NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Fr8Auctions 250 at Talladega Preview

After a four-week break in the schedule, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series returns to competition at the always-exciting Talladega Superspeedway in Saturday’s Fr8Auctions 250 at 1 pm ET on FOX, MRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

What to Watch for: This is the elimination race for the opening Round of 8 in the series Playoffs with only Justin Haley and Grant Enfinger assured of advancing because of wins at the Playoff openers at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (Haley) and Las Vegas (Enfinger). Only ten points separate tenth place Stewart Friesen from eighth place Matt Crafton, a two-time series champion.

Ninth place Ben Rhodes trails Crafton by five points and has yet to finish the race in two Talladega starts. Friesen finished 17th last year in his only previous start.

Six of the eight Playoff drivers will advance to the next round of the Playoffs following Saturday’s race.

Johnny Sauter (2013) and Grant Enfinger (2016) are the only two Playoff drivers with victories at Talladega.

Parker Kligerman is the defending race winner.

There have been 12 different pole winners in 12 truck races. Christopher Bell, now an Xfinity Series championship contender, won the pole position here last year.

Defending series champion Johnny Sauter led the most laps (39) in the race last year but finished 12th.

Playoff driver Brett Moffitt will be making his Talladega race debut this week. Interestingly, he won the race at his two previous track debuts in 2018 – at Iowa and Chicagoland.

There are 13 drivers hoping to make their Talladega truck series debut this weekend, including Spencer Gallagher who won the Xfinity Series race here earlier this season.

Toyota leads all manufacturers with nine Talladega race victories, including five of the last six.

Sauter and Timothy Peters have the most top-fives (four) and most top-tens (five) of the drivers entered this week.

There are two father-son driver combos entered this week: Todd and David Gilliland along with Joe and John Hunter Nemechek.

Three drivers have won this race in back-to-back years – Todd Bodine (2007-08), Kyle Busch (2009-10) and Timothy Peters (2014-15).

Who Will Lock Themselves In?

GMS Racing’s Justin Haley was the first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoff driver to lock himself into the Round of 6 by winning the Playoff opener at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

Then, after a two-week break for the series, Grant Enfinger of ThorSport Racing won at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, making him the second driver to officially secure his spot in the next round.

This week, the Trucks will finally be back in action at Talladega Superspeedway for the Fr8Auctions 250.

Current Playoff Standings:

**Haley and Enfinger have secured their spot in the Round of 6 with a win

Taking on ‘Dega
Up next is Talladega Superspeedway and there are only two drivers in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series who have the ability to become a multi-race winner at the famous behemoth of a track – and they are both Playoff drivers.

Grant Enfinger won in 2016 at the superspeedway and Johnny Sauter won in 2013. If one of them wins at Talladega during the third race of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs, they would join Kyle Busch, Todd Bodine, Parker Kligerman and Timothy Peters in the record book for the most wins at Talladega in the series with two each.

If Sauter wins, he will secure his spot in the Round of 6. Enfinger has already secured his with his win at Las Vegas. 

Playoff Drivers’ Performances At ‘Dega

Below is a look at the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoff drivers as the series prepares for their next stop at Talladega Superspeedway. 

Justin Haley has visited Talladega once in his career. He started fourth last year and finished 16th.

Grant Enfinger is a strong contender at Talladega. He got his first career win at the track in 2016. Last year, Enfinger started 13th and finished fourth. Luckily, Enfinger will head into Talladega race weekend with some confidence as he just won the second race of his career at Las Vegas.

Johnny Sauter has nine starts with one win, three top-fives and five top-tens at Talladega Superspeedway.

Noah Gragson will make only his second career start at Talladega Superspeedway in two weeks. His first start was last season, where he started in the top-ten but finished 14th. 

Brett Moffitt will be making his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series track debut at Talladega Superspeedway.   

Matt Crafton has 12 starts under his belt at Talladega Superspeedway, the most of any driver, with one top-five and four top-tens. As a driver who has a lot of experience at these tracks, he can use that to his advantage.

Ben Rhodes has two starts at Talladega but unfortunately didn’t finish either race due to incidents. 

Stewart Friesen is another driver that will head to Talladega Superspeedway for only the second time of his career. His first start was last year in third place, but he ended up finishing 17th. 

