After a two week hiatus, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is back in action for Friday night’s Rattlesnake 400 (9 p.m. ET/FS1/MRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Here are the top five storylines to watch for this weekend’s race.
Sauter vs. Crafton Texas Dominance
The two crafty veterans are the top two to beat this weekend. Combined, they’ve won six times at the Texas Motor Speedway. Sauter though, has by far been the best driver this season with three wins in seven tries. But, he’s also been the best lately at Texas too. He won the last time out at Texas last fall getting his second win in his last three Texas starts. He’s a four time winner at Texas including five top eight finishes in his last six starts. He also has 11 top 10’s finishes in his last 13 Texas tries.
Furthermore, the GMS Racing driver has won two of the last three races on the season and has six top five finishes, five of which in the top three through the first seven races of the season.
If not Sauter, watch out for Crafton. He’s won at Texas in the past and was ninth in both races last year. He was also runner-up in both races in 2016 as well. In fact, he has 13 straight top 10 finishes on the track and 19 top 10’s in his last 22 starts in the Lonestar State. That dates all the way back to 2007. He was second, sixth and 11th in the last three races on the season too.
Just The 3rd Race Since March
When the Truck Series drivers took the checkered flag at Martinsville at the end of March, they’ve only raced three times since. That could have them a little rusty for this weekend’s race. To have so few races and the last two weeks off, it’s hard to find any kind of rhythm so far.
While the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series teams and drivers are up in Michigan together, the Truck Series drivers are on their only unique standalone event this weekend. The Verizon IndyCar Series and Stadium Super Trucks are at Texas to share the weekend together, which bring three different tire compounds to deal with on the 1.5-mile surface.
This is truly a unique weekend for the teams and drivers.
KBM Looking For 3rd Straight Texas Win With 3 Different Drivers
William Byron got it all started in 2016 when he won the June Texas race. A year later, he was in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. In 2017, it was Christopher Bell’s turn. He won last year and is now in the NASCAR XFINITY Series this season himself. Now, it’s Noah Gragson’s turn. There’s a good possibility he will be in the XFINITY Series next season too. Why not a win for the KBM driver to give them three straight wins in the Rattlesnake 400?
5th Race On 1.5-mile Tracks Already This Season
We’re onto our eighth race of the 2018 season and Friday night’s race will be the fifth contested on a 1.5-mile track. Yes, you read that right. The series has already visited Atlanta, Las Vegas, Kansas, Charlotte and now Texas. The drivers should be very familiar with the intermediate tracks by now.
A few drivers stand out as top performers on these circuits this season.
Matt Crafton has finished fifth (Atlanta), 29th (Las Vegas), sixth (Kansas) and 11th (Charlotte) respectively. Grant Enfinger was ninth (Atlanta), fourth (Las Vegas), eighth (Kansas) and 12th (Charlotte) himself. Noah Gragson was second (Atlanta), 12th (Las Vegas), first (Kansas) and eighth (Charlotte). Ben Rhodes is right there with him scoring finishes of fourth (Atlanta), seventh (Las Vegas), 18th (Kansas) and fifth (Charlotte).
The best has obviously been Johnny Sauter with finishes of third (Atlanta), second (Las Vegas), fifth (Charlotte) and first (Kansas).
But, a solid sleeper is Stewart Friesen. He was sixth (Atlanta), fifth (Las Vegas), third (Kansas) and sixth (Charlotte) respectively. Another sleeper is Brett Moffitt. He was first (Atlanta), third (Las Vegas), 16th (Kansas) and fourth (Charlotte).