Column by: SHANE CARLSON / RPW – FORT WORTH, TX – America’s toughest truckers head to one of the wildest racetracks in the land at Texas Motor Speedway, where the action is unbridled and the speeds among some of the fastest the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series produces all season.
Texas Motor Speedway marks the eighth race of the year and so far five of the seven races have been won by NCWTS regulars, with Johnny Sauter off to a blazing start with three wins, including wins at two of the last three races.
Noah Gragson is also starting to come into his own in the No. 18 Toyota Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports. Gragson collected his second win of his career two races ago at Kansas Speedway and has been in contention to win others. His team has the speed this year with two poles and could be a threat many people are overlooking right now to win the championship. Kyle Busch Motorsports knows how to get it done in the postseason and has had great success the last number of years in NCWTS competition.
This weekend is a standalone race for the Truck Series as the Xfinity and Cup Series’ are both at Michigan International Speedway, which means the opportunity for a first-time winner will never be bigger. No drivers from the Xfinity or Cup Series will be racing in the Truck Series race this weekend, so it will be a guaranteed Truck Series regular to get the win. The question is just who.
Track: Texas Motor Speedway
Race: PPG 400
Date: Friday, June 8
Time: 9 PM ET
Length: 167 laps, 250 miles
TV: FOX Sports 1
Radio: Motor Racing Network
My pick to win is…
No. 88 Menards Ford F-150
Matt Crafton has had an up and down year, with three top-10s but also three finishes of 15th or worse. Currently sixth in the standings, Crafton could use a win to lock himself into the playoffs and Texas has been a good place for him. He has two wins and an average finish of 9.2 in 34 career Truck Series starts at the intermediate track.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Power Rankings
- Johnny Sauter: Sauter’s three wins leads the series and he has shown no signs of stopping anytime soon. GMS Racing is building their notebook and playing with some setups for when it comes time for the playoffs.
- Noah Gragson: One win and two poles with plenty of speed has the KBM driver in a great spot heading into the summer swing.
- Brett Moffitt: Four top-fives in seven starts plus a win is the best start for the No. 16 team in their team history. They look to continue their consistency and battle for more wins down the stretch.
- Ben Rhodes: Rhodes is having himself a nice season with three top-fives, five top-10s and 135 laps led in his ThorSport entry. Fifth in Charlotte, Texas is another intermediate where he looks to translate into a good run.
- Stewart Friesen: Friesen is coming off two top-sixes in Kansas and Charlotte and is starting to run up in the top-five at the end of races. Pretty soon, he is going to put himself in a position to win one of these races, and it might come before Eldora.