Its literally been a month since the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers last raced. Sept. 14 to be exact. Saturday’s Fr8Auctions 250 (1 p.m. ET/FOX/MRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) will close out the opening round to their playoffs as it’s a round that’s lasted nearly two months. The first race was Aug. 26 in Canada. The final race is Oct. 13.
But, it will still be action packed as two of the six spots to advance to the second round are clinched. Justin Haley pulled off a crazy win in CTMP while Grant Enfinger won the last race in Las Vegas. Now, we have six drivers going for four spots. They’re doing so at the Talladega Superspeedway in fact.
That’s crazy enough.
Johnny Sauter is 40 points up, as he’s in a very good position to advance on. He won the other superspeedway race at Daytona back in February and finished 12th at Talladega last year. That basically leaves three spots for five drivers.
Noah Gragson is +23 but he only finished 23rd at Daytona earlier this year and 14th last season in Talladega. He has just one top five finish over his last seven starts on the season.
Brett Moffitt is +18 but was just 26th at Daytona in February. He did finish 10th in this very race last year but has just two top 10 finishes over his last five starts on the season. Matt Crafton is +7 but he too struggled at Daytona in February in a 19th place result. He was one spot ahead of Moffitt in Talladega last year.
As you can see, these three aren’t shoo ins.
Where it’s good for Gragson or Moffitt though is they drive for Toyota and they’ve been the manufacturer to beat in the Truck Series at Talladega. They’ve won five of the last six races and nine of the last 11 overall on the 2.66-mile Alabama superspeedway. Can they continue that dominance?
Ben Rhodes, a Ford driver, finished fourth at Daytona earlier this year but was only 23rd last season at Talladega. He can make those seven points up easily on Saturday but will he knock out his teammate? That leaves just Stewart Friesen, a Chevrolet driver, who’s only 10 points down. But, he was 17th in this race last year and 27th at Daytona.
The moral of the story is, will Rhodes and Friesen get stage points and position themselves to be in contention in the end? Will Gragson, Moffitt or Crafton falter?
That’s why Talladega is going to be huge on Saturday.