NASCAR Camping World Truck Series News and Notes – Friday, March 16, 2018

Moving on to Martinsville

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will be idle for one more week while the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and the NASCAR Xfinity Series head to Auto Club Speedway. But the trucks return to action next week, taking on Martinsville Speedway on Saturday, March 24 in the Alpha Energy Solutions 250.

Noah Gragson (Fall) and Chase Elliott (Spring) won the two races at ‘The Paperclip’ in 2017. For Gragson, it was his first career victory and followed up a fourth-place finish in the spring race.

It was Elliott’s second career victory in the Camping World Truck Series. His first came in 2013 at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.

Now You See Me

2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Johnny Sauter is in a very familiar place – atop the standings. His season-opening win at Daytona instantly made him a contender for his second championship by virtually ensuring he’s in the Playoffs.

But if we were to start the Playoffs next weekend in Martinsville, the rest of post-season field might require a bit of an introduction – and that’s OK with those drivers who are looking to unseat veterans like Sauter and two-time champion Matt Crafton at the head banquet table.

The remaining seven drivers currently in the top-eight in the standings have combined for five wins in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and just 177 starts. By comparison, points leader Sauter has 224 starts and 18 career series wins.

Crafton, who currently sits just outside the Playoff picture in ninth, has tallied 410 starts and 14 series race wins.

Here’s a quick look at the career numbers for the top-eight drivers in the standings:

  1. Johnny Sauter – No. 21 Chevrolet for GMS Racing Sauter is the 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion and has accumulated 18 career wins in 224 starts. He’s posted 91 top-five and 143 top-ten finishes, starting on the pole six times.
  1. Brett Moffitt – No. 16 Toyota for Hattori Racing Enterprises Moffitt has a pair of wins in 16 races in the series, including a win earlier this season at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He has recorded five top-five and eight top-ten finishes. 
  1. Grant Enfinger – No. 98 Ford for ThorSport Racing In 40 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts, Enfinger has tallied a win (Talladega in 2016), 12 top-five and 23 top-ten finishes. He has started on the pole once (Daytona in 2016).
  1. Noah Gragson – No. 18 Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports Gragson has one win (Martinsville, in the fall, 2017 race), five top-fives and 14 top-tens in 28 series starts. He also won three pole awards in 2017.
  1. Ben Rhodes – No. 41 Ford for ThorSport Racing Rhodes has 53 series starts under his belt with one win (Las Vegas, 2017), 11 top-fives and 23 top-tens. He also has recorded two pole positions.
  1. Stewart Friesen – No. 52 Chevrolet for Halmar Friesen Racing Friesen has 28 career starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, putting together three top-five and seven top-ten finishes in that time. He’s tallied one pole award (Eldora, 2017).
  1. Spencer Davis – No. 51 and No. 4 Toyotas for Kyle Busch Motorsports Davis has split the first three races of his Camping World Truck Series career – all this season – between the No. 51 (Daytona, Atlanta) and No. 4 (Las Vegas). He has posted one top-ten, at Daytona, in those three starts. 
  1. Dalton Sargeant – No. 25 Chevrolet for GMS Racing Dalton Sargeant has recorded nine Camping World Truck Series starts, posting four top-ten finishes.

Eight Would be Great

Martinsville Speedway has seen seven different winners in the last seven NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races at the half-mile track.

A trio of strong series regulars will look to end that streak by returning to Victory Lane at Martinsville.

The most recent winner, Noah Gragson, has just two starts at the short track and finished fourth in his other outing last April. Martinsville was definitely a shining light for him in 2017, as half of his top-five finishes in his rookie campaign came at the track.

Series champions Johnny Sauter (fall, 2016) and Matt Crafton (fall, 2015) also posted wins during that streak.

Sauter finished first, second and third – in that order – in the last three races at Martinsville. He has tallied three wins, eight top-five and 11 top-ten finishes in 20 starts at the track.

Crafton crossed the line second last fall and was fourth in the spring. Overall, in 32 races at Martinsville, he has two wins, nine top-fives, and 19 top-tens.

Here is the list of the last seven race winners at Martinsville Speedway:

2014, Fall: Darrell Wallace Jr.

2015, Spring: Joey Logano

2015, Fall: Matt Crafton

2016, Spring: Kyle Busch

2016, Fall: Johnny Sauter

2017, Spring: Chase Elliott

2017, Fall: Noah Gragson

 

Todd Gilliland Eager to Get Behind the Wheel

Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Todd Gilliland will finally be able to get behind the wheel of the No. 4 Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports when the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series heads to Martinsville.

Gilliland isn’t eligible to compete on intermediate tracks or superspeedways until he reaches his 18th birthday in May. So, until now in 2018, he’s had to sit on the sidelines and watch a cast of substitute drivers pilot his truck.

His dad, David, drove it in the season-opener at Daytona before his truck owner, Kyle Busch, took over for Atlanta and Spencer Davis drove it in Las Vegas.

Gilliland competed in six races in 2017, posting a pair of top-fives and three top-tens. He had the best finish of third at New Hampshire and crossed the line fifth at Martinsville in the fall.

Also Noteworthy…

Expanding Horizons: Sunoco Rookie Myatt Snider has yet to run at Martinsville. In fact, he has only run one race at a track shorter than 1.5 miles…a 2016 start at the one-mile ISM Raceway where he finished 17th. He took to the track eight times in 2017, all on intermediate tracks or superspeedways 1.5-miles in length or longer.

Owners Standings: GMS Racing holds onto first in the owner’s standings with the No. 21 Chevrolet that is driven by Johnny Sauter. Kyle Busch Motorsports sits in second with the No. 51 Toyota that has seen Spencer Davis (Daytona, Atlanta) and Kyle Busch (Las Vegas) behind the wheel. Hattori Racing Enterprises holds on to third with the No. 16 Toyota that has Brett Moffitt behind the wheel.

OEM Standings: Toyota’s two wins put them atop-the manufacturer’s standings through three races with 110 points, but Chevrolet trails them by just one point. Ford has tallied 97 points and sits in third.

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