 25 Truck Series races and since 2018, they have seen two races a year. The winners include Jack Sprague, Joe Ruttman, Greg Biffle, Ted Musgrave, David Starr, Brendan Gaughan, Shane Hmiel, Todd Bodine, Mike Skinner, Travis Kvapil, Johnny Sauter, Austin Dillon, Ron Hornaday Jr, Nelson Piquet Jr, Timothy Peters, Erik Jones, John Wes Townley, Tyler Reddick, Ben Rhodes, Kyle Busch, Grant Enfinger, and Austin Hill.
Chevrolet has the most manufacturer wins with nine, Toyota with eight, Ford with five and Dodge one. Toyota has won the last two races here.
As for qualifying, it has differed in various races. The race winner came from the pole seven times throughout the 25 races, meaning 28 percent of the races have been won from the pole. The lowest a driver has ever come from the back to win was 21st by Shane Hmiel in 2004.
The most lead changes the Las Vegas race has seen was 21 in the September race of 2018, which was won by Grant Enfinger. The fewest lead changes occurred twice with six happening in the first race in 1996 that was won by Jack Sprague and the second in 2004, also won by Hmiel.
Ever since stages were implemented in 2017, Chase Briscoe, Tyler Reddick, Noah Gragson, Stewart Friesen, Grant Enfinger, Kyle Busch, and Ross Chastain have all won the stages.
The NASCAR Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series will only have one practice session that take place Friday morning at 11:05 a.m. ET with no live TV coverage. Qualifying is set for later in the day at 5:05 p.m. ET and can be seen on Fox Sports 1.
The Strat 200 is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET live on Fox Sports 1 and MRN Radio. Stages of 30/60/134 laps will make up the 201-mile race.