Newbies at Talladega

As the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series heads to Talladega Superspeedway for the first cut-off race of the 2018 Playoffs, some drivers are heading to the intense track for the first time ever.

They are: Ray Ciccarelli, Spencer Gallagher, Todd Gilliland, Tanner Thorson, Jamie Mosley, Brett Moffitt, Max Tullman, Bryan Dauzat, Robby Lyons, Justin Fontaine, David Gilliland, Bo Le Mastus and Joey Gase.

Moffitt is the only Playoff driver who will make his debut at Talladega.

One interesting note is that Moffitt visited Iowa Speedway and Chicagoland Speedway for the first time this season and ended up winning the races.

A Family Affair

We will get the opportunity to see some father-son duos compete at Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

Todd Gilliland and David Gilliland will both race at the track for the first time together in their Truck Series careers. Todd will drive the No. 4 Pedigree Puppy Toyota while David will drive the No. 51 Pedigree Toyota.

John Hunter Nemechek and his father Joe Nemechek will both run for NEMCO Motorsports. John Hunter will pilot the No. 8 Fleetwing Chevrolet while Joe will drive the No. 87 Fleetwing Corporation Chevrolet.

Justin Fontaine will be joined by his older cousin Chris Fontaine at Talladega. Justin will drive the No. 45 ProMATIC Automation/Superior Essex Chevrolet and Chris will drive the No. 47 Glenden Enterprises Chevrolet. This will be Chris’ second race of the 2018 season. His first was at Daytona.

2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoff Picture: Round of 8

The first round of the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs will come to a close following this weekend’s race at Talladega Superspeedway. Talladega has been a cutoff race for the Truck Series for the last two years. Take a look at some interesting facts from the postseason:

  • The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 2018 Playoff field had a total of eight drivers from five different owner organizations
    • Kyle Busch Motorsports – Noah Gragson
    • GMS Racing – Johnny Sauter, Justin Haley
    • Hattori Racing – Brett Moffitt
    • ThorSport Racing – Ben Rhodes, Matt Crafton, Grant Enfinger
    • Halmar Friesen Racing – Stewart Friesen
  • Five drivers have made their appearance in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs for the first time
    • First Playoff appearance: Noah Gragson, Justin Haley, Brett Moffitt, Grant Enfinger, Stewart Friesen (2018)
    • Second Playoff appearance: Ben Rhodes (2017 and 2018)
  • Two drivers have won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship before
    • Matt Crafton (2013 and 2014)
    • Johnny Sauter (2016)

Round of 8 Recap:

  • Canadian Tire Motorsport Park – 2.459 miles, ten-turn road course – Chevrolet Silverado 250
    • Pole Winner: Ben Rhodes (ThorSport Racing)
    • Race Winner: Justin Haley (GMS Racing)
    • Lap Leader (Most): Noah Gragson (KBM) with 35 laps led
    • Playoff standings leader following the race: Johnny Sauter left Canadian Tire Motorsport Park with a six-point lead over second place Brett Moffitt and an 11-point lead over third place Noah Gragson.
  • Las Vegas Motor Speedway –1.5-mile asphalt tri-oval – World of Westgate 200
    • Pole Winner: Noah Gragson (KBM)
    • Race Winner: Grant Enfinger (ThorSport Racing)
    • Lap Leader (Most): Grant Enfinger (ThorSport Racing) with 40 laps led
    • Playoff standings leader following the race: Johnny Sauter left Las Vegas with a 17-point lead over second place Noah Gragson and a 22-point lead over third place Brett Moffitt.
  • Talladega Superspeedway – 2.66-mile, asphalt tri-oval – Talladega 250

