NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, M&M’s 200 at Iowa Preview

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series teams are gearing up for the M&M’s 200 presented by Casey’s General Store at Iowa Speedway on Saturday, June 16th at 5 pm ET with coverage available on FOX Sports 1, MRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

The 200 lap race has three stages with Stage 1 ending on lap 60, Stage 2 on lap 120 and the last stage ending on the last lap 200. 

Unstoppable Sauter

Johnny Sauter continued to take the Camping World Truck Series by storm last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, holding off Stewart Friesen on a three-lap shootout at the 1.5-mile oval.

Sauter, the series points leader, posted his fifth career win at Texas Motor Speedway and his fourth win in eight races this season. Todd Bodine, two-time Truck Series champion, is the only driver with more wins at the track than Sauter, with six.

Finishing 0.092 seconds ahead of Friesen, Sauter took the lead for the first time on lap 117, passing teammate Justin Haley.

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 ten 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-ten 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 posted his first top-ten finish in the three races he’s contested at Texas Motor Speedway and recorded his fifth top-ten finish of 2018. 

Justin Haley to Make NASCAR Xfinity Series Debut

Justin Haley has been impressive since jumping into the No. 24 GMS Racing Chevrolet full-time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, starting at Martinsville in the spring last season. So impressive, in fact, that he will make his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut this weekend at Iowa Speedway for the same team in the No. 23 Chevrolet.

Haley has tallied 35 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races and has posted six top fives, 18 top-tens, and one pole in his career. Haley visited Iowa Speedway once in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series where he started seventh and finished tenth. In addition to this weekend, Haley will run at Daytona International Speedway in July and at Watkins Glen International in August for GMS Racing in the Xfinity Series.

First Timers at Iowa

Fifteen of the 35 drivers entered in the Tenth Annual M&M’s 200 presented by Casey’s General Store at Iowa Speedway on Saturday, June 16 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. 

Iowa Speedway Quick Facts

As the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series heads to Iowa Speedway for the first time this season, here are some quick facts that you should keep in mind. 

Track Length: .875 mile (7/8 mile)
Race Length: 175 miles (200 laps)
Track Width: 60 feet with 20-foot apron
Grandstand Seating Capacity: 24,000
Degree of Banking on Turns: 12, 13, 14 degrees (progressive)
Degree of Banking on Frontstretch: 10 degrees
Degree of Banking on Backstretch: 4 degrees
Length of Frontstretch: 1,075 feet
Length of Backstretch: 869 feet
Most Wins: 2 (Erik Jones, Timothy Peters)
Most Poles: 1 (eight drivers)
Most Top Fives: 7 (Johnny Sauter)
Most Top 10s: 10 (Matt Crafton)
Most Lead Changes: 12 (9/8/13)
Fewest Lead Changes: 4 (2 times, most recently 6/18/16)
Most Leaders: 6 (2 times, most recently 9/8/13)
Fewest Leaders: 3 (2 times, most recently 7/14/12)
Most Cautions: 9 (9/15/12)
Fewest Cautions: 4 (7/11/12)
Most Caution Laps: 54 (9/15/12)
Fewest Caution Laps: 19 (7/11/14)
Most Running at Finish: 31 (7/13/13)
Fewest Running at Finish: 18 (6/23/17)
Most Wins by a Manufacturer: 6 (Toyota) 

Also Noteworthy…

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, ten top-tens 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. 

Sunoco Rookie Gilliland Posting Career Bests: Todd Gilliland proves to be a strong contender each week in his young NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career. He has started in ten career races and has posted two top fives and six top-tens. Gilliland was very impressive at Texas Motor Speedway, where the rookie led a race-high 62 laps in just his fourth start this season. Prior to that, he had led only one lap in the series. Gilliland posted the best finish of his 2018 Sunoco Rookie campaign (sixth) and tallied his third straight top-ten finish. 

Nemechek Going For Second Iowa Win: John Hunter Nemechek is entered to race this weekend at Iowa Speedway and if he races like he did last year, he might take home another win. Starting in the fifth position, he led only six laps before heading to Victory Lane in 2017. Sauter finished in second-place and Brandon Jones finished in third. Iowa is a solid track for Nemechek, could he win two in a row? 

Crafton Still Craving a Win – Matt Crafton is still struggling to get his first win of the year. His most recent win was last season at Eldora, which was also his only win of the season. The veteran ruled on 1.5-mile tracks in the past but has not had any success so far this year.

He has visited Iowa 11 times, posting one win, five top-fives, and ten top-tens.

The last time Crafton finished a season without winning a race was in 2012, although there are still 15 races left in the season for him to fight back. Right now, Crafton sits in fifth in the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series standings, 99-points behind the standings leader.