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Trucks

Five NCWTS Drivers to Watch at Kansas Speedway

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While the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup and XFINITY Series put their first six races in the books for 2017, the Camping World Trucks have been on the sidelines. 

With most teams having fewer than 50 employees, it can be a challenge to prepare trucks for their up-coming back-to-back cross-country swing. 

Rest assured, though, as action resumes with their next event scheduled for Kansas Speedway on May 12. 

Here are five drivers to watch at the quick 1.5-miler. 

1. Austin Cindric

In the three races run so far this season, Brad Keselowski Racing’s Austin Cindric has yet to score a top-10 finish, despite driving for one of the series premiere teams. He was caught up in a first-lap wreck at Daytona, followed by late-race incidents at both Atlanta and Martinsville.

Early expectations were high for the son of Team Penske President Tim Cindric based on the BKR success having both finish top-10 in the 2016 series standings. However, Cindric hasn’t had a stellar truck series career to date, with three top-20’s in nine starts. 

2. Matt Crafton

As expected, two-time truck series champion Matt Crafton has been quick so far with a top-15 in each race and sits third in points. 

Over the past four years at Kansas, it’s either been Crafton or Kyle Busch Motorsports scoring the win, with the aforementioned second in these events. Now entering this season, Crafton will look to turn the tables. 

It’s also worth noting the ThorSport Racing driver hasn’t gone more than five races to start a season without a win over the past five years. 

3. Noah Gragson

After experiencing trouble in the first two races of 2017, Gragson was solid throughout the entire Martinsville Speedway event, challenging for the win late en route to a fourth-place finish. With some starts under his belt, the rookie is beginning to find his footing.

As previously noted, KBM has been successful at Kansas Speedway, as Kyle Busch won in 2014 followed by William Byron last year. Christopher Bell is bound to be fast, but Gragson may spoil the party for his teammate this time around. 

4. Ryan Truex

Ryan Truex did not start off 2017 well with a 28th-place at Daytona. However, he and Hattori Racing Enterprises have turned things around coming off a 10th-place finish at Martinsville Speedway. If you are looking for an underdog to pull for, they may surprise and walk away with a top-five finish as Truex finished sixth last season

5. Johnny Sauter

2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion Johnny Sauter currently leads the points – but has yet to win. However, the team scored two of three wins with Kaz Grala at Daytona and Chase Elliott at Martinsville.

Sauter enters Kansas Speedway with momentum, following a pair of top-three finishes. If you combine this year with the final four events of 2016, he has scored only one finish outside the top-three. 

He also won at Kansas previously, in 2010. Since then, his results have been rocky with three top-fives matched to three finishes outside of the top-15.

With all the downtime over the past several weeks, you can be assured that the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competitors are ready to mix it up in Kansas.

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

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Ashley McCubbin

Currently the Executive Editor for Popular Speed, Ashley McCubbin also runs Short Track Musings, well handling media relations for OSCAAR. Born in North York, Ontario, McCubbin currently lives in Bradford, Ontario and spends her weekend at the local short tracks in the area where she enjoys taking photos and working on websites.