A Look Back: Dega’s Previous Playoff Races

  • 2016 Fred’s 250 powered by Coca-Cola
    • Playoff Drivers: Timothy Peters (started sixth), Ben Kennedy (started fourth), Christopher Bell (started 14th), Johnny Sauter (started fifth), William Byron (started ninth), Daniel Hemric (started 17th), Matt Crafton (started 13th), John Hunter Nemechek (started 11th)
      • Pole Winner: Cole Custer (JR Motorsports)
      • Race Winner: Grant Enfinger (GMS Racing)
      • Highest Finishing Playoff driver: Timothy Peters, third place
      • Lap Leader: Grant Enfinger (GMS Racing) with 45 laps led
    • Playoff drivers eliminated after Round of 8: Daniel Hemric (finished 11th), John Hunter Nemechek (finished 32nd)
  • 2017 Fred’s 250 powered by Coca-Cola
    • Playoff Drivers: Christopher Bell (started first), Austin Cindric (started sixth), John Hunter Nemechek (started 15th), Matt Crafton (started 11th), Johnny Sauter (started second), Chase Briscoe (started fifth), Ben Rhodes (started 10th), Kaz Grala (started 12th)
      • Pole Winner: Christopher Bell (Kyle Busch Motorsports)
      • Race Winner: Parker Kligerman (Henderson Motorsports)
      • Highest Finishing Playoff driver: Christopher Bell, second place
      • Lap Leader: Johnny Sauter (GMS Racing) with 39 laps led
    • Playoff drivers eliminated after Round of 8: Chase Briscoe (finished 22nd), Kaz Grala (finished 29th) 

Five to Go
There are only five races left in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs before a champion is crowned at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, and each event will pose its own special challenges for the competitors.

Talladega Superspeedway is the longest oval with a length of 2.66-miles and 33-degrees of banking in corners.

Martinsville Speedway is the shortest track on the circuit. It is a 0.52-mile asphalt/concrete oval with 12-degrees of banking in the corners and an 800-foot frontstretch and backstretch.

Texas Motor Speedway is a 1.5-mile asphalt oval with 20-degrees of banking in turns one and two, and 24-degrees of banking in turns three and four.

ISM Raceway, the second-to-last track the Truck Series will visit, is a 1-mile dogleg oval in Avondale, Arizona. ISM also marks the last cutoff race and has been recently renovated with the start-finish line moved in between turns one and two.

And lastly, Homestead-Miami Speedway is a 1.5-mile, four-turn oval with 18-20-degrees of progressive banking in the corners. The series will hold its season finale at the famous Miami facility with the highest finisher of the Championship 4 Playoff drivers to be named the 2018 champion.

Also Noteworthy…

Dippel and Creed Finishing Season at GMS: Sheldon Creed and Tyler Dippel will finish out the remainder of the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season with GMS Racing. Dippel will pilot the No. 25 Chevrolet Silverado with crew chief Jerry Baxter. Baxter has been crew chief for Cody Coughlin and Timothy Peters for 18 races this season. Dippel made his Truck Series debut earlier this year at Eldora Speedway. He currently competes full-time in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. Creed will climb behind the wheel of the No. 28 Chevrolet Silverado. He is currently racing full-time in the ARCA series.

Winner Winner: There were six different race leaders at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, the first race of the Truck Series Playoffs. Four of them were Playoff drivers (Noah Gragson, Johnny Sauter, Ben Rhodes, Justin Haley). Later, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the second race of the Playoffs, seven of the eight contenders led at least four laps. The only Playoff driver that didn’t lead a lap was Justin Haley.

Two is Better than One: Something interesting to note about the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Talladega is that of the 12 races run, there have only been eight different winners at the track. Four drivers have won twice at the Talladega. They are Todd Bodine, Kyle Busch, Parker Kligerman and Timothy Peters. Of those four drivers, Kligerman is the only driver that didn’t win back-to-back.

If Johnny Sauter or Grant Enfinger wins at Talladega, he will be the fifth driver to win two or more races.

By the Numbers – NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Talladega

1 – Most poles (12 drivers)

2 – Most wins (Todd Bodine, Kyle Busch, Timothy Peters, Parker Kligerman)

4 – Most top fives (Todd Bodine, Timothy Peters)

5 – Most top 10s (Todd Bodine, Kyle Busch, Timothy Peters, Johnny Sauter)

7 – Most cautions (6 times, most recently 10/22/16)

8 – Fewest leaders (3 times, most recently 10/30/10)

9 – Most wins by a manufacturer (Toyota)

12 – Fewest lead changes (2 times, most recently 10/6/17)

13 – Most leaders (2 times, most recently 10/19/13)

15 – Fewest finishers on lead lap (2 times, most recently 10/14/17)

17 – Fewest caution laps (10/4/08)

19 – Fewest running at finish (10/31/09)

25 – Most finishers on lead lap (10/7/06)

26 – Most running at finish (4 times, most recently 10/24/15)

33 – Most caution laps (10/22/16)

54 – Most laps led by a race winner (10/22/11)