Column By: SHANE CARLSON / RPW – CHARLOTTE, NC – The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is back in action Friday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway to kick off NASCAR’s All-Star weekend.
One of the storylines to watch this weekend is Timothy Peters is returning to Ricky Benton Racing to drive the No. 92 Ford F-150 in their second truck race together. Peters drove the RBR entry earlier this season at Martinsville Speedway and finished seventh. Peters is looking to showcase his talents behind the wheel and prove that he can get the job done after losing his ride with Red Horse Racing after the team disbanded. A 10-time winner in the Camping World Truck Series, Peters hasn’t reached Victory Lane since 2015 at Phoenix.
Noah Gragson is looking to build on the momentum he has coming off a win last weekend at Kansas Speedway. The Kyle Busch Motorsports driver scored his second career victory in dominant fashion, leading 128 of 167 laps after starting from the pole. Gragson is now second to Johnny Sauter in the overall standings, 35 points back.
Stewart Friesen finished third last week, behind only Gragson and Kyle Busch, who he dueled with late in the race. Friesen is enjoying a solid sophomore season and the alliance his team has with Chevrolet stablemate, GMS Racing is paying off. Friesen owns three top-six finishes in the season’s first six races, including a career-best third-place finish last weekend at Kansas Speedway.
As the race is in Charlotte, there are plenty of drivers from nearby who would love to take home the bragging rights of winning in their home state. Todd Gilliland, John Hunter Nemechek, Myatt Snider, Justin Fontaine, Timothy Peters, Jesse Little and Daniel Hemric are all natives of North Carolina.
Friday, May 18, 2018
8:30 PM ET
North Carolina Education Lottery 200
Charlotte Motor Speedway
134 laps, 201 miles
TV: FOX Sports 1
Radio: Motor Racing Network
My pick to win is…
No. 52 We Build America Chevrolet Silverado
Halmar Friesen Racing
Friesen led six laps in Kansas last week, and continues to make strides in his sophomore season in the Truck Series. It was his second top-five of the 2018 season and as it stands, would find himself in the playoffs as he is seventh in points. Friesen isn’t afraid to go toe-to-toe with Kyle Busch as he did last week and ruffle some feathers, which is the right attitude needed for someone to make the next step and start to win races. The Camping World Truck Series has a reputation for providing the platform for drivers to win their first NASCAR race, and it could be done again Friday night under the lights.
- Johnny Sauter: A two-time winner already in 2018, his GMS Racing team appears to be the early favorite for the title this season.
- Noah Gragson: Last weekend’s win at Kansas followed up a solid week at Dover, where he also had a truck capable of winning.
- Brett Moffitt: Since his fast start to the season, he’s tailed off, scoring finishes of 12th and 16th the last two weeks. He will try to reverse the trend Friday night.
- Grant Enfinger: Enfinger has been sneaky-good this season. In six starts, he has captured five top-10s. The odds of him winning at Charlotte are long, as a Ford has never won in 15 tries.
- Ben Rhodes: Rhodes is coming off his worst finish of the season last week in Kansas, where he wound up 18th after starting seventh. His four top-10s helped him from falling too deep in the standings, so he’s looking to have a strong bounce-back week this week at Charlotte.