The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers are back in action this weekend for the second straight 1.5-mile track on the schedule. With that being said, here are the top five storylines for Thursday night’s Buckle Up in Your Truck 225 (7:30 p.m. ET/FS1/MRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
3rd Straight Win For Kyle Busch Motorsports?
William Byron won this race for KBM in 2016 while Christopher Bell won last year. Now, can one of their drivers make it three in-a-row on Thursday night? Noah Gragson is the most obvious choice as he won at a similar track under the lights at Kansas back in May.
If KBM can win, it would not only be their third straight in the Bluegrass State but their fourth in the last five years.
Toyota The Favorites?
It doesn’t matter on what level of NASCAR we’re race in, Kentucky has always been a very favorable track for Toyota. On the Cup level, Toyota has won two of the last three Quaker State 400’s including four of seven overall. In the XFINITY Series, they’ve won two of the last four. In Truck competition, they’ve won every year since 2014.
Can they keep it going?
Sauter vs. Moffitt vs. Gragson
Sauter and Moffitt have combined to win seven of the 11 races this season. Neither of them though have had much success in the Truck Series at Kentucky. Moffitt, has made two starts with a best finish of 14th. Sauter, has had two top five finishes in 11 tries.
But, they’ll be the favorites this weekend. So will Gragson too.
Combined, that trio has won five of the six races on 1.5-mile track in 2018. Kyle Busch’s win in Vegas is the only race that they didn’t win at. Both Johnny Sauter (Charlotte, Texas) and Brett Moffitt (Atlanta, Chicagoland) have won twice. Noah Gragson won at Kansas too.
I would think the win on Thursday night goes through these three.
Can Crafton Get Back Going?
Crafton is arguably one of the best drivers to ever race in the Truck Series. But, it’s been nearly a full year since he last won a race. That came at Eldora on July 19 of last year (23 races ago). Heading into Thursday night’s race, Crafton has three straight finishes outside the top 10. Two of those were 20th or worse.
Can he turn things around in Kentucky?
His last top five came more than a month ago but it was at another 1.5-mile track in Texas. He won this very race in 2015 and has seven straight top 10 finishes in Kentucky.
We have four wildcard spots open and right now, I don’t see how these won’t be the four drivers that currently hold those spots racing in the playoffs. Stewart Friesen is 61 points up and holds the top wildcard position. Grant Enfinger is one point behind him. Matt Crafton (+49) and Ben Rhodes (+42) hold the final two spots. But, can Myatt Snider (-42), Cody Coughlin (-59) or Dalton Sargeant (-79) close the gap enough to contend?
Thursday night’s race will further help or hurt their causes.