Friday night’s race at Michigan International Speedway marked the 11th race of the 2020 Truck Series season. It wasn’t all that long ago that race fans didn’t know when the next Truck Series race would take place. But the season continues to roll on at a decent pace as NASCAR gives their best effort with the goal of completing the entire season.
The same can be said for rookie Zane Smith, who kept the ball rolling Friday night. He was never really a factor throughout the first two stages, especially after he received a pit penalty, but Smith never lost confidence and continued to work his way back to the front. His winning moment came on the second overtime restart when the leaders collided with each other and Smith broke through the smoke and fended off friend/competitor Christian Eckes for his first career NASCAR victory. The victory was a long time coming for the Californian who has had a strong rookie year and now can focus on the Playoffs and potentially a bid for the championship in his first year.
While Smith enjoyed the ending of Friday’s race, many drivers probably wish they could have another shot at the race, including Stewart Friesen who wrecked out and was credited with a last-place finish. At this point, the Canadian will need to find a way to win if he has any hopes of repeating his 2019 playoff run.
With up and down days across the board for everyone, we’ll take a look where everyone lands on this week’s Power Rankings following the Henry Food Health System 200.
- Zane Smith – The short break following the Kansas Truck race did not seem to hurt the No. 21 GMS Racing momentum, as Smith piloted the Bay Mountain Air Chevrolet to victory lane. His stage finishes weren’t too kind, placing ninth in the first stage and 15th for the second stage. While the stage finishes and stage points are important, they didn’t matter too much at the end of the day as Smith got the checkered flag in 12 Truck Series starts. As a matter of fact, the victory was his first victory since two-years ago in ARCA competition at Pocono Raceway. It will be interesting to see if Smith and the team can keep the train rolling through the rest of the season.
Previous Week Ranking – Third
- Christian Eckes – Eckes might be frustrated and tired of finishing second the last few weeks, but the Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 18 team earned another top-five finish Friday night, Eckes fourth of the year. Early on, however, it looked liked Eckes was going to have a bad day. He brought out the second caution of the day on Lap 14 when his No. 18 Safelite Tundra spun around on the backstretch. Eckes would spend most of the race trying to get back into contention and what appeared to be no light at the end of the tunnel. However, the late cautions and wrecks put Eckes’ team back upfront and he even tried running down Smith for the win. Ultimately, he fell .318 seconds short of what could have been his first victory. Considering the day Eckes had, the second-place finish was a great rebound from the early spin. Eckes for sure will get a victory one of these days.
Previous Week Ranking – Second
- Derek Kraus – A wild day for Kraus and the No. 19 Bill McAnally team, who ended up finishing eighth in the running order. Friday’s race may have been the wildest ever in his career, as his No. 19 NAPA machine went sliding across the finish line when the checkered flag flew. Kraus, at that point, had no other option but to hang on, hope for the best and that he would not lose any more positions. Fortunately, he didn’t and earned his seventh top 10 of the year. Kraus also earned stage finishes of fifth and 10th.
Previous Week Ranking – Fifth
- Ben Rhodes – It was a rough and forgettable Michigan outing for Rhodes who came home 11th. The ThorSport driver was caught up in retaliation against Chandler Smith, as Rhodes intentionally wrecked him going into Turn 1 on lap 60. Before the incident, Rhodes was having a respectable day where he finished third in Stage 1. But the day would go south after Stage 2, when Rhodes, among others, played track position and hoped the strategy would play in their favor. But, the Kentucky native would have to settle for a finish outside the top 10.
Previous Week Ranking – Fourth
- Grant Enfinger – Enfinger had one of his best races going since his Atlanta win earlier in the season, but was taken out on the second green-white-checkered start while leading. Before that, the Alabaman was having a solid day with stage finishes of seventh and fourth. Depending on how the meeting goes, the postseason could get rocky for Enfinger, as his teammate Johnny Sauter was caught up in a wreck after battling for the lead with 18 to go. Sauter noted on the radio, ‘he would make sure the 98 would not win a championship this year.’ Sure, this comment was likely out of frustration, but here’s hoping cooler heads will prevail and drivers can focus on the bigger picture.
Previous Week Ranking – Not Ranked
- Matt Crafton – A tale of two races for the veteran who won at Kansas and then got caught up in someone else’s mess at Michigan, resulting in a 23rd place finish. While the finish was disappointing Crafton was able to score stage points by finishing fourth in Stage 1.
Previous Week Ranking – Fifth