The NASCAR Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series visited Bristol Motor Speedway this past Thursday night for race No. 1 of the 2020 Truck Series Playoffs, and for the most part, the racing didn’t disappoint.
Surprisingly, the UNOH 200 was run mainly under caution-free conditions and provided a new series winner. Sam Mayer, one of the up and coming rising stars in the stock world, broke through and won for the first time in the NASCAR Truck Series after passing teammate and playoff driver, Brett Moffitt, with less than 30 to go. The Wisconsin native became the second-youngest winner in Truck Series history at the age of 17.
While Mayer got the victory in the series, there were other drivers who also enjoyed their most recent best runs of the night. But most of the playoff grid struggled with Moffitt being the highest of the 10 in the point standings, finishing second in the running order.
Let’s take a look at some of the highlights and stories you may have missed in this week’s Takeaways following the UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
- Tanner Gray Matches Career-Best – Tanner Gray in the No. 15 DGR-Crosley Ford enjoyed another career-best of third Thursday night at Bristol. Gray’s 2020 rookie season has been a learning curve for the most part since coming over from the NHRA Pro Stock division the year prior. The third-place finish was his second of the year since he finished third at Michigan earlier in the summer. It was a great run that was needed after having recent finishes outside the Top 15.
- Chandler Smith and Parker Kligerman Grab Top Five Finishes – Speaking of much needed runs, Chandler Smith grabbed a top-five finish at Bristol. Smith has not had a kind 2020 so far with most of his finishes coming in either 20th or 23rd place. In fact, his last top-five finish in the Truck Series came last year at Phoenix where the Georgia native finished third for Kyle Busch Motorsports. Meanwhile, Parker Kligerman was back in the No. 75 Henderson Motorsports Chevrolet for his sixth start of the season. Kligerman used strategy to his advantage and ran a clean race to bring home the No. 75 for a fourth-place result, his best finish at Bristol since 2018.
- Trevor Bayne Disqualified – Trevor Bayne was entered in only his third Truck start of his career and season last Thursday for Niece Motorsports. The Nashville, Tennessee driver originally finished fifth in the running order, in what would have been his best career Truck Series finish. Unfortunately for Bayne, he was disqualified and relegated to a last-place finish for failing post-race tech due to ride heights.
- Camping World Returns In 2021 – Announced late last week, previous title sponsor Camping World, will return to sponsoring the Truck Series next year for 2021. Camping World last sponsored the series in 2018, before Gander RV and Outdoors took over in 2019 and through the end of this year.