Bristol Motor Speedway hosted race No. 17 for the 2020 Truck Series season for the first race of the Playoffs.
Just 10 drivers are entered in the Playoffs this year including Brett Moffitt, Grant Enfinger, Tyler Ankrum, Todd Gilliland, Matt Crafton, Sheldon Creed, Austin Hill, Christian Eckes, Ben Rhodes and Zane Smith.
While those 10 drivers had high hopes of winning Thursday night’s race at Bristol, none of that fell their way. Instead, part-time Truck Series and newly announced Xfinity Series driver, Sam Mayer, stole the show and claimed the checkered flag. Moffitt was the highest ranked playoff driver, finishing second after leading the most laps of 117.
With Mayer finding victory in his early career, many of the playoff drivers were left puzzled about their finishing result following the 200 lap event.
Here are this week’s Power Rankings following the UNOH 200.
- Brett Moffitt – Moffitt had the best Truck for the middle portions of the race and led from Lap 114 to 170, 57-laps in total. He was on his way to his first checkered flag of the season but his Truck started to fade a little bit as the laps wore down. Once Mayer caught and passed Moffitt, all the Iowan could do was watch and maintain his second-place finish. Despite finishing second, Moffitt won Stage 1 and finished third in Stage 2 and came home with the playoff points lead with a 36 point buffer.
Previous Week Ranking – Fourth
- Grant Enfinger – Enfinger made his 100th Truck Series career start last Thursday night, which is hard to believe since his first Truck Series race came 10 years ago in 2010. The Alabaman had an up and down night with his Truck shutting off and on due to a potential electrical issue. The ThorSport driver managed a Stage 1 finish of fifth before earning his 63rd Top 10 of his career, his 10th of the season.
Previous Week Ranking – Third
- Tyler Ankrum – Ankrum earned his first career stage win by winning the second stage, and in addition, he finished second in Stage 1. However, most of his race somewhat went south when there was a miscommunication between the crew chief and driver during the stage break caution. Ankrum missed the pit stall the first time around before eventually pitting the second time. While Bristol is what could have been for Ankrum, he finished seventh, gaining his eighth Top 10 finish of the year.
Previous Week Ranking – Not Ranked
- Matt Crafton – Crafton had a respectable finish of 10th after Trevor Bayne, who originally finished fifth, was disqualified, which Crafton moved up in the finishing order. The finish was Crafton’s 10th top-10 of the year. As for the stages, he finished sixth and seventh, respectively.
Previous Week Ranking – Not Ranked
- Ben Rhodes – A ho-hum night for Ben Rhodes who came home in the 13th position after winning the Darlington race the week prior to Bristol. Rhodes couldn’t gain a top-10 in either stage, unfortunately. It was certainly a disappointing and forgettable Bristol outing for Rhodes and company.
Previous Week Ranking – First
- Austin Hill – A frustrating night for the 2020 Regular Truck Series Champion Austin Hill, who finished 25th, five laps down. The Georgian’s night got off to a rough start when he got collected in an incident on Lap 8 with the No. 52 of Stewart Friesen. Hill received right-rear bumper damage from the contact. Throughout the night, Hill maintained as much as he could but continued to fight an ill-handling Truck due to brake issues. More problems arose on Lap 156 when Hill was involved with an accident involving the No. 22 of Austin Wayne Self. The final incident pretty much put a damper on Hill’s first race of the playoffs.
Previous Week Ranking – Second
- Todd Gilliland – 14th place finish for playoff contender Todd Gilliland, who is now eight points below the cut line after fighting a loose handling Truck for much of the night.
Previous Week Ranking – Fifth