Column By: HOLLY CAIN / NASCAR – BRISTOL, TN – As if Camping World Truck Series racing wasn’t exciting enough at the Bristol Motor Speedway “bullring,” Thursday night’s regular season cap, the UNOH 200 will officially set the Playoff field and crown the regular season champion.
Two-time series champion and four-time 2018 race winner Johnny Sauter needs only to take the green flag (8:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) to officially earn regular season top honors.
But the veteran is wisely preparing himself for the bigger picture – there’s a championship trophy to hoist following the Nov. 16 season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. And the competition for that podium is as intense as it’s ever been.
Brett Moffitt collected his fourth victory of the season last weekend in Michigan to tie Sauter’s regular season trophy haul. He will be second when the Playoff points are reset for the opening round of the postseason, Aug. 26 on the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park road course.
Sauter will earn a 15-point bonus for winning the regular season and points will be distributed in a waning order throughout the top of the standings.
“We’ve had a great season to this point, and we’re really proud of what we’ve accomplished,” the 26-year old Moffitt said. “I’ve said all year we don’t have the most people or the most equipment, but [crew chief] Scott [Zipadelli] and our entire team has made the most of what we do have. To have four wins is great, but there’s a bigger prize out there and that’s where our focus is.”
Sauter, 40, and Moffitt certainly are motivated to win the regular season finale and make a strong statement as the Playoffs begin.
Sauter won three of his races in a four-week span early in the season and has five top-10s in the seven races since his last win at Texas in April. He was runner-up to Moffitt last weekend in Michigan in the No. 21 GMS Racing Chevrolet. He’s winless in 10 Bristol truck starts with a best showing of runner-up in 2011. He has finished top-10 in the last five races there, however.
Moffitt has won two of the last five races in the No. 16 Hattori Motorsports Toyota. He’s only competed in one truck series race at Bristol and finished runner-up in 2016.