With just one race left in the Round of 10 for the 2020 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs, the action is starting to heat up as they head to Talladega Superspeedway this Saturday.
After a poor run of 25th at Bristol last week, Austin Hill returned to victory lane for the first time in nine races since his last victory at Kansas in July. Hill is slowly but surely becoming a championship favorite week in and week out by having consistent top-five and top-10 finishes. In fact, Hill has only finished outside the top 10 just three times this year with those coming at Texas due to engine problems, Michigan, and most recently, at Bristol.
If Hill can keep this momentum going through the entirety of the 2020 Playoffs, then it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise if he’ll is crowned champion at the end of the season in Phoenix.
Though, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, as there are five races remaining in 2020 and a lot can and will happen before the checkered flag falls at Phoenix in November.
For now, let’s take a look at this week’s Power Rankings following Race No. 18 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
- Grant Enfinger – A Top 10 was all she had in Grant Enfinger’s No. 98 camp after Enfinger finished in the sixth position for his 11th top 10 of the year. The Alabaman navigated his No. 98 Ford F-150 to a finish of fourth in Stage 1 and barely missed earning a top-10 stage finish in Stage 2 with 11th. Heading to his home track this weekend at Talladega, Enfinger sits fifth in the standings, +31 above the cut line.
Previous Week Ranking – Second
- Matt Crafton – A valiant effort of ninth last Friday night for Crafton after scrubbing the wall early due to Sheldon Creed making him check up on the backstretch. The Californian led no laps but did get stage finishes of ninth and eighth. Considering last week’s disappointment of 10th at Bristol, Las Vegas was a nice rebound for the No. 88 team. In addition, Crafton also picked up his 11th top 10 of the year.
Previous Week Ranking – Fourth
- Austin Hill – Hill rebounded from a forgettable Bristol outing of 25th to a win at Las Vegas Friday night. Even though he was nowhere to be seen throughout the first two stages, Hill grabbed the lead off a Lap 95 restart and held on for the final 39 laps before he took the checkered flag for the second time this season. As far as stages go, Hill did place in the Top 10 for Stage 2 with an effort of finishing ninth.
Previous Week Ranking – Not Ranked
- Christian Eckes – A solid, much needed night of Christian Eckes and the No. 18 Kyle Busch Motorsports team who came home in the eighth position after leading laps early. In fact, if and when Eckes looks back on the Las Vegas race, it’s probably one of the few ones that got away from the New York native who showed promise in the early portions of the race. Before finishing eighth, Eckes led just five laps and placed seventh in both stages. The Top 10 finish marked his eighth of the season.
Previous Week Ranking – Not Ranked
- Tanner Gray – Tanner Gray has been picking up steam over the last two weeks in his No. 15 DGR-Crosley Ford F-150. Gray has finished in the third position at Bristol and Las Vegas, gaining some of his best career finishes. The top-five at Vegas marks Gray’s fourth of the 2020 season and matched his career-best of third at Michigan in August.
- Brett Moffitt – A disappointing 15th place run by Moffitt who showed promise early by finishing second and third in Stage 1 and 2, respectively, but ultimately fell outside the Top 10 once the 134 lap event concluded. It was not the run the Iowan needed as he currently leads the championship playoff standings.
Previous Week Ranking – First
- Tyler Ankrum – A quiet Top 10 finish from Ankrum who finished 10th, somewhat of a disappointment after finishing seventh at Bristol the week before. Top 10’s are nice in the early opening rounds of the playoffs, but it’s ultimately winning that gets you further and potentially the opportunity to battle for the championship.
Previous Week Ranking – Third
- Ben Rhodes – Smoke and oil troubles plagued the No. 99 ThorSport team before a crash eventually ended any hopes of securing a top-five finish Friday night. It was not ideal for the Kentucky native who now sits below the cut line heading into the final round of the playoffs at Talladega this Saturday. It would be disappointing for Rhodes, who made a last chance effort to make the playoffs with his win at Darlington, to get eliminated (if that is the case come Saturday).
Previous Week Ranking – Fifth