Nigel Kinrade Photography
GALLERY: Truck Playoff Picture After CTMP
As Canadian Tire Motorsports Park has done since joining the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule, the road course produced yet another thriller on Sunday. The Kyle Busch Motorsports teammates would tangle, handing the victory over to Justin Haley.
With one spot now locked up in the Round of 6, it just means there’s going to be some nervous drivers the next two races, with a focus on getting a win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway so they can enter the wildcard, Talladega Superspeedway, without a worry in hand.
Justin Haley – Advanced to Round of 6
By virtue of scoring the victory, Justin Haley has locked himself into the second round of the playoffs. A focus will still be placed on performance, though, as carrying momentum forward is always beneficial. He has been doing that so far, scoring two wins and eight top-10’s in the last eight events.
Johnny Sauter (+35)
The regular season champion is using those points that he banked to his advantage already, and managed to come out of Canadian Tire Motorsports Park with a sixth-place finish despite stating that he wasn’t a road course racer.
He has to be the early favorite to advance to the next round virtue a win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with a pair of his five wins this year coming on intermediate tracks, and scoring a runner-up in Sin City in March.
If it comes down to Talladega, there may be some nerves as he has a pair of sevenths and 12th in his last three starts there, despite winning Daytona this year.
Brett Moffitt (+29)
Brett Moffit was considered an easy lock for the first round by critics as Hattori Racing Enterprises has been solid all year, despite lacking funding compared to their title mates. He showed speed on Sunday at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, scoring a third-place finish once the dust settled.
He should be fast in Las Vegas following a third-place finish in his only truck start there with three of his four victories this season on intermediates. Notably, though, he has never ran a truck race at Talladega Superspeedway.
Noah Gragson (+24)
Going into the final turn on the last lap, Noah Gragson said he was doing what he could to win the race to secure his place in the second round. Though virtue of the contact, spinning, and finishing ninth, he gave up seven valuable points in the process. That may be something he regrets if trouble strikes the next two weeks.
Heading to his hometown, he has ran in the top-five throughout his previous pair of starts, though faded in the late stages both events for a 12th and a 13th, respectively. The Kyle Busch Motorsports team has the speed, but need to figure out how to close the deal if they want to make magic happen.
To their benefit, Gragson is good at drafting having contended up front, placing 14th in his lone start on the superspeedway.
Matt Crafton (+1)
Matt Crafton may be in the middle of what he describes one of his worse seasons to date, but he is moving on up in the standings as he entered the playoffs as the last seed. For his part, the veteran put in a solid day on Sunday at CTMP en route to a fifth-place finish. Perhaps in a time when youngsters are making mistakes, his poise will be the key to moving forward.
Las Vegas is one of the few tracks that he has yet to win at in the truck series, but he has scored six top-fives and 10 top-10’s in 18 career starts. Shifting to Talladega, he hasn’t had the best of luck with only four top-10’s in 12 starts.
Stewart Friesen (+1)
Dubbed as the best driver to not win a race yet this season, Stewart Friesen was looking to just survive the day, and overcame an early mistake in turn five to finish seventh for the hometown fans.
The Halmar Friesen Racing team has shown the most speed on the intermediates, bringing hope that this may be the weekend that Frisen finally breaks through following a fifth-place finish in March. If not, though, nerves may be high at Talladega as he finished 17th in his first series start there last year, and crashed out early at Daytona in February.
Ben Rhodes (-1)
Racing up front all day had Ben Rhodes poised for a strong run, until he went for a late-race spin and ultimately crossed the finish line with a 14th-place finish. Going to Las Vegas is the perfect place for him to gain ground, though, as he finished seventh in March following his first career series victory there last year.
Like Frisen, he should have high nerves at Talladega if he doesn’t win as he has crashed out both races previously ran there.
Grant Enfinger (-12)
Being consistent without mistakes allowed Grant Enfinger to qualify for the playoffs; doing the opposite in the first race may see him have an early exit. Taking the fuel can off pit road with him following the second stage proved to be costly, with a late-race incident handing him a 17th-place finish.
Fortunately, he has been fast at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with three straight top-10’s, including a fourth in March. If that doesn’t work out, Talladega also is a good spot for him as he scored his first career series victory there in 2016, followed by a fourth last year.
All Photos Courtesy of Nigel Kinrade Photography
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