If ever there was a venue where some of the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series veterans feel prepared to make a run up the championship standings, Texas Motor Speedway is likely the place.
Former series champion Johnny Sauter boasts the most wins (five) among active drivers at Texas. Twice he’s won back-to-back – sweeping the 2012 season and winning three out of four races between 2016-18.
Sauter’s ThorSport Racing teammate and reigning series champion Matt Crafton has a pair of victories (2014 and 2015) and is currently riding an unequaled streak of 17 consecutive top-10 finishes, including four runner-up finishes in addition to the pair of wins.
Last season’s winner Kyle Busch is entered this weekend and will look to defend his win in Saturday’s Vankor 350 (8 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Busch has made nine starts at Texas in the Gander Truck posting four wins, nine top fives and average finish of 10.2.
Series standings leader Austin Hill takes a strong 46-point advantage over last week’s Kentucky race winner Sheldon Creed into the Texas race. Hill has held the top spot in the series driver standings – leading the points for the last six weeks – but the driver of the No. 16 Hattori Racing Enterprises Toyota is still looking for his first victory of the year. He’s finished runner-up twice (at Atlanta and Pocono) and was fifth in last week’s rain-shortened Kentucky race. He has a pair of top-10s in seven Texas starts with a best ever showing of fifth-place in 2018.
“We’ve been right there every week and have put ourselves in a good position in the point standings,” Hill said. “Everybody on our United Rentals team has put a ton of effort into our trucks. The guys put together a brand-new piece for this week, so I can’t wait to get in and see what we have.
“I feel like we should have won the summer race at Texas last year and we were really fast in the spring race but had an overheating issue, so I’m looking forward to going back this weekend. It’s definitely a place that we’ve had good speed and the mile-and-a-halfs have been one of our strong suits this year.”
Ben Rhodes, who is third in the Gander Trucks driver standings, 57 points behind Hill, is also looking for his first 2020 victory. The 23-year old has five top-10 finishes in the seven races. His best finish at Texas is runner-up in 2018, but he has only three top-10 showings in the last eight starts there.
The 19-year old Californian Tyler Ankrum, who is ranked 10th in the championship, is a perfect 2-for-2 when it comes to top-10 finishes at Texas. And another 2019 Championship Four driver, Stewart Friesen, would love to see Texas revitalize his season. He has two past runner-up finishes in Fort Worth (2018 and 2019) and currently is ranked 14th in the championship. His best 2020 finish is eighth place at Pocono, Pa. two races ago.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!