After a week with teaming up with the INDYCAR guys in Texas, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series teams will move back to sharing the track with NASCAR drivers as they’ll have a doubleheader weekend with the NASCAR XFINITY Series teams this weekend at the Iowa Speedway. That’s why Saturday’s M&M’s 200 (7 p.m. ET/FS1/MRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) is full of storylines.
Here are the top five.
Standalone Race With All The Attention
It’s a standalone weekend for the NASCAR feeder series. Both the XFINITY and Truck Series drivers share the track and share the weekend while the Cup stars enjoy an off weekend. That means all the attention in the NASCAR world and even the racing world for that because F1 and INDYCAR are off too, are on the XFINITY and Truck Series in Iowa.
Johnny Sauter’s Hot Start
We’ve run eight races this season and Sauter has won exactly half of them. That’s right, out of eight races, Sauter has won four including two straight and three of the last four races entering this weekend. He’s downright dominated every race at every track and is the clear favorite to win this year’s championship. Does his hot streak end this weekend in Iowa?
Stats say no.
He led 72 laps and finished second last year and has seven top five finishes and eight top 10 finishes in his last 11 Iowa starts.
Sauter has now won six of the last 11 series races, going back to Texas last fall, and has posted a top-three finish in 10 of the last 12 races. Sauter now has 21 career Truck Series victories in 229 starts.
After his victory on Friday, Sauter is now the third driver in series history to post four or more wins in the first eight races of the season. Kyle Busch and Mike Skinner are the only other drivers on that list. If Johnny Sauter were to win this weekend at Iowa, he would tie Kyle Busch and become just the second driver is series history to win five races in the first nine races of the season. Busch accomplished the feat in 2014.
On top of that, he hasn’t started a race outside of the top-10 this season and has finished in the top-five in all but one race – Martinsville, where he finished 19th.
Sauter now sits 77 points ahead of second-place Noah Gragson and 95 points ahead of Brett Moffitt in third.
Friesen Wants a Win
Stewart Friesen is looking for his first career win and after coming so close at Texas Motor Speedway, he is hopeful that Iowa will be the place to do it for him. Friesen has 33 starts under his belt with five top fives, 10 top 10s and two poles. Although he has yet to win a race, he has finished in second-place twice in his career. Friesen has never visited Iowa Speedway before, so Saturday’s race will be his first at the oval.
Kyle Busch Motorsports Eyeing 4th Win In Last 5 Years
KBM has had nothing on GMS Racing and Johnny Sauter this year, but they head to a track where they’ve been so successful at recently. Since 2014, KBM drivers have won three of the four trips to Iowa Speedway. Erik Jones won in 2014 and again in 2015 while William Byron won in 2016. Can they get back to victory lane on Saturday night?
Harrison Burton may be their best shot and he can do so too. In two starts in 2018, both on tracks 1-mile of length and shorter, he finished in the top eight in both.
15 of the 35 drivers entered in the 10th Annual M&M’s 200 presented by Casey’s General Store at Iowa Speedway on Saturday, June 16 (7 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) will be visiting the track for the first time.
That list includes: Camden Murphy, Austin Hill, Cory Roper, Todd Gilliland, Reid Wilson, Myatt Snider, Bobby Reuse, Brett Moffitt, Tanner Thorson, Dalton Sargeant, Justin Fontaine, Christian Eckes, Stewart Friesen, Bo LeMastus and Bayley Currey.
Of those 15 drivers, three of them (Cory Roper, Reid Wilson and Tanner Thorson) are entering their second career race.
Christian Eckes is making his NASCAR national series debut this weekend. Eckes won the 2016 Snowball Derby and won the ARCA Racing Series race at Salem earlier this year.