The NASCAR Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series will get back on track this weekend at Kentucky Speedway, located in Sparta, Kentucky. It will be Round No. 7 of the 2020 Truck Series season, just four races from the halfway point of the season, should all 23 races run.
Last time out when the Trucks raced, the series was at Pocono Raceway for what was a ho-hum race, which featured numerous cautions. However, part-time Kyle Busch Motorsports driver Brandon Jones finally earned his first Truck Series race after 46 starts in the series. Meanwhile, Truck Series regulars, other than Grant Enfinger, have yet to earn themselves a win through the first seven races of the season.
As the Truck Series heads to the Blue Grass state, there’s a high chance that a series regular could very well wind up in victory lane, as no Xfinity or Cup Series drivers are scheduled to compete.
With that said, here are five drivers who could take the checkered flag Saturday night in the Buckle Up Your Truck 225 at Kentucky Speedway.
- Matt Crafton – Crafton is a former winner at this race track, winning the 2015 event. Since then, he’s finished inside the top 10 with the exception of last year’s race, when the California native finished 13th, two laps down. Overall, Crafton has the most starts of any active drivers and the most experience with 21 starts dating back to 2001. His finishes have been up and down over time but statistically, he’s completed 94.8 percent of the laps, led 90 laps, and earned 15 top 10 finishes. Crafton is also consistent at finishing races at Kentucky, as he only has one DNF to his name at the 1.5-mile speedway. The ThorSport Racing driver may not win Saturday, but he can be a good value pick for your fantasy lineup.
- Parker Kligerman – While Kligerman may be an unusual pick, he could earn the Henderson Motorsports team a top 10 finish Saturday night. In seven starts, he has two runner up finishes (2011 and 2012). Granted, those finishes came with the now-defunct Brad Keselowski and Red Horse Racing teams. However, Kligerman did earn a seventh-place finishing position in the 2017 race for his current team and led 12 laps in 2018 (the last time Kligerman competed in a Truck race at Kentucky), before a late accident ended his night early.
- Stewart Friesen – Potentially, a driver who has been overlooked but who has done well at Kentucky, is Stewart Friesen. The Canadian has three starts going back to his first race in 2017. While his first outing didn’t go particularly well, Friesen has improved finishes the last two races as he’s finished second twice and in the 2018 event, Friesen led 37 laps before falling short. Also in the 2018 race, Friesen finished seventh in Stage 1 and fourth in the second stage. Friesen managed to place sixth in Stage 2 last year.
- Sheldon Creed – Creed is looking for redemption after last year’s forgettable race. The GMS Racing driver started second and led 36 laps, but finished 19 laps down in the 21st position after pit strategy ruined his chance for a strong finish. Creed, though, was able to win Stage 1 before the incident. This year, the GMS team will be using chassis No. 324, which has given Creed two top 10 finishes so far in the 2020 season.
- Grant Enfinger – Overall, Enfinger’s Kentucky races have not fared too well for him, having a best finish of sixth coming in 2018. However, the Alabaman scored some stage points over the last three years since stages were implemented in 2017. In the 2017 race, Enfinger placed the No. 98 machine fourth in Stage 1, fifth in both stages in 2018, and second in the first stage last year. Unfortunately, after qualifying on the pole, and leading 22 laps, a crash on Lap 64 (86 to go) relegated Enfinger to a 24th place finish. If Enfinger and the No. 98 team can have a solid race this year, don’t be surprised if they end up in victory lane Saturday night.
Overall, there are 40 Trucks on the preliminary entry list for Saturday’s event and there are some notable names in the field.
Angela Ruch is back in the No. 00 Reaume Brothers Racing Truck after missing the Pocono race due to sponsorship woes. Also back in the field is Natalie Decker. Decker missed the Pocono outing after she was hospitalized due to bile duct surgery. Trey Hutchens and his No. 14 team will make their debut as a team for 2020. Ryan Truex is entered in the No. 40 Niece Motorsports machine for his second start of the 2020 season. Truex’s previous outing was Atlanta, where he finished 13th. And finally, Chandler Smith makes his anticipated 2020 season debut for Kyle Busch Motorsports. Smith competed in four Truck Series races last year, where he earned a best finish of second at Bristol.
Since 2000, Kentucky Speedway has seen 22 Truck Series races. In that 22 race span, there has been a whos-who list of race winners. These include Greg Biffle, Scott Riggs, Mike Bliss, Carl Edwards, Bobby Hamilton, Dennis Setzer, Ron Hornaday Jr, Mike Skinner, Johnny Benson Jr, Todd Bodine, Kyle Busch, James Buescher, Ty Dillon, Matt Crafton, Christopher Bell, Ben Rhodes and Tyler Ankrum.
Hornaday has the most wins with three victories (2006, 2009, 2011). Kyle Busch and James Buescher have two wins each. Busch won in 2011 and 2014 and Buescher’s wins came in both of the 2012 events. Buescher is the only Truck Series driver to win back to back events.
Since 2013, there have been seven different winners. Only Crafton, Rhodes, and Ankrum are previous race winners of the Buckle Up In Your Truck 225 of those entered in the field.
As far as stages are concerned, Ben Rhodes, Noah Gragson, Sheldon Creed, and Matt Crafton are all stage winners.
On the manufacturer side, Toyota has nine wins, Chevrolet has eight, Ford has three and Dodge has one win. Ford won the first race back in 2000 with Greg Biffle. Chevrolet’s first win came with Mike Bliss in 2002, Dodge’s in 2002 by Bobby Hamilton while Toyota’s first win came in 2007 with driver Mike Skinner.
Despite there being no qualifying this weekend, track position is key if you want to win at Kentucky. The race winner has came from the pole three times (2009, 2014, 2015). The lowest the race winner has ever started was 22nd, which occurred twice (2006 and 2013).
The most cautions seen in this event was nine cautions for 40 laps, which occurred in 2000. The fewest amount of cautions was three yellows for 12 laps in 2002. There were also 18 lead changes (the most in the event history) for the Truck Series in 2011 with 18.
The Buckle Up In Your Truck 225 is scheduled for Saturday night, July 11 at 6 p.m. ET live on Fox Sports 1 and MRN Radio.